BirdTrax: Latest Sightings

Andrew Dobson

January to February 2012

Two Cahow were heard calling overhead at 10 pm in Tucker’s Town Bay 17 Feb (JM), the first time the birds have been heard over mainland Bermuda for perhaps 350 years and a sign of the breeding recovery of this species. A Northern Gannet was seen off Warwick Long Bay 30 Dec (RP). An American Bittern was seen at Mid-Ocean GC 28 Dec (AD). The imm. White Ibis remained at Spittal Pond to 29 Feb+ (AD). A Glossy Ibis was at the Airport 25-26 Jan (DW). The long-staying Garganey was still present in Devonshire Marsh to 29 Feb+ (AD). A Hooded Merganser was at Pembroke Marsh to 29 Feb+ (NM). A wintering Ruddy Duck was last seen on Mid-Ocean GC 5 Feb (AD).  At least one Osprey was present at various locations 1Jan-29 Feb+ (AD). A Peregrine Falcon was seen at various locations in 1 Jan-29 Feb+ (JM, DBW et al). An imm. Purple Gallinule was at Pembroke Marsh 22-27 Jan (NM) while an adult was found dead at Jubilee Road 25 Jan (DW). Two Greater Yellowlegs and two Lesser Yellowlegs were present at Port Royal GC and Spittal Pond 1 Jan-29 Feb+ (AD). Two Red Knot were at Cooper’s Island to 9 Jan-29 Feb+ (DW). A record number of Sanderling (30) was at Grape Bay 29 Jan (TW). A Bonaparte’s Gull was in Hamilton Harbour 20 Feb (NM). A first winter Iceland Gull spent most of its stay in Hamilton Harbour 22 Dec-26 Feb (JM) while a 3rd year Iceland Gull was in the East End 1 Jan-29 Feb+ (AD, PW). Single Eastern Phoebes were at Spittal Pond and Botanical Gardens 14 Dec-29 Feb+ (AD, NM). A Yellow-throated Vireo was seen in St. Georges 21 Jan (PW). A very early Purple Martin was over Wreck Road 22 Feb (DBW). A Winter Wren was in Horseshoe Dunes 8 Jan (AD). A Hermit Thrush was seen at Springfield NR 17-21 Jan (DW). Three American Pipit were discovered at the Airport 31 Jan-29 Feb+ (PW). Of 25 species of wood warbler record in Bermuda during the season, the most notable records were: a Blue-winged Warbler 18 Jan-2 Feb at Hog Bay Park (DW); a first winter Yellow Warbler at Pembroke Marsh 1 Jan (NM); and a Yellow-breasted Chat at Wreck Road 24 Jan-29 Feb+ (DBW). A Summer Tanager wintered in Bermuda, last seen on Wreck Road 25 Feb (AD). A Swamp Sparrow was seen at Devonshire Marsh 11 Dec-29 Feb+ (AD). A Blue Grosbeak was seen in St. Georges 21 Jan (PW). A Red-winged Blackbird was discovered at Pembroke Marsh 25-29 Feb+ (NM).

Observers: Andrew Dobson, Richard Gozney, Jeremy Madeiros, Neal Morris, Keith Rossiter, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, David Wingate (DBW).

March to May 2012

Highlights of the spring period included some exciting sea watching from Cooper’s Point where: record numbers of Leach’s and Wilson’s Storm-Petrels were observed from land; a record passage of Cory’s Shearwater was observed; and both Great and South Polar Skua were recorded. Birds from Europe included Garganey, Eurasian Teal and Ruff. A record flock of Chimney Swifts was seen in St. Georges.

