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
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.
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.
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!
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
We saw several Western Spindalis including the female below.
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
We saw several Black-faced Grassquit, they can be kind of plain but are neat
Black-faced Grassquit, immature male.
It is really neat to see a a warbler on a wire.
It is really, really neat to see an endemic warbler on a wire!!!
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
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.
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.
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!
It is always nice to see Loggerhead Kingbird, this bird gave
everyone great views.
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?
We saw about five Clay-colored Sparrows in a loose flock, a nice new species
for my Bahamas list and West Indies.
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.
|Brown Pelican U.S. waters
||Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Bahama race
|Great Blue Heron
||Yellow Warbler, Bahama race
||Cape May Warbler
|Northern Harrier U.S. waters
||Black-throated Blue Warbler
|Red-tailed Hawk, Bahama race
|American Kestrel, Bahama race
|Clapper Rail, heard only
||Yellow-breasted Chat, an uncommon warbler.
|Herring Gull, U.S. waters
||Greater Antillean Bullfinch
|La Sagra's Flycatcher
For a link for another Bahama tour go