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Published: February 20th 2020
Thursday 20th February
Birds Bats & Brides
As we wander around the grounds there are plenty of birds flittering about, mostly a starling type with bright yellow markings & white around the eyes, (Mauritius Bulbul) but at lunchtimes when we sit outside our room enjoying a light snack a beautiful little orange bird, I now know to be a Mauritius Fody, pops by. You have to be quick to catch a photo unlike the Mauritius Bulbul who are quite tame and sit with us for ages, singing away hoping for a scrap.
Another bird that we often see at our lunchtime rendezvous is the Red Whiskered Bulbul (named for obvious reasons), but these are rather shy compared to the larger variety.
I did see a pigeon the other day but sadly not the Pink Pigeon which is a rare sight here.
In the reception there is a beautiful painting of flamingoes & last but not least the Dodo!
Sadly now extinct but I did spot some around the swimming pool which made me chuckle.
Each evening as we enjoy a pre-dinner drink, at the same time the bats
start flying overhead making their way to one of the fruit trees on the edge of the hotel grounds.
As they fly over, sometimes quite low, they create a great silhouette alongside the palm trees that surround the bar area.
I followed their flight and found their resting place, they are well hidden amongst the branches full of fruit but I managed a couple of shots of these fascinating creatures.
Known commonly as the Mauritian flying fox they can reach a wingspan of 80 cm, making it the largest endemic mammal on Mauritius.
The Mauritian flying fox was once widespread on the Mascarenes. On Reunion, it became extinct between 1772 and 1801. On Mauritius, it was severely affected by deforestation and hunting. Even in 1974, 1000 specimens were shot annually. A cyclone devastated the population, but it slowly recovered to an estimated 20,000 animals in 2006.
Currently, the population is regarded as declining however, in September 2006, the Government of Mauritius decided to initiate culling of animals. This is controversial, though, as it leaves the species vulnerable to extinction.
In October 2015, the Mauritian government declared that the population had reached a 'threatening' 100,000.
Widespread anger and protest among fruit farmers erupted, leading Parliament to approve the culling of 20000 bats by the Special Mobile Force. This initiative was widely criticised by international conservation agencies, which questioned the counting process and true efficiency of the culling, as well as the actual causes of fruit damage/loss, noting that more damage/loss was caused by rats, invasive birds, and weather than by bats.
The Government of Mauritius, through the Food and Agriculture Research Institute subsidises 75% of the cost of nets to help fruit growers reduce damage to their fruit trees. Netting is the best way to protects both fruit bats and fruit farmers trees.
We have seen a couple of brides around the hotel since arriving but yesterday we saw a wedding taking place on the beach just in front of where we were sitting.
The first signs of any nuptial event was two men who arrived to place a very simple metal arch on the beach, next came a young lady with metres of white organza that she draped over the arch, I was tempted to go and tidy it up as for a wedding arch with just
a few red artificial flowers it wasn’t that impressive especially shen a few springs of artificial foliage placed in the sand to form an aisle!
Speaking to our friendly beach waiter we asked why there was not something more substantial for an arch and decorated with fresh flowers. He explained it all depends on the bride & grooms choice for their wedding package. This bride & groom obviously were happy with their arch.
A small party of guests sat on chairs without trimming (even I had ribbon sashes on my birthday meal chairs). The brides dress was lovely with a beautiful lace bodice, her bouquet which was real flowers was lovely too.The bridesmaids were in red and the groom a very tropical shirt.
As the couple were announced man & wife the onlookers clapped. Champagne and wedding cake was served to the wedding party and in the evening they had a special meal not far from us outside of the Italian restaurant (with ribbon sashes on the chairs). Fireworks were set off from the beach so not a bad finish to the day.
Today another beach wedding but this time close to the boathouse. The same
metal arch but the white organza looked much neater and this time with real white/cream flowers and real palm leaves in the sand.
The water-sports staff were busy clearing the various vessels to ensure the couple had great photographs to remember their special day.
No bridesmaids or guests today just the bride & groom. She looked beautiful in a cream lace dress and the groom all in white complete with a white rose button hold.
The wedding rings were placed inside a shell alongside a star fish. Once again onlookers clapped as they were announced man & wife & a guitarist serenaded the happy couple as they too enjoyed champagne and wedding cake.
Well that ends by 3 B’s blog for the day. Never a dull moment here in Mauritius..
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