Sunday, 7 May 2017

Lifer, Mega-rarity and Non-rare Rarity


What a week of birding I had!  And Thursday was Super Thursday because I had a lifer which turned out to be a mega rarity and especially for this time of year.  
At the end of the 18th week of 2017 my year check list moved from 70 to 74 and my photographic big year tally from 59 to 60.  My life list moved up one from 242 to 243 whilst my Barbados life list increased by 1 to 129 species.

Lifer and Mega-rarity  

Pacific Golden-Plover - Pluvialis fulva
I saw this bird on Thursday in the parish of St. Philip while on lunch.  At first I thought it was an American Golden Plover, a migratory shorebird normally seen in the latter months of the year, but rarely if ever recorded this early in the year.  I shared the photographs later that night with fellow birder Ed Massiah (Birds of Barbados…) suggesting yes it maybe something special, pointing to another golden plover species the Pacific Golden Plover.  He forwarded the photos to noted Ornithologist and author P. A. Buckley (Birds of Barbados…) and with the help of renowned photographer and co-author of The Shorebird Guide Kevin Karlson confirmed Pacific Golden Plover.
Pacific Golden Plovers are 9-10 ½ inches in length, nest on Arctic and subarctic Alaskan tundra, and may winter on islands in the Pacific Ocean as far south as Australia.  They have dark brown upperparts, spangled with gold to pale yellow or white.  A white stripe extends from the forehead, over the eyes, to the wings.  Breeding males are solid black from chin to under-tail coverts.  Females are duller in colour. They are similar in appearance to American Golden-Plovers, but have shorter wings, brighter yellow markings on their upperparts, and mostly white under-tail coverts and sides.  Non-breeding adults have yellow-edged upperparts and yellowish heads and necks.  Juveniles have a golden cast to head and neck and spotted upperparts.  This was the fourth record of this bird on the island.

Unexpected Rarity

Blackpoll Warbler - Setophaga striata
I spent most of April and thus far May in search of migrating wood warblers at the Graeme Hall Swamp. My focus was on three main species, Prothonotary , Myrtle Warbler and Northern Parula but of course any other would have done quite well but I did not expect to see the Warbler I saw.  A bird that is more commonly seen during the month of October and in the northern parish of St. Lucy.  This bird was a Blackpoll Warbler.  The warbler, which was in the process of molting to breeding plumage, was first seen on the 8th and again on the 9th busily scouring the trunk and leaves of an Acacia tree for insects.

Other Year Birds

Orange-winged Parrot - Amazona amazonica
The other two year birds seen during the week were Orange-winged Parrot seen on May 1st and a Southern Lapwing on May 4th moving my year total to 74 species.

2017 Photographic Big Year 60-63

The additions to my 2017 Photographic big year were the Orange-winged Parrot60, Blackpoll Warbler61, Pacific Golden Plover62 and Magnificent Frigatebird63.  This took my total to 63.
Week 18 was without a doubt my best week of birding for the year let us hope it sets the tone for the remainder of the year.  Enjoy your birding!
60 - Orange-winged Parrot - Amazona amazonica
61 - Blackpoll Warbler - Setophaga striata
62 - Pacific Golden-Plover - Pluvialis fulva
63 - Magnificent Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Cornell Global Big Day


The Cornell Global Big Day will take place on May 13, 2017.  I will be seeking to break the 50 species mark, something I am yet to do. Please join me and birder worldwide to be part of this Big Day.

Pass Records
2015 - 44 species 
2016 - 45 species
2017 - ??

Monday, 1 May 2017

2017 Photographic Big Year 58 & 59 - Two New Year Birds


My 2017 year and Big year Photographic challenge list increased by two at the end of week 18. That week was ambling along until Wednesday 26th when I registered the two sightings, the first in morning the other afternoon, on opposite sides of the island.  The first bird was a Brown Pelican58, a rarity, which was seen fishing in the bay at Six Men’s St. Peter.  The other bird, a Willet59, was at Chancery Lane, Christ Church. These birds brought the tallies for my year and big year list to 70 and 59 respectively.

See images below.  See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.


58 - Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis
59 - Willet - Tringa semipalmata

See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

2017 Photographic Big Year 54-57


The weeks are really flying along and as we came to the end of week 17 I was able to add a few more birds to my 2017 challenge. They were: Spotted Sandpiper54, Carib Grackle55, Osprey56 and Black-bellied Whistling Duck57.  This brought my tally to fifty-seven species for the year.
See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.

54 - Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius
55 - Carib Grackle - Quiscalus lugubris
56 - Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
57 - Black-bellied Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna autumnalis

See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

2017 Photographic Big Year 51-53



The birds were scarce in the last two weeks, weeks 14, 15 but week 16 promises to be more rewarding.  For week 14 I added an Eared Dove51, week 15 - an out of season Pectoral Sandpiper52 and a Laughing Gull53.   These additions moved my Big Year tally to 53. 

 See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.

51 - Eared Dove - Zenaida auriculata

52 - Pectoral Sandpiper - Calidris melanotos

53 - Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus atricilla
 See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.