Thursday, 23 June 2022

Global Big Day 2022: Birds Caribbean Continues Record-breaking Streak! by BC

Once again, on Saturday 14th May 2022 the Caribbean birding community showed up and showed out for Global Big Day! Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. Birders and bird lovers across the globe spend the day observing and recording essential data about the birds they see. Some also take this opportunity to visit new birding spots, reconnect with colleagues, and tick lifers off their lists. 
continue read >>>

Thursday, 5 May 2022

The Barbados Birds and Birding Report – April

There were three new birds in April, one was a mega-rare. There were Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos), American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliates), the mega-rare bird, and Willet (Tringa semipalmata), bringing the total birds species seen at the end of April to 87.

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliates) are large, stocky shorebird, about 17-21” (38-21cm) in length, with a long, bright reddish-orange beak, yellow iris, and a bright reddish-orange eye-ring.  The last confirmed sighting of one on the island was on August 30th, 1998. (BOS Series #24 - The Birds of Barbados (Buckley, Massiah, et al)). The bird was recorded at Inch Marlow, Christ Church on Friday, April 22nd but fishermen who frequent the area said the bird was around for a while.

April’s Rare Bird Sightings

Here are the rare birds seen during the month, highlighted below parish by parish. (* continuing Birds)

St. Lucy

Glossy Ibis

  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)(1)*- only one of the original three birds remaining at this location;

St. Andrew

  • American Coot red-shielded (Fulica Americana)(2)* – at Walkers Reserve;
ST. John
Grey Heron

  • Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - seen at Tappy Pond on April 1st

Christ Church

  • Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) -- most likely the sane bird seen on the 1st that relocated to this location

    American Oystercatcher
  • American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliates) - A mega-rare bird for the island. First recorded on the 22nd at Inch Marlow
St. Michael
Lesser Black-backed Gull 

  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)* – this large immature gull was seen at the Bridgetown Fishing Complex on the 5t but is now a regular along the basin of Carlise's Bay.
  • Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)* - First sighted on September 2020, a first for the island.

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.   

Sunday, 1 May 2022

May, A Thrilling Month For Birding

Blackpoll Warbler at Graeme Hall Swamp 2017

I've always looked forward to birding in the month of May.  It is not one of the birdies months of the year, in fact, it can be quite slow but here are just two reasons it is a month to look forward to, (1)the Global Big Day and (2)the Mega-rare possibilities.

Global Big Day

It is the biggest day of birding worldwide, The Global Big Day,  in celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, which will be on May 14th this year.  Last year more than 50,000 people from 175 countries submitted an astounding 120,000 checklists with eBird, setting a new world record for a single day of birding.  It was also the first time the island fielded a locally based birding team, The Bajan Birders. Our team along with fourteen others was able to raise valuable funds for a Caribbean bird conservation effort.  This year will be the same, and the funds raised will go towards providing travel scholarships to help deserving Caribbean students and wildlife professionals attend the AOS-BC Conference in Puerto Rico (June 2022).  Last year the island recorded 51 species touching all eleven parishes.  This was just 2 short of the highest Global Big Day count of 53species seen in 2017.  Can we see at least 54 species this year? And as a team, we have the ambitious goal of seeing the most species on the day. We need you to help us accomplish that, so join us by clicking here.

Mega-rare Possibilities

Another reason I look forward to the month of May is the high number of Mega-rare birds historically recorded during the month.

Here are a few examples:

May 1st

  • Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) - 2013
  • Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) - 2001
  • Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) – 2001
  • Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) - 2000
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) – 1992

May 2nd

  • Dickcissel (Spiza americana) - 1992 (Female. First Record for Barbados) 
  • Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) - 1992 
May 4th
  • Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata) - 2017 (rare for time of year)

May 12

Little Stint by Ed Massiah 

  • Little Stint (Calidris minuta) - 1999

May 30

  • Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) - 2015
Gray-hooded Gull
  • Gray-hooded Gull (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) - 2009

And a list of rare birds.

These are just two of the reason why the month of May is a thrilling month For birding - let's hope this year lives up to the hype.

