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Annual Bird Reports

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).

The Bermuda Audubon Society held its 36th CBC on 2nd January 2011. Highlights of this year’s count were:

  • 9,305 individual birds (600 more birds than last year’s total)
  • 102 species of birds (100 in 2009)
  • Two new species for count day
  • European Starling was the most common species (27% of the count)
  • About 250 species have now been recorded on the CBC in Bermuda since 1975

Sixteen members of the Society counted every bird from dawn to dusk as well as adding any additional species seen during the week. Considerable effort went into planning the count, with the observers dividing the island up into nine areas. Completing much of the census on foot, observers also used car, bike, boat and golf carts! Some unusual species were seen this year. New species for Bermuda’s count included a White-winged Dove seen by Jeremy Madeiros in the Smiths Hills and a Brown Creeper seen by Paul Watson in Ferry Point Park. Other unusual species included a Northern Gannet which passed through Andrew Dobson’s field of view while he was watching two Humpback Whales off Warwick Long Bay! Two globally endangered species of birds were recorded, our own national bird, the Cahow, and the Piping Plover, a small shorebird which breeds in the eastern US and Canada. High counts were broken for several species, notably Killdeer (504) and American Pipit (112). These two species arrived in large numbers as a result of the bad weather and the storm systems that reached Bermuda. However, over 50% of all birds recorded were starlings, kiskadees or sparrows – all invasive species which shouldn’t really be in Bermuda and they have certainly had an impact on our local birds. The low numbers of migrant warblers continues a depressing downward trend in the population of these species. It is a reflection of loss of habitat in summer (breeding grounds) and wintering areas. This year there may well have been mortality in Bermuda as a result of the long period of winter storms.

CBC results will be available as they are entered onto the National Audubon website www.audubon.org/bird/cbc

January to May 2009

Highlight of the report is the hatching of the first Cahow on Nonsuch Island since about 1620. The hatching took place about 21 Mar. Notable bird sightings include the second record of Common Greenshank (an Old World shorebird) and a spring Horned Lark.