Cahows to Terns

A record 101 breeding pairs of Cahows were confirmed 22 Mar (JM). On the way back from a whale-watching trip on 12 Apr, a probable Band-rumped Storm-Petrel was seen by David Wingate. This species has not been seen in Bermuda waters before. A first-year Snow Goose was discovered on Mid-Ocean GC 5 Apr (GB). A Canada Goose was an unusual spring arrival at Spittal Pond 14 May (DBW). The wintering female Garganey was last seen on Spittal Pond 23 Apr (AD). The two long-staying male Eurasian Teal were last seen together on Tucker’s Point GC 13 Mar with one of these on Mid-Ocean GC 18 Mar (AD). A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen over Paget 10-11 Mar (KH-S) and over Bermuda Airport 13 Mar (PW). A Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen at Wreck Road 24-31 Mar (DBW) with perhaps the same bird over the Hamilton Habour islands 25 Mar (AD). Another was at Fort St. Catherine 6 Apr (PW). A long-staying pair of Red-tailed Hawks built a nest at Morgan’s Point, Bermuda 31 Mar (AD, PW, DBW). A Peregrine Falcon was over Government House 28 Mar (RG). One of the wintering Red Knot was still present at Coopers Is 13 Apr (TW). A summer plumaged Red Knot was at Spanish Point 24 May (DBW).  A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Spittal Pond 13-23 May (AD). A Ruff (female) seen at Cooper’s Island 4 Apr (DBW) and 16 May (TW) may have been the same individual.  A female Wilson’s Phalarope was discovered at Jubilee Road 12 May. It then remained at Spittal Pond 13-23 May (AD). A Laughing Gull was seen at various locations 29-31 May+ MH). A wintering Iceland Gull in St Georges Harbour 20 Apr provided the latest recorded date in Bermuda (AD). A Roseate Tern was in the Hamilton Harbour islands 16-17 May (DBW). Two of Bermuda’s breeding Common Terns (both banded) were first noted returning in Harrington Sound 27 Mar (AD).

Cuckoos to Blackbirds

A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen at Bermuda Airport 13 Mar (NM). A Common Nighthawk was seen roosting in Devonshire 9 and 12 Apr (AC). A record breaking number of Chimney Swift (32+) was seen over St Georges GC 28 Apr (PW). There were still 9 present in St. Georges 15 May (PW).  A Northern Flicker was seen at Warwick Pond 15 Mar (TW) Single Yellow-throated Vireos were seen at Lagoon Park 10 Apr and Coral Beach Club 15 Apr (DW). The first spring Barn Swallow was reported from the East End 7 Mar (PW). A Veery was seen at Somerset Long Bay NR 29 Apr (DW).  Single Swainson's Thrush were noted at Wreck Hill Estate 25 Apr (WF) and Springfield NR 27-29 Apr (AD, DW). Ferry Reach – Two American Robins were found at Ferry Reach 10 Mar with another two at Pembroke Rectory 16 Mar (AD). The largest flock of spring Cedar Waxwings was (29) at Shelly Bay 5 May (JM). A Louisiana Waterthrush was discovered at Spittal Pond 16-18 Mar (AD) and Pembroke Marsh 21 Apr (NM). The Red-winged Blackbird at Devonshire Marsh was last seen 8 Mar (AD) while another was seen at Spittal Pond Farm 6 Apr (GL). Single male Scarlet Tanagers were seen at Evans Pond 3 May (NP) and in Warwick 5 May (JT).

Sea-watching from Cooper’s Point

10 Mar: Manx Shearwaters were passing Cooper’s Point a one per minute (PW).

20 Mar:  A 30 minute sea-watch at Cooper’s Point (PW) recorded Cory’s Shearwater (81 – a record count) and Manx Shearwater (15), while at 60 minute sea-watch at Elbow Beach on the same day noted Cory’s Shearwater (50), Manx Shearwater (2).

