Alpines treasures in the Swiss Jura mountains

I was lucky last year to be able to attend the 6th Global Botanic Gardens Congress  organised by BGCI (the worldwide association of botanic gardens), possibly the best assembly of people interested in plants, whether they are scientists, gardeners, science journalists or education professionals. Held in Geneva, Switzerland, it took place over a week in June 2017,…

An island of flowers – Part 7: Marine treasures

As promised, this post won’t be dedicated to terrestrial, but marine creatures. We’ll start with a nice little cruise off the Southern coast of Madeira: Very popular with tourists, these 3-4 hour cruises on catamarans offer the visitor a chance to catch a glimpse of Madeira’s marine fauna. There are 10 species of whales that can…

When plants glow

A fascinating and relatively unknown topic that I chose to study for my BSc, iridescence is, in its simplest definition, an “optical phenomenon in which hue changes according to the viewing angle”. The most obvious example is a soap bubble, but it is also a very common feature in the animal world (such as for this Morpho butterfly). What about…

Taxonomy treasures

If you’ve visited London as a tourist and walked from Piccadilly Circus to Hyde Park, you’ve probably come across the famous luxury grocery store Fortnum & Mason, and its pretty displays of chocolate truffles, champagne and exotic fruits: Now, look across the street and you will spot a massive 18th-century building, Burlington House, which is…

Pond thrills with Froglife

Last week, I had the chance to take part in a (free – how amazing is that!) GCN Course organized by the amphibian conservation charity Froglife as part of their brand new Dragon Finder project (all info here : http://www1.froglife.org/dragonfinder.aspx). GCN, for the uninitiated, refers to the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), a beautiful European amphibian….

The fascinating world of butterflies on display

This month at Wisley, the RHS has organized an event called “Butterflies in the Glasshouse“. If you have the courage to brave the queues and noisy children (or if you have the chance to visit it on weekdays!), this is a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look at tropical butterflies (but I so wish people would…

How do bats cross a motorway? – the results!

I hope the plant enthusiasts among you won’t be too disappointed – in this article I’m talking animals, and more precisely bats! Some of you might remember an article I posted in June last year, about a specific bat survey taking place in Brussels to reveal the impact of large motorways on bat behviour. If…

Dormouse discovery

Last week, I took a brilliant course on Dormouse Ecology and Surveying, organized by Sussex Wildlife Trust. I was particularly excited because the hazel dormouse is extinct in Brussels (and very rare in the rest of Belgium), so I had never had the chance to see one, let alone learn more about this charming creature….

Parasol and cocktail glasses ?

No, this article will not really talk about parasols and cocktails. It’s just a catchy title to draw the attention of my readers, who, if they live in Belgium or the UK, are probably coping with a particularly dull and depressing weather at the moment! 😀 While recording flora with a local association (AEF) in…