Birding on Easter Island - 26th March - 2nd April 2016

Published by Albatross Birding & Nature Tours In Chile (contact AT albatross-birding.com)

Participants: Fernando Diaz and Cristian Villalobos

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Between the 26th of March and the 2nd of April, we did a scouting trip to Easter Island, with the objective of watching some seabirds and enjoying other Island activity.

We flew in one of the daily regular flights from Santiago to Easter Island, just over 5 hours above the blue Pacific Ocean.

During our stay we did two boat trips to the Motus. These three islets are around one kilometer from the main Island and have a mixed colony of Seabirds.

Both boat trips were at the end of the day, between 18:00 – 20:00 hrs. At this time the colony was very active with dozens of seabirds arriving. Some species were making spectacular aerial display!

One of the highlights was the Henderson Petrel. We could see just three individuals. Every sighting was in bad light but enough to get some pictures. The first record of this species was made by Alvaro Jaramillo in 2003. To complement our trip we visited the main archaeological places where we could see the colossal Moais. The highlight of the visit was a trip to the megalithic workshop on Rano Raraku`s Volcano slopes. Here Red-Tailed Tropicbirds were nesting among the Moais.

We also have one of the best experiences of our lives snorkelling at the coral reef at Ovahe beach. Here we saw hundreds of colorful fish and Turtles. Without doubt if you will visit Eastern Island you must do some snorkelling or diving. It was a great experience!

Species Lists

TINAMOUS

Chilean Tinamou Nothoprocta perdicaria
We heard this at the of Rano Raraku’s volcano slopes. Then we saw one adult crossing the route in a grassland area near Ovahe beach. It was introduced in the past and it seems to be common
here.

PETRELS

Phoenix Petrel Pterodroma alba
Not so common as other petrels. We could watch this petrel flying with good light. We saw them both days at the Motus. They were flying together with other species. It is easy to distinguish its color pattern in flight.

Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta
Very common and we saw both morphs (white and dark) of this petrel at the Motus sometimes with both morphs flying together. Some of them were very vocal doing their aerial display.

Herald Petrel Pterodroma heraldica
We only saw a few of these. One day we saw a couple flying over the top of the Motus. We saw this behavior several times. It seemed to be a pair returning to or selecting a nest site.

Henderson Petrel Pterodroma atrata
We could take some pictures to ID this species. We saw it in both boat trips, first day one individual alone and next day two of them. The birds were flying in direction to Motu Iti, making
big circles around this area.

TROPICBIRDS

Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda
We found two pairs nesting among of the Moais next to the main trail at the Rano Raraku Volcano.

White-tailed tropicbird Phaethon lepturus
We saw a pair that seem were nesting at the cliff in the Rano Kau Volcano. They were sighted from the boat in the way to the Motus.

BOOBIES

Masked Booby Sula dactylatra
Very common and it is possible to see them from the Hanga Roa and Tahai beaches. There were also some juveniles at the Motus.

FRIGATEBIRDS

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor
Very common to see them searching for food at the sea shores. There were also some males (with big red throats) at the Motus.

TERNS

Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
One colony on the small rock on the way at the Motus. At least a couple of dozen were there.

Grey Noddy Procelsterna cerulea
Only two specimens of this beautiful tern, seen both days in the same places at the Motus. They were perched for a long time on a rocky cliff.

CARACARAS

Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango
It was introduced to the Island and it is common to find it above the Moais.

SHOREBIRDS

Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus
Annual during the austral summer but just a few birds (one or two). We found this shorebird doing a walk by the Hanga Roa beach.

FINCHES

Common Diuca-Finch Diuca diuca
It was introduced in the Island and was very common in fields and in the Village.

OLD WORLD SPARROWS

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Several groups at the Village