Powered by mod LCA

Annual Bird Reports

January to May 2008

Highlights in the period included the first record for Purple Sandpiper in Bermuda, the second record of Cave Swallow, a rare sighting of Black Rail, and the first sighting of a Snowy Owl for 20 years.

A pair of Pied-billed Grebes produced five chicks 13 May on the new reserve at Somerset Long Bay (WF). Four Bermuda Petrel chicks which were translocated and fledged from Nonsuch Is. in 2005 returned to prospect on the island in Feb-Apr. It is hoped that they will return to breed next year. This is the first time that birds have returned to Nonsuch Island for nearly 400 years! (JM). Returning White-tailed Tropicbirds were first noted 24 Feb (AD), about a week later than usual. A juv. Brown Pelican was on Pearl Island 26 May (PW). A Great Cormorant roosted at Nonsuch Is. from mid-Feb to May 4 (JM). An American Bittern was flushed from Firefly Reserve 5 Jan (AD, DW). The long-staying Grey Heron was in Tuckers Town Bay 18 Jan (JM). Two Canada Geese were on Port Royal GC 13 Feb (RC) and one remained at North Pond into May, while a Brant (Bermuda’s 9th) was on Tucker’s Point GC 1 Dec-4 Apr (AD). An imm. swan sp. was seen flying over Port Royal GC 14 Jan (DW). Eighteen duck species were recorded during the winter period. A Eurasian Wigeon found in Dec was re-discovered in Harrington Sound 18 Apr, still present 17 May (DBW). A male Eurasian Teal finally revealed itself 20 Jan-2 Mar on Spittal Pond (DBW). A Common Goldeneye was on Parson’s Road Pond 12 Jan-1 Mar (DW). A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen in various locations 10 Mar-2 Apr (RL, KL). A Peregrine Falcon wintered (AD et al). The two long-staying Red-tailed Hawks remained throughout the period and were seen displaying and nest building in Apr (DBW). A Purple Gallinule was at Cooper’s Island N.R. 21 May (JA, BM). A Least Sandpiper was seen at various locations during the winter period (AD, DBW). A Gull-billed Tern was at Spittal Pond 4-10 May (RG). An Iceland Gull was in the Great Sound 2 Feb (AD). At least two Piping Plovers wintered at Cooper’s Is. and Grape Bay (AD). A Purple Sandpiper discovered by AD and DW on the breakwater jetty at Dockyard 6 Jan was the first record for Bermuda (see separate article). A Eurasian Collared Dove (of debatable origin) was near the Govt. Quarry 16 May (PW). A Short-eared Owl was at the Airport 16-18 May (JA, BM), the latest spring date. At least four Common Nighthawks were seen at various locations 13-17 May (JA, PJH, BM, KR). A hummingbird species was reported from a St. Anne’s Road, Southampton garden on 30 Jan and again on 10 Mar (DBW), so it had presumably over-wintered. A Grey Kingbird was at Spittal Pond 31 May (RG). A Tree Swallow was over Somerset on 19 Dec and Ship’s Hill Pond 26-28 Jan (DW). Bermuda’s second Cave Swallow  was discovered at Daniel’s Head Farm on 3 May (WF, DBW). A record four Yellow-throated Vireos were seen this winter at Morgan’s Point 29 Dec (EA), St. Georges 29 Dec (PW), Arboretum 11 Jan (DW) and Botanical Gardens 12 Jan (DW). A Northern Mockingbird spent 18-20 Mar at East Shore Lane, Somerset (PH). Of 22 warbler species recorded during the winter season, the more unusual included Nashville Warbler 24 Jan at Warwick Pond (DW) and Swainson’s Warbler 15 Feb-9 Mar  Riddell’s Bay mangroves (AD, DW). A Lincoln's Sparrow was at Horseshoe Bay dunes 29 Jan (DW). A Grasshopper Sparrow was at Southside 3 Feb (AD). A Dickcissel was photographed at bird-feeder in Warwick 14 Apr providing a rare spring record (JT). A Common Redpoll was at Cloverdale 17 Jan (DW) and seven at Little Head Park 26 Jan (AD). A Summer Tanager was calling in the Arboretum 8-11 Jan (AD).

June to July

The highlight in the period was the first record in Bermuda of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck.