This year not only produced the first Cahow chick on Nonsuch Island since the early  17th century, but it promises to be another record year with about 90 breeding pairs and 47 confirmed chicks to date. Shearwater migration started 27 Feb with one Cory’s and 3 Manx off Watch Hill Park (AD). The Northern Gannet was seen various locations to 28 Feb (EA, AD). A Brown Pelican was at various locations 10-14 Apr (JF). An imm. Black-crowned Night-Heron was at Spittal Pond 24 Oct-23 Feb (PW).  A White Ibis was at Spittal Pond 31 Jan-21 Feb (KR). Five Snow Geese wintered and two were present until 10 Apr at Port Royal GC (AD). The island’s first Ross's Goose was present at Belmont GC to 7 May (AD). Two Canada Goose wintered and one was present at Belmont GC 14 May (DBW).   Six Wood Ducks were at Port Royal GC 26 Nov-2 Jan (DW).  The long-staying male Eurasian Wigeon was present to at least 18 Jan in Harrington Sound (AD). A female American Wigeon was on North Pond 28 Apr (DBW). A drake Northern Shoveler was at Spittal Pond 23-25 May (DBW). Wintering Northern Pintail peaked six at Spittal Pond 2 Feb (EA). Record flocks of Ring-necked Duck (19) and Lesser Scaup (23) wintered at Mangrove Lake (AD).  Two Buffleheads wintered at various locations (DW). A record 21 Hooded Merganser were seen at various locations Jan-Mar (DW).  A Common Merganser was at Mangrove Lake 27 Dec-1 Mar (PA). The long-staying Red-tailed Hawks were present to at least 21 May (DBW). One American Golden-Plover was with Black-bellied Plover at the airport 27 Dec-18 Jan (DBW). Two Piping Plovers wintered in Bermuda, at Ariel Sands and Cooper’s Island. (AD).  A Black-necked Stilt was at Spittal Pond 4-12 Apr (KR). A Common Greenshank was discovered at Spittal Pond 23-28 May (DBW).  This is the only Bermuda record other than a single-observer sight record in 1960. One Lesser Yellowlegs was present at Spittal Pond to at least 7 Mar (AD). A Eurasian Whimbrel was on Stocks Harbour mudflat 11-12 Mar (EA). A flock of 19 Sanderling wintered. (AD). Single Pomarine Jaegers were seen at Challenger Banks 26 Apr and 3 May (AD, PH). A Laughing Gull was at Dockyard 19 May (DBW). Wintering Black-headed Gulls peaked at 7 in the Great Sound 5 Jan (PW). One was present to at least 23 Mar (JM). An Iceland Gull was present in the East End 3– 30 Mar (AD). A dying Black-legged Kittiwake was taken to BAMZ 3 Mar (DBW). A Royal Tern was in Castle Harbour 14-21 Apr (JM). Five Arctic Terns were off the west end of Bermuda 3 May (AD, DBW).  A Forster’s Tern was seen 1-5 Jan in the Great Sound (AD). A moribund Atlantic Puffin was found on Nonsuch Is beach 24 Feb (JF). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was at East End dairy 11 Apr (PW). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen in Botanical Gardens 2 Jan (AD, FD), while another visited a Southdown Farm garden 11 Mar-15 Apr (SI). A Northern Flicker was seen at Morgan’s Point 8 Mar (AD, DW). A Western Kingbird was seen at Lover’s Lake 18 Jan (DW). Single Eastern Kingbirds were at the airport 12 Apr (PW) and Jenningsland 17 Apr (JM). Two Red-eyed Vireos were at Clearwater 19 Apr (PW). Two American Pipits in the West End 27 Dec (PH) were the first of an impressive 112 noted. A Horned Lark was at Commissioner’s House, Dockyard 8-19 May (RG).  A late flock of 16 Tree Swallows was at the East End dairy 10 Dec (DO) with at least 20 remaining into Mar (AD). Two Northern Rough-winged Swallows were at Cloverdale 2 Jan and various locations to 28 Feb (DW).  Single Wood Thrushes were seen at Ferry Point Park 18 Jan (AD, DW) and Wreck Road mangroves 29 Jan (AD). A Summer Tanager remained at Jenningsland 14 Dec-4 Feb (JM).  A  Scarlet Tanager was at Paget Marsh 25 Apr (RGr). A flock of 18 Snow Buntings was present at he Airport 27 Dec-18 Jan (DBW). Two Blue Grosbeaks were on St. George’s GC 24 Apr (PW) and another at Cooper’s Is 26 Apr (DBW). A Dickcissel was seen at Boaz Is 4 Jan (PH). A Red-winged Blackbird was in Mills Creek/Point Shares area 19 Feb-9 Apr (JT). Two Common Redpolls were at Spittal Pond 10 Feb (PW, KR, SB).

June to July 2009

A probable Grey Heron was reported from the former Sonesta Hotel site, Bermuda 17 Jun (EA). The long-staying male Eurasian Wigeon was present to 31 Jul+ on Spittal Pond, Bermuda (EA). A Peregrine Falcon was seen in Bermuda over Hamilton 14 Jun (PA) and near the Whaler Inn 1 Jul (DBW). Two Red-tailed Hawks were seen at Morgan’s Point, Bermuda throughout the period (AD).  The Common Greenshank which arrived 23 May departed Spittal Pond, Bermuda 1 June (KR). Shorebirds in Bermuda in June included three Semipalmated Plovers 11 Jun at Spanish Point (EA), two Black-necked Stilts 18-25 Jun at various locations (DG), two Semipalmated Sandpipers 25 Jun at St. Georges Dairy (EA) and a Solitary Sandpiper at Devonshire Marsh 30 Jun - 2 Jul (DW). The first Bermuda fall migrant shorebirds noted in July included one Lesser Yellowlegs at Devonshire Marsh 10 Jul (EA) and a Spotted Sandpiper at the same location 15 Jul (EA, DBW).  An ad Franklin’s Gull was at Dockyard, Bermuda 9-22 Jun (DBW). A sub-ad summer Franklin’s Gull was at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 26-31 Jul+ (DBW).  A Ring-billed Gull stayed until 13 Jun at Dockyard, Bermuda (DBW). A 2nd year Roseate Tern was at Dockyard, Bermuda 24-26 Jun (AD). In their slow recovery from hurricane Fabian (Bermuda 2003), five pairs of Common Terns raised 12 young (DBW). A Forster’s Tern was at Dockyard, Bermuda 21 Jun (PH). Early swallows were 6 Tree Swallows and 2 Cliff Swallows St. Georges Dairy, Bermuda 29 Jul (PW). A Prairie Warbler singing at Point Shares 21 May – 12 Jun was the first summer record in Bermuda (BL).  The first fall warbler in Bermuda was a Louisiana Waterthrush on Nonsuch Is. 26 Jul (JM).

