Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Trip to St. Philip

January 26
For the last weekend in the month of January, I decided to concentrate my birding activity in the eastern parish of St. Philip.  I left home about 6 am.  It was still dark and cold outside.  The plan was to stay out for about 3 hours and to be home by 9am.  The locations I had planned to visit were WRS, Conga Road, King George V Park, Golden Grove and finally Bayfield Pond.
While on the road, I decided to check on the ducks at Chancery Lane.  I got there at 6:21am.  On the cliff looking over the swamp at Chancery Lane I was able to confirm that the Northern Pintails, American Wigeons and Blue-winged Teals were still there.   It has been over a month now that these ducks were at this location.  From Chancery Lane I headed to my first planned stop, WSR.
On my way to WSR I passed a gap called Factory Road.  I was very surprised to see there, over eighty (80) Eurasian Collard Doves on the power lines.  Maybe someone had recently been feeding them. 

WSR
 Woodbourne Shorebird Rescue (WSR) is one of my favorite places for birding on the island.  I got there at 6:50am and scanned over the ponds.  The pond in front of the observation hut had seven (7) Black-bellied Ducks, a couple of Moorhens, oh sorry “Common Gallinules” and my second Sora for the year.   My interest though, was in the south pond where an adult Yellow- crowned Night Heron was spotted weeks before.   A Yellow–crowned Night Heron would be a lifer for me.  As I reached the pond I saw instead, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron moving about in the trees over the pond.  My visit was cut short by the rain and as I left WRS in the rain and headed to Conga Road I was hoping that the rain would be over.

Congo Road
As I turned into Congo Road I was greeted by a flock of small yellow birds, Grassland Yellow Finches. These birds were busy feeding in the agricultural land next to the swamp.  Also noticeable were large numbers of Least Sandpipers.  Other birds seen at Conga Road were Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs and Great and Snowy Egrets, but again that visit was cut short by the rain.  So it was on to my next stop, King George V Memorial Park.

King George V Memorial Park
This public park is not really known for birding, but I have found that when the trees within the park are flowering, it is a great location to photograph Hummingbirds, Bananaquits and Carpenter Bees.  With the rain still threatening I set about photographing the visitors to the tree.   An Antillean Crested Humming bird hovering to a flower was a great photo-op.  For the final time the rain came heavily which ended my trip to the parish of St. Philip prematurely.  I will have to do this one again sometime next month when the weather is better.
  
 Here is the list of birds recorded on that day.


Common Name
Scientific Names
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Dendrocygna autumnalis
Blue-winged Teal
Anas discors
American Wigeon
Anas americana
Northern Pintail
Anas acuta
Common Gallinule (Moorhen)
Gallinula galeata
Sora
Porzana carolina
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax
Little Blue Heron
Egretta caerulea
Green Heron
Butorides virescens
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Great Egret
Ardea alba
Black-bellied Plover
Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover
Charadrius semipalmatus
Spotted Sandpiper
Actitis macularius
Stilt Sandpiper
Calidris himantopus
Least Sandpiper
Calidris minutilla
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Calidris pusilla
Wilson's Snipe
Gallinago delicata
Zenaida Dove
Zenaida aurita
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Streptopelia decaocto
Common Ground-Dove
Columbina passerina
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Orthorhyncus cristatus
Bananaquit
Coereba flaveola
Gray Kingbird
Tyrannus dominicensis
Shiny Cowbird
Molothrus bonariensis
Carib Grackle
Quiscalus lugubris


 

Below are photographs from the St. Philip trip






Monday, 27 January 2014

Sanderling Y2L at Six Men

Every year a large flock of Sanderlings "Calidris alba" winter at a small fishing village called Six Men's, located in the west coast parish of St. Peter. With a ready supply of food from the fish market, this flock continues to grow.  A Sanderling tagged Y2L was first observed last year at this location and again this year. This gives proof that the same flock returns to this location yearly.  Sanderling Y2L was reported to bandedbirds.org.





Friday, 24 January 2014

Masked Duck Laurie

Masked Duck Laurie

We know very little about the Masked Duck population here in Barbados.  This shy bird seems to appear and disappear without warning in a small number of local swamps.  Where does it go?  Does it migrate to and from another country?  If it does migrate, from which country does this beautiful bird originate?
Laurie could have given us some insight into these questions.  “Who is Laurie?” you may ask.  Laurie is a female Masked Duck which was rescued from sure death, and turned over to Dr. John Webster, host of the television program Breakfast with the Birds.  Dr. Webster invited me to have a close up look and to assist with recording its return to the wild with video and stills.
On seeing Laurie, the first thing I noticed was her size.  I had previously viewed, and photographed these ducks in the wild; however I never appreciated how small these ducks really were.
With this elusive bird in hand, we tried to have it tagged, but were unable to locate the correct tag for its size.  We also would have benefited from tracking this bird via Satellite, but alas, none of the two options were available.  The information gathered however, was timely, especially for Dr. Webster, who was in the process of preparing a program on the Masked Duck.
Sunday January 19, 2014 was the day of Laurie’s release.  As she took to the water at The Hope Pond, she paused a little, as if to say thank you and good bye, before swimming off to enjoy her freedom.
I returned to the pond on January 21 to see if she was still there, but true to their nature, Laurie, our Masked Duck was gone.  Where did she go?  Did she migrate off island?  If so, to where?  Questions we may never have answered, but could have had, with Laurie the Masked Duck.

