Tuesday, 22 September 2015

September to Remember Continues...

Two new "year birds”  on the afternoon of September 16th tied my September 2014 tally of seven bird species, while two more on Sunday  September 20th  set a new personal record as the September to remember continues.

The birds I saw were:

Buff-breasted Sandpiper 
  1. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis) which was first seen by Dr. Webster in St. Lucy earlier that day.  I was happy to see that it hung around as it became my 85th bird for the year.  Buff-breasted Sandpipers are 7-8 inches in length, Buff (yellowish-brown) allover hence the name, with a pointed, black bill, rounded head with long yellow legs.  These shorebirds prefer short grassy fields.
    Pectoral Sandpiper
  1.  A Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) was seen on a flooded road at Vaucluse in the parish of St. Thomas on my way home after seeing the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The bird was very busy feeding on earthworms along with a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). Pectorals are 8-9.5 inches with Yellowish green bills and legs, mottled dark brown to black upperparts while their bellies are white and their breasts are heavily streaked.
    Western Sandpiper
  2. A single Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) was seen on Sunday morning at the same location, Vaucluse, where I had seen the Pectoral Sandpiper just a few days earlier. These birds can easily be mistaken for Semipalmated and vice versa.  Something that I know oh so well, as it happened to me just last month when I mistook a juvenile Semipalmated with a relatively long bill, for a Western. 
    Common Tern
  3. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) this medium size Tern was also seen on Sunday morning at Six Men’s Bay in the parish of St. Peter. This became my 88th year bird.   

With a few days remaining I am aiming for a final tally of ten new Year species for the month. Can I do it?  Time will tell but so far it continues to be a September to Remember.