August to December 2009

Highlights of the period included the first record of Purple Swamphen in Bermuda and an exceptional eight American Avocets.

A Northern Gannet was seen at various locations 18-31 Dec (RP, PW). A Great Cormorant was in Castle Harbour 24-31 Dec (JM). Highlight Cattle Egrets numbers increased from 24 at the Airport 16 Nov (DW) to 32 island-wide 19 Nov (DW).  A Black-crowned Night-Heron was at Somerset Long Bay NR 7 Nov- 31 Dec (AD). A swan sp. was seen flying over Sandys Parish on 13 and 17 Dec (SR and PH).  A swan sp. was seen flying over Sandys Parish 13 and 17 Dec (SR and PH).  A Canada Goose at Spittal Pond 16-19 Dec was joined both two more 24 Dec (TW). Four Gadwall were at Warwick Pond 18-31 Dec (AD). The long-staying male Eurasian Wigeon was at Spittal Pond 2 Aug (DBW) and a female Eurasian Wigeon was at Marsh Lane 31 Dec (JM). An adult Peregrine was chasing City Hall pigeons 10 Nov (PH). A Northern Harrier was over the Airport/Castle Harbour Islands 9-17 Oct (PA, JM). Bermuda’s first Purple Swamphen was at Bernard Park 26 Oct to 6 Nov (but probably present for at least a week before that)(AD). Two Piping Plovers were at Cooper’s Point 11 Nov (AD) and one was still present to 31 Dec (PW). There had only been eight single records of American Avocet in Bermuda, so when two arrived at Spittal Pond 2 Oct (KR) no-one expected numbers would peak at 8 on Oct 11 with five at Spittal Pond and three at Port Royal GC. One bird lingered to 7 Nov. A Willet was at Port Royal GC 20 Sept (PH). Upland Sandpipers were seen at a number of locations including 5 at the Airport 7 Sep (PW). A Red Knot was at the East end Dairy 12 Sep (AD) and Spittal Pond 21-27 Sep (AD). A Ruff was on Mid-Ocean GC 3 Oct (PW). A Franklin’s Gull was at Spittal Pond 1 Aug (PW). One imm. Least Tern was on a North Channel marker 5 Sep (AD). Not often seen during the day, a Barn Owl was watched at Lover’s Lake 19 Sep (PW) and 9 Oct (GA). A late Chimney Swift was over Horseshoe Dunes 1 Nov (AD). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was on Wreck Road early Nov-31 Dec+ (WF). A Northern Flicker was drinking at a garden birdbath in Tamarind Vale 13 Dec (A&SC). An Acadian Flycatcher was at Spittal Pond 11-12 Oct (AD). Western Kingbirds were at Lagoon Park 3 Oct (PH), Port Royal GC 12 Oct, St. Georges GC 24 Oct, Spittal Pond 29 Nov (AD) and two 12-31 Dec (TW). A Blue-headed Vireo was at North Pond 14 Oct (AD) and two were on Morgan’s Point 31 Dec (EA). A Warbling Vireo was at Fort Scaur 2 Oct (DW). A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was at Lagoon Park 16 Dec (DW). A Grey-cheecked Thrush was at Springfield 23-25 Oct (WF, PH) and Talbot Estate 31 Oct (AD). A Hermit Thrush was at Lagoon Park 16 Dec (DW). A Wood Thrush was in Jenningsland 24-31 Dec (JM). Single Golden-winged Warblers were at the Arboretum 5-6 Oct and Heydon Trust 25 Oct (AD, DW). A Yellow Warbler was seen at Pembroke Marsh 31 Dec (JT, BL). A Cerulean Warbler was near the East End Dairy 2 Oct (PW). A Kentucky Warbler was at Cemetery Hill 19 Sep (PW) and another at Spittal Pond 31 Dec (AD). A Yellow-breasted Chat was on Morgan’s Point 31 Dec (EA). A Chipping Sparrow was at St. Georges GC 24 Oct and three at Port Royal GC 16 Nov (DW).  Clay-coloured Sparrows were reported from Heydon Trust 25-26 Oct (AD) and Wreck Road 11 Nov (WF). A small flock of Savannah Sparrows (5) was at Port Royal 16 Dec (DW). A Grasshopper Sparrow was on the Airport fence 21 Nov (AD). A White-throated Sparrow was reported from Wreck Road 11 Nov (WF). A Snow Bunting was on the Castle Harbour Islands 8 Nov-30 Dec (JM). Single Dickcissels were at Tudor Farm 17 Sep (DW), Lukes Farm and Riddles Bay GC 16 Dec (DW) and Cooper’s Island 31 Dec (PW). A Pine Siskin was a good find at Cooper’s Point 14 Nov (PW).