22 Apr: Between 3:30 and 6:00 pm (AD, PW), Wilson's Storm-Petrel (15), Leach's Storm-Petrel (23), unidentified Storm Petrel (30), Pomarine Jaeger (17), Parasitic Jaeger (4), unidentified jaeger (15), Manx Shearwater (23), Cory's Shearwater (2), Cahow (1)

18 May: Cooper’s Point (1 hr) (PW) - Cory’s Shearwater (14), Greater Shearwater (10), Sooty Shearwater (40), Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Great Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger

19 May: Cooper’s Point (7.30-10.30 hrs) (AD, PH, PW, DBW) - Cory’s Shearwater (14), Greater Shearwater (5), Sooty Shearwater (50), Manx Shearwater (2), Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Skua sp., Pomarine Jaeger (6), Long-tailed Jaeger (4)

20 May: Cooper’s Point (8.00-12.00 hrs) (AD, PW) - Cory’s Shearwater (20), Greater Shearwater (8), Sooty Shearwater (128), Manx Shearwater (2) Great Skua, South Polar Skua, Skua sp., Pomarine Jaeger (7), Parasitic Jaeger (2), Long-tailed Jaeger (10)

Observers: Alison Copeland, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Richard Gozney, Matt Hafner, Kelvin Hastings-Smith, Peter Hopkin, Graham Lamb, Jeremy Madeiros, Neal Morris, Natasha Powers, James Tavares, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate (DBW).

June to July 2012

Two male Wood Duck were present on Tucker’s Point GC, Bermuda 1-31 Jul+ (AD). The last Cahow chick departed Nonsuch Is., Bermuda 27 Jun (JM). This year there were 101 nesting pairs and 57 successfully fledged chicks. A cruise on BIOS Atlantic Explorer to about 60 miles SE of Bermuda 17-21 June (PH, DBW) recorded the following totals over 5 days: Cory’s Shearwater 56, Greater Shearwater 408, Manx Shearwater 2, Wilson's Storm-Petrel 13, Storm-Petrel sp. 2, White-tailed Tropicbird 69, Skua sp 3, Gull-billed Tern 1 and Common Tern 1. An Audubon’s Shearwater was seen off Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 9 Jun (PW). An imm. Magnificent Frigatebird first seen over Hamilton Harbour 29 Jun (AC) was at various locations in Bermuda to 5 Jul. A male Magnificent Frigatebird was at various Bermuda locations 3 Jul (AP). A Brown Booby imm. lingered near Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 3-31+ Jul (LW). A Black-necked Stilt was at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 2-10 June (KR). A Spotted Sandpiper at Spittal Pond 3 Jul may have been the first returning shorebird of the fall (MM). An imm. Least Tern was in Harrington Sound, Bermuda 2 Jul (AD) and another in the Great Sound, Bermuda 23 Jul (PH). A Roseate Tern was in Harrington Sound 23 Jun (DBW) while another remained near Rickett’s Is., Bermuda 1-30 Jun (DBW). A Royal Tern was at various locations, Bermuda 26 Jun-4 Jul (JM). Laughing Gulls, scarce in Bermuda, were reported from Harrington Sound, Hamilton Harbour and Cavello Bay (2) 3 Jul (AD, PH). Two Black-and-white Warblers in mangroves at Riddell’s Bay, Bermuda 14 Jul (DBW, MM) were the earliest fall records by 5 days. A Louisiana Waterthrush was at Tuckers Town Bay, Bermuda 26 Jul (JM).

Observers: Alison Copeland, Andrew Dobson, Peter Hopkin, Jeremy Madeiros, Miguel Mejias, Adam Power, Keith Rossiter, Paul Watson, Lloyd Webbe, David Wingate.

August to Dec 2012

Highlights in this period included: the first time more than one Brown Booby has been present in Bermuda; a record Canada Goose count; the 8th record of Long-tailed Duck; the 5th record of White-winged Scoter, the 4th and 5th records of White-winged Dove; five Red-breasted Nuthatches; and the first August record of Summer Tanager.

