A credible report of a Black-browed Albatross dating back more than 50 years has recently emerged via Ebird.
Louis Warren was the anti-submarine warfare officer on the USS Cony DD-508 steaming north towards Aden and the Suez Canal from Diego Suarez after port calls in Madagascar. For several days a lone Black-browed Albatross followed the ship, hovering over the stern and gliding around the ship but not feeding. It departed close to Alphonse Atoll on 10 June 1966.
This will be the first record of Black-browed Albatross for Seychelles if accepted by Seychelles Bird Records Committee. Elsewhere in the region it has been recorded as a vagrant to Madagascar June-September.
A Great Cormorant has been reported from Bird Island, a 2cy present since 7 April until at least 14 June. The bird was first reported by Chris Feare but earlier dates from other observers then came to light.
Up until late 2017, SBRC had only accepted one previous record of this species: a 1cy at Cousin in January 1993, A 1cy was then reported at Bird on 4 December 2017 by Tammy Knuth. It is not impossible that both recent records represent one and the same individual given the rarity of this species in Seychelles. However, on the other hand it is a big obvious species so the gap between dates suggests it is more likely a new arrival as it would surely have been noticed in the four month period between sightings had it been present throughout.
Ian Silvester has reported a Common Redshank at Praslin on 22 May. SBRC has accepted just four previous records:
Dinantis Beukes has reported five Blue-cheeked bee-eater at the east side of D'Arros on 20-25 April.
In 2017, SBRC reclassified this species to an annual visitor in small numbers to the granitic islands and Amirantes but retained as a vagrant further south (where Madagascar Bee-eater is a likely confusion species). SBRC continues to collect all reports. These are automatically accepted unless there is something unusual in terms of timing or numbers.
Francois Baguette has reported Barn Swallows present at La Passe, Silhouette with a peak in numbers of six on 24 April.
Barn Swallow is an annual visitor to Seychelles in small numbers. It is the only migratory landbird recorded annually on both southbound and northbound migration.
Francois Baguette has reported a Yellow Wagtail at La Passe, Silhouette on 22 April. SBRC has accepted 55 previous records of this species including three from Silhouette.
Melinda Curran has reported a female House Sparrow present at La Cour, Aride for one day only on 3 April. House Sparrows are resident in the Amirantes but regarded as an invasive species in the granitic islands. This is the first report since a male was present at Independence Avenue, Victoria for more than one year from July 2007 to July 2008.
Ariadna Fernandez has reported Red-throated Pipit at Alphonse airstrip on 4 March. This is the ninth report from Alphonse (equal first with Bird island) and the 34th for Seychelles.
Scott Mitchell and Pep Nogués have reported a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron at the freshwater reservoir, Alphonse on 7 February. This species was unrecorded in Seychelles until 1992, when one turned up near the Inter-island Quay on Mahe. More records followed in the next few years and by 1996, it was breeding on Mahe, spreading to Silhouette in 1997, Cousin in 2000 and St Joseph Atoll in 2002. There have been other vagrant records including one at Desroches but this is the first record for Alphonse.
It is a very rare event for Seychelles to be naturally colonised by a new species but the loss of freshwater habitat in the inner islands means that the future of Black-crowned Night Heron as a breeding species in Seychelles hangs in the balance. It is uncertain whether it has bred at any site at all during the last few years though there presence of a juvenile at Alphonse suggests it is possible that at least one site survives.
Left: Male Northern Wheatear (Kyle Reed). Right: Female Northern Wheatear (Pep Nogués)
Pep Nogués and Kyle Reed have reported a female Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Pointe Dot, Alphonse on 12-14 January and a male present near the airstrip on 13 January.
60% of all Northern Wheatear sightings have been recorded in January-February, much later in the migration season than any other land bird.