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Andrew Dobson

Bird Report January to April 2016

The highlights of the season included: a second Western Marsh Harrier, a Black Skimmer, and two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in January.

The long-staying West Indian Whistling-Duck remained at Port Royal GC 1 Dec-9 Apr+ (AD). A Canada Goose arrived at Spittal Pond 21 Mar (AD). A Eurasian Teal was seen at various locations in Bermuda 10-24 Jan (DG). The first Cahow hatching of the year was confirmed on Nonsuch Island 26 Feb (JM). A probable Trindade Petrel was seen off Cooper’s Point 12 Apr (PW). Manx Shearwaters were passing Cooper’s Point at about 90 per hour Apr 1 (PW). The imm. Masked Booby remained at Dockyard 1 Dec-23 Mar (PW). Wintering Glossy Ibis increased to at least 7 individuals with six together in Paget 21 Mar (AD, DG). A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen over Stock’s Harbour 19 Mar (PW) and in the Port Royal area 14-23 Apr (AD, IP). Bermuda’s first Western Marsh Harrier present 20 Dec 2015 to 22 Apr was photographed with a second bird at Hungry Bay 18 Apr (DG). There was another late winter arrival of Purple Gallinules with sightings at Jubilee Road 24 Jan (PW), Pitman’s Pond 1-23 Feb (DBW) and Paget Marsh (two birds) 10-20 Feb (GB). A Black-necked Stilt was seen on Mid-Ocean GC 6 Apr (PW). A Ruff was at Spittal Pond 10-12 Mar (AD). An early Common Tern appeared at Dockyard 19 Mar (PW). A Black Skimmer was at Cooper’s Point 14-20 Feb (DBW). Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were discovered at Crystal Caves 31 Jan and another on the same day at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (AD, E&JH). Single Yellow-throated Vireos were discovered at Crystal Caves and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (AD, E&JH). The first Purple Martin of the spring was seen over Pembroke Dump 23 Feb (IF, PW). Snow Bunting were at Morgan’s Point 21 Dec-23 Jan with maximum count of 12 birds 26 Jan (IP). Twenty-six species of wood warbler were seen during the winter season including a Swainson’s Warbler at Botanical Gardens 9 Jan (AD), Wilson’s Warbler at Crystal Caves 31 Jan (PW) and Yellow-breasted Chat in Jenningsland 3 Apr (JM). A Swamp Sparrow was photographed on Morgan’s Point 17 Jan (AD, JM).

Observers: Geoff Bell, Andrew Dobson, Ian Fisher, Derek Gibbons, Erich & Janice Hetzel, Jeremy Madeiros, Ingela Persson, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

Bird Report May to July 2016

Highlights include the first breeding attempt by a Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Bermuda’s second Western Marsh Harrier and third Cave Swallow.

The long-staying West Indian Whistling-Duck was last seen at Port Royal GC 13 May (DG). A Gadwall was a rare summer record at Spittal Pond 13 June (AD, PW). A record 115 pairs of Bermuda Petrel (Cahow) raised 56 successfully fledging young in 2016 (JM). The peak Great Shearwater passage at Cooper’s Point 28 May saw 300+ per hour (AD, PW). A Leach’s Storm-Petrel came into a recently vacated Cahow burrow fitted with webcam on Nonsuch Is. 6 Jun. This is the first known occasion that a Leach's has prospected a nesting burrow in Bermuda. The bird was still visiting the burrow in July (JM). A Band-rumped Petrel was seen 65 miles west of Bermuda 14 May (PW). An imm. Brown Pelican (above) was seen at various locations 2-16 Jul (MV, CL). A Northern Harrier was still present near Hinson’s Is. 8 May (EH). A maximum 5 Black-necked Stilts were present at North Pond 1-9 June (AD). A Ruff on Mid-Ocean GC 22 Apr may have been the same bird at East End Dairy 27 Apr-1 May (PW). A Wilson’s Phalarope was a Spittal Pond 9 June (AD). A Great Skua passed Cooper’s Point 28 May (PW). Single South Polar Skuas were seen 81 and 108 miles west of Bermuda 14 May (EH, PW). A Gull-billed Tern was at Spittal Pond 9-12 May and another at the Airport 25 Jun-11 Jul (PW). A Roseate Tern was in the Great Sound 5-10 May (DBW). Common Nighthawks are unusual in spring, so 4 at East End Dairy 9-10 May were notable (PW). Record numbers of Cliff Swallows appeared in Aug with a maximum flock of 40 at Spittal Pond 12 Aug (IP, WF). Bermuda’s third record of Cave Swallow (above) was at East End Dairy 10-11 May (PW). A late Louisiana Waterthrush was at BIOS 10-18 May and another provided the first returning fall warbler at Compston’s Pond 31 Jul-2 Aug (PW). A male American Redstart was seen in Jenningsland 10 July (LM), the first July record. A Blackburnian Warbler (right) was at Spittal Pond 9-10 May (AD). Spring Bobolinks are always scarce but at least 7 were seen at various locations 7-15 May (AD).

