Friday, 7 August 2015

Two Rarity Seen in July

In the month of July, Barbados registered two rare birds; one could even be considered a major-rarity. The first bird, a Purple Throated Carib (Eulampis jugularis), was seen on July 3rd 2015 by a friend and the deputy director of The Barbados Sea Turtle Project, Carla Daniel.  Carla is also somewhat of a birder and my go-to person when I find stranded or injured birds.  The day she saw the bird was a sad day for the Sea Turtle Project and other nature loving people.  This island is being affected by an influx of Sargassum seaweed that is critically affecting the sea turtles.  On that day, over 20 Green and Hawks-billed turtles were discovered dead among the sea weed on Long Beach on the South Coast, not too far from Chancery Lane Swamp.  

Carla was on the beach assisting with the recording and removal of the dead turtles when the birds alighted not too far from her. She saw the purple throat which confirmed the identification.  Purple Throated Hummingbirds are about the same size as our native Green Throated Carib, about 4.5 inches.  This is a large hummingbird with a down curved bill, emerald green wings and of course a purple throat and chest.  Though this hummer is not common to our island, it is to the neighboring islands of Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, which are just over 100 miles to the west of us. 

Pearly-eyed Thrasher photographed by Gregg Skeete
The other rare visitor was also seen on the South Coast.  It is a common bird  to the neighboring island of St. Lucia. The bird was first seen by Gregg Skeete who then posted a photo of the bird on Facebook for identification assistance.  The bird was correctly identified as a Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus) by noted local birder Dr. Karl Watson.  Pearly-eyed Thrashers are about 11-12 inches in length, with brown upperparts and streaked brown underparts.  It has a yellowish bill and white or pearly colored iris hence it name.  According to the book The Birds of Barbados – an Annotated Checklist, there were four records of this bird up to 2006. Add to that the one I saw and photographed in February 2013 at The Codrington College, making Gregg’s finding the sixth confirmed sighting on the island. (The Birds of Barbados – an Annotated Checklist pg 179)

I am hoping to see both of these birds in person, photograph them and of course share them with you.   

So stay tuned!