BirdTrax: Latest Sightings

January to February 2015

Highlights in this period included: Bermuda’s first Razorbill, the first Redhead since1987, and first Canvasback since1979.

A female Eurasian Wigeon was at Devonshire Marsh 7 Nov to 27 Jan (AD). A Canvasback at Stokes Point NR 5 Dec to 3 Jan (DBW) was the first since 1979. A male Redhead discovered at Port Royal GC 21 Nov to 28 Feb+ (DBW) was the first since 1987. A Long-tailed Duck was seen in the Dockyard marina 22 Feb (PW). A wintering flock of Hooded Mergansers increased to 18 at Mangrove Lake 2 Jan (AD). A record eight Horned Grebes were present into February including 7 seen together at Somerset Long Bay (TW, AD et al.). A very early White-tailed Tropicbird was seen off Cooper’s Point 29 Jan (LT). A Magnificent Frigatebird was seen in various locations 28-31 Jan (PW). A Masked Booby was photographed 5 miles south of Bermuda 2 Feb (CS). A Northern Gannet flew past Spanish Point 2 Feb (RB, JF) and perhaps the same bird over the Causeway 22 Feb (PW). A Glossy Ibis at Somerset Long Bay remained to 28 Feb+ (AD). A very early Swallow-tailed Kite was seen over Warwick 28 Feb (FD, AD). Two Ruddy Turnstones at Tobacco Bay 3 Jan had green identification markers and were found to have been banded on New Jersey beaches on 13 May 2012 and 17 May 2012 respectively (AD, PW). Bermuda’s first Razorbill was discovered in the Great Sound 22-26 Feb (PW). An Iceland Gull was first noted in St. Georges Harbour 11 Feb (DBW). A Forster’s Tern was at Dockyard 27 Dec to 1 Jan (DBW). A Royal Tern was at Dockyard/Watford Bridge 28 Jan-22 Feb (DBW). This bird had been banded in North Carolina in July 2014. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was at Camden Marsh 4-5 Jan (AD). Two or three Peregrine Falcons wintered with one found dead in Paget 16 Jan (LF). A Golden-crowned Kinglet was seen in the Arboretum 9 Jan (PW). A Hermit Thrush wintered at BIOS (PW). More than 20 species of warbler were recorded during the winter months. A Summer Tanager was at Ferry Point Park 1 Jan (PW).

Observers: Richard Brewer, Andrew Dobson, Fiona Dobson, Jenny Flood, Luke Fountain, Jeremy Madeiros, Ron Porter, Camilla Stringer, Lynn Thorne, Tim White, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

March to May 2015

Highlights included: Bermuda’s second confirmed Black-capped Petrel, a record spring arrival of Lesser Yellowlegs and a record flock of four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

There are few records of ‘Blue’ Snow Goose in Bermuda, so a flock of 7 seen at various locations 21 Mar-9 Apr (PW, AD) was exceptional. The wintering Redhead at Port Royal GC was last seen 22 Mar (AD). A Ruddy Duck arrived at Spittal Pond 22 Mar (AD, TW). A Common Loon was well observed in the Great Sound, 20 Mar (WF). Bermuda’s second confirmed Black-capped Petrel was photographed at Challenger Banks 22 Mar (CS). A 2hr 30 min sea-watch at Cooper’s Point 20 Apr was a lucky day for AD & PW with nine seabird species: Cory’s Shearwater (1), Manx Shearwater (39), Wilson’s Storm-Petrel (5), Leach’s Storm-Petrel (33), Storm-Petrel sp. (55), White-tailed Tropicbird (110), Arctic Tern (1), Pomarine Jaeger (4), Parasitic Jaeger (3), Long-tailed Jaeger (1), Jaeger sp. (11). A Magnificent Frigatebird was over St. Georges Harbour 9 May (J&K L). Northern Gannet has never been recorded in spring before, but one lingered in the Great Sound until 13 May (WF). A Swallow-tailed Kite was at various locations 28 Feb-14 Mar (FD). A spring Northern Harrier was on Hinson’s Island 28 Apr (E&JH) and Spittal Pond 29 Apr (AC). A Black-necked Stilt was on Mid-Ocean GC 17 May (GB). The first ever spring flock of Willet (9) was seen at Shelly Bay 29 Apr (JM). An unprecedented fall-out of Lesser Yellowlegs included a record 60 birds at various locations 30 Apr (AD, PW et al). A female Ruff was at Spittal Pond 17 May (AD). An Iceland Gull was last seen at Dockyard 11 Mar (AD). Four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds together on Wreck Road 28 Apr-1 May (DBW) was a Bermuda record count. A Black-whiskered Vireo at Ferry Point Park 9 May (NM) was the first since 1999. A Veery at Seymour’s Pond 3-7 May provided good views for many observers (RB). A flock of American Pipits (7) at Bermuda Airport 1-7 Apr (AD) was the first spring record. Rarely recorded in spring, a Summer Tanager was seen at Morgan’s Point 3 May (DBW, WF). A male Blackpoll Warbler was also seen at Morgan’s Point 3 May (AD).

Observers: Geoff Bell, Richard Brewer, Alison Copeland, Andrew Dobson, Fiona Dobson, Wendy Frith, Erich & Janice Hetzel, Jade & Keith Lovell, Jeremy Madeiros, Neal Morris, Ron Porter, Camilla Stringer, Tim White, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

June to July 2015

Highlights of the season included: the first record of Alpine Swift, a West Indian Whistling-Duck (last recorded in 1907), the first seasonal records of Hooded Merganser and White-throated Sparrow.

