Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A little bit of everything!

Last week was a very busy week at the centre, bringing our biggest ever recorded terrapin! This huge female was spotted next to the road by Lea and I on the way to dinner and weighed in at a massive 1483g. At 24.6cm long she now holds the record for the largest terrapin caught in our database. She is a Yellow Bellied Terrapin, which are known to be larger than the Black Mud Terrapins and are caught much less often on our reserve. After bringing her back to the centre we discovered that she was pregnant, on the X-ray you can just make out around 26 eggs! Once we had taken all of her measurements she was released back into the wetland where she had been found, and immediately burrowed under the leaf litter and mud. After a lot of thought I decided to name her Esio Trot after the character in the Rahl Dahl story. Yellow Bellied terrapins are known to search for high ground to lay their eggs and she was spotted again on Monday evening near the road, so it’s likely she is looking for somewhere to lay.
Esio Trot ....full of eggs
Lea & Holly with their finding!

As well as Esio Trot we have also had several captures in the traps, with one trap even containing two terrapins at once! One was a first timer who Jonny named Godine, the other 3 were all recaptures. We have also been continuing our work with the Seychelles Sheath Tailed Bat and have had some bat experts in at the Banyan Tree to assist with the surveillance of bats along possible foraging corridors, still no sign yet. This coming week we are going to begin surveying the reef off of Anse Intendance beach to collect data on fish and coral species presence, so we are all brushing up on our fish ID skills! More updates to come.....

Monday, March 7, 2016

A surprise visitor in the wetland!

This week was very quiet, we didn't see female turtles and we had no hatchlings but we had two tracks in Grand Police. Unfortunately, one did not lay, because of the natural debris and the vegetation and the other did not try to laid because of rocks on her way, she went back directly to the water. We also finished the beach profiling with Jeanne and her daughter, who were our volunteers for the day.

Surprisingly, my colleague Jonny found a barn owl in the wetland,  it is very rare to see this bird in the wetland. It's an invasive species introduced to control the rat population in Seychelles some time back; but instead it started preying on native birds and competing with the endemic and vulnerable Seychelles Kestrel. So, if you caught and killed a Barn Owl, the Ministry of Environment will give you a reward!!.......however…..we didn’t catch it!

The introduced barn owl