Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Rare Birds Month



In Barbados, the month of November is referred to as a Rare Bird Month (RBM) by local birders.  Last year (2013), November brought rarities such as the Common Shellduck and a Wilson’s phalarope.

This month started off pretty promising.  While a group was birding at Harrison’s Point, St. Lucy on November 1st, a warbler which was later identified as a Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens was seen.  This five inch wood warbler with its Yellow face and olive green upperparts, has only previously been recorded a total of seven times on the island, with the last observation in April 1993.



On Sunday 2nd November at the same location, another wood warbler was recorded, a Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca.  The first confirmed record of this bird on the island was on November 4, 2000 at Harrison’s Point.  Last year, one was identified at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.  The Blackburnian is a small song warbler with a black face mask, orange yellow eyebrow and white wingbars. 



The shorebirds were not to be outdone.  The three Hudsonian  Godwits  Limosa haemastica which were in the north of the island last month, stayed over for RBM.  In the east, Long Billed Dowitchers Limnodromus scolopaceus  and a Red Knot Calidris canutus were also recorded.

  
Barbados is well known for Eurasian rarities. Two such birds were recorded in the first week of November.  The first one, a Ruff Philomachus pugnax, was recorded on the 7th November in the north of the island. Ruffs are shorebirds known for the ruffle around its neck which it displays during courtship. The second bird, a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, was spotted in the east of the island. It was observed to be standing not far from its New World double the Great Blue Heron.


This was just the first week, let us see how the month progresses.


Blackburnian Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler by J. Webster

Hudsonian Godwit

Hudsonian Godwit

Blackburnian Warbler