Tuesday, 14 November 2017

2017 Photographic Big Year - 90-92

My Photographic Big Year 2017 moved into the nineties at the end of Week 45. Images of Northern Pintail90, Lesser Scaup91 and Rock Pigeon (Feral) 92 were added bringing the total to 92 different species. Eight more to go!!

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

90 - Northern Pintail  Anas acuta
91 - Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
Rock Pigeon (Feral) Columba livia

Sunday, 29 October 2017

2017 Photographic Big Year - 87 - 89

Week 43 was an active but productive one for my 2017 Photographic Birding Challenge.  I was able to add three more birds to my checklist. We had/have a rare visit of a Tricolor Heron87 – a small to medium size heron which is more common to South America and the Greater Antilles; Wilson Snipe88 – a master of camouflage and a common winter migrant and the Yellow-billed Cuckoo89 another winter visitor seen mostly in the eastern and northern parishes around this time of the year.

With two months left in 2017 I still need to photograph 11 more species which means the pressure is on, no more games, the kid gloves are off – stay tune 😓 – happy birding.

See images below.  See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.
87 - Tricolored Heron - Egretta tricolor
88 - Wilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicata
89 - Yellow-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus americanus

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Harrison’s Point 2017: Blackpoll Fall Out

October normally finds local birders, like myself, combing the wooded areas surrounding the old US Naval Base at Harrisons Point (HP), St. Lucy. This is in search of a bird weighing less than an ounce but has one of the longest and most impressive migrations of the animal kingdom.  These birds, Blackpoll Warblers(BLPW) (Setophaga striata), take off from their breeding grounds, in forests of northern North America from Alaska, through most of Canada, the Great Lakes region and New England, on a  journey  of up to 1,500 miles over the Atlantic to their winter grounds in South America. (See migration map).  A study in the 90s done by McNair, Massiah and Frost at Harrisons Point discovered that the area around HP is an important refueling station along the migration route of these birds.  On normal occasions you may see one or two birds but during bad weather the birds on the ground can number into the hundreds.  This is a phenomenon called “fallout”.  It is when adverse atmospheric conditions interrupt migration forcing birds to the ground.  The study by McNair et al. stated that among other things when the barometric pressure is low around the BLPOs peek migration period - between October 15th -25th - that fallout will occur at HP. Saturday 14th was just that, with a barometric reading of 1012mb (weatherforyou.com) along with winds from the SE and persistence rain.

I left home at 5:45am with my birding buddies, Jason and Sahara (my two children) for the 40 minute drive to HP in the north.  When we arrived, it was still raining and I drove onto one of the new access roads (that’s another story) and parked under a large Tamarind Tree (Tamarindus indica) in hope that it would offer some protection from the rain.  They were many birds around especially seedeaters, like Blackface Grassquits and Barbados Bullfinches who were attracted to the seeding Megathrsus maximus commonly known as Guinea Grass.  Shiny Cowbirds and Carib Grackles were also busy feeding on the grass seeds.  As I exited the car with an umbrella, I caught sight of my first Blackpoll Warbler in the Tamarind Tree.  It was a strange one, something I had never seen until then - this bird was still showing its breeding plumage.  I then saw another, and another and another and by the end of our trip to HP the tally was 15 BLPO warblers and I knew many more were around but after spending one hour  and a half it was time to go. 

I am hoping to visit HP again this coming Saturday. Hopefully the weather is better and the birding is good.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

2017 Photographic Big Year - 85,86

The 40th week of 2017 gave me two more images for my Photographic Big Year. One was a new bird for the island, Ringed Kingbird85, and a rambunctious little tern, Common Tern86.  This moved my year count within 14 images of my goal 100!!
See images below.  See 2017 Photographic Big Year images here.
85 - Ringed Kingfisher - Megaceryle torquata
86 - Common Tern - Sterna hirundo