One breeding pair of Pied-billed Grebes produced five young on Pitman's Pond (DBW). Recovery of the endangered Bermuda Petrel continues with a record 85 breeding pairs raising a record 40 fledglings (JM). A Magnificent Frigatebird was seen at various locations 2-7 Jun (WF, PH). A Masked Booby was at Sally Tuckers, off the west end of Bermuda 7 Jul (CB). Summering heron species included Great Blue Heron, Great Egret (2) and Snowy Egret (1), while an ad. Tricolored Heron was at Spittal Pond 11-12 July and ad. Cattle Egret at Spittal Pond 21 Jun-11 Jul (DBW).  A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck found at Somerset Long Bay Pond 30 Jun (DBW) was the first record for Bermuda. It was last seen at Spittal Pond 5 Jul (EA). A male Eurasian Wigeon at Spittal Pond and male Ring-necked Duck at Ship’s Hill Pond both summered (AD). One or two Ospreys were present in the summer with frequent sightings in the Great Sound and Harrington Sound. Less than 20 nesting pairs of Common Moorhen survive on 11 ponds and their breeding success is poor since the establishment of the Red-eared Terrapin as an invasive species in the 1980s. Both food competition and predation of new hatched chicks may be involved (DBW). Two American Coots over-summered at Spittal Pond (DBW). Three sub-adult Semipalmated Plover summered at Spanish Point (DBW). As usual a few Ruddy Turnstones and Black-bellied Plover also remained during the summer, as did one imm. Great Black-backed Gull. Early shorebirds included an ad. male Wilson's Phalarope at Warwick Pond 11-23 Jul (DBW), Lesser Yellowlegs (4) 17 Jul at Spittal Pond, Least Sandpipers (8) and a Stilt Sandpiper at North Pond 24 Jul (EA). One ad. Laughing Gull was seen in various locations during Jun and Jul (AD, JM, DBW). A Gull-billed Tern was at Spittal Pond, 23-25 Jul (DBW). Single Sandwich Terns were seen 15 Jun at Ferry Point (PW) and 3 Jul in Harrington Sound (DBW). The Bermuda Common Tern population continues to be very marginal since hurricane Fabian in 2003. 14 Adults of which only 3 were males reared only three broods totalling 8 fledged young this summer (DBW). The first returning Belted Kingfisher arrived 28 Jul on Nonsuch Is. (JM). An early Red-eyed Vireo was at Jenningsland 9 Aug (JM). An American Redstart on Nonsuch Is. 9 Aug (JM) was the first fall warbler (JM). A first-summer male Red-winged Blackbird at North Pond 15 Jun was the first June record for 30 years (RC, AD).

August to December

Yet another first record in Bermuda - Ross’s Goose. However, this rare sighting failed to hide the fact this year’s fall migration was very poor. There were noticeably lower numbers of warblers. Only 34 of the 39 warbler species on the Bermuda list were seen this fall and for at least 10 of these species, less than six individual birds were seen.

 

