Friday, 10 July 2015

State of my Birding: Second Quarter 2015

The second quarter of the year is normally the driest, even though it includes the first month of the hurricane season, June.  Most of the wet areas around the island had low water levels with many completely dry.  I reduced my birding excursions significantly, and during that period I recorded twelve (12) new birds for the year, two of them were lifers, which brought my year count to seventy four (74) species. The two lifers - a Herring Gull, observed in the month of May and a Collared Plover in the month of June.


Scarlet Tanager by John Daniel
The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) on April 21st was the bird of the month for me. It was not a lifer but I am yet to get a photograph of this fiery red and black bird. There were many unconfirmed sightings of this species throughout that month. Other uncommon sightings included a pair of Bank and Cliff Swallows among a flock of Barn Swallows in Christ Church. These were the only new birds for the month of April.


Herring Gull
May was a good month for me. I added eight species to my year list which included a lifer. I was also part of the First Annual Cornell Global Big Day and recorded forty-four (44) species on that day, including a Ruff, which was seen in the parish of St. Lucy.  It was rare to see one at this time of the year. The lifer I recorded in this month was a Herring Gull seen in the East of the island.  I needed help identifying this gull because the quality of my  two photographs were not the best and I sought the help of experts both local and overseas, with all agreeing that it was an American Herring Gull.  One of the persons I asked, namely Steve Bright, wrote an informative post explaining the process he took in identifying this Gull.  The latter part of May was very dry and that continued into the month of June.


Collared Plover
June is the start of the hurricane season, but if you look at the wet areas around the island many were still dry or drying.  Important Birding areas like Chancery Lane and WSR were almost dry.  However, this did not prevent the migrating birds from stopping in, with shorebirds such as Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Willets and a few Short-billed Dowitchers made use of the few wet areas still around.  My lifer for this month is a shorebird but it prefers pastures and lawns. It was a Collared Plover which I saw in the parish of St. Lucy.  I did very little birding in June, so I only recorded one bird for that month.

New Page

You may have noticed a new page was added to the blog called Book Store. This page highlights a number of field guides you can use in Barbados and the Caribbean. So if you are looking to get a field guide from Amazon you can use one of these links.
In this quarter I missed just one bird, a Ruddy Duck, which was seen in the parish of Christ Church. At the end of June it was still dry but we were starting to get some rain.  By the end of the next quarter we will be deep into the Southern Migration period and all of the wet areas should be at peak levels. It should be a blast. Stay tuned!!