|Blackpoll Warbler seen at Graeme Hall Swamp in May|
Two thousand and seventeen was a celebratory year for me. It was the fifth year for the blog and also my fifth year, officially, as a birder. I decided to take on the challenge that started this blog, the challenge of photographing 100 different bird species seen on the island in a calendar year. That challenge is what drove my birding throughout 2017 to a tally of 98 species which included 5 lifers, two of which were first for the island and as for the photo challenge I photographed 95 birds.
My first lifer for the year, a Tufted Duck, was recorded in the month of March. This was the first of two new bird species that were added to the island’s avian checklist during 2017. It was first seen by birder and photographer Dr. John Webster in the southern parish of Christ Church (Here). My second lifer was a Pacific Golden-Plover seen in the eastern parish of St. Philip on May 4th (Here). This next lifer, a Black Kite, was my bird of the year. I saw it while doing a birding tour with a visiting Canadian birder, Martin Gebauer who was able to identify this beautiful raptor (Here). This was the second record of this bird of prey on the island. A Ringed Kingfisher was my fourth lifer for the year. This new record for the island was seen at the WSR during the month of September. My final lifer was special because it was first seen by my son. It was a Eurasian Spoonbill.
I did three solo birding tours in 2017, a first for me. In January I guided Alex and Zvezda Strazar, of Slovenia, they were both starting a World Photograph big year and I was happy to help them find and photograph West Indian endemics like Black-whiskered Vireo, Scaly-naped Pigeon and Caribbean Elaena. They finished the year with 375 species. In April I took New Zealander Robyn Carter and then in July I toured with Canadian Martin Gebauer who help in identifying the Black Kite we saw during the trip. I really enjoyed sharing the Birds of Barbados with these birders while benefiting from their birding knowledge. I am looking forward to continue these birding trips in 2018.
Even though I knew it was going to be a busy year I still decided to take on a photographic big year to celebrate my fifth year of birding and blogging. As it did in 2013, big years push my birding to another level and for 2017 I recorded a new species, a Ringed Kingfisher, for the island. I also had first sightings of a number of rarities e.g. Purple Heron and Pacific Golden-Plover. I had two Blackpoll Warbler highlights during the year. First was a rare record of one in the month of May. This one I saw at Graeme Hall Swamp. Then on October 14th I recorded 15 of these warblers at Harrison’s Point during bad weather. I enjoyed every checklist of the challenge and will probably try it again in a few years.
|Blackpoll Warbler at Harrison's Point in October|
In 2017 I did not reach my birding goals but I ticked it off as a good birding year.