Below are photographs of Laurie
  
You can also click this link to view a short video produced for Breakfast with the Birds with Dr. John Webster, featuring the return of Laurie the Masked Duck to the wild.

Masked Ducks

video


This mini-documentary on Masked Ducks staring Laurie, a rescued female Masked Duck, which was released on Sunday January 19, 2014. This occasion gave us a rare up close view of this very shy duck. The presenter is Dr. John Webster, Camera operator yours truely  J E Moore and the editing was done by Mr. David Green of IMS Productions. This video was part of a presentation on the Morning program Breakfast with the Birds aired on Friday January 24, 2014.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Excursion South



January 12
The Excursion South
Another cold, wet morning and as I open the door the cold air is whispering in my ear “return to bed, return to bed” but my will is strong, my mission is clear and the plan are now in motion. I am heading south to the Parish of Christ Church and my plan is to visit three birding spots in 21/2 hours.

 
Ship @ Oistins
The world famous Oistins was my first stop.  Oistins is known for its fried fish and a hub for local entertainment on the weekends. On this Sunday morning it was a shadow of the night before. One the white sand beach was flocks of Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones. 
Cattle Egrets are also very popular at this location. Scratching around in the leaves was a number of Jungle Fowls or yard fowl as there are locally called. Oistin is also know for it seabirds, Gulls, Terns etc but on this day I only saw Two (2) Frigate Birds.

From there I head east to Inch Marlow. Inch Marlow is known for its surfing and kite surfing. Birding wise?  I know of a mix flock of Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones and Semipalmated Plovers who can be found at this location yearly. I did not see any shorebirds as was expected at Inch Marlow so I move on to my next stop Chancery Lane.


About two miles to the east is Chancery Lane Swamp. Once a shooting swamp now a protected wetland and Important Bird Area (IBA) Chancery Lane Swamp is a hotel for many migrating birds seeking a place for their winter get away. I arrived there at 7:10am and from my lookout high on a cliff looking over the swamp I could see a number of ducks. 

Eurasian Collaried Dove

I recorded nineteen (19) Blue-winged Teals and eleven (11) Northern Pintails. At the end of last year a flock of American Wigeon but did not see any of these on this visit. 
  When I left Oistins I started recording bird seen along the way. One bird which surprised me with its sheer numbers is the Eurasian Collared Dove. This dove which was first recorded in this area of Christ Church has moved across the island to the point of being almost island wide.  
Records of this bird have being made in the Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western parishes it only a matter of time before we see records from the two central Parishes. The tally of this bird species seen on my travels between Oistins and Chancery was sixty five (65) birds with one location along the way having over thirty birds.

Conga Road   

From Chancery Lane I traveled north to my finale location for the morning Conga Road. Conga Road is a private location. I recorded eleven bird species at that location with three, the Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers and the Stilt Sandpipers being my first for the year. I was surprised by the number of Least Sandpipers and Black-bellied Plover that were at this location. The latter seen to be a flock which return yearly to this location with sixteen being recorded but the fifty plus Least Sandpiper since to be part of a large flock on the island as other birder also noted an increase in number at other locations. I recorded  sixteen species at Conga Road.

At the end of my Excursion South I had recorded twenty seven (27) species in just three hours. Check the table below for list of the birds seen.

 Common Names
Scientific Names
American Wigeon
Anas americana
Blue-winged Teal
Anas discors
Northern Pintail
Anas acuta
Magnificent Frigatebird
Fregata magnificens
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Great Egret
Ardea alba
Little Egret
Egretta garzetta
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Common Gallinule
Gallinula galeata
Black-bellied Plover
Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover
Pluvialis squatarola
Greater Yellowlegs
Tringa melanoleuca
Ruddy Turnstone
Arenaria interpres
Stilt Sandpiper
Calidris himantopus
Least Sandpiper
Calidris minutilla
Sanderling
Calidris alba
Rock Pigeon
Columba livia   
Scaly-naped Pigeon
Patagioenas squamosa
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Streptopelia decaocto
Zenaida Dove
Zenaida aurita
Common Ground-Dove
Columbina passerina
Gray Kingbird
Tyrannus dominicensis
Grassland Yellow-Finch
Sicalis luteola
Black-faced Grassquit
Tiaris bicolor
Barbados Bullfinch
Loxigilla barbadensis
Carib Grackle
Quiscalus lugubris
Shiny Cowbird
Molothrus bonariensis

Here are Photographs from my Excursion South

Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone @ Oistins

Least Sandpiper @ Conga Road

Stilt Sandpipers @ Conga Road


Black-bellied Plovers @ Conga Road

Stilt Sandpiper @ Conga Road


Blue-winged Teals + American Wigeons @ Chancery Lane

Eurasian Collared Doves on power line @ Chirst Church

Eurasian Collared Dove

Ruddy Turnstones @ Oistins