The fourth weekend of October 2014 was a good weekend for birding here in Barbados but I was only able to spend a few hours in the field on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The rest of the time was spent armchair birding; I followed the observations of the birders in the field over our local net.
While driving on the highway which passes through Greenland in the parish of St. Andrew, on the compound of the state owned Agricultural Station I notice an Osprey perched in a decaying tree busy preening. It was no dough drying itself after fishing in the nearby lake. It was the first Osprey I had seen for this Autumn Migration, so I stopped. I was able to spend a few minutes photographing the bird, answer a few questions and share information on Ospreys and other migratory birds with the employees who came out to see the bird.
Later that afternoon, I decided to check out a few of the birding Hotspots in the northern part of the island. From the birding net I learned that Dr. Webster, local photographer and birder, was also in the north birding so we agreed to meet at Harrison’s Point.
My first stop was the private ponds and mud flaps at Fosters. There were very few shorebirds at this location. Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs made up the bulk of the shorebirds but the peeps, mainly White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers were present. From the plover family there was one record each for a Semipalmated and an American Golden Plover. A Yellow billed Cuckoo and the ever present Cattle and Snowy Egrets made up the thirteen species recorded at Foresters.
Next stop Harrison’s Point.
With the overcast weather conditions, by the time I reached Harrison’s Point the light was starting to fade. The singing of a Yellow Warbler drew my attention to a wooded area which consisted mainly of what is locally referred to as River Tamarind or Myamosee trees (Leucaena leucocephala). I located two Yellow Warblers and one Blackpoll Warbler in the woods. I was later joined by Dr. Webster and from the River Tamarind woods we moved further into Harrison’s point. We recorded two more Blackpolls and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. In total we recorded seven species of birds before heading home.
On my way home as I was passing through Haggatts in the parish of St. Andrew I noticed a bird flying over a grass field. I pulled my car off of the road and took a closer look, to my surprise it was a Nighthawk. I took out my camera knowing very well that with it being so dark outside that the photos would not be legible. I just needed one to confirm the ID. I was able to confirm that it was a Nighthawk but was not able to confirm the type. This was my second sighting of a Nighthawk for the year.
I met three other birders at Harrison’s Point, St. Lucy at 6am. The sky was overcast with the threat of rain. On this morning, Blackpoll Warblers were falling from the sky. It was hard to believe that just a year ago we stood in this same position and did not even see one Blackpoll - that’s birding for you! The birds were everywhere and they were very curious which made photographing them pretty easy. Yellow-billied Cuckoos also showed up and I recorded eight of these birds. A flock of Pectoral Sandpipers and two Wilson’s Snipes flew overhead. At the end of my two hours, I had recorded fifteen bird species.
The others continued bird at various locations in the north and recorded Godwits, Blue Winged Teals, Black-bellied Ducks with Ducklings, an Osprey and a Peregrine Falcon just to mention a few. Not a bad weekend birding!