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Birds of Grand Bahama October 3-4, 2009

I was able to lead an Audubon Society of the Everglades group on a tour of Grand Bahama.  We had a really nice group of six birders to enjoy the wonderful birdlife of the Bahamas.  We left Port Everglades at 7:45 a.m.. and had a wonderful ride on very calm seas. 
Sunrise leaving Port Everglades Ft. Lauderdale

We saw a Northern Harrier about 5-miles out and perhaps a Peregrine Falcon chasing gulls. 

We watched as the pilot boat came along side to get the Harbor captain.
Pilot Boat with harbor captain climbing down, transfer complete.

We saw two flocks of migrating Great Blue Herons far out at sea.
Great Blue Heron flock

Once we arrived we met my friend Bruce to begin our day of birding.  We went to an old golf course and saw a Black-necked Stilt, Least Grebe, Solitary Sandpiper and Blue-winged Teal.
Black-necked Stilt

We also had this interesting kingbird that Bruce found a day or two earlier.  I can say that it is one of two species!


In the same spot we had a family of Least Grebes.  On my first visit to Grand Bahama 16-years ago; I don't remember seeing any Least Grebes.  It is nice to know that the numbers keep increasing and spreading to more areas.  Perhaps the closing of some of the golf courses has helped the birds.
Least Grebes

Cape May Warbler is one of at least 20 plus species of warbler that winter in the Bahamas.
Cape May Warbler

Red-legged Thrush is such a cool bird, very pretty and very accommodating when you see them.  We even had some walking along the sidewalk of our hotel, even while it was still dark!
Red-legged Thrush

We saw some bats in the basement of an old abandoned building.
Buffy Flower Bat (Erophylla sezekorni) Thanks Tony!

There were many, many bats in the basement, it is really cool how they took over.
Buffy Flower Bats (Erophylla sezekorni)

We saw several Western Spindalis including the female below.
Western Spindalis

We had great looks at the local race of Yellow Warbler, they are not as bright yellow as some.  The red streaking does not go down the belly as far as the mainland birds; excluding south Florida which has the same sub-species. 
Yellow Warbler

We saw several Black-faced Grassquit, they can be kind of plain but are neat to see.
Black-faced Grassquit, immature male.

It is really neat to see a a warbler on a wire.
Northern Parula

It is really, really neat to see an endemic warbler on a wire!!!
Bahama Yellowthroat

Life is so much more relaxed in the Bahamas!

Cuban Pewee is not too uncommon in the pinewoods of the Bahamas.  Sometimes you can see them in the small towns on the Island like the bird below.
Cuban Pewee

We had at least five calling Eastern Wood-Pewee as well as Cuban Pewee near a grove in the pinewoods.  I have included a photo of one to compare with the Cuban Pewee above.
Eastern Wood-Pewee

We had a few flocks of Bobolinks on the Island, it is pretty neat to see one in a Mangrove tree!

Olive-capped Warbler has a very limited range only occurring on a few Bahama Islands and Cuba.  You will see them in areas with the sub-species of Pine Warbler in the pinewoods.  You will not find them without pinewoods present.  As soon as a male sings, the female will do a duet with him!  This is a pretty cool thing to hear, I don't recall too many other birds that do this.
Olive-capped Warbler

We had good views of most of the specialty birds including Thick-billed Vireo.  Immature White-eyed Vireo can show a dark eye like this bird, it can fool you when you see one in Florida.  You may think that it is a Thick-billed Vireo but with more study, you can tell that it is an immature White-eyed Vireo!
Thick-billed Vireo

It is always nice to see Loggerhead Kingbird, this bird gave everyone great views.
Loggerhead Kingbird

Debbie sitting in the front seat said "what is that bird", I yelled Townsend's Warbler!!  Who would have ever expected that one, I would have thought it was a first.  We found out there is at least one other record from Grand Bahama and from Grand Turk!!  I wonder if this is the first one photographed?
Townsend's Warbler

We saw about five Clay-colored Sparrows in a loose flock, a nice new species for my Bahamas list and West Indies.
Clay-colored Sparrow

We had 97-species with 23-species of warbler seen.  Two big rarities Tropical/Couch's Kingbird and Townsend's Warbler sure make it exciting.  Thanks go to the Audubon Society of Everglades for letting me lead the trip.  A list of birds seen on the trip are below.


Blue-winged Teal Thick-billed Vireo
Least Grebe Red-eyed Vireo
Pied-billed Grebe Barn Swallow
Brown Pelican U.S. waters Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Bahama race
Double-crested Cormorant Red-legged Thrush
Magnificent Frigatebird Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron Northern Mockingbird
Great Egret European Starling
Cattle Egret Tennessee Warbler
Green Heron Northern Parula
Black-crowned Night-Heron Yellow Warbler, Bahama race
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Chestnut-sided Warbler
Turkey Vulture Magnolia Warbler
Osprey Cape May Warbler
Northern Harrier U.S. waters Black-throated Blue Warbler
Red-tailed Hawk, Bahama race TOWNSEND'S WARBLER
American Kestrel, Bahama race Yellow-throated Warbler
Merlin Olive-capped Warbler
Clapper Rail, heard only Pine Warbler
Common Moorhen Prairie Warbler
American Coot Palm Warbler
Black-necket Stilt Blackpoll Warbler
Greater Yellowlegs Black-and-white Warbler
Lesser Yellowlegs American Redstart
Solitary Sandpiper Prothonotary Warbler
Spotted Sandpiper Ovenbird
Ruddy Turnstone Northern Waterthrush
Semipalmated Sandpiper Louisiana Waterthrush
Least Sandpiper Common Yellowthroat
Pectoral Sandpiper Bahama Yellowthroat
Stilt Sandpiper Hooded Warbler
Short-billed Dowitcher Yellow-breasted Chat, an uncommon warbler.
Laughing Gull Bananaquit
Herring Gull, U.S. waters Summer Tanager
Royal Tern Scarlet Tanager
Rock Pigeon Western Spindalis
White-crowned Pigeon Black-faced Grassquit
Eurasian Collared-Dove Greater Antillean Bullfinch
Mourning Dove Clay-colored Sparrow
Common Ground-Dove Blue Grosbeak
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Indigo Bunting
Smooth-billed Ani Bobolink
Cuban Emerald Red-winged Blackbird
Belted Kingfisher Baltimore Oriole
Hairy Woodpecker House Sparrow
Cuban Pewee  
Eastern Wood-Pewee  
La Sagra's Flycatcher  
Tropical/Couch's Kingbird  
Eastern Kingbird  
Gray Kingbird  
Loggerhead Kingbird  

For a link for another Bahama tour go HERE.


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