Friday, 24 March 2023

A Transatlantic Flight from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation


KW0 was photographed in Barbados on 9th March (photo by Michael St John)

... A few weeks ago Michael St John got in touch with photos that he had taken on 9th March of a first-winter female Osprey with a blue-colour ring on its left leg. Nothing unusual there until I noticed where he had seen it – Bawdens Irrigation Pond in the north of Barbados in the Caribbean! The ring number was clearly visible – KW0, which indicated it was a bird from Scotland. continue reading here 

The Foundation was set-up by Roy Dennis in June 1995 and since then we have undertaken innovative species restoration work, been at forefront of bird migration research, and become a leading advocate for the restoration of natural ecosystems. learn more here

Sunday, 19 March 2023

RBTB at Green Point

Red-billed Tropicbird
I made a brief visit to the Red-billed Tropicbirds (Phaethon aethereus) nesting cliff at Green Point St. Philip on Thursday. On arrival, it was very quiet, with just one bird seen far out to sea, but that soon changed as more and more birds flew in from the ocean.  Some birds appeared to be actively searching for nesting areas in crevices in the face of the cliff. 
A Red-billed Tropicbird entering a crevice 
Their made repeated flights to the rock face, as if entering a specific hole then pulled away at the last minute.  This inspection continued repeatedly along the cliff front, going in a northerly direction.  Two birds successfully entered holes, like the one in the image above, and a different bird flew out of another, directly out to sea. In the 45 minutes I spent on the sea ridge I counted eleven birds but I am sure there are more nesting pairs along the coast. Here are a few more images from the outing.

Taken from the blog The Enthusiastic Birder

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Join the 2023 Caribbean Seabird Census

Whether it’s the regal tropicbird in a crevice, the boisterous Sooty Tern overhead, or the Brown Booby sitting defiantly on its nest, it’s exciting to be among seabirds of all kinds. This year we encourage you to join the excitement during the 2023 Caribbean Seabird Census!  (or CSC23).

WHO can take part? This groundbreaking effort relies on participants to get out and count seabirds locally. Whether you manage a seabird nesting island as part of your professional duties, are an avid amateur ornithologist or birder, or are new to the seabird world but keen to get involved, you can take part in CSC23!

WHEN will CSC23 take place?  It has already started but will run until the end of 2023! And a bit longer for species that nest over December-January. The best time to census nesting colonies of tropical seabirds is during the peak nesting period. The timing of this peak depends on species and can vary between islands – have a look at our Species Hours webinars (below) to learn ... continue reading here >>

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Global Big Day—13 May 2023 By Team eBird


Be a part of birding’s biggest team! Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. No matter where you are, join us virtually on 13 May, help celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, and share the birds you find with eBird.

Participating is easy—you can even be part of Global Big Day from home. If you can spare 5 or 10 minutes, report your bird observations to eBird online or with our free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit several checklists of birds throughout the day. You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science.

Last year, Global Big Day brought birders together virtually from more countries than ever before. More than 51,000 people from 201 countries submitted 132,000 checklists with eBird, setting new world records for a single day of birding. Will you help us surpass last year’s records?

How to participate

  • Get an eBird account: eBird is a worldwide bird checklist program used by millions of birders. It’s what allows us to compile everyone’s sightings into a single massive Global Big Day list—while at the same time collecting the data to help scientists better understand birds. Sign up here. It’s 100% free from start to finish.
  • Watch birds on 13 May: It’s that simple. You don’t need to be a bird expert or go out all day long, even 10 minutes of birding from home counts. Global Big Day runs from midnight to midnight in your local time zone. You can report what you find from anywhere in the world.
  • Enter what you see and hear in eBird: You can enter your sightings via our website or download the free eBird Mobile app to make submitting lists even easier. Please enter your checklists before 16 May to be included in our initial results announcement.
  • Watch the sightings roll in: During the day, follow along with sightings from more than 200 countries in real-time on our Global Big Day page
Continue reading >>>

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Great Backyard Bird Count 2023—join the birding fun! --- By Team eBird

Little Egret is one of the birds seen during the GBBC

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is Friday, February 17 through Monday, February 20. The GBBC was one of the first online projects to collect information on wild birds and was also instrumental in the creation of eBird back in 2002. Now there are more ways than ever to participate and share your love of birds!

If you’re new to birding, participate with Merlin: beginning bird admirers can participate in the GBBC using Merlin Bird ID—simply identify birds and save them with the app anytime February 17-20.

If you’re already eBirding, participate with eBird: go birding for at least 15 minutes anytime February 17-20, count all the birds you see or hear, and enter your observations via the GBBC website or eBird Mobile app. If you haven’t used eBird since the last GBBC, take the free eBird Essentials course for a refresher.

Below are some additional details about this weekend ... continue reading here

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

The Barbados Birds and Birding Report – January

We had a good start to 2023 with 71 species recorded for the first month of the year.   Thanks in part to the diligent effort of an enthusiastic new birder who finished the month with over 60 species to his name.  Not to be overlooked though, is the effect of visiting birders on Jamuary's checklist.  Over 20 of them logged over 50 checklists of birds seen in Barbados to and these are just the ones that were reported.  Without a doubt, nature sanctuaries like the now-closed Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary would be an additional attraction to bring in much-needed foreign exchange to the island. 

January’s Rare Bird Sightings

New rare birds were hard to come by in the month of January but many of the species from last year remained into the new year. 

