Ruff at Alphonse
Chris Narty has reported a Ruff at Alphonse on 19 October 2020
SBRC has accepted 4o previous records including 4 from Alphonse.
Common Swift at Farquhar
Matthew Morgan and Anabelle Cupidon have reported two, possibly thee, Common Swift Apus apus at the village close to the airstrip at North Island, Farquhar on 13 and 14 October 2020.
SBRC has accepted 44 previous records of this species.
Gerard Rocamora and Joesef Bristol have reported a European Roller Coracias garrulus at the Seychelles International Airport, Mahe. The bird was observed hunting for insects in grass, using the airport perimeter fence as a perch. It was first seen and photographed by Axcel Morel and it was present from 7 May to at least 7 June 2020.
SBRC classified this species as a vagrant until 2014, when its status was changed to that of an annual visitor. However, given that there are very few reports, SBRC continues to collect all observations which are automatically accepted from relaiable observers or with supporting evidence such as a photograph.
This sighting is unusual because the species has never previously been reported later than the first week of April. Almost 70% of records coincide with autumn migration from breeding grounds in Ocober to December, with a secondary peak and nearly 20% of records in March.
Great Cormorant at Bird Island
Sophie Morel has reported that the long-staying Great Cormorant at Bird Island was still present on 13-14 June 2020. The record has been accepted by SBRC as only the second in Seychelles for this species.
On 15 March 2020, Martin van Rooyen reported a species of plain martin at Aldabra. The bird was seen hawking insects at Picard Island, near Basin Cabris. While perched it was persistently mobbed by an Aldabra Drongo, making photography difficult.
Seychelles is probably the only country on earth where African Plain Martin Riparia paludicola, Asian Plain Martin R. chinensis and Madagascar Plain Martin R. cowani might all be considered as potential vagrants. SBRC has previously accepted one Seychelles record of Asian Plain Martin from Mahe. At Aldabra, somewhat further from Asia the other two species might appear more likely, but in any report of a plain martin in Seychelles all three have to be considered.
After due consideration, SBRC has accepted the sighting as the first record of Africa Plain Martin for Seychelles. A paper is planned to present full details and evidence and it is hoped it will be available on this website in due course.
George Curd has reported a Yellow Wagtail at Alphonse on Friday 24 April.. Ten of 60 previous records for Seychelles have beeb from Alphonse.
.Ten Barn Swallows visited the same day, remaining through the weekend with two present to 28 April. Barn Swallow is the only migrant land bird to pass through Seychelles on Spring migration as well as Autumn migration. Even so, it is rare that as many as ten birds are recorded at one time.
Photos: George Curd
Eleonora's Falcon at Aldabra
Martin van Rooyen has reported 3 Eleonora's Falcons at Aldabra.
SBRC has accepted 51 previous records including 16 at Aldabra.
Little Egret at Alphonse
Chris Narty has reported a Little Egret at Alphonse on 30 March 2020.
SBRC has accepted 44 previous records.
Martin van Rooyen, Jake Letori and Maria Bielsa have reported a white-tailed brown morph Red-footed Booby Sula sula at Aldabra. The bird was seen while conducting a frigatebird census at Grande Poche near Main Channel on 26 February 2020. The first reference to the presence of this morph at Aldabra was of "three or four" sightings in a 1974 paper (Diamond, A.W., 1974. The Red-footed Booby at Aldabra. Ardea 62). Michael Betts, Research Officer at Aldabra 1999-2000 and a current member of SBRC also reported very small numbers present and he suspected breeding.
In the Indian Ocean most colonies are entirely white morph, except at Europa (98.5% white-tailed brown morph, 1.5% white morph) and Tromelin (c. one-third white-tailed brown, two-thirds white). This suggests that colonies do not constitute one gene pool but are isolated from each other. However, in recent years, white-tailed brown morphs have also begun to breed at Farquhar, now constituting about 2% of the population.
Breeding at Aldabra remains unproven, but the presence of an adult in bright (breeding?) plumage suggests this may be the case.
Yellow-billed Kite at Aldabra
SBRC has received two reports of Yellow-billed Kite Milvus aegyptius at Aldabra. The first was seen on 8 February 2020 by Cheryl Sanchez, Norman Pettigrew, other SIF staff and passengers from the cruiseship Serenissima. It perched in a tall Casuarina at the Old Settlement, Picard. The second sighting by Martin van Rooyen, Maria Bielsa and Luke A'Bear was at the frigatebird colony, Malabar camp on 24 and 25 February 2020.
SBRC has accepted 8 previous records of this species, including six at Aldabra and one at neighbouring Assumption. SBRC has also accepted 4 records of Black Kite M. migrans.
Yellow-billed kite is the Afrotropic counterpart of Black Kite of which it is sometimes considered a subspecies. However, DNA studies suggest that these should be considered as separate species.
In addition, Yellow-billed Kite races aegyptius and parasitus may be split from the Eurasian migratory Black Kite because of the former’s small size, usually yellow bill, deeper tail-fork and less streaked plumage.