A Horned Grebe seen in Harrington Sound 14 Nov (JM) re-located to Castle Harbour 31 Dec+. The first returning Cahows in Bermuda were noted 17 Oct (JM). Three Cahows were seen together about one mile off Spittal Pond (DBW). A White-tailed Tropicbird was seen at Challenger Banks 10 Dec (per AD). The summering Brown Booby was seen with a second bird at Church Bay 4 Sep (CB). This is the first time two Brown Boobies have been seen in Bermuda. The two boobies were still present 29 Sep.  Another was seen at Mangrove Bay 12 Nov (WF). An imm Brown Pelican was present in the East End 2 Nov-4 Dec (AD). An imm. Great Cormorant was in the Great Sound 21-29 Dec (AD, PW). Single Magnificent Frigatebirds were seen over Mullet Bay 3 Aug, The Causeway 16 Oct (PW) and Wreck Hill 2 Nov (PH). Twelve Great Egrets were seen at Spittal Pont 17 Oct (AD). Seven Canada Geese (a land based maxima) in St. David’s 9 Nov were at various locations to Dec 31+ (AD). A Eurasian Wigeon at Spittal Pond 23 Oct (DBW) was the first of four present at various locations to 31 Dec+. The first returning Blue-winged Teal were noted on Spittal Pond 30 Aug (AD). An early immature Northern Shoveler was on Cloverdale Pond 15 Sep (AD). Bermuda 8th record of Long-tailed Duck was on Tucker’s Point GC 17 Nov-31Dec+ (AD). A Red-breasted Merganser was on Spittal Pond 14 Nov (AD) and four were at Spanish Point/Somerset Long Bay 28 Nov-29 Dec (HM). A White-winged Scoter (the 5th for Bermuda) was seen in Mangrove Lake 24 Nov (AD). A Black Scoter was in Ely’s Harbour 23 Nov (PW). A Ruddy Duck was at Cloverdale Pond 1-31 Dec+ (AD). The two Red-tailed Hawks were seen over Morgan’s Point throughout Dec (AD, PW). A Northern Harrier was seen over Flatt’s Village and a Sharp-shinned Hawk was over Hinson’s Island, both 4 Oct (PW). A Peregrine was seen at various locations 20-29 Dec (AD, RA, NM). A Virginia Rail was seen on Mid-Ocean GC 29 Dec (PA, GB). An imm. Purple Gallinule was at Somerset Long Bay NR 14 Dec (DBW). A Northern Lapwing (Bermuda’s 4th record) was first seen over Hamilton 8 Dec before moving to the Airport to 24-29 Dec (PW). An American Golden-Plover was still present at the Airport on 15 Dec (AD). An American Avocet was at Port Royal GC 10-17 Oct (AD). Two Piping Plover were on Nonsuch Is. 17 Aug (JM) while another frequented Castle Harbour beaches throughout October. An Upland Sandpiper was on Port Royal GC 15-16 Sep (AD). A Hudsonian Godwit was on Mid-Ocean GC 25 Sep-7 Oct (GB). A Baird’s Sandpiper was at Port Royal GC 11-12 Nov (AD). An early Dunlin was on Warwick Pond 4-8 Sep, re-locating to Port Royal GC until 29 Sep (AD). A second Dunlin was at East End Dairy 7-13 Oct (TW) and two at the Airport in Dec (AD, PW). A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was on Port Royal GC. 30 Aug (PH) with a high count of 7 at the Airport 17 Sep (AD). A Ruff was at the East End Dairy 29-30 Sep (AD). A Sandwich Tern was at the East End, Bermuda 2-10 Nov (PW). Common Terns peaked at 25 in Harrington Sound 20 Oct (AD) with a single at Spanish Point 29 Dec (NM, RP). Two Forster’s Terns were at Dockyard throughout Dec (PH). A juv. Black Tern was on Port Royal G.C. 2-7 Sep (PH) while an adult in Castle Harbour 15 Nov was very late (PW). A White-winged Dove (Bermuda’s 4th record) flew over Barry Rd, St Georges 3 Nov (PW) while another visited a Jenningsland garden 17 Nov (JM). A late Yellow-billed Cuckoo was on Cooper’s Island 30 Nov (AD) with another at Ferry Pont 9 Dec (NM). Single Short-eared Owls were seen over the Castle Harbour Islands 6 Nov (JM) and Daniel’s Island 14 Nov (PW).  