Monday, December 12, 2011

08/12/11 A Visit to the Valley

This week we decided instead of doing our own coco de mer sensus we would go to Praslin and visit the UNESCO Wrld Heritage site, the Valley de Mai, one of the only other place in the world where coco de mers grow naturally (the other being Fond Ferdinand also on Praslin). The two populations of these palms between Curieuse and Valee De Mai are very different. The Vallee de Mai sees alot more rainfall and the trees are much more tightly Pcked. This means the trees are much taller (up to 27m tall), the trees are bearing alot more nuts, there are more animals such as geckos and frogs on the trees, it is much denser and overall more rainforest like.

We met Anna, a Valley de Mai scientist and she took us on a guided tour of the Valley. Her passion is the black parrot, a bird species endemic to the Seychelles. The black parrot nests in the dead, hollow trunks of coco de mers. We used a special extendable flag pole to hoist a camera up inside the coco de mer trunk and using a baby monitor we looked to see if the nests had any eggs. Unfortunately, none of the nests contained any eggs as it was still a little early in the breeding season. We were able to see a few black parrots on our adventure but they were camera shy and often hidden in the coco de mer leaves.

At the end while having a snack we were entertained by another bird species, the bulbul. As soon as we opened our food, they surrounded us. Five birds were fighting over chips crumbs and were taking food pieces from our hands.

This day was a nice change from our usual base activities. We really apreciate being able to see this wonderful place and to feel like we were walking through the jungle.