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carribean birding

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Old Saturday 6th January 2007, 21:10   #1
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carribean birding

I started out this BVI listing thread but since I think ticks are going to be slowgoing I thought it would be better as a patch diary.

Today I ascended the highest peak in the BVI into the only untouched forest on the island in the hope of spotting some warblers. No such luck and the only new thing I saw was something I'd rather not have seen - an introduced striped mongoose; these little chaps are devastating the local wildlife.

I have been seeing more antillean crested hummers of late and have turned up a lovely pair of american kestrels near my house too. They seem to be making a meal of a lizard on a telephone pole every time I leave the house.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2007, 23:15   #2
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finally something new to report.

Went over to a couple of different islands this weekend. Good views of Great blue herons, frigatebirds and red-tailed hawk amongst others on one island including a new tick (49) for Royal Tern on the boat ride back, then today on another island great views of frigate birds harassing brown boobies and royal terns followed by a small pied wader with a bright red bill I'd not seen before at long range - #50! american oystercatcher feeding on the reef flat - only 100 or so more to go to knock off the entire BVI list.
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Old Thursday 1st February 2007, 22:07   #3
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Cracking day's fishing in the mangroves of beef island. Loads of birds to watch from the boat in the creeks and lagoons. Many pelicans, GW Egrets, pigeons and zenaida doves. More interesting and beautiful were a pair of what I believe were yellow warblers (they were warblers and bright yellow - thats the best I could do with no bins) and a perfectly composed flight of 3 American oystercatchers that had me wishing for my camera. The highlight though was one of the first birds we saw, circling high above us (tick 51) Osprey. That's all the resident BoP on the list unless I can bag a vagrant SEO, screech owl or harrier.

Non-avian highlights were lots of turtles and a pair of juvie lemon sharks.
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2007, 21:08   #4
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Both species of hummers are using the feeders now, feral chooks are devastating the garden and I just heard a peacock(!) calling from the forest.
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Old Sunday 4th February 2007, 18:12   #5
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Nice Threads, interesting birds and a part of the world we don't hear from that often on BF. Keep it going and good luck with the List and the fishing.
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Old Sunday 4th February 2007, 20:07   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John o'Sullivan
Nice Threads, interesting birds and a part of the world we don't hear from that often on BF. Keep it going and good luck with the List and the fishing.
Thanks John

not a lot about today birdwise; a few white-cheeked pintails, ruddies and blue winged teal on the pond with little blue heron and great white egrets in the margins. A red-tail drifting over was probably the birding highlight.

The main highlight was what I believe was a snake, I believe a puerto rican racer shooting through the grass on the way back from the pond. Disappointed to only get photos of a tail disappearing under a rusty barrel but my first snake on the island so thats a bonus. Lots of monarch and zebra butterflies around too.
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Old Sunday 25th February 2007, 18:40   #7
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Excellent couple of hours at the salt pond today. Some really big flocks of ducks have come in from somewhere. Far more White Cheeked Pintails than usual and an awful lot of blue winged teal (including some really smart males), very few coots and ruddies today I wonder if this represents a seasonal shift in the species using the ponds. The mud at the edge has dried up so fewer waders too. just a few stilts, spotsands and lesser legs.

New species for the list are hard to come by at the moment - Once we get a bit further into the year I'm expecting a load of new species to move in but at the moment its the usual few suspects. Until that is I saw a tiny bird out in the pond right at the edge of binocular range (no scope today). A few minutes careful observation satisfied me that it was a least grebe. I;d heard there are occasionally a couple about but no luck til today - that's #52.
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Old Saturday 3rd March 2007, 19:15   #8
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Weird sighting today. Merlin well out to sea over the top of the dive boat. Obviously the wee fella was hopping from island to island but it was a bit of a contrast to frigatebirds and pelicans.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2007, 17:42   #9
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2 least grebes today, lots of bw teal and more moorhens than usual.