A pair of  Cahows were found in a burrow on Nonsuch Island 10 Nov (the first occurrance  for 400 yrs). By the month’s end, six burrows had been prospected (JM). Single Magnificent Frigatebirds were over Spittal Pond 7 Oct (Bill) and Government House grounds and North Shore 20 Nov (RG, HW). An imm. Brown Booby  at dusk on the Warwick Long Bay stack 1 Sep (JMe) was last seen 11 Oct at Achilles Bay (AD). Possibly the same bird was seen off Hog Bay Park 29 Nov (AD). An imm. Brown Booby and a Northern Gannet were off Daniel’s Head 24 Dec (PW). An American Bittern was on Pembroke Marsh 19-26 Nov (DW). An imm. Black-crowned Night-Heron was at Spittal Pond 24 Oct-26 Nov (PW).  Two Snow Geese were seen flying strongly west over Cloverdale 22 Nov (AD). They were later discovered at Government House grounds. Another flew in off the sea at Cooper’s Point 23 Nov (AD) and probably the same bird was present at Port Royal GC from 26 Nov. Bermuda’s first record of Ross's Goose 26 Oct near Gibbit's Bay (B&SB) was re-discovered on Belmont GC 25 Nov-Dec (DW, ph.AD). A Canada Goose was discovered at Freer Cox NR 10 Dec (KR, DBW).  Five Wood Ducks were at Port Royal GC 26 Nov (DW). The long-staying male Eurasian Wigeon and a male American Wigeon male were at South Pond 11 Nov (AD). A Northern Pintail 15 Aug at Spittal Pond was the earliest fall record by 15 days (EA). A flock of 16 Ring-necked Duck were at Trott’s Pond 22 Nov(AD). A record 21 Lesser Scaup were recorded 22 Nov, with 14 at Spittal Pond (the largest single flock ever recorded in Bermuda) and 7 at Trott’s Pond (AD, PW). A male Long-tailed Duck was present on Ship’s Hill Pond 20-22 Oct (DW), the first record since 1990 and only the 6th record for Bermuda. A Bufflehead arrived on North Pond 11 Nov (DW). A record 17 Hooded Merganser were seen at various locations 26 Nov (DW). A male Sharp-shinned Hawk was over Port’s Is. 24 Dec (PW). A Cooper’s Hawk flew over Mid-Ocean GC 19 Nov (PW). A record 10 Semiplalmated Plovers were at Spanish Point 27 Dec (AD). Single Piping Plovers were seen at Horseshoe Bay 3 Oct (JM) and Cooper’s Is. 13 Oct (AD). A Willet was seen at North Pond 14 Aug (EA). An Upland Sandpiper was noted in Botanical Gardens 3 Aug (K&RL). Five Red Knot were seen 11 miles NNE of Bermuda 27 Oct (PW). A Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Port Royal GC 11 Sep was joined by another 13 Sep(AD). Two Short-billed Dowitchers were on Port Royal GC ponds 18-27 Dec (AD). Four Pomarine Jaegers were seen from the St. Georges Ferry off North Shore 6 Oct (WS). Two Jaegers were seen at distance on a boat trip off Cooper’s Is. 15 Nov (AD). A Black-headed Gull 23-24 Sep was the earliest fall record by about one month (PW). Another was seen at Dockyard 14 Dec (DW). An imm. Sabine’s Gull was found dead in sargassum in Flatts Inlet 21 Nov (CF). A Black Tern was present on Spittal Pond 2-7 Oct (KR). A Black-billed Cuckoo was seen at Pokiok 7 Oct (PH). A late influx of Yellow-billed Cuckoos included three in the West End 17 Dec (DW, K&RL). A Short-eared Owl was seen at the Airport 27 Dec (DBW). Several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were notedone was in a St. George’s garden 16 Oct (PW),two were seen at Barngrove, Tee Street 3 Oct (WS), one was present 2-20 Nov in a Smith’s Parish garden (J&K L)  and on at least one date, two birds were seen. An Eastern Phoebe was seen at Spittal Pond 29 Nov (DBW). Single Great Crested Flycatchers were seen 7 Nov at Whale Bay Fort (DW) and Wreck Hill (WF). A Grey Kingbird at Somerset Long Bay NR 14 Aug was the earliest fall record by 21 days (PH). A Horned Lark was on the Airport 26 Sep (PW). A late flock of 16 Tree Swallows was at the East End dairy 10 Dec (DO). A Golden-crowned Kinglet was on Morgan’s Point 27 Dec (EA). A Northern Wheatear was on the Airport 21-26 Sep (DBW) and another was in a Hamilton Parish garden 16-19 Oct (PA). Two American Robin noted on the grass perimeter of Bermuda Airport on 23 Nov were the prelude to a number of sightings in Bermuda (AD). An American Pipit was on the Airport 9 Dec (JM, PW). A Golden-winged Warbler was in Shelly Bay fields 5-7 Oct (DBW). A Cerulean Warbler was seen on St. Georges GC 3 Oct (EA). A late Prothonotary Warbler was seen in Hog Bay Park 29 Nov (AD). A Connecticut Warbler was at Wreck Hill 7 Oct (WF). Single Yellow-breasted Chats were seen at Shelly Bay Park 17 Sep (DBW), Ferry Point Park 4-6 Oct (DBW) and Wreck Road 10 Dec (DW). Single Summer Tanagers were seen at Mid-Ocean GC 6 Dec (DBW), Tudor Farm 10 Dec (DW), and Jenningsland 14 Dec (JM). Single Lincoln’s Sparrows were found at Lukes Farm 1 Dec and Spittal Pond 16 Dec (DW). A White-throated Sparrow was in Hog Bay Park 29 Nov (AD). A Lapland Longspur was heard overhead at the Airport 10 Dec (PH). Two Dickcissel were seen on St. Georges GC 3 Oct (EA) and a further two at Hog Bay Park 11 Oct (AD, DW). A Bobolink was seen at Boaz Is 26 Dec (PH). A first year male Red-winged Blackbird was in Riddell’s Bay mangroves 27 Nov (DW). A juv. Common Grackle was seen at Riddell’s Bay mangroves 10 Oct (WS, PW). A Brown-headed Cowbird 14 Aug at North Pond was the earliest fall record by 6 weeks (EA).

