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January to May 2010

Highlights of the reporting period included Bermuda’s first Eastern Towhee, the fourth record of Black Swift, an influx of Swallow-tailed Kites (which was mirrored in the Bahamas), a wreck of Atlantic Puffins and the fifth record of Garganey (one of three Old World duck species to be reported).

Geese to Puffins

A record four Canada Geese wintered in Bermuda including one bird banded in Quebec 8 Jul 09 (AD). Four Gadwall were at Warwick Pond/Devonshire Marsh 18 Feb-21 Mar (AD). A female Eurasian Wigeon was at Marsh Lane, 31 Dec- 12 Jan (JM) and a male was at Spittal Pond 20-23 Feb (PW). A stunning male Garganey was on Warwick Pond 11-18 Apr (KK). A male Eurasian Teal was at Jubilee Road 5-12 Mar (PW). The first returning White-tailed Tropicbird was noted at Spittal Pond 2 Feb (KR). An immature Northern Gannet was on Spittal Pond 9 Mar (TW) but was found dead the following day, while a third found at St. Davids 17 Mar (LG) later died. Glossy Ibis arrived at Spittal Pond 7 Mar (AD) and one bird was seen in various locations to at least 1 June (DW). A Swallow-tailed Kite at Spittal Pond 2 Mar (KR) was to herald an unprecedented influx of up to nine birds to mid-May. A Northern Harrier was at Spittal Pond 21 Feb (AD). A Sharp-shinned Hawk was over Port’s Is. 6 Mar (AD). The two long-staying Red-tailed Hawks were present the whole year (AD). A Peregrine Falcon was still at various locations through the spring period (CB, JM et al). A Purple Gallinule was found at Pembroke Marsh and taken into care at BAMZ 13 Jan (AD). Two Piping Plovers wintered at Cooper’s Point and one was present to 1 Apr (AD). A Stilt Sandpiper was at North Pond 6 May (PW). Single Red Phalaropes were seen off-shore 25 Apr (CB) and mid-May (DBW). A Black-legged Kittiwake was at Nonsuch Is. 21 Jan (JM) and another at Astwood Park 10 Feb (AD) was taken into care but died in captivity. A Black-headed Gull was in Hamilton Harbour 3 Jan-15 Feb (AD). Bermuda also had a record number of 53 Lesser Black-backed Gulls 23 Jan (AD, PW). The first returning Common Tern was noted at Flatt’s Inlet 30 Mar (AD). A flock of 20+ Arctic Terns was seen migrating off the South Shore 24 May (AD). A Skua sp was photographed off-shore on 17 May (AS). A Pomarine Jaeger was photographed off-shore 25 Apr (CB). Five Atlantic Puffins were washed up on beaches in the West End 7 Feb (JG et al) perhaps indicative of a serious die-off at sea. A Ring-necked Turtle-Dove of unknown origin was seen at Cooper’s Is. 17-23Apr (AD). Cuckoos are never common in the spring, but both Yellow-billed Cuckoo at North Pond (PW) and Black-billed Cuckoo at Spittal Pond 6 May (PW) were recorded. A Short-eared Owl was seen at Bermuda Airport 9 Jan (AD). A Common Nighthawk was over Warwick 24 Apr (AD). Bermuda’s 4th record of Black Swift was well observed at Prospect 31 May (PW). A single Chimney Swift was at Great Head Park 25 Apr (PW) with five over Spittal Pond 5 May (AD). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was on Wreck Road 1 Dec-1 Jan (WF). A Northern Flicker was drinking at a garden birdbath in Tamarind Vale 13 Dec (A&SC). One Eastern Phoebe was at Coral Beach Club 31 Dec-1 Jan (AD). Two Western Kingbirds were at Spittal Pond 12 Dec- 4 Jan (TW). A Grey Kingbird was at Spittal Pond 2-5 May (KR). Two Blue-headed Vireos were on Morgan’s Point 31 Dec (EA). The first Purple Martin of the spring was at Cooper’s Is. 20 Feb (EA). A Tree Swallow over-wintered at Bermuda Airport (AD). Bermuda’s first Eastern Towhee was seen at Ferry Point Park 4 Apr (PW), almost certainly the same bird that was thought to be a towhee near Fort St. Catherine in early Jan (PW). Two Grey-cheeked Thrushes were seen at Stokes Point NR 1-2 May (DBW) and another at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences 2 May (AD, PW). A Wood Thrush was in Jenningsland 24 Dec-1 Jan (JM). An American Pipit was seen at Grape Bay 3 Jan (DW). A late Prairie Warbler 22 May (BL) was in the same Fairylands garden as one in June 2009. The (same) bird also attacked its reflection in a car wing mirror. A Blackpoll Warbler was at Fort Scaur 28 May (WF). A Yellow-breasted Chat was on Morgan’s Point 31 Dec (EA). A Fox Sparrow was at Morgan’s Point 16 Jan (AD). Three Snow Buntings were on the Castle Harbour Islands 1 Dec-21 Jan (JM). A Summer Tanager was also on Wreck Road 1 Jan (AD). A Dickcissel was at Ireland Is. 12 Mar (WF). Two Bobolinks were at Stokes Point NR 1 May (DBW). A Brown-headed Cowbird was at Spittal Pond 5-6 May (DW).