Bermuda’s second record of West Indian Whistling-Duck was discovered at Tobacco Bay 27 Jun (CS) and appeared at various locations to Jul 31+. The only previous record was in 1907. Two male Wood Ducks were present throughout the summer period at various locations (AD). An imm. Hooded Merganser discovered at Seymour’s Pond 14 Jun (AD) relocated to Port Royal GC to 31 Jul+ providing the first seasonal record for Bermuda. Cahows (Bermuda Petrels) had another successful breeding season despite losing 4 or 5 pairs during hurricane Gonzalo in October 2014. The total number of active breeding pairs producing an egg was 112, up from 108 the previous year. The total number of confirmed fledging chicks was 53, down from last season's record number of 59 (almost certainly caused by disruption and damage to nest burrows from Gonzalo (JM). A juv. Brown Pelican came aboard the Bermuda-bound RV Atlantic Explorer at 31 30' N and 064 24' W on 16 Jul and was almost certainly the same bird present 19-31 Jul+ at various Bermuda locations (LG et al). A Glossy Ibis was present at Somerset Long Bay 1 Jun-31 Jul+ (AD). Black-necked Stilts were present at various locations 6 Jun-31 Jul+ peaking at 5 on 7 Jul (AD). A Wilson’s Phalarope was at Spittal Pond 21 Jul (NA). Two South Polar Skuas passed Cooper’s Point 16 Jun (PW). An adult Roseate Tern was in the Great Sound 25-30 Jun (PW). The Common Tern population in Bermuda remains critically low. Three pairs successfully raised a total of 7 young. A further two female-female pairs both laid infertile 6-egg clutches (DBW). A Royal Tern was at Dockyard 25-28 Jun (PW). Bermuda’s first record of Alpine Swift was present at East End Dairy, Bermuda 7-9 Jun (PW). A White-throated Sparrow discovered at Ferry Point Park 18 Jun to 16 Jul (MM) provided the first Bermuda summer record.

 

August to December 2015

Highlights of the season included: Bermuda’s first Trindade Petrel, Bermuda’s first Western Marsh Harrier, the first Red-necked Phalarope for 21 years and the first fall record of Red Crossbill.

The long-staying West Indian Whistling-Duck relocated to Port Royal GC 18 Sep-31 Dec+ (AD). About 100 Blue-winged Teal were noted at various ponds 6 Oct, the day after Hurricane Joaquin (DBW). A wing-tagged Great Egret seen at various locations 10 Nov-18 Mar was banded as a chick on 30 June 2015 at Nottawasaga Island, Ontario, Canada. Bermuda’s first Trindade Petrel was seen flying with Bermuda Petrels and photographed off Cooper’s Point 13 Nov (BF, AW et al). An exhausted imm. Masked Booby was picked up from Watford Bridge, Bermuda 27 Nov and later released by into the wild (AD). An ad. Brown Booby was seen in Castle Harbour, 9 Oct (JM). A long-staying imm. Brown Pelican was still present in Mangrove Bay, Bermuda to at least 24 Oct (AD).  Bermuda’s first Western Marsh Harrier was discovered on Morgan’s Point 20-31 Dec+ (PW). Single Sharp-shinned Hawks were seen on Nonsuch Is. 9 Oct and Alton Hill 24 Oct (AD). A Black-necked Stilt remained at Spittal Pond until 18 Sep (NA). A Hudsonian Godwit was discovered on Port Royal GC 25-28 Oct (DB). A Ruff was at Port Royal GC 8 Sep (AD). A Baird’s Sandpiper was at Spittal Pond 5-11 Sep (AD). A Wilson’ Phalarope was at Outer Lea Farm 5 Oct (TW). The first Red-necked Phalarope since 1994 was photographed in Jews Bay 19 Sep (RB). A large tern flock in the Little Sound 14-15 Oct included Least (1), Black (2), Common (60), Forster’s (3), Sandwich (4).  A Royal Tern flew over Mid-Ocean GC 8 Sep (AD) while another was seen on a pelagic trip off the South Shore, Bermuda 14 Nov (AD, RF). A imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen on Wreck Road 25 Sep (DBW). An influx of 15 Eastern Wood-Pewees was noted 9-27 Oct (AD et al). A Western Kingbird was on St. Georges GC 10-16 Oct (AD, PW) and another at Port Royal GC, Bermuda 1 Nov (AD). A Gray Kingbird was on Riddell’s Bay GC 8 Sep (PW). Six species of vireo were recorded during the season including a Blue-headed Vireo at Tudor Hill 26 Oct (AD). Two American Pipits were on Port Royal GC, Bermuda 8-20 Nov (AD). Thirty-five species of wood warbler have been recorded so during the season. There was a big fall of hundreds of Blackpoll Warblers 14-18 Oct (Mult obs). A Swamp Sparrow was seen on Coney Is. 25 Oct (NM). A Song Sparrow was seen at Ruth’s Point 27 Dec (PW). Perhaps an indication of a harsh winter in North America, up to five Red Crossbills on Nonsuch Is. 25 Oct was a real surprise (JM).

Observers: Niall Aitkin, David Bates, Geoff Bell, Richard Brewer, Andrew Dobson, Ian Fisher, Bob Flood, Derek Gibbons, Lisa Greene, Erich & Janice Hetzel, Jeremy Madeiros, Miguel Mejias, Neal Morris, Ingela Persson, Crista Smith, Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate.

Longtail in flight Bermuda

Longtails

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Bluebird in flight, worm in mouth, bluebird box

Bluebirds

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Cahow in flight Bermuda

Cahows

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Cockroach Island Bermuda, Audubon Nature Reserve Bermuda

Audubon Nature Reserves

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BHS building Bluebird boxes

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Acknowledgements:

Photos courtesy of Andrew Dobson, Paul Watson, Chris Burville, Ras Mykkal, Jennifer Gray, Rosalind Wingate, Rick Slaughter and others.

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