La Réunion: A bird paradise

Christina/ October 17, 2023/ Culture

The most striking aspect of La Réunion is its colorful birdlife. Since there are no dangerous animals on the island and the wildlife is relatively isolated due to its geographical location, the local small creatures, alongside the “usual” pets like cats, dogs, cows, goats, and pigs, take the spotlight. Among these, the boldest representatives are the so-called Tec-Tecs, the Réunion Stonechat. This curious little bird is somewhat like a constant companion on the island. We often encounter this little guy at breakfast and certainly during our hikes. During a feeding session on our hotel balcony, I observed two Tec-Tecs feeding each other – very cute.

I immediately fell in love with the “Cardinal,” a beautiful bird with red plumage. Le Cardinal, as the bird is called in French, is not as approachable as the Tec-Tec. Nevertheless, I had a few opportunities to capture this lovely creature.

During our hikes, we noticed the large webs of the golden orb-weaver spider twice. At Cap Noir, the spider had spun its threads across the hiking trail. The eight-legged creature sat right in the middle, eagerly waiting for prey. The spiders, whose females can reach the size of a palm, weave nets from their sturdy threads, which can often grow several meters in size. In total, there are 36 species of this spider genus, exclusively found in the tropics and subtropics. Even small birds are not immune to becoming prey in the spiders’ strong nets.

During a visit to the Garden of Eden in St. Gilles les Bains, I noticed more of the island’s animal inhabitants. The birds “Le Bulbul orphée” and “Martin triste,” and a small gecko. And I was lucky. With some patience, I was able to photograph one of these small, green creatures. They are quite shy and are well camouflaged in the foliage due to their green color.

During a trip to Sainte Suzanne right on the coast, I surprised a goat during its midday nap and later observed a cockfight at the Park du Colosse. By the way, the park is situated beautifully right by the Indian Ocean and is definitely worth a stroll. The best time to come here is in the late afternoon when the warm sunlight makes the sea and the stones shimmer.

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