Saturday, 3 February 2018

First Lifer for 2018

Hooded Merganser - Lophodytes cucullatus

There is nothing more exciting for a birder than seeing a new bird, a lifer and doing so in the first month of the year makes it even more special, well for me at least.  On January 29th I relived that joy when seeing my first ever Hooded Merganser at a small pond in the parish of Christ Church.  This female was at home in the pond, well, once she kept to her side of the watering hole, because the neighbors, a family of Common Gallinules of various ages, was not taking kindly to her encroachment on their side of the pond.  One of the adult Gallinules kept attacking and chasing the Merganser until it was back to its side of the pond.

Hooded Merganser in flight
Female Hooded Mergansers - upper parts are brownish- grey and dark brown with a reddish-brown crest, a narrow serrate bill that is dark with bits of yellow.  Underparts are white.   These diving ducks feed on fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects and breed in North America.
Recording a lifer this early gives me a good feel for the rest of the year, I wonder what will be my next lifer?

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Roll Over Rarities 2018

Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia seen on January 20th
At the start of a new year it would normally take me just a few days to track down and record all or most of, the rare birds that rolled over from the previous year.  That was not the case for 2018, this year it took me most of January to do so and I still have one outstanding.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna bicolor on on January 11th
I saw my first and second rarities on January 11th in a small pond at The Hope, St. Lucy.  I really only expected to see one, the Fulvous Whistling Duck but was happily surprised to see a juvenile Purple Gallinule, a bird that I missed last year, strolling out of the grass.  I did not have my camera with me but returned the following day to snap a few photos of these two beauties.

Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio martinica on January 11th
My next rarity was not recorded until the 20th in the eastern parish of St. Philip and it was the Eurasian Spoonbill.  This was a bird that was first seen by my son, Jason, on November 30th last year while we were out birding and I was happy to see it was still around.  

Pacific Golden-Plover - Pluvialis fulva On January 27th
On January 27th I recorded two more Euro rarities from last year in the parish of St. Philip.  A Pacific Golden Plover, who was feeling at home among a flock of over 50 Black-bellied Plovers, and a very wary Grey Heron.  The Pacific Golden Plover is believed to be the same one first seen on May 4th, 2017 and reappeared in December while the Grey Heron was nothing like the Grey Heron that was at this same location a year ago.  That bird was more tolerant, but this guy, of which its first winter appearance was recorded in November, flies the coup at the first sign of visitors.

The Glossy Ibis in the north is the only roll-over rare bird I was unable to see thus far in 2018.  With the local birding scene slowing, I will try to see it sometime in February once it is still here.