Monday, April 23, 2018

Bahamas Part 3

La Sagra's Flycatcher

White-Crowned Pigeon

Thick-Billed Vireo


WIWD coming onto the garden lawns

Ruddy Duck and duckling

Not your every day twofer

Black-Whiskered Vireo

Cuban Peewee

Neotropic Cormorant

NTCOs roosting in Casuarinas at sunset

We stayed one day in Nassau before coming home.  Just a 5 minute walk from our oceanfront mega-hotel, there was a small walking park along a freshwater pond.  The first afternoon it was raining and the light was awful, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a very wet Red-Legged Thrush.  

lousy photo of a soaked Red-Legged Thrush

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (juv.)

not a Loggerhead Kingbird (aka, a Grey Kingbird)

The next morning I arrived early and got my lifer Least Bittern!  I later found another in mature plumage across the pond a little later, so I guess its a good place for them.

Least Bittern

Pied-Billed Grebe

Least Grebe

In some ways this pond was a testament to how we, as humans, can go out of our way to create and promote healthy pockets of wildlife habitat even in the midst of rampant development.  I suppose if the pond was left to grow on its own, soon it would be overrun with cattails and rushes and would cease to be a pond at all.  Maybe that wouldn't be so great for the wildlife that needed some open water.   Maybe that wouldn't be so great for folks like me who want to take photographs of cool and interesting birds.  But as I watched adult coots trail in this machine's wake in what was just a few moments before their home, I couldn't help but wonder if our efforts sometimes do more harm than good.

Man picking his nose while operating a Nest-Habitat-Destructor 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bahamas Part 2

Continuing to find new birds in the garden, on the pond and at the beach.

Gray Kingbird
Black-necked Stilt

Wilson's Plover

A very spiffy Ruddy Turnstone with Semi-palmated Plovers

early morning Kestrel

Here's one of the numerous Blackpoll Warblers that showed up recently.  I was excited to see these as  I don't always get them in Maine.  Interestingly, I discovered that they forage among the Gumbo Limbos for fruits that have already already had the flesh eaten off the pit.


Blackpolls are fairly large warblers
Blackpoll Warbler

 Cape May's remain by far the most common yard bird at the moment.

Cape May Warbler

About an hour north from Calypso, past Gregory Town and before the Glass Window, there is a large salt lake that is home to a colony of Gull-billed Terns.  It is a strange place.

shallow, salty lake

Gull-billed Terns

Gull-billed Tern

like I said, a strange place

Frigate bird in Governor's Harbor

I have spent the last few evenings paddling my SUP on the pond at Calypso, and the birds are steadily getting used to seeing me.  I am keeping my profile low, and my movements slow.  The Clapper Rail pair remain cautious, but this evening, I had a whistling duck actually follow me around for about 45 minutes.  The bird was no more than 15 feet away and seemed to give courage to a few of the other residents.

Clapper Rail with food for nestlings or mate

White-cheeked Pintail pair

Palm Warbler

West Indian Whistling Duck

Green Heron

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bahamas Part 1

A quick walk through the garden before sunset confirmed I was no longer in Maine.  Most of the following photos are taken at Calypso, my family's property on the north shore of Eleuthera, Bahamas.

White-cheeked Pintail

Great Lizard Cuckoo

Cape May Warblers were everywhere the first couple of days, trapped by north-westerly winds.  On our third day, the winds had finished a shift to the south-east and the Cape Mays had disappeared.

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler

This was an exciting way to begin our vacation.  Embarrassingly, I misidentified these as Fulvous Whistling Ducks for a couple days until I checked e-bird and saw how rare that would be.  These are in fact West Indian Whistling Ducks, which are just as awesome from a life-list perspective.  They are flagged as rare for the area.

West Indian Whistling Ducks

West Indian Whistling Duck

Not a great photo of a Prothonotary, but a bird I have only seen once before.  Unfortunately, they seem to have left the island with the exodus of Cape Mays and the return of favorable migration winds.

Prothonotary Warbler

Eleuthera is one of the best places in the world to see this strange and wonderful bird.  They are fairly common in the gardens at Calypso, and will often seek out human company.  They will then skulk around, contorting their heads and bodies in bizarre poses as they hop from perch to perch and study you with one of their crazy, lolling eyes.

Great Lizard Cuckoo

Thick-billed Vireos are both common and gregarious and you will hear them throughout the day.

Thick-billed Vireo

Greater Antillean Bullfinch

Gumbo Limbo trees provide passerines with a steady source of forage through spring migration.  

Gumbo Limbo Tree

Western Spindalis

Bahama Woodstar

Bahama Mockingbird

Common Moorhen

American Coot with chicks

American Coot

Black-necked Stilt

Green Heron

Governor's Harbor is a home to a large number of Laughing Gulls, and a great spot to find marine species.

Laughing Gull

Royal Tern

American Kestrel

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Cape May Warbler

Dusk at Calypso