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Birds of Grand Bahama February 19-21, 2010

Eleven participants joined me on a wonderful birding tour to Grand Bahama.  We had a great group of birders who got along well, we saw many excellent species!  Before leaving the dock in Ft. Lauderdale, we had Ring-billed Gull, Laughing Gull and Herring Gull.  As we were leaving the port we looked for the Great Cormorant that had been present the last two years but it was not present.  I guess it decided to winter else where this year.  This bird roosted on channel marker number five on the south side of Port Everglades inlet.  As we were getting ready to leave we saw this cool cloud formation.

Not too far from shore we had a lone Northern Gannet, the only one that we would see.  The pilot boat came to get the harbor captain as we left the channel.
Pilot Boat

We had fairly smooth seas with some large swells which rocked the boat a little more than previous trips.
We had Royal Terns follow the boat all of the way to Grand Bahama, we watched them try and catch
Flying Fish scared up by the boat.
Royal Tern

Not too long after we entered Bahamian waters, we saw what looked like porpoise in the distance.  Upon closer examination of my photos, I am pretty sure that these were Bryde's Whales!!  This was very unexpected to me, as I have not seen this species before or any other whales on the ride over.  I think that there were perhaps three or four whales with what may have been a calf.  This is a pretty good sized whale that can get over 40-feet in length!  It is a good thing that I photographed them, that is how I determined which species that they were.
Bryde's Whale

About two miles from the port in on Grand Bahama we had a Parasitic Jaeger come flying in.  It chased one of the Royal Terns and made it cough up a fish!
Parasitic Jaeger

The Freeport Pilot Boat switched captains and brought our ship to shore.
Freeport Pilot Boat

There was a large cruise ship at dry dock as we came into port.
Dry Dock

Once we got our car and meet my friend Bruce, we were on our way.  We birded on some of the old gulf courses hoping for some ducks and grebes.  We visited one pond that had close to 40 Least Grebes!  We also had American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, Glossy Ibis as well as a few warblers.  We birded Garden of the Groves and had Greater Antillean Bullfinch and a good assortment of warblers.  We saw the newly introduced White-cheeked Pintails that may help establish a flock on Grand Bahama.  These are wild caught birds from New Providence.  We looked for some wild ones at one of the gulf courses but could not find them.  Bruce had seen up to three of them a few days before..
White-cheeked Pintail

This is the second year that Snow Geese have wintered on one of the gulf courses.
Snow Goose

Part of our happy group of birders enjoying the woods and birds!

We had a nice dinner at Garden of the Groves and then headed off to our hotel rooms, for an early start the following day.  On our second day of birding we headed out to the far east end of the Island to McLean's Town where we hoped for West Indian Woodpecker. 
McLean's Town

I did have them one year a few years back but did not on this trip.  Bruce had seen up to 3-birds here in the spring, we had hoped that some had stayed.  We did not see any but did have a Hairy Woodpecker.  The Hairy Woodpecker is fairly common through most of the Bahamas that have pine forest.  It is a sub-species of Hairy Woodpecker.
Hairy Woodpecker

This Loggerhead Kingbird showed itself very nicely on the wires in McLean's Town.
Loggerhead Kingbird

We birded our way back to Freeport having lunch along the way at Diamond Sunrise Restaurant.  The food was excellent as usual!  Diamond Sunrise Restaurant is located in High Rock.
Diamond Sunrise Restaurant

Art in the Bahamas

One way to get out to an anchored boat!

Michael enjoys a High Rock Beer in the town of High Rock at Diamond Sunrise Restaurant.  The label shows the light house that is in town.
Michael with a High Rock Beer

High Rock Beer

The light house in High Rock

This Bahama Yellowthroat gave us great views in McLean's Town.
Bahama Yellowthroat

Looking for a Barn Owl in an abandoned Hotel

Black-faced Grassquits are pretty common through out the island.
Black-faced Grassquit

This Red-legged Thrush is used to being fed meal worms on private property.
Red-legged Thrush

Waiting for a Painted Bunting and Bahama Woodstar.

Bahama Woodstar is a difficult bird to find on Grand Bahama, we were lucky to
see one at a private residence.
Bahama Woodstar

Many Piping Plovers were banded on Grand Bahama for research.
Piping Plover

Twenty species of warbler is always nice in the Winter, we had 94-species total.
 Snow Goose Mangrove Cuckoo
American Wigeon Smooth-billed Ani
Blue-winged Teal Chuck-will's Widow
Northern Shoveler Cuban Emerald
Green-winged Teal Bahama Woodstar
Ring-billed Duck Belted Kingfisher
Lesser Scaup Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hooded Merganser Hairy Woodpecker
Ruddy Duck Cuban Pewee
Least Grebe La Sagra's Flycatcher
Pied-billed Grebe Loggerhead Kingbird
Northern Gannet (U.S. waters) White-eyed Vireo
Brown Pelican (U.S. waters) Thick-billed Vireo
Double-crested Cormorant Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Great Blue Heron Red-legged Thrush
Great Egret Gray Catbird
Little Blue Heron Northern Mockingbird
Tricolored Heron European Starling (U.S.)
Cattle Egret Northern Parula
Green Heron Magnolia Warbler
Black-crowned Night-Heron Cape May Warbler
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Black-throated Blue Warbler
Glossy Ibis Yellow-rumped Warbler
Turkey Vulture Black-throated Green Warbler
Osprey Yellow-throated Warbler
Red-tailed Hawk Bahama Warbler
American Kestrel (Bahamas race) Olive-capped Warbler
Merlin Pine Warbler
Common Moorhen Prairie Warbler
American Coot Palm Warbler
Black-bellied Plover Black-and-white Warbler
Semipalmated Plover American Redstart
Piping Plover Worm-eating Warbler
Killdeer Ovenbird
Ruddy Turnstone Northern Waterthrush
Sanderling Louisiana Warterthrush
Wilson's Snipe Common Yellowthroat
Parasitic Jaeger Bahama Yellowthroat
Laughing Gull Bananaquit
Ring-billed Gull Summer Tanager
Herring Gull Western Spindalis
Royal Tern Black-faced Grassquit
Rock Pigeon Greater Antillean Bullfinch
White-crowned Pigeon Painted Bunting
Eurasian Collared-Dove Red-winged Blackbird
Zenaida Dove House Sparrow
Mourning Dove  
Common Ground-Dove  

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