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A Report from

Seychelles, June 4th till June 17th  2002,

Jan van der Laan

Participants: Jan van der Laan, Marieke Wiringa, Joop van der Laan


Between June 3rd and June 17th 2002 I went to the Seychelles for a holiday. I was there with my girlfriend Marieke Wiringa plus our daughter Joop. Our main objective was to have a nice pleasant holiday, but also on the agenda was to see all island endemics plus some photographing. We managed to have it all!

3 June (mo) Departure from Amsterdam 17:00 hours with flight AF 1941 (Air France). Arrival at Paris 18:10 hours; departure 19:30 hours with flight AF 3862 (Air Seychelles).

4 June   (tue) Arrival Mahé at 7:15 hours; picked-up rental car (Echo Cars, 69 euro each day) and went straight to Beau Vallon to the hotel Romance Villas for four nights (114 euro). First White-tailed Tropicbirds seen, flying everywhere along the mountains.

5 June   (we) Mahé. Travelled by car around the island. Afternoon visit to La Misère for White-eyes.

6 June   (thu) Mahé. Early morning visit to La Misère for White-eyes with no success. In the evening to ruins of the Capucin Mission along the Sans Soucis road for Seychelles Scops-Owl. Two birds heard very well and seen briefly.

7 June    (fr) Mahé. Morning visit with Basil Beaudouin to Cascade (87 euro). 5-6 White-eyes seen very well. Kestrel seen briefly but calling for an hour without showing itself. Afternoon in Victoria. English football fans were celebrating their victory over Argentina.

8 June   (sa)   Mahé è La Digue; Cat Coco boat to Praslin (365 rps for two adults). Then boat to La Digue for 80 rps. Almost everybody sea-sick (except me) and Joop puked all over Marieke. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, both Noddies and Bridled and Sooty Terns seen at both crossings. At La Digue we took the hotel Villa Authentique for three nights (118 euro). In the garden a male Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher (but seen shortly) and a tame Fruit Bat (which died later).

9 June   (su)   La Digue. In the morning Anse Severe, afternoon Veuve reserve. Only male Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher singing at a distant, not seen. Rest of afternoon Anse Severe.

10 June (mo) La Digue. In the morning Anse Severe (Crab Plover seen). During the afternoon I played free-lance photographer for a newly wedded Dutch couple. Our ox-car driver showed a nest of Paradise Flycatcher at L'Union Estate. Young present in nest, but parents failed to show up. Later in the afternoon I went back with Joop en Marieke to show them the beautiful Anse Source d'Argent beach.

11 June   (tue) La Digue è Praslin, Boat to Praslin at 10:30 hours. Taxi to Anse Volbert. There we took the pleasant hotel L'Hirondelle (107 euros) for 4 nights.

12 June   (we) Praslin. Morning swim at Anse Volbert, afternoon trip to Vallée de Mai (entrance 100 rps for us three). Black Parrot easily found near the entrance at 16:30 hours. Walk to the main road and taxi back to the hotel.

13 June   (thu) Praslin. Morning trip to Cousin (350 rps). Flying Fish just before Cousin. At Cousin all endemics easily found. Noddies close-by and several nesting Fairy Terns and White-tailed Tropicbirds. Three Aldabra Tortoises also present. Afternoon swim at Anse Volbert.

14 June    (fr) Praslin. Swimming and sunbathing.

15 June   (sa)   Praslin è Mahé; morning swim at Anse Volbert. 12:45 hours flight to Mahé (105 euros for all three) for fifteen minutes. Taxi to Beau Vallon.

16 June   (so)   Mahé; doing nothing. In the afternoon two Seychelles Kestrels around the bungalow and seen at very close range. Watched Ireland lose against Spain in the World Cup.

17 June  (mo) Early morning rise and took taxi to airport for flight from Mahé at 9:15 hours (AF 3863) to Paris. Nice quiet flight with plane half full, so plenty of space. Red Sea beautifully seen plus pyramids, Crete etc. Arrival 17:30 hours at Paris. Finally departure at 19:55 (AF 2140) to Amsterdam (arrival 20:40 hours).

Recommended Literature

For birding I used the excellent Helm field guide Birds of the Seychelles by Adrian Skerrett, Ian Bullock and Tony Disley, published in 2001 (ISBN  0-7136-3973-3). This is a very good field guide with a lot of information about identification, distribution and history about the birds of the Seychelles. For back-up I used the Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands by Ian Sinclair and Olivier Langrand, published in 1998 (ISBN 1-86872-035-7).

