Monday, 15 February 2016

First Lifers for 2016

My year so far has been fruitful even though I have not been doing many birding trips.  At the end of January I tallied sixty-one species, but did not register any lifers.  This was corrected in early February when I listed two lifers. One, a Great Kiskadee, a new species for the island, and a juvenile Purple Gallinule.

Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus

This was a bird I was not expecting to see here in Barbados.  It was first seen by a visitor to the island on the grounds of the Hotel where he was staying.  The second sighting was again by a visitor at the same hotel a few weeks later, after which he contacted Mr. Ed Massiah through the website birdpal.  I joined Ed on Monday February 8th to look for the bird.  At the end of our two hour search we finally saw it just long enough to make a positive identification.  

The Great Kiskadee is a fly catcher between 8 to 10 inches in length; it has a blackish crown with a bold white strip over its eyes which meets at the nape.  Its underparts are yellow, while upperparts are brown.  These birds are common in Trinidad, Central and South America.

The other lifer is also a bird common to Trinidad.  It is a Purple Gallinule.

Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio martinicus 

This bird was first reported on by Dr. John Webster on February 7th at a small irrigation pond in the parish of St. George, but it took me a few visits, four to be exact, to see this bird.  It is a juvenile which is now beginning to molt into the beautiful purple plumage characteristic of the adult.  It is a light brownish colour with long yellow legs and very long toes.  They are normally between 10 to 15 inches in length.

I will try as the weeks continue to get better photographs of both species and post them.  Until then happy birding!