Monday, March 7, 2016

Flowers...wildlife...&...turtle nests!

Another quiet week! We caught a grand total of zero terrapins this week, but several accidental fish, which were immediately released. Whilst exploring the wetlands I did find a beautiful orchid-like vine growing beside the water, we are currently trying to identify it to find out whether it is endemic or invasive. 
Thursday was World Wetland day and we celebrated with some educational tours around the wetland grounds. The highlights included; a tiny moorhen hatchling, a green-backed heron and a rowdy nest of cattle egrets. Bat surveys are also continuing in search of the Seychelles sheath tailed bat, no luck so far.

 On Friday we had some friends Susannah, Felix and Rufus in who volunteered to help us out with the terrapin trapping and patrolling the beaches. It was a very successful day, excavating four nests in total, one of which had a huge clutch size of 180 hatched eggs. 
counting the egg shells

Another of the nests had been laid inside a manmade wooden cave; we were relieved to find that the hatchling turtles had still successfully made it out and to the ocean despite the obstacles! 

Excavating another nest

Rufus and Felix were a great help on such a busy day, excavating the nests, counting up the eggshells, and even inputting the anthropogenic data into the Trimble on our beach patrols!
Rufus inputting data in the Trimble

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Beach profiling week!

This was beach profiling week. I did it with Vanessa and Holly. It was very hot, but we managed to do it fast and well. There was a very big change in the beach compared to one month ago, because of the heavy rain. We found lots of erosion on the beach, and a very big cliffs due to the loss of sand.

Vanessa profiling on Anse Bazarca

Huge erosion cliff on Anse Cachee

Measuring the segments

Otherwise, on Wednesday morning we found a depression at a nest, in Anse Cachée, near the road. It means that this turtle crawled a lot before finding a good place to lay two month ago. Only one baby turtle was still there, we presumed that the others left early morning. In total we had 153 egg shells, one intact rotten and 4 too rotten. When we dug up the nest, we expected to have lots of rotten eggs because the sand was very very wet. However, it was a successful nest because we had 153 eggs shells meaning at least they managed to crawl out and start their adventure in the sea!

Friday morning, Holly and Vanessa, found another depression in Anse Cachée. In the nest, there was still one baby turtle that was in the hole. They found 69 egg shells and 12 eggs rotten and predated. In the nest they found a crab hole. This might explain why there were only 69 hatched eggs as the crabs can sometimes drag the eggs around and predate them.