Island Conservation Society Conservation Offier Francois Baguette has reported Fairy Terns breeding at Silhouette, A chick was located on 4 August on a Tabebuia pallida tree at La Belle Tortue at a height of 15 metres. SBRC is not aware of any previous confirmed breeding record at Silhouette.
Susan Gie has reported a Seychelles Kestrel next to the school at La Passe, La Digue on 12 July 2017. Seychelles Kestrel is endemic to the granitic islands and resident on Mahé and 5 of its satellites, Praslin, Silhouette and North Island. Despite rumours of occasional sightings on La Digue, SBRC has authenticated only 2 previous reports, one in March and one in April 2015 (probably the same individual). It may be underreported, possibly due to observers being unaware that it does not normally occur on La Digue or possibly some reports relate to vagrant falcon species such as Amur Falcon, an annual visitor to Seychelles.
A brown morph Red-footed Booby has been reported from Farquhar, first seen by Aurelie Duhec and Richard jeanne, photographed by Adrian Skerrett on 19 July. Possibly a viitor from the Pacific, brown morph is not known to breed at any locality in the western Indian Ocean.
At the 2015 Annual Meeting of SBRC held at the UK Natural History Museum in Tring, Robert Prŷs-Jones asked committee members to examine a falcon specimen of uncertain identity, believed to be either Red-footed Falcon or Amur Falcon. The specimen had been collected in Kashmir in 1880. One expert had identified it as Amur Falcon. However, SBRC members concluded it was Red-footed Falcon as it lacked the overall grey-black-and-white appearance of amurensis and had very gingery fringes to the coverts unlike amurensis. Also, the streaking on the flanks of amurensis is very heavy turning to large blackish blobs on the lower flanks whereas this specimen shows finer, brown streaking with no transition to heavier streaking/blotching on lower flanks.
DNA has now confirmed the SBRC identification to be correct. This is the first record of Red-footed Falcon for the Indian Subcontinent. It is also believed to be the first vagrant species added to the Indian Subcontinent list using molecular analysis.
A full version of the story can be viewed here:
Prŷs-Jones et al. Confirmation of the first record of Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus
for the Indian Subcontinent.
News has just emerged that a Sooty Tern ringed as a chick by Gerard Rocamora at Desnoeufs on 15 July 2000 was recovered by George Marie on 16 June 2016 as a breeding adult. This is the first known record of a bird born on Desnoeufs returning to the island to breed, though there are similar records from other Seychelles islands, notably Bird island.
More details of Sooty Tern ringing recoveries can be found on this page.
Clare Keating Daly and Ryan Daly have reported what is possibly one of the most astonishing of all Seychelles bird records: A Franklin's Gull at D' Arros on 7 May 2017. This small dove-like gull breeds in inland North America, wintering off the Pacific coast of South America south to Chile. There have been many scattered vagrant records but very few from the African region other than scattered reports almost entirely from from countries bordering the Atlantic coast. This is the first report for the Malagasy region and if accepted by SBRC will be the first record for Seychelles. There has been one other Indian Ocean record, an equally surprising report from Marion Island, southeast of South Africa.
Island Conservation Society Ranger Chris Narty has reported several interesting migrant species at Alphonse. A Tree Pipit was seen at the airstrip on 7 March and 15 March, possibly the same bird or possibly two different individuals. The Spotted Flycatcher was noted near the beach while Chris was on a turtle patrol also on 15 March. The same day he found a Barn Swallow at the south end of the airstrip, the bird remaining into the following day.
Tree Pipit and Barn Swallow are annual visitors to Seychelles in small numbers and SBRC automatically accepts reports from reliable observers unless there is something unusual with regard to numbers or time of year. Over 90% of Tree Pipit sightings are in October-December during the peak period for southbound migration from Eurasia. There are far fewer sightings during the time of northbound migration. Barn Swallow is the only land bird to show a significant peak in both southbound and northbound migration.
SBRC has accepted 47 previous records of Spotted Flycatcher. Almost half of all records have been during the month of March. This is the second report from Alphonse.
Dan Richards has reported a female Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Alphonse Island on 9 February. The bird was also seen and photographed by Tim Kemple. SBRC has accepted 74 previous records of this species, which is probably an annual visitor in small numbers. Records are still collected because it remains a very rare visitor and there is potential confusion with other vagrant wheatear species. Accepted records include 11 from Alphonse, more than any other locality other tthan Aldabra.
Northern Wheatear records peak later in the season than any other migrant for reasons unknown. It is also unusual in that the majority of sightings are from the outer islands (60 of 74 records) unlike the vast majority of migrant land birds.
Terence Mahoune has reported a Common House Martin Delichon urbica at the pig and cattle farm area, Denis Island on 14 March. The bird was also observed by Anton Walter. SBRC has accepted 22 previous records of this species, mainly from the outer islands. This is the first record from the inner islands at anywhere other than Bird Island (where it has been recorded on 5 occasions).
Terence Mahoune has reported an adult male Northern Wheatear at Denis Island at Belle Etoile coast on 7 March. The bird was also observed by Nischal Gabazu.
SBRC has accepted 74 previous records of this species, including two from Denis. Aldabra has recorded the most sightings with 37 records, exactly 50% of the total.