Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Birding the first day of 2015

My first day of the year birding took in the East to the West coast of the island.  I visited locations in the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Lucy and St. Peter.  There were very few birds about, water at a few of the wet lands have evaporated significantly.  I recorded a modest twenty species with no birds being recorded at some locations, e.g. Greenland’s Lake and Chance Pond and very few at others e.g. Long Pond. The main locations with birds were Greenland’s Pond at St. Andrew, The Cave Swamp at North Point, St. Lucy and Six Men’s, St. Peter.

Greenland’s Pond

Solitary Sandpiper @ Greenland
This irrigation pond was dry for most of the year and weeds took over the pond’s bed. It became partially filled with the late rain of November but the water was now evaporating again.  I recorded eight (8) species at this location plus a domestic Muscovy duck that nested there last year was again in the process of building a nest.  The highlight was a cooperative Wilson’s snipe which allowed for close-up photographs. The other shorebirds at the pond were two (2) very vocal, Solitary Sandpipers.

Without rain this pond will be all dried up by the middle of the month.

Cave Swamp

I did not take my camera out at the Cave Swamp.  This man made swamp sits on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  The winds were very high and the sea looked angrier than it normal does.  The waves were violently banging against the cliff, sending sea sprays many feet into the air and across the landscape.  Not good conditions for my Canon!!  The grass around the swamp was very wet, as if rain had just fallen, but it was rain that was needed as only two of the deeper trays contained water compared to just a few weeks ago when the more than seven trays were full of water.  I recorded six (6) species there with a high count of forty-two (42) Least Sandpipers.  Large flocks of this bird were noticed at other locations in the last couple of days.  I also recorded ten (10) Semipalmated Plovers at this location.

Six Men’s Bay

If you are a follower of this blog you should be able to guess right away which birds I saw at Six Men’s Bay; Yip!!- Wintering Sanderlings.  This fishing village provides a wintering base for over one hundred Sanderlings annually.  Other birders and I have reported two tagged birds at this location two years running (link about tagged sanderlings). On this occasion no tagged birds were observed among the flock of fifty (50) birds on the beach.

The first day of birding was not as productive as in 2014.  Let us hope it does not set the tone for the rest of the year.