Escapees

The mystery of several calling Northern Bobwhites during Aug/Sept in Devonshire was solved. Eight birds had escaped from captivity in Orange Valley Road (BL).

Observers:

Peter Adhemar, Eric Amos, Julian Avery, Beverley & Stephen Barton, Chris Burville, Rob Chandler, Andrew Dobson, Chris Flook, Wendy Frith, Richard Gozney, Peter Holmes (PJH), Peter Hopkin (PH), Kay & Ray Latter, Bruce Lorhan, Jade & Keith Lovell, Jeremy Madeiros, Blake Mathys, John Meadows (JMe), David O’Neill, Keith Rossiter, William Stone, James Tavares, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, Harry Whitcher, David Wingate (DBW).

In conjunction with National Audubon in the States, the Bermuda Audubon Society held its 34th CBC on 27th December 2008. Features of this year’s count included:

  • 7,483 individual birds were counted (very similar to last year’s total)
  • 96 species of birds (95 in 2007 and 100 in 2006)
  • One new species for count day
  • European Starling was the most common species (20% of the count)
  • Nearly 250 species have now been record on the CBC in Bermuda since 1975

Nineteen 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. The Ross’s Goose was the one new species for Bermuda’s count, which had been in Bermuda for some weeks. In fact it was a good count for wildfowl species with three species of geese and 15 duck species. Spittal Pond hosted a record 20 Hooded Mergansers, while Mangrove Lake had record flocks of Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup. Two globally endangered Piping Plovers were recorded – a small shorebird which occasionally winters in Bermuda. The similar sized Semipalmated Plover was another record breaker with a flock of 10 birds at Spanish Point. 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. 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 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

January to February 2007

A Pied-billed Grebe seen with chick at Parson’s Road Pond 9 Jan (PW). A Horned Grebe 20 Feb to 22 Feb was off Smith’s Is. (PW). The long-staying Grey Heron was present to 28 Feb+ at Tucker’s Town. A female American Wigeon arrived at Jubilee Road 24 Feb (AD). A drake Northern Pintail was on Warwick Pond 9-13 Feb (DW). The Surf Scoter remained on Mangrove Lake 27 Nov-12 Feb (EA).  An imm. Snow Goose arrived on Port Royal GC 13 Feb (AD). Five Merlins were roosting together on Hawkins Is. 9 Feb (PW). Two American Golden-Plovers, three Semipalmated Plovers and two Piping Plovers were amongst the uncommon wintering shorebird species (AD). Two Common Black-headed Gulls were present 1 Dec-28 Feb+ while a flock of 12 Bonaparte’s Gulls in Harrington Sound was noteworthy 24 Feb (AD). A Royal Tern was present at Dockyard to 20 Jan (PW). A Long-eared Owl, extremely rare in Bermuda, was photographed 1 Feb on Smith’s Is. (BD). Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds wintered in St. David’s (immature female) 9 Dec-18 Feb (LO, TM) and Botanical Gardens (adult female) 29 Dec-10 Feb (LC, AD).  Eastern Phoebes were reported at Spittal Pond 1 Dec-12 Feb (KR), St. David’s 20 Jan (G & SH), and High Point 8 Feb (DW). A Western Kingbird was at the Airport 22 Feb (DW). About eight Ruby-crowned Kinglets wintered (AD). A Northern Mockingbirds remained at Boaz Island to mid-Jan (PH). Amongst more than twenty species of wintering warbler were Blue-winged Warbler seen 14 Jan Talbot Estate (AD) and Nashville Warbler at Lagoon Park 4 Feb (DW). Five Baltimore Orioles were in Botanical Gardens 30 Jan-28 Feb+ (DW).

March to May 2007

The highlights of the spring season in Bermuda came from both sides of the Atlantic. The third and fourth records of Garganey (a male and female) and a Eurasian Teal may well have come from the east. The severe late winter storm that moved up the eastern seaboard in mid-April provided record number of Eastern Kingbirds, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers.

