I started the year full of enthusiasm after an outstanding 2014. I had already recorded forty species after the first seven days and by the end of the month fifty four species. That fifty four includes one lifer, an American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla). The bird was spotted while birding in the woods of Turners Hall on January 4th. That excursion into those densely vegetative woods in search of warblers not only added a new phrase to my birding vocab, ‘warblers neck’, but it also got me hooked on birding for warblers. It is the most challenging type of birding I have done so far, but still very rewarding. I visited Turners Hall on other weekends during the month. Some of the noteworthy birds for January other than the Redstart were some West Indian Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna arborea), an American Wigeon (Anas americana), a Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) and an Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga).
Even though I recorded two lifers in the month of February, one will be my bird of the quarter. This bird could even be my bird of the year. Of course I am speaking about the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) which I eventually recorded on February 7th. The other lifer was a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) seen at Turners Hall Woods on February 8th. The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was another highlight for the month. This was the second year that I participated in this international bird count. Over the three days, I recorded forty four species of birds. Another big occasion was the arrival of the Red-billed Tropicbirds to their nesting grounds in the cliffs on the South-East coast of the island in late February. Other notable bird sightings were a Caribbean Coot (Fulica caribaea) and Ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris).
The first quarter of 2015 did not throw up many surprises in terms of birding. In 2014 at the end of March I had sixty four species registered (to my current sixty-two), so I am basically on par. The birds I missed thus far were a Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola), a Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia) and a Green Winged Teal (Anas carolinensis). However with the northern (spring) migration here, anything can pop up, so stay tuned.