Saturday, 2 January 2016

State of my Birding: Fourth Quarter 2015

Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
I would describe the last quarter birding as epic. I registered seventy-seven species, fourteen of which were first for the year, including five lifers.  The rains finally came in this quarter and refreshingly brought to life those wet areas which depend on rain water as its source.  Wet areas such as Chancery Lane Swamp, WSR and Redland Irrigation Ponds came alive but it had little or no effect on the ponds in the north of the island.  The cave Swamp at North Point and the Hope Pond had zero water for the entire year. 

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

I recorded five lifers during the last quarter namely Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas Penelope), Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), and Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) a local lifer.  But the biggest find for the year, a first for the island seen by Dr. John Webster in November would be the Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) affectionately known as Harriette.

Bird of the Quarter
Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

My bird of the quarter and for sure my bird of the year was the Eurasian Marsh Harrier.  This bird was first seen by Dr. John Webster in the eastern part of the island on November 5th.  It took me just over a month, December 8th, to see this bird.  I saw it in the northern parish of St. Lucy.

The Blue-winged Teal was the migrant that dominated this quarter with its share numbers.  Flocks tallied between fifty and one hundred at a few locations.
The exciting discovery by a local birder of a suspected nest with adults and hatchlings of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron could represent, if confirmed, the first record of this species breeding on the island. It was seen in the parish of St. Peter.  No doubt this will be closely monitored in the New Year.
At the close of this quarter and year my checklist stood at 105, a new personal record.  It was indeed a good quarter.