Sooty Shearwaters (17) passing Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 17 Mar (IF) were at least 3 weeks earlier than ever recorded, but coincided with date of birds seen off US East Coast. Manx Shearwater passage was peaking on the same day at two per minute. A 2-hr seawatch at Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 23 Mar (IF, PW) was very rewarding with Cahow (14), Manx Shearwater (72), a single Audubon's Shearwater, Wilson's Storm-Petrel (3), Leach's Storm-Petrel (3), Parasitic Jaeger (2) and Long-tailed Jaeger (2). A Magnificent Frigatebird was seen at Challenger Banks (off Bermuda) 24 Apr (CB). An American Bittern was moving between Nonsuch Is. and Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 1-23 Mar (JM). A Least Bittern was at Firefly Reserve, Bermuda 4 Apr (DBW). A Great Blue Heron with three imms. on Gibbett’s Is. 16 May strongly suggested successful nesting in Bermuda (DBW). Bermuda’s long-staying Grey Heron was present to 11 Mar (DBW). Black-Crowned Night-Herons were found in Bermuda at Spittal Pond 5 Apr (DBW) and Pilchard Bay Apr 15 (DW). A Glossy Ibis was on the Mid-Ocean GC, Bermuda 14 Mar- 4 May (AD) and another at Ely’s Harbour 24 Apr (CB). Two Red-tailed Hawks seen over Morgan's Point and Wreck Hill, Bermuda 2-9 May had built a nest on Morgan's point earlier in year but no longer visiting it (DBW). An imm. Canada Goose was seen at Spittal Pond and Princess Pond, Bermuda 5-15 Apr (DBW, AD), while another flew over Spittal Pond 16 May (KR). An American Wigeon was on Port Royal GC, Bermuda 14 Mar (IF, PW). Bermuda’s 3rd and 4th records of Garganey were recorded with a male at Jubilee Road 19-20 Apr (DW, photo by Andrew Dobson) and a female at Spittal Pond 7-26 May (EA & DBW). A drake Eurasian Teal was at Jubilee Road, Bermuda 20 Mar (IF, PW). A Red-breasted Merganser was in the Great Sound, Bermuda 24 Apr (AD). A probably Black Rail was at South Pond, Bermuda 23 Mar (IF, PW). A Virginia Rail was last seen at South Pond, Bermuda 3 May (DBW). A Black-necked Stilt was at Spittal Pond 1 May-6 June (KR). A Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus was discover by IF at Stocks Harbour, Bermuda 17-20 Mar (photo Andrew Dobson). A Red Knot was on Cobblers Is. Bermuda 16 May (DBW). At least 24 Bonaparte’s Gulls were in the Great Sound area of Bermuda 9 Mar (PW). A Common Tern was noted 23 Mar on the coast at Spittal Pond, Bermuda (PW, IF). A Black Tern in Hamilton Harbour 20 Apr (WF, DW) was the only spring record in Bermuda. A probable South Polar Skua flew past Nonsuch Is., Bermuda 17 May (JM). Single Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers were seen off Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 22 Mar (IF), the first of few jaegers reported this spring. A Chimney Swift was at East End Dairy, Bermuda 16 Apr (PW) with others observed through May. A wintering Eastern Phoebe was last seen at Wreck Hill, Bermuda 8 Mar (WF). The first of an influx of about 11 Eastern Kingbirds was reported 14 Apr at Jubilee Road, Bermuda. A record spring flock was at Bermuda Airport with 8 or 9 on the 20-25 Apr on the perimeter fence (GA, AD, DBW). A Yellow-throated Vireo was at Southside, Bermuda 22 Mar (IF). A Tree Swallow was at The Causeway, Bermuda on 4 Mar (AD, JEM). A Ruby-crowned Kinglet remained at Wreck Road, Bermuda until 9 Mar (WF). A Swainson’s Thrush was on Gwelly Lane, Bermuda 15 May (WF). A Hermit Thrush was in the Arboretum, Bermuda 15 Mar (IF). A Northern Mockingbird was in the Hamilton, Bermuda 19 Apr (GP), and another at Hungry Bay 21 Apr (DG). An Orange-crowned Warbler was at Hog Bay Park, Bermuda 12-16 Mar (WF). A female Cape May Warbler 20 May (BM) at St. Georges GC, Bermuda was 9 days later than the previous spring record. A Prothonotary Warbler was at Hog Bay Park, Bermuda on 4 Mar (DW) and 16 Apr in Hungry Bay, Bermuda (GB). A Swainson’s Warbler remained at Wreck Hill, Bermuda until 12 Mar (WF). A record number of spring Summer Tanagers occurred in Bermuda with 6 individuals Apr 18-21 Apr. The first of a record influx of Scarlet Tanagers was reported 14 Apr on Mid-Ocean GC (RC). By the month’s end there had been at least 20 individuals reported, with 7 on the 19th Apr (Mult.ob.).  A White-throated Sparrow was at Hog Bay Park, Bermuda on 4-5 Mar (DW). Rose-breasted Grosbeaks where recorded in above average numbers, seen throughout Bermuda, with groups of up to 5 birds visiting several garden bird feeders 20-30 Apr. Two Bobolinks were at Pitman’s Pond 13-15 May (DBW)