day marred by an incident involving a bottle of gatorade and my new digicam which is currently drying out after being rinsed off. fingers crossed everyone.
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Old Saturday 10th March 2007, 14:16   #10
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Ooh.... pair of red tail hawks just flew past the window. Really good views of the second bird. I wonder if my house area might be a breeding territory? - that would be nice.
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Old Saturday 10th March 2007, 19:36   #11
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usual stuff on the pond plus a snipe among the yellowlegs in the mangroves. Could do with some weird winds over the next month or so to blow a few migrant waders my way.
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Old Saturday 17th March 2007, 18:30   #12
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Had an hour on the pond this arvo after a powercut prevented me watching the cricket. Twas a good decision! All the usuals plus 2 Soras (to put in context I've only seen 2 others here ever)., a pair of snakes, green heron, blue egret, 3 ruddy turnstones (lifer/island tick 53) and a clapper rail island tick 54)!
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Old Sunday 25th March 2007, 20:36   #13
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Real results day today, no birding planned just taking some visiting friends over to a small island with a pub on it. Whislt they were snorkelling I noticed a small bird hovering like a cross between a kestrel and a hummingbird over the reef flat diving occasionally. Without bins I wasn't able to see distinct markings but had a good idea what it was. Consulting the books confirms tick 56 (I dsicovered I had two 19's for anyone bemused about the jump from 54 to 56).

Returning to the apartment I noticed two pink blobs on the salt pond below. Hoping against hope but having my suspicions I jogged up to the balcony and put the scope to work. Tick 57 - Caribbean flamingo!. Pics here.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=81689

I suspect these birds are two from the successful Anegada reintroduction that wandered down to join the flightless flock on Guana but occasionally wander. To my knowledge they're not usually seen on this pond though.
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Old Sunday 1st April 2007, 17:36   #14
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Flamingos have been here all week! Marvellous sight over breakfast on the balcony.

Last night went scouting to try to find some better photo spots and turned up black crowned night heron which to my surprise I subsequently realised wasn't on the list. Also a second clapper rail sighting, this time a really good view of one walking the mudflats.

Today had some really close encounters with the kestrels before trying to photograph the flamingos to no end. I did however finally confirm that a flock of doves I'd been seeing did contain some white-winged doves and I saw my first barn swallows overhead (and suddenly after a long time in the low 50s I'm up to 60!). Day only slightly marred by my blundering into a hornets nest and getting a nasty sting on my ear!

Last edited by Isurus : Sunday 1st April 2007 at 18:12.
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Old Sunday 1st April 2007, 18:14   #15
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the list thus far

Green-throated carib
Bananaquit
Cattle Egret
Magnificient Frigate bird
Brown Pelican
Red Junglefowl
Grey kingbird
American Kestrel
Merlin
Wilson’s Snipe
Spotted Sandpiper
northern mockingbird
Green Heron
Brown Booby
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Caribbean elaenia
Black-necked stilt
Lesser yellowlegs
Blue winged teal
Peregrine Falcon
Ground doves
Kildeer
Pearly eyed thrasher
House sparrow
sora
Greater yellowlegs
Little Blue Heron
Yellow crowned night heron.
Black-bellied plover
Grassquit
Zenaida
Yellow warbler.
carribean coot
common moorhen
White cheeked pintail.
smooth-billed ani
scaly naped pigeons
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch
Brown Noddy
white-tailed tropicbird
Great Blue Heron
Rock Dove
Great Egret
least sandpiper
Mangrove cuckoo
Red Tailed Hawk
Short billed dowitcher
ruddy duck
Yellow rumped warbler
Royal Tern
american oystercatcher
Osprey
least grebe
ruddy turnstone
clapper rail
Belted kingfisher
Caribbean flamingo
Black-Crowned Night Heron
White-winged dove
Barn Swallow
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Old Saturday 21st April 2007, 15:52   #16
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Laptop down so no updates since 1/4 in which time the list and the birds have been flying along. I took easter weekend as a chance to get to Anegada, the island on which most of our flamingos now live (a flock of 140 has grown from an initial reintroduction). Unfortunately I didn't see them but could console myself with the 2 still outside the house! What I did see was new ticks 61-65:
61 Snowy plover
62 caribbean martin
63 Laughing gull
64 Sandwich tern
65 Gull-billed tern

In addition to that there were loads of pelicans, frigates and royal terns and best of all stunning views of 2 Osprey (I really love to see these chaps but never seem to have a camera handy) and another Belted Kingfisher (rapidly becoming a favourite too).

I also got to have a look around the Anegada Rock Iguana recovery facility which rears juvenile ARIs (an endemic and very endangered species) up to cat proof size which was veyr cool.
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Old Saturday 21st April 2007, 15:59   #17
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Bak in tortola after easter I've been concentrating on the ponds quite heavily. Suddenly seem to have mastered seeing clapper rails - they're everywhere now (pics to follow once I get my computer running properly). Also the laughing gulls have arrived here this week on mass and there have been plenty of dowitchers around (bill length indeterminate). 2 flamingo's still about too although apparently a shedload of them dropped in whilst I was at work last friday.