Stay safe and enjoy your birding 

Friday, 29 April 2022

Bird with Us for the Birds Caribbean Global Big Day fundraiser

Global Big Day—the biggest birding day of the year, is just a few days away.  Again this year we are joining Birds Caribbean in its annual Global Big Day fundraiser.   This fun virtual team event pit together multi-national teams in a friendly competitive birding event in an effort to raise funds for a Caribbean Conservation, etc. This year's efforts will be geared towards raising funds to provide travel scholarships for Caribbean nationals to attend the AOS & BC Joint Conference in Puerto Rico this June

Last year our small team The Bajan Birders, made up of birders from Barbados and one from St. Lucia, not only had fun but also assisted in raising funds and won a few awards. 

Teammate Jerome Foster, of St. Lucia, who was only able to bird a few hours in the morning won the Life in the Wild category with “American Kestrels Mating”

and third in Best Bird Photo with an Immature Little Blue Heron.

Yours truly was awarded the Best Shorebird with an image of a Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage.

In all, our 9-member Bajan Birders team saw 61 species across two countries, including 8 West Indies endemic species.

This year we want to double all of those numbers, have a greater international presence and raise funds of well over $100. 

To emphasize our goal, the team was renamed “Bajan Birders & Friends”, and invitations to join our team were extended to birders across the globe.
You can join the effort by joining our team. 
To do that:
  1. Navigate here:
  2. Click the “JOIN A TEAM” button below the Global Big Day graphic
  3. Once on a team, send a message to your friends, family, colleagues, and networks asking them to support your team either by joining or donating.
  4. Go birding on Sat May 14 - you can simply bird in your backyard or visit as many sites as you wish during the day. 
  5. Enter your sightings into eBird or ebird Caribbean (if you are birding in the Caribbean). 
  6. Share your ebird checklist with the team's ebird account username  “BCGBDBajanBirders”.  
  7. It's that easy
If you want to donate:
  1. Navigate here:
  2. Click on the ‘Donate’ button
  3. Choose our team Bajan Birders & Friends” from the drop-down menu
  4. Make a donation (however small, everything helps) 

Click on the ‘Donate’ button. Make a donation (however small, everything helps) to any of the teams or team members or simply donate to the entire campaign. 

  • Just follow this link  
  • Click the “JOIN A TEAM” button below the Global Big Day graphic on this page and follow the wizard.
  • On Global Big Day, May 14, share your ebird checklist with the username “BCGBDBajanBirders”.  
  • Make sure to also upload your media - images and audio files.

Come bird with us, donate and have lots of fun. Stay safe and enjoy your birding.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Mark Your Calendars and Join Us for Global Big Day on May 14!

It’s that time of year again! We’ll be hosting our annual celebration of Global Big Day—the biggest birding day of the year—on Saturday, May 14, 2022. This time, we are raising funds for travel scholarships to help Caribbean students and wildlife professionals attend the AOS-BC Conference in Puerto Rico this June*. 

We are bringing back our popular teams competition from 2021, and celebrating together the energy, excitement, and camaraderie that’s associated with Global Big Day.

Last year was a resounding success, with people from 192 countries reporting 7,234 species in a single day—the biggest Global Big Day turnout ever! For BirdsCaribbean, our numbers were also impressive—15 teams with members from 36 countries reported a total of 1,348 species and raised over $20,000, and we had so much fun doing this. Let’s make this year even better! Continue reading >>>

BirdsCaribbean is a vibrant international network of members and partners committed to conserving Caribbean birds and their habitats in the insular Caribbean (including Bermuda, the Bahamas and all islands within the Caribbean basin).

