BirdTrax: Latest Sightings

Andrew Dobson and Jennifer Gray

The first ever sighting of Bohemian Waxwings Bombycilla garrulous was at “Brannel”, #15 Dock Hill, Devonshire on December 29th 2001 when Michelle and Rebecca Conklin spotted three lovely little birds just above their heads as they played on their new Christmas trampoline. The birds were “fluffed up” like little butterballs on the branches of the trimmed casuarina trees on the Dock Hill side of the property. They pointed them out to their mother, Jennifer Gray, who phoned Andrew Dobson that evening discussing what they might be – “perhaps Bohemian Waxwings”. The following morning, the three birds, now sleek and more active, spent much of the time high in the branches of a bare Pride of India tree, taking swift trips down to the birdbath below to drink. Their soft trills or “bleating” calls could be heard clear across the property as they chatted from their high sunny perch. Andrew Dobson arrived to see the birds and confirmed them to be Bohemian Waxwings, the first ever to have been recorded in Bermuda. (The similar Cedar Waxwings Bombycilla cedrorum are regular migrants and winter visitors to Bermuda). Other keen birders were called but the birds had already flown off before anyone else arrived. On the morning of December 31st there were only ever two birds present, but they were enjoyed by a number of visitors. In the late afternoon Jennifer was surprised to find five Bohemian Waxwings in the Pride of India tree. Amazingly, Andrew and his family had found the same five waxwings feeding on Mexican Pepper berries about a mile away on the Railway Trail and watched them fly back towards “Brannel”. The birds were last seen on January 6th and heard calling on January 7th. Bohemian Waxwings breed in Alaska and western Canada. In the winter they can stray as far east as New England with the odd vagrant as far south as Virginia. Their roaming lifestyle has earned them their “Bohemian” name. They are readily distinguished from Cedar Waxwings by their grey underparts (not yellowish), rufous undertail and yellow tips on outer web of primaries. The name “waxwing” is the result of drop-like, red waxy appendages on the end of the secondaries.

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

Environmental Issues

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Kids' Activities

Kids' Activities

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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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The Bermuda Audubon Society
P.O. Box HM 1328
Hamilton HM FX
Bermuda