BirdTrax: Latest Sightings

On Monday December 23rd 2002, 12 birders spent a total of nearly 90 hours in windy, often blustery but warm conditions, counting 99 species and 9769 birds. Four new species were added to the 232 species recorded since the counts began in 1975. Wendy Frith bravely did her count while suffering from the flu and Steve Rodwell “knackered” (as he put it) his back while peddling over much of St Georges. As usual we recorded a marvelous eclectic mix of birds that originated in many geographic locations in the United States and Canada and even a couple from Europe.

From Europe we had the Northern Lapwing and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. From the Gulf of Mexico came the Reddish Egret. From the prairies of Canada or NW United States - the White Pelican. A Painted Bunting from coastal North Carolina is usually in Florida or Central America at this time of year, while the Summer Tanager and Orchard Oriole, are seldom recorded outside of the tropics in winter. There was also a green & yellow Budgerigar – presumably an escaped cage-bird. The Reddish Egret was discovered by Dave Wallace the night before the count but not seen again until December 31st – when everyone had just about despaired of ever seeing it.

Most of the birds had already been discovered but several were surprises. Andrew Dobson added a Tree Swallow and a Northern Harrier. Bruce Lorhan and James Tatum supplied two Least Bitterns and a totally unexpected pair of Common Mergansers. Ron Porter added the Summer Tanager. Jeremy Madeiros counted 620 pigeons at the farm at Outerlea and this boosted the high count for these controversial birds by more than 400 to 1235, which was also the count for the ubiquitous Kiskadee. David Wingate and new recruit Eugene Harvey, together with the Bird Control Officer Dale Hines, added a Short-eared Owl at the airport. We found 19 species of warblers but the abundance of these long-distance migrants, although better than recent years, is still low when compared to the numbers that wintered on the island in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The lone Cape May Warbler on this year’s count is the most extreme example of this dramatic decline.

I also noted, while surveying Paget Marsh, the death, presumably by drowning, of most, if not all, of the Bermuda Cedars. The browned trees, many of which are hundreds of years old, really stand out when looking down on the marsh. This can only be an indication of the rise of the sea level and the long-promised Global Warning. (See Vol.13 No.4). Results of the Bermuda CBC are available to everyone at www.audubon.org/bird/cbc

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