Observers: Eric Amos, Chris Burville, Andrew and Sonia Cox, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Jennifer Gray, Lisa Greene, Peter Hopkin, Karen Kardell, Bruce Lorhan, Jeremy Madeiros, Ron Porter, Keith Rossiter, Andrew Stevenson, James Tatham, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate

June-July 2010

The last Cahow chick departed on 27/28 June. Another record breaking season in which 93 confirmed nesting pairs produced 51 successful fledglings. Summering herons included a Snowy Egret and Little Blue Heron at Spittal Pond (AD). An adult Spotted Sandpiper at Saltus Island 2 Jul (PH) was the first fall shorebird. Common Terns had a poor breeding season due mainly to rat predation. A total of 6 pairs fledged 9 chicks (DBW). A flock of Northern Shovelers (20) flew over St. Georges 4 Jul (JR). A Prairie Warbler still singing until at least 27 June (JH) on Hinson's Island represented the latest summer record of any warbler species in Bermuda. A Northern Waterthrush at Tucker's Town Bay 26 Jul (JM) was the first fall warbler.

August-December 2010

Hurricane Igor 19 September was the main weather event of the season, probably resulting in Bermuda’s first White-winged Black Tern and fourth Little Egret. Several Magnificent Frigatebirds arrived ahead of the storm. Other highlights included the first record of a pair of Downy Woodpeckers in Bermuda (there have been very few previous sightings), the first Brown Creeper since 1992 and a record number of Red-breasted Nuthatches and Northern Mockingbirds. There were the first ever winter records of both Franklin’s Gull and Bridled Tern.