Real gutter last night as I just couldn't get the bins up fast enough to get a proper look at a small group of green backed birds that I can only assume were Kentucky or Hooded Warblers.
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Old Friday 27th April 2007, 00:23   #18
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Last week - #66 tricoloured heron seen from my car on the south side mangroves.

This week I finally tracked down the little blighter thats been keeping me awake for some time of an early morning:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/212/4...30624489d2.jpg
#67 = common peafowl.
Obviously this isn't a native but its going on the list because:
a) there is no formal category C here;
b) this bird is clearly feral;
c) there are definately others around bvi and it seems there is a small although questionable whether self sustaining population running free;
d) if I have to listen to the [email protected]$%ing thing at 5:30am I'm gonna tick it; and
e) I want to and its my list so my rules thereby validating a-d above :).
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Old Saturday 28th April 2007, 19:17   #19
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Hi Isurus firstly great rules I like d) the best e) of course is the only one you need now forgive my ignorance I have a relative who lives and works on Anguilla is this any where near you? I am planning to visit him later this year or next so can you advise the best time of year to go to maximse the speices for the trip hope you can help Dave
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Old Wednesday 1st August 2007, 02:36   #20
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have neglected this thread for a while as a) not much of interest has been around and b) my tripod is broken so no serious birding for a while. A few developments prompted me to resurrect, both involving car parks. Firstly I narrowly avoided treading on a fledgling kildeer this morning feeding in a puddle outside my office on main street. Then tonight I worked out what the weird bird I've been seeing outside the house was. I first encountered it in pitch dark on the way home from the pub saturday - A rustle in front of us then a weird bark, I put it down to a mongoose. Saw it yesterday then properly tonight: Clapper Rail on my door step!
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Old Sunday 12th August 2007, 14:02   #21
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A trip to anegada yielded:
68 - Willet
69 - Semi-palmated plover; and
70 - Antillean Nighthawk
(the last of these 3 being spotted when my girlfriend said from her hammock what's that one then?).

Also snowy plovers, many kestrels, night herons and green herons and hundreds of hummingbirds. No flamingos seen (didn't trek out to the pond) and no osprey surprisingly.
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Old Sunday 19th August 2007, 21:51   #22
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The hurricane has sent large numbers of birds our way. New for the list down at the salt pond yesterday were:

71 - semipalmated sandpiper
72 - wilson's plover


Also present were
least sands, semipalmated plovers, both yellowlegs, stilts, spotsands, 3 clapper rail, yellowcrowned night heron, ruddy turnstone, WC pintail and a few other bits and bobs I can't remember off the top off my head.

Decided to go for a dive this morning and whilst the 'cane hadn't helped the viz scored a couple of very friendly hawksbilled turtles. On the way back a strange shape amongst the boobies and laughing gulls turned out to be # 73 cory's shearwater...which reminds me I had an unidentifiable storm petrel off the boat a while back.

Nothing new on the pond today but did see a mongoose keeping an eye on me as I returned to the car.
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Old Saturday 1st September 2007, 21:49   #23
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Took a friend over to Sage Mountain National Park today to scale BVI's highest peak (without oxygen!). Not much by way of birds in the forest undergrowth but did get cracking views of #74 Bridled Quail Dove. I've been hoping for one of these for a while and was really surprised when I saw it - bigger than I expected. Great views of an Antillean Racer (my friend's first wild snake) and 4 kestrels on the way home was iced on the cake by crippling views of 2 red tailed hawks playing in the thermals as I drove us home.
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2007, 08:45   #24
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Just found this thread and read it to the end. Sounds like your having a great time in Tortola. Nice that you mention the other wildlife thats around, including reptiles. Any wild mammals apart from the non-indigious mongoose?Keep up the good work mate, will follow with interest.
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Old Monday 17th September 2007, 22:15   #25
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Originally Posted by skink1978 View Post
Just found this thread and read it to the end. Sounds like your having a great time in Tortola. Nice that you mention the other wildlife thats around, including reptiles. Any wild mammals apart from the non-indigious mongoose?Keep up the good work mate, will follow with interest.
Thanks Skink - sorry for the delay responding - I don't check this thread as often as I should and missed your reply. We have no extant terrestrial native mammals - I think we used to have a couple of hutia type things long ago but none survive. We have all the usual island ferals; both rats, cat and goat. Anegada also has a decent herd of feral cattle and donkeys which supposedly originate from the survivors of a shipwreck.

We have a couple of bats and some decent cetaceans though; humpbacks pass through on migration and I've seen bottlenose dolphin a couple of times.
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