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27 Sep - 1 Oct 1998
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One of the main birdwatching attractions on Praslin is the Black Parrot, which is most readily found in the Vallee de Mai National Park. We got brief glimpses of two birds in the visitor centre car park, but the best view was a few hundred yards down the road, where we say three birds feeding on the fruits of the Bwa Rouz trees. Hint: to find Black Parrots, find some trees in fruit! Close up, the Parrot is clearly brown, not black, but its eyes and beak are very dark, almost blending in with the dark facial plumage. The Vallee is worth going around for the incredible vegetation, but the bird life is sparce. At the Shelter at the top of the paths - a natural picnic place - the Seychelles Bulbuls are very confiding, coming readily to food. They also respond well to 'pishing', and are easily photographed. Seychelles Cave Swiftlets were also seen in the vicinity of the Vallee.

The Parrots are not confined to the Vallee, and we saw birds by the coast at Fond de L'Anse, where we also had sightings of the Seychelles Blue Pigeon. The Pigeon also appeared regularly at 6 pm at the Chalets Cote Mer on Baie Ste. Anne, where we were staying - presumably heading for the same roosting site each evening. As far as other land birds were concerned, we had our only sighting during the holiday of the Seychelles Kestrel in the NW of Praslin, near Anse Kerlan - a brief, distant, but clear view whilst drinking some fantastic fresh fruit juice (look out for the sign!). We did drive up the mountain road to 'Zimbabwe' (as it is known locally - 'Grand Fond' on the map) to try for better Kestrel views, but we were not in luck. They are reported to be scarcer in recent years on Praslin. Madagascar Fody, Barred Ground Doves and Indian Mynahs were everywhere, and Seychelles Sunbirds were also plentiful; one was nesting in the garden of the Chalets Cote Mer.

Wader watching in different parts of the Island produced numerous Whimbrels and Turnstones, and at the Baye Ste. Anne site (see map below), we recorded 5 Curlew Sandpipers, 10 Sanderlings, 5 Lesser Sand Plovers (clearly smaller than the nearby Turnstones) and one Grey Plover. Grey Plovers were in ones and twos around the coast, and we also saw some isolated Greenshanks. Green-backed Herons were often seen in marshy areas near the coast.

Sea watching at Anse Bateau on the W coast produced our only views of two Red-footed Boobies - distant views, but the Gannet-like features were distinctive. Crested Terns were seen in several places, Baye Ste. Anne being a good place to look, and Fairy Terns and White-tailed Tropicbirds were frequently sighted.

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http://www.tka.co.uk/birds/seychell/di_prasl.htm Last updated 30 December 1998