Observers: Geoff Bell, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Derek Gibbons, Erich & Janice Hetzel, Chris Loscalzo, Jeremy Madeiros, Leila Madeiros, Ingela Persson, Marianne Vahey, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

Bird Report August to November 2016

Highlights include the first record of Grey-headed Swamphen and first Rusty Blackbird for 41 years. Tropical Storm Karl produced an unprecedented number of Pectoral Sandpipers.

An imm. Brant was discovered at Cloverdale Pond 11 Nov (TW) but did not appear healthy and died 26 Nov. A Hooded Merganser at Port Royal GC 6-7 Aug was very unusual (AD). November wildfowl arrivals included two Bufflehead at Coney Is. 12 Nov (NM), two Common Goldeneye at Mangrove Lake 29 Nov (PW) and two Red-breasted Merganser at Mangrove Lake 14-30 Nov+ (PW). A Double-crested Cormorant in Mangrove Lake 8 Aug was the earliest fall record (MM). Spittal Pond hosted the earliest fall record of Least Bittern 8-15 Aug (PW). A Grey-headed Swamphen at Somerset Long Bay 25 Oct-19 Nov (TW) was the first record for Bermuda. Two likely sightings of a Sandhill Crane were made over Pembroke Marsh 29 Oct (JN) and Stocks Harbour 31 Oct (PA). A Hudsonian Godwit was at Spittal Pond 26-28 Aug (PW). A Red Knot was at Devonshire Marsh 11- 26 Oct (PW). A Ruff was on Port Royal GC 17 Sept (AD). A Baird’s Sandpiper was discovered at the Airport 25-27 Aug (PW) and another at Port Royal GC 4-5 Sept (AD). A flock of 5 Buff-breasted Sandpipers was on Port Royal GC 6 Sep (AD). Following the passing of T.S. Karl, about 500 Pectoral Sandpipers were counted at the Airport 24 Sept (PW, AD). A Long-billed Dowitcher was well observed at Devonshire Marsh 1-6 Nov (PW, AD). A Wilson’s Phalarope was on Spittal Pond 6-8 Oct (AD). Two Red Phalarope were found alive but unable to fly at Warwick Long Bay 20 Nov (DC) and Glebe Hill 21 Nov (PC) but died shortly after being taken to BAMZ. This season has been a very poor one for flycatchers. A Great Crested Flycatcher was on Nonsuch Is. 21 Nov (PF, KS, TJ). A Philadelphia Vireo was seen in the Arboretum 16 Oct (AD, E&JH). Record numbers of Cliff Swallows appeared in Aug with a maximum flock of 40 at Spittal Pond 12 Aug (IP, WF). Migrant thrushes were almost absent this fall. An American Robin was feeding at Fort Scaur 6 Nov (AD). Two Snow Bunting were discovered on Cooper’s Is. 20 Nov (AD, E&JH). A late Louisiana Waterthrush was at BIOS 10-18 May and another provided the first returning fall warbler at Compston’s Pond 31 Jul-2 Aug (PW). A big fall-out of Blackpoll Warblers followed the passage of Hurricane Nicole (a direct hit on Bermuda on 13 Nov) with hundreds of birds noted 15-16 Nov (AD). A Dickcissel was at Fort Scaur 18 Oct (AD). A Rusty Blackbird, the first since 1975, was a surprise on Turtle Hill GC 25-26 Nov (AD). A Common Redpoll was seen at Coney Is. 23 Oct (NM).

Observers: Geoff Bell, Peggy Corrao, Dave Curnow, Andrew Dobson, Peter Flood, Erich & Janice Hetzel, Kate Sutherland, Tom Johnson, Jeremy Madeiros, Leila Madeiros, Miguel Mejias, Neal Morris, Jeane Nikolai, Ingela Persson, Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate.

Bird Report December 2016

Highlights of the month included: Bermuda’s first record of Common Eider and another Rusty Blackbird.

An adult Snow Goose discovered on Mid-Ocean GC 8 Dec (GB) then remained at Bermuda Airport to 10 Jan (AD). A female Common Eider, the first record for Bermuda was seen at Clearwater 19 Dec (AD, AMD, FD, KD) – see Vol.27 No.3. A Bermuda maxima four Ruddy Duck were on Mangrove Lake 7 Dec (AD). One Northern Gannet passed Cooper’s Point 19 Dec (AD, AMD, FD). A Least Bittern was at Pitman’s Pond 16 Dec (IP) and 31 Jan (DBW). Two Forster’s Terns were at Spanish Point 11 Dec-5 Jan (AD, EH). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was at Pitman’s Pond 5 Dec (DBW). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was in Jenningsland 19 Dec-19 Feb (JM, LM). A late Tree Swallow was over Ship’s Hill 9 Dec (PW). A Hermit Thrush was discovered in the Smiths Hills 17 Dec (JM). A  Swainson’s Warbler was on Hinson’s Is 18 Dec (EH, JH). A Dickcissel was photographed on Mid-Ocean GC, 6 Dec (NM). A Rusty Blackbird was seen at Jubilee Road 3 Dec (AD, EH) (perhaps the same bird see on Turtle Hill GC in November).

Observers: Geoff Bell, Andrew Dobson, Anna Dobson (AMD), Fiona Dobson, Katrina Dobson, Erich Hetzel, Janice Hetzel, Jeremy Madeiros, Leila Madeiros,, Neal Morris, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

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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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