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
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