Observers: Observers: Peter Adhemar, Eric Amos, Gerry Ardis, Stephen Barton, Andrew and Sonia Cox, Andrew Dobson, Fiona Dobson, Wendy Frith, Joe Furbert, Richard Ground (RGr), Diana Gozney, Richard Gozney, Peter Hopkin, Stanley Ingham, Bruce Lorhan, Jeremy Madeiros, David O’Neill, Ron Porter, Susan Roberts,Keith Rossiter, James Tatham, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate (DBW).

In conjunction with National Audubon in the US, the Bermuda Audubon Society held its 35th CBC on 31st December 2009. Features of this year’s count included:

  • 8,682 individual birds were counted (over 1,000 more than last year’s total)
  • 100 species of birds (96 in 2008, 95 in 2007 and 100 in 2006)
  • One new species for count day
  • House Sparrow was the most common species (20% of the count)

Bermuda had another successful count on the only calm day over the Christmas period. Twenty birdwatchers, including two young children and a visitor from the US, were divided into eight groups to cover an eighth of the island each. Organiser of the local count and president of the Society, Andrew Dobson, was accompanied by Sir Richrd Gozney on his section of the count. The Governor is patron of the Society and a keen birdwatcher. The participants counted every bird from dawn to dusk as well as adding any additional species seen during the week. Completing much of the census on foot, observers also used car, bike, boat and golf carts! Some unusual species were seen this year. One globally endangered Piping Plover was recorded – a small shorebird which occasionally winters in Bermuda. Other rare birds included a Northern Gannet which arrived from the North Atlantic coast, a Eurasian Wigeon from Europe, a tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird from eastern North America and two Western Kingbirds from the western US. The kingbirds were a new Count Day species. Record counts of Bermuda Petrel (Cahow) and Green Heron are a reflection of the increasing breeding success of these species.

However, about 50% of all birds recorded were starlings, kiskadees or sparrows – all invasive species which shouldn’t really be in Bermuda and they have certainly had an impact on our local birds. Few US counts, if any, can record as many warbler species as Bermuda does each year – remembering that Bermuda is on the same latitude as Savannah, Georgia. 22 warbler species were recorded this year and 332 individuals. The island provides the most northerly winter refuge for many of these species each year. Most warblers have migrated well to the south, wintering in Central or South America. However, this relatively low number of migrant warblers continues a depressing downward trend in the population of these species. It is a reflection of the loss of habitat in the summer (breeding grounds) and wintering areas and in some cases the effects of global warming. Citizen Science is a way for people to connect with the natural world through fun activities that generate vital information for the conservation of birds. This partnership benefits us all: observers learn about birds by taking part in these science-based activities, and National Audubon's science staff gain invaluable information. Most importantly, the birds benefit because it helps Audubon focus on those birds and habitats that need our help most.

CBC results will be available as they are entered onto the National Audubon website www.audubon.org/bird/cbc

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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