 Here is a complete list, highlighted parish by parish. (* continuing Birds)

St. Lucy

  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)(6)*- long stay birds
  • Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)* – the lone duck that was seen last month was joined by another 2.
  • Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous)* seen at Bright Hall the early part of the month but not seen since.

St. Philip

Red Knot

  • Red Knot (Calidris canutus) - was surprised by this bird feeding among a flock of Black-bellied Plovers. This was the first January report since the first one in 2011.
Christ Church

  • Ruff (Calidris pugnax) seen at the WSR.
  • Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) seen at the WSR, positively identified by Ed Massiah.
  • Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) seen at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary by a group of visiting birding authority. 
    American Coot (Red-shielded) @ WSR
  • American Coot (Red-shielded) (Fulica Americana) (2) - the rarer of the two sub-species of American Coots, were discovered at the WSR by Ed, along with a white shielded variety.

St. Michael

  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)(2)* - two birds seen at Brown's Beach late in the month.  One a sub-adult, most likely the long-stay bird, and the second, a new arrival, a juvenile bird.
    House Sparrow
  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - a singing male was seen and heard at Carlise Carpark, the city.  Read more about the sighting here

Feel free to contact me, Julian Moore @, John Webster @, or Ed Massiah @ to report any rare bird sightings, or if you need assistance identifying a bird, we would be happy to help.  A new tool to help with your local bird identification is our Facebook Group, The Birds of Barbados. Click here to join   

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

2022 In Review - Part 1

Two thousand and twenty-two was good for birds and birding on the island with many highlights.  One hundred and nineteen bird species were recorded during the year which was the highest in over 10 years.  Included were a number of mega-rare birds, these are species that are new to the island or have not been recorded on the island for over five years. Birds like:

  • Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) has not been seen since March 24th, 1981 when it was reported at the Graeme Hall Swamp. Last year it was seen in January at Turners Hall Wood, St. Andrew.

  • Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) has not been seen since 1998 when it was recorded at Harrison's Point by Ed Massiah. Last year a beautiful male was seen at Chimborazo, St. Joseph in January.
  • Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) before last year's sighting at Graeme Hall by Dr. John Webster, Ed Massiah reported a sighting on November 06, 1994, at Coles, St. Philip.
  • American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliates) 1996 was the last time before 2022 sighting at Inch Marlow, Christ Church.
  • Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), a male, was seen perched in the central channel between the mangroves at Graeme Hall Swamp on April 24th 2004, last year we saw in October at Harrison's Point, St. Lucy.
  • Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) was last seen in 1988 in Turner's Hall Woods, but last year was seen in October at Harrison's Point, St. Lucy.
Added to these megas were our yearly rare birds like Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)Ruff (Calidris pugnax), and Collared Plover(Charadrius collaris) just to mention a few.  It is fair to say that 2022 was a good year for rare birds.
Missed Birds

I cannot say if the reason for the 2022 high tally was the result of more birds turning up or just more time spent by birders birding.  Our three local birders were out more often, especially yours truly as I was doing a big year A new and enthusiastic birder also joined the local fold, and he was extremely prolific in his birding, especially in the north.  We also saw the return of visiting birders to the island, with the ease of COVID restrictions on the island and across the world.  So it was surprising that none of the above found these two local species, Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) and Yellow-crowned Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala). 
Southern Lapwing (FP)
Southern Lapwing is the last of its kind on the island, so it's only a matter of time before it joins the list of extirpated species, but I hope that time is in the distant future.  This was not always the case, when I first saw this pre-historic-looking bird ten years ago at a small pond, called Mabel's Pond in St. Lucy, there were two birds. History showed that at one point there were even more, close to or over 10 confirmed occurrences at various locations across the island.  The first record goes back to 1998, followed by nesting in 2007 which produced 3 chicks in the area of Bright Hall St. Lucy.  These would prove to be the first West Indian occurrence, and nesting of this South American species.  After a well-publicized shooting of one of the chicks, the birds were offered protective status by the local Wildfowlers organization. We know the last remaining bird, a female, continued to nest, even laying eggs but without a mate, the eggs were infertile and no chicks were produced. Other than sickness and age, the high population of the Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) is an additional threat to this bird that spends most of its time on the ground.  This Southern Lapwing has survived for many years on its own and may still be around, as it has a nat of disappearing for months, probably to one of the golf courses, but always turns up at some point but not last year.   Keen eyes would be on the lookout for her this year.  Let's hope she is still around, 
Yellow-crowned Parrot (FP)
The second local bird that was missing from the 2022 checklist was one of our two parrots, the 
Yellow-crowned Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala)which ironically has now been relegated, erroneously in my view, to a none counted status on ebird.  So even if this bird was seen during 2022 it wouldn't have affected the final year count of 119.  The history of this bird goes back to the early 90s when it was first identified among a flock of Orange-winged Parrot (Amazona amazonica) at Belleville, St. Michael.  
The first confirmed nesting was at the Garrison in 2007.  One problem both parrot species are facing is poaching for pets and the pet trade, but it seems like hybridization with the Orange-winged may be playing a serious role in the demise of the Yellow-crowned. Twice last year images of what was thought to be Yellow-crowned turned out to be hybrids.  The above photograph from 2020 showed that a pure form of the species is still in the wild unless the photo is deemed that of a hybrid. 
 So here is a call to action, help us find these birds.  If you see them, take a photo, and make a report to ebird, if you have an account.  You can also post the info in the comment section of this post or to our Facebook group.
 We will continue our review of 2022 in a future post until then, enjoy your birding