The sound recording of the Seychelles Scops-Owl came from the lp Systematics Of Smaller Asian Night Birds Based On Voice by Joe T. Marshall, published in 1978.

For travel guides I used Lonely Planet's Mauritius, Réunion & Seychelles published in 2001 (ISBN 0-86442-748-4) and a Dutch Guide Seychellen by Dick Houtzager published in1999 (ISBN 90-257-3093-0).


I would like to thank the following persons: Oscar Endtz, Gérard Rocamora, Adrian Skerrett, Jur en Netty van der Laan, Matty Wiringa, Annet Meijer, Pim Edelaar, Precy and Emilia Vidot, Thomas Edmund and Basil Beaudouin.

The Species Accounts

The order and nomenclature of the previous mentioned Birds of the Seychelles by Adrian Skerrett, Ian Bullock and Tony Disley (2001) is followed.

If you have any remarks, questions or suggestions, please contact:

Jan van der Laan,
Brouwerstraat 19
1814 HX Alkmaar
The Netherlands
Telephone: ++31-72-52023091

Seychelles White-eye


01.    Wedge-tailed Shearwater - Puffinus pacificus
08 June   c 10   between Mahé and Praslin
c 5   between Praslin and La Digue
11 June 1   between La Digue and Praslin
13 June   c 10   between Praslin and Cousin

02.    White-tailed Tropicbird - Phaethon lepturus *
Common, seen daily on all islands. On Cousin several birds were breeding and chicks were in all kind of age plumages.

03.    Greater Frigatebird - Fregata minor
09 June  c 5   Anse Severe, La Digue
13 June  c 5   (all immatures) between Anse Volbert, Praslin and Cousin Island
1   (immature) Anse Volbert, Praslin
15 June  1   Beau Vallon beach, Mahé

04.    Lesser Frigatebird - Fregata ariel
09 June  1   (at least one) Anse Severe, La Digue
12 June  1   (immature) Anse Volbert, Praslin
Several unidentified frigatebirds were seen at Anse Severe, La Digue and at sea between Praslin and La Digue.

05.    Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Seen almost daily on all island, with about 5 birds maximum each day. Most common on Mahé.

06.    Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis seychellarum
The most common heron on Mahé, even present on the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market in Victoria, looking for left-overs.

07.    Green-backed Heron - Buteroides striatus degens *
06 June  1   Beau Vallon beach, Mahé
07 June  1   Victoria, Mahé
09 June  1   Anse Severe, La Digue
12 June  1   Anse Volbert, Praslin; also on 13, 14 and 15 June.

08.    Seychelles Kestrel - Falco araea * (Endemic)
07 June  1   (briefly seen but calling for an hour) Cascade, Mahé
16 June  2   (one seen close while sitting on the veranda of our bungalow) Romance Bungalows,   Beau Vallon, Mahé

09.    Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus *
13 June   c 10   Cousin Island

10.    Crab Plover - Dromas ardeola *
10 June  1   (immature) Anse Severe, La Digue

11.    Greater Sandplover - Charadrius leschenaultii
04 June  1   along the new road between the airport and Victoria, Mahé.

12.    Red Knot - Calidris canutus
  14 June  1   (winter plumage) flying east, Anse Volbert, Praslin
This bird was seen just one meter above my head while I was swimming. If accepted this would be the first record for the Seychelles (Skerrett, Bullock and Disley 2001).

13.    Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
10 June  1   flying north and calling, Anse Severe, La Digue
15 June  3   feeding at Fond de L'Anse, Praslin

14.    Greater Crested Tern - Thalasseus bergii
One bird in winter-type plumage was seen daily between 11 and 15 June patrolling the Anse Volbert beach during mornings and evenings.

15.    Sooty Tern - Sterna fuscata *
08 June   c 10   between Mahé and Praslin
c 100   between Praslin and La Digue
13 June   c 50   between Praslin and Cousin Island
2   calling above the beach of Cousin Island

16.    Bridled Tern - Sterna anaethetus
08 June   c 10   between Mahé and Praslin
c 20   between Praslin and La Digue
10 June  1   Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue
13 June  c 5   between Praslin and Cousin Island

17.    Brown Noddy - Anous stolidus *
Common at sea between Mahé and Praslin, between Praslin and La Digue and between Praslin and Cousin Island. Also seen in good numbers from the coast of La Digue and Praslin. Seen on nest at Cousin Island.

