Trip report sent in by Christiane and Jean Faure
Dear Ruth and Ian,
We spend the second half of October 2000 in the Seychelles and your web site was a great help in organising our trip. We wrote a short report about the birds we saw in the Seychelles...
We spend 12 days between the 19th and the 31st of October 2000 in the Seychelles. We were in Praslin from the 19th, went to La Digue on the 22nd visited Cousin on the 24th on our way to Mahe where we stayed up to the 28th when we went to Bird. We had a perfect weather and it rained only during nights (2 or 3 in Praslin) and in the morning of the 31st in Bird. Morning walks were thus possible.
Wedge-tailed shearwater : Badly seen (too dark) at 6.30 pm and missed at 5.30am at the southern end of the airstrip in Bird Island.
White-tailed tropic bird : Seen everywhere flying over the hills and at close range on nest in Cousin and Bird.
Greater frigatebird : A pair probably of this species seen at Petite Anse in Praslin. Some flying over Cousin and a night roost of over 70 in Bird in the Casuarina trees over the Sooty terns colony in Bird.
Lesser frigatebird : Few, probably less the 10 at the same roost as the previous species in Bird.
Red-footed booby : At least 40 were roosting with the frigatebirds in Bird.
Yellow bittern : One in a dry marshy area in La Veuve reserve in La Digue.
Black-crowned night heron : One juvenile flying over Victoria in Mahe but none at the heron colony in the harbour.
Striated heron : Regularly seen in Praslin, La Digue and Mahe.
Cattle egret : Few seen in Praslin on the airport and abundant in Mahe where about 50 pairs were nesting in the harbour in Victoria despite the disturbances due to the work done around.
Grey heron : Only seen in Mahe and probably 5 to 10 nests in the harbour colony.
Common moorhen : Some on Praslin, La Digue and Cousin.
Pratincoles : We saw at least 2 (may be 3) pratincoles on Praslin airport. They were there on the 19th, 21st and 24th. They stayed in front of the airport building in a patch of grass that was left in the concrete. The collar was lacking and there was no white stripe on the face. The birds were mostly dark grey without any marking except a pale belly and a white tail with black end (about a 1 /3). The underwing was reddish brown and was not very contrasted with the dark grey flight feathers. The tail was forked but not deeply ( more the shape of a house martin than a swallow). There was a whimbrel nearby on the first day and there is no doubt that they were pratincoles (we already saw collared pratincoles in Camargue, Tunisia and Kenya). These birds were probably juveniles ( lack of collar and lack of white marking on the face). The absence of collar together with the absence of plumage marking seems to exclude collared and Madagascar pratincole, the brown underwing the black-winged pratincoles. The only possible species left is the Oriental pratincole but we have nothing on the juvenile plumage of this species and doubt will probably persist
Ruddy turnstones : This is by far the most common wader and we saw it on every island usually in groups of 5 to 10. The most surprising was to see them foraging under the forests along beaches for example in Praslin or on grass relatively far from the water in Bird.
Crab plover : We saw one in Anse Banane in La Digue, few in Mahe , including 3 together north of Port Glau, and they were relatively frequent in bird with up to 7 together at the northern point.
Pacific golden plover : Only 2 seen on Bird. One still had a partially black belly.
Grey plover : It is frequent and we saw it on every island except Cousin but usually as individuals.
Common ringed plover : We only saw one on the beach in the part of Baie Sainte Anne indicated by Ian and Ruth. This indication was still very valuable and this beach is where we saw the greatest number and diversity of waders.
Whimbrel : We saw it on every island except cousin but always individuals.
Common greenshank : Few seen on Praslin and Mahe. In Mahe only at Anse Boileau in the small mangrove and estuary at the northern end of the beach (another good place for waders).
Marsh sandpiper : Only in Mahe at Anse Boileau and on the small rivers in Victoria.
Terek sandpiper : Frequent on the Baie Sainte Anne in Praslin. Up to 5 together.
Common sandpiper : One at Anse Boileau in Mahe.
Sandplovers : We only had problems with the 2 species on the first day and very occasionally afterwards. On our second day we observed together the two sandplovers with the common ringed plover and ruddy turnstones.
The greater sandplover is the length of a turnstone but is higher and slimmer. The lesser sandplover is the size and shape of the common ringed plover, thus about the height of the turnstone but far shorter . As turnstone were about everywhere we only had problems when we saw sandplovers without a turnstone nearby and this was very rare.
The greater sand plover was by far the more common and we saw some on every island except Cousin, usually in small groups (2 to 5) or as individuals. The lesser sandplover was observed on Praslin, Mahe and Bird but always as individuals.
Curlew sandpiper : We saw them on Praslin, Mahe and Bird, usually in small groups (3 to 8). They were common on the dry short grass around the lodge in Bird.
Swift tern : Only 2 in Baie Sainte Anne in Praslin but rather common on Birds with groups of up to 15 on the northern point.
Sandwich tern : 2 in Baie Sainte Anne in Praslin.
Common noddy :We saw few of them flying at see on Anse Severe in La Digue. They were some in Cousin and they were everywhere and very tame in Bird .
Lesser noddy : The most common noddy in Cousin and very common in Bird.
Bridled tern : We saw only 2 in Cousin but a roost of about 40 birds was present in Birds in Casuarina trees in front of the lodge.
Sooty terns : We saw some in Cousin but the most impressive was the colony in Bird. Even out of season there was still some 10000 present on the colony particularly early morning and at night. Most of the young were flying but young and adults were using the colony as a night roost.
Saunder’s tern : Only in Bird but group of up to 150 at the northern point of the island.
Fairy tern : Large concentrations are not observed but we saw this tern on every island and it is frequent everywhere.
Feral (or domestic) pigeon : We saw them in small numbers on Praslin, La Digue and Mahe.
Zebra dove : One of the most common terrestrial birds in all the visited islands except Cousin where present but not abundant.
Seychelles blue pigeon : Frequent but never abundant on Praslin and Mahe. Seen in Praslin in front of Chalets Cote Mer early in the morning (6), supporting the hypothesis of a nearby night roost.
Madagascar turtle dove : The two subspecies were observed together on Praslin and La Digue. On the 3 other islands only the dark head form was observed.
Seychelles black parrot : Seen in Vallee de Mai and near the top at « Zimbabwe ».
Seychelles swiftlet : Observed on Praslin, La Digue and Mahe. Except in Anse Source d’Argent in La Digue where 10 were flying together (but not as European swift would do) only individuals were observed.
Seychelles bulbul : Seen on the 3 large islands where it is common but more so in La Digue.
Seychelles magpie robin : One seen on Cousin.
Seychelles black paradise flycatcher : A pair observed near Anse Severe and a pair and a trio (1 female, 1 juvenile male and 1 adult male) in the reserve in La Digue.
Seychelles warbler : Only one seen on Cousin.
Seychelles sunbird : Abundant on all the islands except Cousin where rare and Bird where absent.
Common mynah : Abundant on Pralin, La Digue and Mahe. Some on Bird. In Mae at Anse Boileau they were very abundant at low tide in the small mangrove and were feeding like waders.
Madagascar fody : Very abundant and familiar on all the islands except Cousin where we did not see it.
Seychelles fody : Observed only in Cousin (about 10).
We missed the kestrel, the white-eye (but we did not take a guide) and the scoops owl.
We also saw tenrecs ; one adult in Vallee de Mai in Praslin and a group of 6 young in Mahe, near Grande Anse. The flying foxes were present on the 3 large islands and very often seen flying during the day.