Recent Articles in Nature Diary

Mostly by the Ship’s Naturalist

Cape Verde Flora

Unless you have never visited the islands and have been entirely fooled by the name, flora will be the last thing that comes to mind when you think of the Cape Verdes – but in fact the place is actually quite interesting to a devoted botanist. Of the plants which somehow managed to reach the archipelago without man’s intervention (thereby earning themselves the name of indigenous species) there are 80 which have evolved to become genetically different from their ancestors…

David Wingate – The Bird Man of Bermuda

“I wish I could introduce you to David Wingate,” said Gill. “He’s our local naturalist, and he’d love to answer all of these questions that you keep asking.” We were standing on the wooden platform which surrounds Gill and John’s house on their little islet in Bermuda, looking down towards a round black hole bored into the rock below. Inside that hole, I knew, was a plump, one week old tropic bird chick. But that was all I knew. I…

The Ship’s Naturalist

This article by Roxanne appeared in somewhat abridged form in the RSBP’s junior magazine, Birdlife, last year. I was born on a boat, and ever since I was a baby we have lived aboard the boat and sailed wherever we want to go. I have never lived in a house, although I have occasionally lived in a caravan or a camper van, in different parts of the world. I wonder if it is to this gipsy lifestyle that I owe…

Dolphins

In this family there is one thing which really gets everyone rushing around, and that is dolphins. In the Mar Menor we didn’t see any dolphins – they don’t come into that lagoon – but Mummy and Daddy were always full of stories about heavisides dolphins here, and pilot whales there. It seems that even sightings made before I was born, twelve years ago, are still remembered in detail! There was the story about the first time Xoë and Caesar…

Fish of the Rocky Shore

Beneath the waters of La Gomera there are not only large stretches of sand, but also a plentiful supply of rocky areas. For me, this makes the place very interesting, because I can watch both habitats at the same time and see the very different fish which live in each of them. The bigger fish living on the sandy bottoms rely on hunting smaller fish, and since there is no plant life there the smaller fish are scavengers. All of…

Who lives on the sandy bottom under our boat?

The Ship’s Naturalist is a kind-hearted girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly. She might catch it and feed it to a toad, of course, but she wouldn’t swat one. Nor does she eat dead pigs, cows, rabbits, sheep, or chickens – but she does have a weakness: she loves fish. At the age of four, when asked to make a list of her favourite things, Roxanne wrote, “Fish, Mummy, Chocolate.” Over the course of the past eight years the list…

Stingrays

If you visit the local tourist office then they’ll tell you that Valle Gran Rey was named after the Big King who once lived in this valley – but we know better. We reckon it was named by a Frenchman who was seriously impressed with the local sealife.

Chicken Ship

Last year she raised a couple of seagulls. This year there were no baby gulls to rescue, and so Roxanne has been trying her hand as a chicken farmer.

Rox to the Rescue (A Tale of Toads and Frogs)

It’s been a while quite a while since you heard from the Ship’s Naturalist, but that’s not because she hasn’t been writing; it’s because her back-up team haven’t been typing… Herewith, an article which Roxanne penned many moons ago, during our visit to Melilla.

Birdlife in the Canary Islands

Which bird would you reckon is the most common in the Canary Islands? Go on, have a guess.