A Northern Gannet found at Pilchard Bay 12 Nov (AN) was taken into care and released after two days. Just prior to Hurricane Igor there were three sightings of Magnificent Frigatebird: Ferry Reach (PW) 17-18 Sep, Mangrove Bay (PH) and St. Davids (R&KL) 18 Sep. A Magnificent Frigatebird was also over Harrington Sound 20-21 Oct (AD). A Least Bittern was suspected of having over-summered at Paget Marsh and was last seen 14 Oct (AD, RG). A Little Egret was seen at Edward Gibbons NR 21 Sep and remained on the island to 25 Sep (AD). One Canada Goose at Parsons Road 27 Nov was joined by another 31 Dec+ (AD). An exhausted Brant was at Spittal Pond 16 Oct (DBW) and was found dead the next day. A single Snow Goose arrived at Belmont GC 26 Dec (AD). A Common Goldeneye 14 Nov at S.Princess Pond probably re-located to Mangrove Lake 22-31 Dec+ (PW). A male Long-tailed Duck at Spittal Pond 16-29 Dec (NM).  A Ruddy Duck was found at Tucker’s Point GC 12 Nov-Dec 31+ (DW). A Virginia Rail was seen at Pembroke Marsh 9 Dec (NM) and another was found injured 14 Dec and taken to BAMZ but later died. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was over the Talbot Estate 23 Sep (AD), one of seven bird of prey species seen in the fall. Of the less commonly occurring shorebird species, single Piping Plovers were at Cooper’s Is 19 Aug (RG) and on Warwick Long Bay 28 Aug-5 Sep (LM). Single Willets were at Spittal Pond 28 Aug (AD) and over Nonsuch Is. 23 Sep (JM). A Curlew Sandpiper was on North Pond 4 Oct (DW). A Red Knot was seen at Port Royal GC 9-12 Dec (AD). A Franklin’s Gull was present at Port Royal GC 1-11 Dec (DBW). One 1st winter Black-headed Gull in Hamilton Harbour 2 Nov (PW) was seen with an adult bird at Tucker’s Point GC 22 Nov (PW). A wing-tagged Ring-billed Gull 16-31 Dec + was banded in Massachusetts. A Least Tern 8 Sep was joined by two others in Harrington Sound 10 Sep accompanied by 50+ Common Terns (PH). Two Forster’s Terns were in Harrington Sound 14-31 Dec+. A Bridled Tern found exhausted on Port Royal GC 14 Dec died in captivity at BAMZ.  A Sooty Tern was found exhausted on a Devonshire roof and died in captivity at BAMZ (SC). Bermuda’s first White-winged Black Tern was identified by DBW 30 Sep. It was present on Port Royal GC 29 Sep-4 Oct. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was at Ferry Point Park 26 Dec-2 Jan (PW). A Short-eared Owl was at Spittal Pond 28-30 Dec (AD). Two hummingbirds (probably Ruby-throated) were seen at Hog Bay Park 2 Sep (JR). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Smiths was present 31 Dec+ (J&K L). A male Downy Woodpecker was discovered in the Botanical Gardens 14 Nov (DW). A female was photographed 17 Nov (AD) and two were seen together 18 Nov (PH). The male excavated two holes in a camphor tree and the last sighting was 27 Nov. This is the first record of Downy Woodpecker for 20 years and the first time more than one bird has been seen together. There are at least 8 previous records. An Eastern Phoebe was on Mid-Ocean GC 3-9 Nov (DBW). Great Crested Flycatcher was in Riddell’s Bay mangroves 8 Sep (AD). A Grey Kingbird was at Lukes Farm 29 Aug (NM, PH). Single Red-breasted Nuthatches were seen at Cambridge Beaches 16 Oct (MH), Ferry Point 2-5 Nov (DBW), Paget Is 3 Nov (DBW) and the A.B. Smith N.R. 22 Nov (DW). This is a record number for any year. A Brown Creeper was seen at Ferry Reach 6 Nov-31 Dec+ (NM). A flock of four Golden-crowned Kinglets on Morgan’s Point 21 Nov (AD) was most unusual. A Veery was at BIOS 12 Sep (AD, DW). A Grey-cheeked Thrush was on Wreck Road 16 Oct (AD). Northern Mockingbirds were seen at Harrington Sound 19-20 Sep (PA), St. Georges 7 Oct (GO), Government House 17 Oct (RG) and Tudor Hill 18 Nov (DW) creating a record number in any year. An American Pipit was on Riddell’s Bay GC 13 Oct (DW). Thirty-six warbler species were recorded during the season. Notable records included: Golden-winged Warblers at Coney Is. 11 Sep (DBW) and Heydon Trust 14 Oct (AD); a late Yellow Warbler in Botanical Gardens 16 Nov (PW); two early Blackpoll Warblers on Wreck Road 31 Aug (WF);  single Cerulean Warblers at Wreck Road 31 Aug- 3 Sep (WF) and Ferry Point 8 Sep (DBW); a Swainson’s Warbler in Riddell’s Bay mangroves 6 Sep (AD); a Louisiana Waterthrush at Mangrove Lake 4-5 Sep (DBW); a Mourning Warbler at Talbot Estate 9 Sep (AD); and single Yellow-breasted Chats at Wreck Hill 7 Nov and Alton Hill 14 Nov (PH). Dark-eyed Juncos were seen at Cooper’s Point 11 Nov (AD) and Lagoon Park 13 Nov (DW). Snow Buntings were seen at a number of locations including 3 at the Maritime Museum 13 Nov (DW). An imm. Red-winged Blackbird was at Hungry Bay 7 Nov (DG). An Eastern Meadowlark was on Port Royal GC 6 Oct (R&K Latter). A Brown-headed Cowbird flew over Botanical Gardens 14 Nov (PW). Three Common Redpolls were at Cooper’s Point 13 Nov (PH).

Observers: Peter Adhemar, Stephen Barton, Stephen Copeland, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Derek Gibbons, Richard Gozney, Marya Halderman, Janice Hetzel, Junior Hill, Peter Hopkins, Ray & Kay Latter, Jade & Keith Lovell, Jeremy Madeiros, Leila Madeiros, Natasha Merino, Neal Morris, Anson Nash, Gillian Outerbridge, Jill Raine,Keith Rossiter, Tim White, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, David Wingate (DBW).

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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
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Bermuda