Monday, 11 April 2022

Signs of Spring Migration

Two male Blue-winged Teals in breeding plumage
It is spring migration season, and even though the island doesn’t see nearly as much avian traffic as in the fall, we still see clear signs of it taking place.
  For example, some of the bird species that wintered 
here, e.g. Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis),  have already migrated north, while other birds are in the process of, or have already molted into breeding plumage, in preparation for migration.  (E.g. Blue-winged Teals - Spatula discors). 
Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderlings @ Inch Marlow
Another sign of spring migration is birds making pit stops on the island en route to breeding grounds.
  I got a first-hand look at what this could look like when I visited the beach at Inch Marlow, Christ Church on the weekend.   There I counted over 260 individual shorebirds made up of 6 species. The most abundant were Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres), over 140 of them in various stages of molting to the bright orange-brown breeding plumage. These were busy searching the Sargassum Seaweed for food.  This contrasted with the layback resting mood of the Sanderlings (Calidris alba) who were mostly just loafing around enjoying the sun, sea, and sand.  A few of these birds also showed early signs of breeding plumage.  A few Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), Least Sandpipers (Calidris minutilla), and Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus) were sprinkled among the flock. 
Ruddy Turnstones in various stages of molting, Sanderlings, Least Sandpipers, and Semipalmated Sandpiper 
As we enter the latter half of the month of April into early May, another group of birds, ones not as visible as the shorebird group will pass through.  We are talking about songbirds in the family of Wood warblers, Tanager, etc.  Be on the lookout for these beauties as you are out and about.  

Stay Safe and enjoy your birding.

Monday, 4 April 2022

The Barbados Birds and Birding Report – March

Visiting birders dominated during the month of March.  Over twenty of them submitted over 120 of the 188 checklists that were submitted to during the month.  I do hope the Ministry of Tourism is taking note.   Together with our local birders added three new birds, Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) Leach's Storm-Petrel (Hydrobates leucorhous), and Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri), to the island’s year checklist, ending the month with 81 species.

The sighting of the Leach's Storm-Petrel highlighted an area of the local avian fauna that is least explored, that of the birds that inhabit the seas around our island, pelagic birds.  These are birds that spend most of their life at sea only returning to, or close to land for nesting or during bad weather.  Storm-Petrels are some of the smallest birds in that group. For example, Leach's Storm-Petrels are between 5 – 7” in length (12-17cm), which is about the size of a Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina).  So if any of you readers have a boat, we would not mind tagging along with you every now and then, all in the name of science.

March Rare Bird Sightings

Very few new rare birds entered the list during March., and after this would be the last time the American Coot white-shielded (Fulica Americana) will be listed as a rare bird, as was done by ebird.  This bird continues to nest successfully at a few locations across the island. The red shielded variety, which is the rarer of the two will continue to be listed.  
Here are the rare birds seen during the month, highlighted below parish by parish. (* continuing Birds)

St. Lucy

Glossy Ibis

  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) (1)*this bird continued its stay long-stay at a private location in the parish.

St. Andrew

  • American Coot white-shielded (Fulica Americana) (15)*- 12 adults and 3 juveniles at Walkers Reserve, which continues to be the hub for this species’ strong return to the island;
  • American Coot red-shielded (Fulica Americana)* (1) – at Walkers Reserve;
  • American Wigeon (Mareca Americana) (5)* seen among a large flock of Teal.

St. Thomas

  • Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)* – after being absent for close to three months, the Snail Kite turned up in Farmers, St. Thomas on the 17th.   Sightings were also reported on the 20th and 21st.
St. George

  • American Coot white-shielded (Fulica Americana)*(3) - a pair with a single chick at Redland.

St. John

Grey Heron

  • Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - The first sighting of the year.

ST. Philip

  • Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica)*- sub-adult at the Bayfield’s Pond, first reported by a  visitor to the island but as subsequently molted, or in the process of molting,  into its beautiful adult plumage.
Christ Church
Black-headed Gull

  • Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)* – This bird was seen on the ice pier at Oistins, with Royal Terns on the 10th.
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) an adult bird seen at Oistins on the 19th. 

St. Michael

  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)* – this large immature gull was seen at the Bridgetown Fishing Complex on the 5th. It was most likely the bird that was seen late last year.
  • Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) – most likely the same bird that was reported at Oistins Christ Church;
  • Leach's Storm-Petrel (Hydrobates leucorhous) – reported to ebird by visiting birder  John Ingham who note “ (the bird) was attracted to the lights of our cruise ship in Barbados cruise terminal before we set sail and settled on a ledge. It seemed exhausted. It was the size of a small pigeon…”  The last time this species was reported on was March 2018 by another visitor;
  • Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)* seen once again at its Bay Street roost after exploring the island

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.