June to July 2007

The big story of the summer is the first nesting attempt in Bermuda by House Wrens

The Cahow continues to make a strong recovery following the set-back of hurricane Fabian (2003). A record 80 breeding pairs raised a total of 39 young (JM).Shearwater passage peaked 3 Jun in Bermuda with birds moving at about 150 per hour. The majority were Greater, but also Cory’s and Sooty (JM).  One Greater Shearwater arrived on a cruise ship in Bermuda 18 Jul (DBW). Over-summering heron species in Bermuda included Great Blue (10), Great Egret (1) and Little Blue (1) (DBW). The long-staying Grey Heron was present throughout the period (AD). One Osprey summered in Bermuda (GB). A Black-necked Stilt remained at Spittal Pond, Bermuda to 6 June (KR) and another bird seen at various locations in Jul may have been the same individual. A Semipalmated Plover 12 Jul at Whalebone Bay, Bermuda may have been a summering bird (AD). Summering shorebirds in Bermuda included Black-bellied Plover (4), Greater Yellowlegs (1), Whimbrel (4) and Ruddy Turnstone (14) (DBW, PW).  The first significant arrival of returning shorebirds in Bermuda was in the last week of Jul (EA). A Royal Tern was in St. Georges Harbour, Bermuda 15 June (PW). A Sandwich Tern stayed in the East End, Bermuda 23-25 June (PW). A Roseate Tern was seen in various locations in Bermuda 14 Jun-11 Jul (DBW, JM).  The population of Common Terns devastated by Hurricane Fabian (2003) was hit again by Hurricane Florence (2006). Nevertheless, the breeding success improved. A population of 18 birds (8 pairs and two single birds) resulted in 4 pairs producing broods of 3,2,3,3 – all of which successfully fledged (DBW). In Bermuda two Laughing Gills were present throughout Jul and one Greater Black-backed Gull over-summered (PW). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was an unseasonal find at Spanish Point, Bermuda 8 Jul (JF). A single Bank Swallow was at Pitman’s Pond, Bermuda 10 Jun and two Barn Swallows at Bermuda Airport 8 Jun (DBW). While checking a bluebird nestbox trail on 3 June, a pair of House Wrens was discovered to have made four nests and laid eggs in one box (which had been abandoned) and laid 7 eggs in another box (FH). A further two nests were made, with 7 eggs in one box. All eggs failed to hatch, but this was the first nesting attempt in Bermuda. Wrens were sitting on both nests and a minimum of three individuals were confirmed. The wrens made use of a trail of Eastern Bluebird nestboxes. (DBW, FH, AD). A Blackpoll Warbler 7 June at the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences (JA, BM)) was the first summer record for Bermuda. A Black-and-white Warbler 19 July at Tom Moore’s Mangroves, Bermuda was the earliest date by 7 days. A calling waterthrush at Robinsons Marina, Bermuda 26 Jul (PW) was probably a Louisiana Waterthrush.

August to September 2007

The early fall period was notable for the lack of migrant birds –largely due to the pleasant weather and lack of storms or frontal systems coming off the East Coast.

