Friday, 3 October 2014

A September to Remember

In many ways September was a month to remember.  It heralded me kicking and screaming into the 40s.  True some may say life begins at forty but to me it is the sign that I am heading over the hill.  Birding wise, it was a good month.  I recorded five lifers and there is a glimmer of hope of recording 100 birds for this calendar year.  I think however that taking part in the first ever World Shorebirds Day was the highlight of the month.
The World Shorebirds Day took place on the 6th and 7th of September. I participated by counting birds at four (4) locations over the two days at Long Beach, Inch Marlow, Chancery Lane and Bushy Park.  I recorded thirty-two (32) species of birds which included twelve (12) shorebirds. The high counts were of
Semipalmated Sandpipers - 118 birds, Ruddy Turnstones - 62 birds, Semipalmated Plovers - 51 birds and American Golden Plovers - 34 birds.  A count was also taken at another location by Dr. John Webster.   
The World Shorebirds Day was also observed by local hunters, as reported on by BirdLife International’s project leader on the island, Wayne Burke of the Shorebird Conservation Trust. He reported in an article dated September 25 on WHSRN  website that hunters at two Shooting Swamps put down their guns in observation of World Shorebirds Day (click to read article). That in itself was a highlight.  Let us hope more shooting swamps follow suit next year and maybe even for both days. I am happy to have been a part of the first World Shorebirds Day and look forward to next year.

In the month of September I recorded five lifers. Lifers were recorded as follows:

Date sighted
2nd September
A least Tern
4th September
Two Gill-billed Terns
10th September
A Common Nighthawk
13th September
Bridled Terns
21st September
Grey Heron

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
 Our regular group of birders on the island, started our annual Warbler watch (as it is now considered), at Harrison’s Point.  Our First visit to the location was on September 13th.  On that occasion the only warbler that was seen was the one common to that location, a yellow warbler. The following weekend we were more successful with the recording of the first Yellow-billed Cuckoo for the year. On that same day I had a wonderful photo session with a flock of willing shorebirds at River Bay in St. Lucy.  There were White-rumped, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones and Semipalmated Plovers on the beach.

Semipalmated Sandpiper @ River Bay
Click to see more shorebirds from the trip

It was truly a September to remember.