Two Common Nighthawks were feeding over Nonsuch Is. 25-26 Sep (JM) while groups of 8 birds were seen over both the Airport 13 Oct (PW) and Warwick 15 Oct (AD). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen feeding on Wreck Road 29-30 Oct (DBW) and Botanical Gardens 6 Dec (LF). An Eastern Phoebe was at Coney Island 6 Oct (NM). A Great-crested Flycatcher was discovered on St. Georges GC 13 Oct (AD, PW). Four Eastern Kingbirds were noted on St. George’s GC. 30 Aug (PW). Yellow-throated Vireos were seen ay Ferry Point Park 22 Oct and Botanical Gardens 25 Oct (AD) while one retrieved from a cat was released on Wreck Road 21 Oct (DBW). Another was seen in Devonshire 29 Dec (AD). A Blue-headed Vireo was at Fort Scaur 3 Nov (NM). A Horned Lark was seen at Morgan’s Point 26 Nov (AC) and a flock of 13 was at the Airport 16-29 Dec (DBW). A record five Red-breasted Nuthatches were discovered this fall.  An exhausted bird was found on a moored boat in Dockyard 12 Sep (NP). The same observer saw another in Dockyard 1 Oct. A third was seen on Coney Island 20 Oct (TW), a fourth was in the Arboretum 27 Oct (NM) and a fifth on Wreck Road 30 Oct (WF). An American Robin was seen on Wreck Road 21 Oct (DBW) and Morgan’s Point 21 Dec (AD).  Two American Pipits were on Port Royal GC 12-15 Nov (AD) and one on Cooper’s Island 15 Dec (AD). Of the rarer warbler sightings, a Louisiana Waterthrush was at Jubilee Road 23 Aug (AD), a Kentucky Warbler was seen in Jenningsland 26 Aug (JM), a Mourning Warbler was at Ferry Point Park 30 Sep (NM) and single Canada Warblers were seen at Cemetery Hill 1 Sep (PW) and Heydon Trust 26 Sep (AD). A Summer Tanager near Fort St. Catherine 30 Aug was the first August record (PW). A Clay-coloured Sparrow was at the Maritime Museum 7 Nov (PH). A Grasshopper Sparrow was seen at Coney Island 12 Nov (AD). A Fox Sparrow was seen at Fort Scaur, 31 Oct (WF). A Lincoln’s Sparrow was at Shelly Bay Mangroves 20 Oct (AD). Two White-throated Sparrows were at the Maritime Museum 8 Nov (PH). A White-crowned Sparrow was on Mid-Ocean GC 24 Oct (AD), two were at the Maritime Museum 9 Nov (PH) and one was seen in the west end Dec 29 (SD, NP). A Dark-eyed Junco was in the Arboretum 23 Oct (AD). A female Snow Bunting was on South Road, Paget 12 Nov (AD) and 4 were at the Airport 28-29 Dec (AD, PW). A Common Redpoll was seen at Spittal Pond 30 Nov (AD) and four were on Nonsuch Island 9 Dec (AD). A Pine Siskin was on Port Royal GC 11 Nov (WF).

Observers: Peter Adhemar, Richard Amos, Geoff Bell, Alison Copeland, Geoff Bell, Chris Burville, Steven DeSilva, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Lance Furbert, Charles Gosling, Peter Hopkin, Jeremy Madeiros, Herb Marshall, Neal Morris, Nigel Pollard, Ron Porter, Adam Power, Natasha Power, Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate.

Longtail in flight Bermuda


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Bluebird in flight, worm in mouth, bluebird box


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Cahow in flight Bermuda


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

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