An early Sora was at Somerset Long Bay Res (East) 8 Aug (DBW). A Black-necked Stilt remained on Spittal Pond to at least 9 Aug (KR). Heavy rain on Sep 1 resulted in a significant fall-out of shorebirds. A record 100 Semipalmated Plovers were recorded with 75 at the Airport. There were also 300 Semipalmated Sandpipers at the same location. An Upland Sandpiper was at the Southampton Golf Range 2 Sep (AD). While about 10 miles off the west end of Bermuda on 14 Sep, PW noted Arctic Tern (perhaps the first fall record), Sooty Tern and four Red Knot. A Willet was on Nonsuch Beach 18 Sep (JM). Single Baird’s Sandpipers were seen at Riddell’s Bay GC 26 Sep-1 Oct (DBW) and St. Georges GC 28 Sep (PW). A Great Crested Flycatcher was at Ferry Point 29 Sep (DBW). A Dickcissel was seen in Devonshire on 26 Sep (DW). A Kentucky Warbler was seen in the Riddell’s Bay mangroves 7 Sep (DW). A Yellow-breasted Chats was observed at Port Royal GC 30 Sep (AD). 

October to December 2007

Three new pairs of Cahows were recorded during Nov to increase the known breeding pairs to eighty-three (JM). A Northern Gannet was seen off Gibbet’s Is. 29 Dec (JM, LM). An American Bittern was at Pitman's Pond 12-24 Oct and Firefly Reserve 5 Jan (AD, DW). A Least Bittern was at Lukes Farm 14 Oct (DW). Black-crowned Night-Herons were at Mullet Bay 29 Sep (DBW), Pilchard Bay 5 Oct (DBW) and Lukes Farm 14 Oct (EA). A Brant (Bermuda’s 9th) was on Tucker’s Point GC 1 Dec-31-Dec+ (AD). A Eurasian Wigeon found in Dec remained to year’s end (DBW). Two Surf Scoters were at Coney Is. 25-27 Nov (JM). A Northern Harrier was over Alton Hill 3 Oct (AD). A Sharp-shinned Hawk was over Somerset 18 Nov (DW).Both long-staying Red-tailed Hawks were present throughout the period. Peregrine Falcon numbers peaked at seven birds 13 Oct, four together over Somerset and three together over Paget Island (AD, WF). At least three remained to 5 Nov. A Black Rail was flushed and seen well 29 Dec and heard 31 Dec in Devonshire Marsh (JM, LM). Two Piping Plover frequented Grape Bay in Nov and Dec (AD, DW). A Dunlin was at the East End Dairy 10-11 Oct (PW). A Sandwich Tern was on one of the buoys in the channel N of Dockyard 16 Oct (PW). A Forster’s Tern remained at Watford Bridge until 2 Dec (PH). The Black Skimmer remained at Dockyard 26 Nov-7 Dec (PW). More than 100 Yellow-billed Cuckoos were recorded 12-14 Oct (PW). A Snowy Owl, last recorded in Bermuda in 1987, was on a school roof in Hamilton 6 Dec and 9 Dec (LB). A Short-eared Owl was seen at the Airport on 11 Dec (DBW). A Short-eared Owl was seen at the Airport on 11 Dec (DBW). One Common Nighthawk was noted 2 Oct at Devonshire Marsh (BL) with four over Paget Island 12 Oct (AD). A Northern Flicker was in the Arboretum 28 Nov (PW). A Western Kingbird was at Clearwater 10-14 Nov (DBW). A  Grey Kingbird was at Fort Scaur 10-13 Oct (AD). Yellow-throated Vireos were seen 29 Dec at Morgan’s Point (EA) and St. Georges (PW). A Blue-headed Vireo was at BIOS 9 Nov (EC). A Tree Swallow was over Somerset on 19 Dec (DW). A Cliff Swallow over Daniel’s Head Farm 26 Dec provided the first winter record in Bermuda (DW). A rare Red-breasted Nuthatch was on Port Royal GC 3 Oct (DW). Northern Wheatears were discovered at Riddell’s Bay GC 4-9 Oct (DW), the National Stadium 6 Oct (EA) and Lukes Farm golf range 14 Oct (DW). Three Swainson’s Thrushes were discovered 14 Oct at Ferry Point (2) and Paget Is. (AD, DBW). Single American Robins were seen at Pilchard Bay 5 Oct (DBW) and Pitman’s Pond 12 Oct (AD).  A Golden-winged Warbler was seen at St. Georges GC 13 Oct (EA). An Orange-crowned Warbler was at BIOS 10-12 Nov (AD). A Townsend's Warbler was a good find at Ft Scaur 14 Oct (WF). A Kentucky Warblers was seen on Ocean View GC 16 Oct (EA). Two Swainson’s Warblers were at Riddell’s Bay mangroves 1 Oct  (DW). A Yellow-breasted Chat was observed at Ft. Scaur Oct 31 (DW).  A Clay-colored Sparrow was at Pitman's Pond 13 Oct (EA). A  Vesper Sparrow was at the Heydon Trust 23 Oct (AD). Single Grasshopper Sparrows were noted at Cedar Grove 22 Oct, Pitman’s Pond 24 Oct (WF) and on Mid-Ocean GC 24 Oct (AD). A Lincoln’s Sparrow was at Spittal Pond 16 Oct (AD). A  Song Sparrow was seen at Cooper’s Point 10 Nov (AD, DBW). An imm. White-crowned Sparrow was at Port Royal GC 15 Oct (AD) and another at Westover Farm 25 Oct (WF). A Dark-eyed Junco was in St Davids 15 Oct (GA). A Painted Bunting (5th record for Bermuda) was at Ferry Point 22 Oct (EA). Dickcissels were seen in Devonshire on 26 Sep (DW) and Cedar Grove fields 13 Oct (EA). A late Bobolink was at Pitman’s Pond 3 Dec (DBW).

