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.
CJ Havemann has reported a Western Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus at North Island on 5 January. SBRC has accepted seven previous records of this species.
Becky Hodgkiss and James McClelland have reported a Garganey at Cousine. Garganey is an annual visitor to the inner islands and Amirantes in small numbers, but this is the first report from Cousine. Unfortunately the bird was in exhausted condition and died.
SBRC has collected reports of 348 Garganey in Seychelles. This is the peak period for sightings with reports in all months but a steady decline in numbers through the migration season.
Francois Baguette, Licia Calabrese and Teesha Baboorun reported a Western Marsh Harriercover the marsh at La Passe, Silhouette on 3 December 2017. It was seen again on 13 December and photographed by Said Harryba on 14 December.
SBRC has accepted four previous records of this species.
Christopher Narty has reported a Broad-billed Roller at Alphonse on 11 December.
This species is an annual visitor to the Aldabra Group and a vagrant elsewhere in Seychelles. SBRC has accepted 26 records east of Aldabra, including 10 from Alphonse.
Amur Falcon (left), Tree Pipit (right); photos by Rebecca Hodgkiss.
Rebecca Hodgkiss and James McClelland have reported an Amur Falcon present on Cousine 3-6 December and a Tree Pipit present 4-9 December, both in the hotel area.
The first ever report of an Amur Falcon was also from Cousine, almost 22 years ago to the day on 2 December 1995. This bird remained present until early February 1996. Since then, SBRC has collected reports of 475 birds, with around 93% of records in November and December. Records have been confined to the inner islands and Amirantes, with no reports whatsoever south of Alphonse and no evidence of a return migration through Seychelles.
SBRC has collected reports of 267 Tree Pipit sightings and again there is a peak in October-December with 88% of sightings during this period. However, in contrast to Amur sightings are spread throughout the islands from Bird and Denis in the north to the Aldabra Group in the south. Unlie Amur Falcon, there is a small blip in the number of sightings in March possibly indicating a small percentage of birds on northern migration.
Accompanied by Michael Betts, we found a Northern Shoveler at La Promenade, Victoria today. SBRC have accepted 13 previous records of this species.
Teesha Baboorun has reported a series of sightings of a Tree Pipit at La Passe, Silhouette from 18-28 November. The bird was also seen by Francois Baguette and Dina Dominique. This is the first report from Silhouette of this annual visitor to Seychelles since 2013.
Amur Falcon sightings continue. One individual in exhausted condition has been present on Aride from 29 November to 3 December