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THE SEYCHELLES, MAURITIUS & RÉUNION

Saturday 8th September - Wednesday 19th September 2018

Mark Van Beirs

Seychelles Scops Owl (Rainer Kopa)

Seychelles Scops Owl (Rainer Kopa)

The undisputable highlight of our recent tour to these lovely islands was the excellent nocturnal observation

of a rare, delightful Seychelles Scops Owl in the hill forest of Mahé. It behaved so very well that it easily won

a distinct place in our hearts. The splendidly displaying male Rodrigues Fody also scored very well, as did an

endearing, very smart male Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher near his nest on La Digue. All the endemic birds

of the archipelago of The Seychelles and of the islands of Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues were seen very

well, with the exception of the extremely difficult and only rarely observed Mascarene (or Reunion Black)

Petrel. Although this is one of our more relaxed tours, we did move around quite a bit, as we visited eight

different islands and did several exciting boat trips. These western Indian Ocean islands are a true paradise

for western tourists and offer exotic holidays on palm-fringed beaches lapping turquoise seas. They are

however also one of the world’s main centres for bird extinctions as at least 30 species of birds (and a whole

range of reptiles) have gone extinct there since man first visited these wonderful islands just 350 years ago.

Everyone knows about the peculiar Dodo and maybe the Rodrigues Solitaire, but who has ever heard of

Reunion Kestrel, Reunion Swamphen, Broad-billed Parrot, Mauritian Shelduck, Mauritus Night Heron, Red

Rail, Reunion Flightless Ibis, Reunion Owl or Hoopoe Starling? Even today, these islands are home to an

astounding number of endangered birds and luckily major conservation efforts are in place to try to save

these. On this tour we saw no fewer than 18 bird species which BirdLife International considers as being in

serious trouble. On our enjoyable circuit of these friendly, welcoming countries we recorded wonderful birds

like Round Island and Barau’s Petrels, Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Reunion Harrier, the splendid

Crab-plover, the enchanting White Tern, Sooty Tern, Pink Pigeon, Seychelles and scarce Mauritius Kestrels,

Seychelles Black Parrot, Echo Parakeet, Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles and Rodrigues

Warblers, Seychelles Magpie-Robin, Reunion Stonechat and Mauritius and Seychelles Fodies. We found a

vagrant Heuglin’s Gull on the island of Mahé and also greatly enjoyed our amazing encounters with

breaching Humpback Whales and rare, attractive Rodrigues Flying Foxes. A variety of colourful, intriguing

skinks and geckos added to the overall experience.

Rodrigues Fody (Rainer Kopa)

Rodrigues Fody (Rainer Kopa)