8 endemic species to the island
2 species which are endemic to the Mascarenes
1 species endemic to Mascarenes and Madagascar
Mascarene SwiftletBirds shown in black were new for the trip.
21.04.2001Left Munich at 18:30 with Mauritius Airlines
22.04.2001Arrived at Mauritius airport punctually at 07.40 in the morning (05.40 am. MET) after an 11 hour flight. Common Mynahs, Feral pigeon and House sparrows greeted us at the airport. On the drive to the hotel (Trou aux Biches, N.W. coast) many Red-whiskered bulbuls joined the list, as well as a flock of about 15 House Crows as we drove through Port Louis. The next 3 days were spent lazing around the hotel, with the odd short trip around the vicinity. Birds seen here were:
26.04.2001Booked a Catamaran trip from La Croix du Sud to Ile aux Cerfs and back (East Coast). A very pleasant trip through the lagoons. No birds seen until we stopped to visit the Waterfall at Grande Riviere Sud Est where there was a White-tailed Tropicbird which flew around the falls. We stopped off at Ile aux Cerfs for one and a half hours. This island has beautiful beaches and (at least on the day we were there) a mosquito ridden woodland. Many Common Mynahs, Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Madagascar Fodys, 1 House Crow, a couple of Spotted (Ground) Doves and 3 Mauritius Grey White-Eyes were seen in the course of trying to avoid the mosquitoes and still being bitten 12 times.
28.04.2001Caught a taxi to Domaine du Chasseur, on the West of the island. This is a beautiful area to walk around and can produce a number of good birds. Besides the usual species I saw another 3 Mascarene Swiftlet and had beautiful views of the bird I had come here to try and find, the Mauritius Kestrel
If you are not lucky enough to be able to find this bird yourself , then wait until about 15:30 when one of the wardens comes and lures 1 or more of these elusive birds to the parking lot with a mouse so that tourists can take Photos.
30.04.2001We had booked an organised trip to the south west of the island today, which would take us into the areas where all the endemics can be found. The problem with organised trips , however, is that you have very little time at any one spot and do not really get a chance to have a look around the area. First stop was Trou aux Cerfs which is an extinct Volcano. After short visit to Curepipe (the highest city in Mauritius at 550m above seal level) we moved on to Grand Basin which is a very important Hindu gathering place. Here you can be almost certain of seeing Mascarene Martins, which tend to sit on the telephone wires around the lake. There were 3 Mascarene Martins whilst we were there.
Besides the Martins, Mauritius Grey White-Eyes were about, along with a baby Tenrec which is a hedgehog like animal brought across from mainland Africa and a number of Java Macaques. We then moved on to the Black River Gorges National Park and more specifically to the Viewpoint which overlooks the canyon and waterfall. Many White-tailed Tropicbirds to be seen from here. We then travelled onto Chamarel and the seven coloured earths after which we started our return trip and had the privelege of seeing 3 Fruit bats which slowly flapped their way across the wooded mountainside. A really awesome sight if you have never seen these creatures before.
01.05.2001Day trip with a Catamaran to Gabriel Island which lies about 15 km N.E. of Mauritius. On the trip there which lasted about 2 hours, we passed by a small rocky island called Coin de Mir on and around which there were many Red-Tailed Tropicbirds, 2 Masked Boobys, 6 Sooty Terns, a couple of Common and 2 Lesser Noddys.
On Gabriel Island, there were the ever present Red-Whiskered Bulbuls, a number of Striated Herons and many White-Tailed Tropicbirds which allowed very good and close views.Gabriel Island is a fantastic place to snorkel as well. Back at the hotel in the evening a Whimbrel flew by.
03.05.2001Took a taxi to Bassin Blanc and then to Black River Gorges National Park. Due to my late start I was not able to make the most of this trip, which, had I organised it a little better would have probably given me all the remaining endemics on the island. As it was, my only new bird at Bassin Blanc was a Ring-Necked Parakeet, but at Black River Gorges I did manage a female Mauritius Cuckoo Shrike as well as many Mauritius Grey White-Eyes, Striated Herons, Macarene Martins and Swiftlets and the usual other birds.