Observers:

Eric Amos, Gerry Ardis, Lisa Bargett, Geoff Bell, Chris Burville, Rob Chandler, Lisa Clark, Elaine Cook, Andrew Dobson, Bobby Doe, Ian Fisher, Jenny Flood, Wendy Frith, Derek Gibbons, Gene and Susan Harvey, Felicity Holmes, Peter Hopkin, Bruce Lorhan, Jeremy and  Leila Madeiros, Blake Mathys, John Meadows (JEM), Louise Olander, George Peterich, Keith Rossiter, David Wallace (DW), Paul Watson, David Wingate (DBW)

More than 50,000 observers participate each year in this all-day census of early-winter bird populations. The results of their efforts are compiled into the longest running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data on trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas. Simply put, the Christmas Bird Count, or "CBC", is citizen science in action.

Prior to 1900, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt". They would choose sides and go into the field with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won. Conservation was in its beginning stages around the turn of the 20th century, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a "Christmas Bird Census"-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them. So began the Christmas Bird Count.

The Bermuda Audubon Society held its 33rd CBC on 29th December 2007. Features of this year’s count included:

  • 6,921 individual birds (very similar to last year’s total)
  • 95 species of birds (100 in 2006)
  • Three new species for count day
  • European Starling was the most common species (23% of the count)
  • Nearly 250 species have now been record on the CBC in Bermuda since 1975

Seventeen 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 on 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 Black Rail seen in Devonshire Marsh, a highly secretive small bird that is hardly ever spotted in Bermuda. A Cliff Swallow was seen during the count week at Daniel’s Head Farm, the first time this species has ever been recorded during the winter. A Peregrine Falcon seen in Harrington Sound had not been seen on count day before. Two Yellow-throated Vireos in St. George’s and on Morgan’s Point were new for both the count day and count week. Other unusual species included a Brant Goose on Tucker’s Point golf course, a Northern Gannet off Gibbet’s Island. The photo shows the Brant, of which less than ten have ever been recorded in Bermuda (photo: Andrew Dobson). This one was seen on Tuckers Point golf course. 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. A total of 46 Belted Kingfishers was the highest count ever recorded for this species. However, nearly 50% of all birds recorded were starlings, kiskadees or sparrows – all invasive species which shouldn’t really be in Bermuda and they have certainly have 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 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 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. As to the future in Bermuda - the considerable variety and number of birds wintering in Bermuda emphasizes the need to maintain and protect open spaces. Private landowners can help by planting trees and shrubs and trying to leave some natural ‘wild’ areas on their property. The Government has a series of national parks, but it can further assist by allocating money to the purchase of open space and not allowing the development of areas zoned as woodland reserve and arable land. Everyone can help by supporting organizations like Buy Back Bermuda, the Bermuda Audubon Society and the Bermuda National Trust in their efforts to establish and maintain nature reserves.

Friends & Sponsors

Please share this page:

Acknowledgements:

Photos courtesy of Andrew Dobson, Paul Watson, Chris Burville, Ras Mykkal, Jennifer Gray, Rosalind Wingate, Rick Slaughter and others.

Get in Touch!

Telephone: (441) 238-8628

Email: info@audubon.bm

Website: www.audubon.bm


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