18.    Lesser Noddy - Anous tenuirostris *
Common at sea between Mahé and Praslin, between Praslin and La Digue and between Praslin and Cousin Island. Also seen in good numbers from the coast of La Digue and Praslin. Seen on nest at Cousin Island.
I thought Lesser Noddies were more common than Brown Noddies (at a rate of 3:1).

19.    Fairy Tern - Gygis alba *
Common on all visited islands. On Cousin also nearly grown chicks were seen at close range.

20.    Madagascar Turtle-Dove - Streptopelia picturata *
Regularly seen on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue (all grey-headed picturata type birds). On Cousin at least 4 brown-headed birds (rostrata types) were seen, although the exact genetic status of these birds is still not solved. Alternative views about this matter are described in Skerrett, Bullock and Disley (2001).

21.    Barred Ground Dove - Geopila striata *
Very common on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. Introduced somewhere between 1768 and 1865 (Skerrett, Bullock and Disley (2001).

22.    Seychelles Blue Pigeon - Alectroenas pulcherrima (Endemic)
Fairly common on Mahé. At Praslin only a few individuals were seen in Vallée de Mai. On Mahé, several birds were seen feeding in fruiting trees in downtown Victoria. Unfortunately I could not photograph any.

23.    Seychelles Black Parrot - Coracopsis (nigra) barkleyi * (Endemic)
12 June 10   (4 seen, rest heard) Vallée de Mai National Park, Praslin

24.    Seychelles Scops-Owl - Otus insularis (Endemic)
06 June  2   (pair duetting, also seen) ruins of the Capucins Mission, Chemin Sans Soucis, Mahé
These birds started calling at 18:45 hours just after dusk just after I played the tape from the Marshall Lp from 1978 (I did it briefly!). Then they started dueting for about a minute and during this, I managed to see them in the light of the torch. They did not like this and they took off to land in the next tree where I was not able to see them anymore. I was too excited to make sound recordings!

25.    Seychelles Swiftlet - Aerodramus elaphrus * (Endemic)
Daily c 6-10 birds seen on Mahé above our hotel, the Romance Bungalows at Beau Vallon. Only two seen on Praslin on 14th June at Anse Volbert.

26.    Seychelles Bulbul - Hypsipetus crassirostris * (Endemic)
Common on Mahé, La Digue and Praslin. Surprisingly scarce in the gardens of our hotel on Mahé, the Romance Bungalows, Beau Vallon.

27.    Seychelles Magpie-Robin - Copsychus sechellarum * (Endemic)
13 June  4   Cousin Island
According to the BirdLife International guide there are now 24 birds on Cousin Island. In December 2001 the world population was 105 individuals.

28.    Seychelles Warbler - Acrocephalus sechellensis * (Endemic)
13 June  c 8   Cousin Island
Some birds were very confiding and reacted upon hissing and pishing.

29.    Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher - Terpsiphone corvina * (Endemic)
08 June  1   (male) in the garden of Villa Autentique, La Passe, La Digue
09 June  1   (female) in the garden of Villa Autentique, La Passe, La Digue
1   (male, heard singing) Veuve Reserve, La Digue
10 June  1   (young in nest) L'Union Estate, opposite the Pirate Ship, La Digue
1   (female) near entrance of L'Union Estate, La Digue

30.    Seychelles White-eye - Zosterops modestus * (Endemic)
07 June  5-6   (in one flock) at about 500 meters altitude above Cascade, Mahé
According to Gérard Rocamora (pers comm, 2002), who controlled the group on 8th May this group consisted of 4 adults and 1 juvenile.

31.    Seychelles Sunbird - Nectarinia dussumieri * (Endemic)
  The most common bird on the Seychelles, especially in hotel gardens.

32.    Common Myna - Acridothes tristis *
A common bird on the Seychelles, especially in hotel gardens. Introduced around 1830, probably already around 1762 (see Skerrett, Bullock and Disley (2001)).

33.    Madagascar Fody - Foudia madagascariensis *
A common bird on the Seychelles, especially in hotel gardens and sometimes entering your hotel room. Most birds were in basis plumage. Skerrett, Bullock and Disley (2001) question the popular belief that this species is introduced.

34.    Seychelles fody - Foudia sechellarum * (Endemic)
13 June   c 20   Cousin Island

* means photographed

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