Friday, 5 June 2015

Excursion to the East

After a busy Saturday I decided to treat myself to a relaxing birding excursion to the east of the island. My plan was to visit the Bayfield Pond and two private artificial wet areas close to it. I arrived at my first location, Bayfield, at about 4:30pm.

Bayfield Pond

A Mask Duck (M) at Bayfield Pond
My main purpose of visiting the Bayfield Pond was to check on the status of the Masked Ducks which were spotted there a few weeks ago.  These duck are very difficult to locate among the over grown red and white water lilies which covers up to 90+% of the ponds surface.  Straight away I spotted the dark brown plumage of a male duck resting motionlessly in an area free of plants.  Its head was turned away from me with its bill buried among its feathers to keep it warm.  I scanned among the plants for other ducks but could not find any.

Common Gallinule- Juvenile(L) & Adult

It was refreshing to observe the Common Gallinules of all ages foraging among the lilies. The adult’s black plumage and the bright red shield on their faces contrasted with the greyish colour of the shieldless juveniles.  The very young hatchlings were also visible, completing a view of the full cycle of this bird, all in one location.  Really, it was a sight to see.

Golden Grove

My next stop was the private wet areas at Golden Groves.  It has been a while since I visited this location and as I approached the only tray with a little water, a large gull flew over head.  The gull was larger than a Laughing Gull, it had a white head and white underparts, and it also had a red spot on its bill.  The wings were light grey with black tips.  After sending the poor quality photographs which I managed to get, to three experts on gulls in different parts of the world, they all agreed that this gull was a Herring Gull. I would like to say a big thank you to Ian McKerchar of Manchester Birding, Lou Salomon, who I met through the website Bird Forum and maintains the website   and our very own Steve Bright. This rarity to the island became my 137th lifer, 118th Barbadian Lifer and my 72nd for the year.  Another surprise was the amount of Great Egrets (six) which were still at this location at this time of the year.  I spent about fifteen minutes hoping the gull would return but it never did so I was off to my final location.

Herring Gulls

Herring Gulls are large gulls between 21–26 inches in length.  Adults have light grey upperparts, white underparts, and black wing tips with white spots.  Their legs are pink, while their bills are yellow with a red spot.  Young birds are mottled brown. They are nine records of this bird visiting the island, not including this one, with the first bird recorded in 1937 and the last one in 2007. – Birds of Barbados an annotated 144

Congo Road  

Congo Road was one of the few places on the island which still attracts shorebirds at this time of the year.  I saw five species of shorebirds there.  I saw Black-belled and Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Short –billed Dowitchers and a Ruddy Turnstone.  Common Gallinules were plentiful preferring the dryer trays to the ones with water.

I recorded nineteen species of birds that afternoon with one of them being a lifer.  It was indeed a relaxing birding afternoon.
Below is my list for that afternoon. (clicks here for photos)
  1.  Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominicus)
  2. Great Egret (Ardea alba)
  3. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
  4. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
  5. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
  6. Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
  7. Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)
  8. Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
  9. Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
  10. Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
  11. Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)
  12. Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
  13. Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
  14. Scaly-naped Pigeon (Patagioenas squamosa)
  15. Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina)
  16. Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita)
  17. Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)
  18. Carib Grackle (Quiscalus lugubris)
  19. Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis