Ari Fernández and Chris Narty have reported a Barn Swallow on 30 October seen flying in front of the fishing centre and perching in the branches of a Barringtonia.
Barn Swallow is an annual visitor to Seychelles in small numbers and the only land bird to pass through the islands on both southbound and northbound migration.
Ann and Paul Bailey have reported a Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps at Bird Island. This is nothing short of sensational. If accepted by SBRC this will be not only a first record for Seychelles but a first for the entire African region and the entire southern hemisphere.
Red-headed Bunting breeds from the Volga–Ural region east through Kazakhstan to western Mongolia and northwest China and south to Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is migratory, wintering in India. It is a nocturnal migrant and most having left breeding grounds by August, southern migration continuing to October. It has been previously recorded as far south as Sri Lanka and has also been recorded throughout much of western Europe as far as Iceland.
Pep Nogués, Ari Fernández and Chris Narty have reported a Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis at the village and airstrip, Alphonse on 28 October. SBRC has accepted only four previous records for Seychelles, two from Bird, on Farquhar and one Frégate. The bird is believed to be a female. All previous records were also female or immature.
Sam Balderson has reported a Eurasian Curlew present at the Cosmic Lagoon, St Francois on 21 an 23 October. This species is an annual visitor in small numbers to Seychelles as a while but has not been seen at St Francois for some years. This is only the second sighting known to SBRC from anywhere in Seychelles in 2016.
Curlews have been reported present in Seychelles during every month of the year but with a peak in January and a low in June as per the graph below.
Lilly Soerensen and Niels Bomholt have reported a Grey-tailed Tattler at Providence, Mahe on 4 October. SBRC has accepted 4 previous records for Seychelles of this species:
Stef Houben has reported two Black-winged Pratincoles at the airstrip, Frégate on 9 October. SBRC has accepted 14 previous records of this species including three from the same island, one on
23 April 1988 (P Gregory), one on 12 June 2009 (M Wilkens, B Whittington) and one 25-27 March 2010 (G Canning). The date of this latest observation is the earliest in the post-breeding season migration season, the previous earliest date being one at Bird Island 15-16 October 1987. All accepted sightings to date except one have been of one individual. The exception was four at Alphonse 4-16 May 2009.
Pep Nogués & Ari Fernandez, Island Conservation Society Conservation Officers at Alphonse have reported on 8 October a Grey Wagtail at a new fresh water concrete-base pool, recently restored by ICS to increase the fresh water availability for the free-roaming giant tortoises on the island. "This sighting reinforces the vital importance of a permanent presence of fresh water in remote outer islands for these tiny migratory birds", says Pep.
SBRC has accepted 9 previous records of this species, including two from the Amirantes, one from D' Arros in 2006 and one Marie Louise in 1976. This latest record is the most southerly record for Seychelles
A Wood Sandpiper was present at Providence, Mahe on 8 October. Wood Sandpiper is an annual visitor to Seychelles in small numbers. SBRC has collected 145 reports of this species in Seychelles, numbers peaking in November and steadily declining thereafter.
Ryan and Clare Daly have reported a Barn Swallow at Paul Island, St Joseph Atoll on 8 October. SBRC has recorded 625 reports of this species and their distribution appears to indicate this is the only migrant to pass through Seychelles on both northbound and southbound migration.
Other migrants present the same week include a Pacific Golden Plover seen on 3rd, 4th and 7th October. This is another annual visitor to the granitics and Bird but a vagrant to the outer islands, recorded only at Aldabra, Alphonse and St Joseph.
Also present have been up to 4 Bar-tailed Godwits on 7th including two on D'Arros, Common Greenshanks (3 on 7th), Crab Plovers (roughly 20 all week) and a flock of about 100 Saunders's Terns.
In addition up to three Brown Boobies were recorded roosting on D'Arros during the whole of September.
As reported earlier, a pair of Tropical Shearwaters appeared at a burrow on Desroches in late 2015 and produced an egg. However, this was lost for unknown reasons. A second egg was laid in June 2016 and hatched on 27 July. The nest was continuously monitored by Island Conservation Society (ICS) staff led by Conservation Officer Jo Bluemel. Then on 7 October, the nest was empty, indicating a fledging period of 72 days. This is about average and compares to 64-80 days recorded by ICS at Aride Island Nature Reserve.
Photos: Jo Bluemel