All in all I saw 27 species of bird which is not bad seeing as it was the beginning of Winter and it wasnt primarily a birding trip . There are about 70 species of land and sea birds (a number of which are rare visitors) which can be seen. With about4 days of intense birding, depending on the time of year, and including Black River Gorges National Park, Bassin Blanc and a trip around Round & Serpent Island you should get about 40 to 45 species, including all endemics.
Take a Taxi: If you do not want to rent a car, this is the cheapest and most practicable way of getting around the island especially if there are more than 1 of you. The taxi drivers take you wherever you want to go and will wait for you how ever long it takes. Price depends on exactly how far you want to drive but will probably be between Rupees 1.200 and 1.600 for a day meaning from about 09.00 am to 18.00. You can of course arrange to start earlier if you like.
Visit Domaine du Chasseur: This is probably your best bet of getting to see the Mauritius Kestrel and possibly a lot more. Mauritius Fody, Mauritius Bulbul should also be here if you are patient enough. This is located in the east of Mauritius at Anse Jonchee, Tel 634 5097
Round Island/Serpent Island: If you want good chances of seeing seabirds and especially the Round Island Petrel you should try to charter a boat from Grand Baie to visit these islands. Although you probably will not be able to land on them the journey around them, especially if you manage to time it so that you reach them just before sunset, should be very rewarding.
Gabriel Island/Flat Island: For those who want to bird and releax at the same time a trip to these islands is very pleasurable, offers a fair number of birds on the way and is a must for snorkellers.
Visit Bassin Blanc: Travelling directly south from the Visitors Centre at Le Petrin, you will hit a hiking trail at the end of the Les Mares road which leads after about 2 km. To Bassin Blanc. Going up and down this trail should get you Mauritius Fody, Mauritius Bulbul, Mauritius Cuckoo Shrike, Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher if you are lucky and Mascarene Martin and Swiftlet.
Visit the Black River Gorges National Park: Arrange to have a guide take you through the park to be almost certain of getting the rarities amongst others the Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet which basically can not be found anywhere else. I was told to call 252 3742 or 253 2511 and ask for Paul, if possible at least two days before wanting to visit the park. I wish I had known this before visiting the park on my last day.
List of birds seen and where
(I)= Introduced or escaped
Red-Tailed Tropicbird: Common on Coin de Mir
White-Tailed Tropicbird: 1 at Grande Riviere Noire and common on Gabriel Island
Masked Booby: 1 at Trou aux Biches Hotel and 2 around Gabriel Island
Striated Heron: 1 at Trou aux Biches Hotel, Common on Gabriel Island and Black River Gorges National Park.
Mauritius Kestrel: 2 seen at Domaine du Chasseur
Whimbrel: 1 flew over Trou aux Biches Hotel
Common Noddy: Daily off coast at Trou aux Biches and 3 seen by Coin de Mir.
Lesser Noddy: 2 seen near Coin de Mir.
Sooty Tern: 6 seen near Coin de Mir
Feral Pigeon (I): Common around habitations
Spotted (Ground) Dove (I): 3 seen at Ile aux Cerfs and a couple around Bassin Blanc
Madagascar Turtle Dove (I): Fairly common at Trou aux Biches Hotel and Black River Gorges National Park
Zebra Dove (I): Common over most of the island
Ring-Necked Parakeet (I): 1 seen at Bassin Blanc
Mascarene Swiftlet: relatively common over most of the Island
Macarene Martin: Seen in small groups at Grand Bassin and Basin Blanc
Red-Whiskered Bulbul (I): Very common over the whole island.
Mauritius Grey White-Eye: Small groups at Ile aux Cerfs, Bassin Blanc, Chamarel, Black River Gorges National Park
Mauritius Cuckoo Shrike: 1 female seen at Black River Gorges National Park
Common Mynah (I): Common over the whole island.
House Crow (I): Common in Port Louis, 1 seen at Ile aux Cerfs
Madagascar Fody (I): Common over the whole island
House Sparrow (I): Common over the whole island but more near to habitations.
Village Weaver (I): Common over most of the island.
Yellow-Eyed Canary (I): Seen all around Trou aux Biches Hotel. Probably overlooked elsewhere.
Spice Finch (I): Common at Trou aux Biches Hotel.
Common Waxbill (I): 1 seen in Grand Baie and 2 at Chamarel
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