Thursday, 2 February 2017

January Review

Let me first apologize for the tardiness of my posting, the first month of 2017 was a hectic one but I did get some birding done, so I will treat this post as a review of the month of January.  It was not possible to fit in my accustomed early big day, where I target mainly the “special” birds that roll over from the previous year.  I was still able to see most of them, including a Wood Sandpiper, Glossy Ibis and Lesser Blackback Gull but so far was unable to see a pair of Purple Gallinules and Fulvous Whistling-Duck.  I also missed a couple of rare birds submitted to by visiting birders namely a Ringed-billed Gull at Carlisle Bay and a pair of Yellow-bellied Seedeaters on the Richard Haynes Boardwalk both on the south Coast.  If the latter is confirmed it will be a new species for the island.

Bird Tour

Carib Grackle (Quiscalus lugubris) from the tour
On January 14th,I was happy to take a visiting couple Alex and his wife Zvezda Strazar of Slovenia, who are doing a photographic big year,  on a morning birding trip to the north and east coast of the island.  Our targets were the local and West Indian endemic species and sub-species along with island rarities.  The morning was productive, getting good photo opportunities of the elusive Black-whiskered Vireo, Caribbean Elaenia and Scaly-naped Pigeon.  They also saw and photographed Killdeer, Grassland Yellow Finch and Green Heron among others. This is what Alex emailed on his returned to Slovenia

We both wish to thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, and even more importantly, your enthusiasm for birds, with us. That was one of those days that we will be remembering for a long time.

I really did enjoy showing off the Birds of Barbados.

The unidentified Lifer

Gull at Six Men's
Late one afternoon while on a fishing trip with the family at Six Men’s Bay on the west coast, I noticed the silhouette of a gull skipping from boat to boat about ¼ mile away from the shore.  I took a few photographs but was unable to record any detail to give a positive identification.  I returned the following day and found the bird sitting on a boat but still a distance away from the shore.  The lighting was better and I was able to get better images with colour and detail but sadly not enough detail for a positive identification but from the colour I am sure this would have been a lifer for me.  The bird had pale grey upperparts and white underparts. Our local birding expert, Ed Massiah, said it could be a Ring-billed Gull but could not give a definite ID from the images provided.  Thus my unidentified lifer.

I had a hectic first month of 2017 but was able to tally a modest fifty-six species landing most of the rarities.  It was not a perfect start but I will take it.  Now as we inch closer to the start of the northern migration, which is not as active as the southern movement, I look forward to sharing with you the birds of Barbados.

Enjoy your birding.