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Annual Bird Reports

A Greater White-fronted Goose, the third record for Bermuda, was on Bermuda Airport 16 May.

A Tufted Duck on Warwick Pond 4-6 Mar was only the third for Bermuda.

A Surf Scoter was on North Pond, Hamilton Parish 28 Oct.

A Wilson’s Plover was reported from Barry Rd, St. Georges 21 Sept.

A Curlew Sandpiper was on Mid-Ocean G.C., Hamilton Parish 3 Sep (PW).

A flock of 13 Sabine’s Gulls were seen 10 miles N.E. of Bermuda 27 Oct (PW).

A Wood Thrush was in Hog Bay Park, Sandys 25 Oct.

A Varied Thrush the first record for Bermuda, was at Paget Marsh 9 Oct (DBW).

A Townsend’s Warbler was at Fort Scaur, Sandys 4 Oct.

A Lapland Longspur was at Lover’s Lake, St. Georges 24 Oct and Nonsuch Island 2-5 Dec.

This winter's CBC took place on 2nd January 1999. The recording area of Bermuda was divided up into six sections, with ten Audubon Society members doing their best to record every bird seen. On a day with temperatures reaching a high of 69 degrees and winds between 10-15 knots from the NNE, birds showed themselves in good numbers. 7,437 individual birds of 99 species were recorded, and although no new species were added to the all time list, there were a number of good sightings.

Eric Amos was lucky enough to watch a Sharp-shinned Hawk in aerial combat with a Merlin and two American Kestrels over the Talbot Estate. In fact Merlins (11) were seen in record numbers. Jeremy Madeiros observed all the Cedar Waxwings (87) another high count for the CBC. Twenty species of wood warblers were seen, of which Ovenbirds broke the hundred mark and there were record counts of Northern Parula (35) and Magnolia Warbler (6). Perhaps the best locations on the day were Spittal Pond and the Airport. At Spittal I was lucky enough to record almost 40 species by 9 o'clock, including an American Bittern and White Ibis. David Wingate and Joe Furbert's list at the Airport included a CBC record count of Whimbrel (14), nearly 200 Killdeer, American Pipits (13) and Snow Buntings (24).

A Red-eyed Vireo, seen by Paul Watson on Paget Island a couple of days earlier, could not be located on count day, but it was the first time this species has been recorded during count week. Our results are sent to the National Audubon Society and added to those received from counts throughout the Americas. The first count was held nearly 100 years ago, and the results help to identify population trends of bird species in different regions. To see the full results, go to www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/

Andrew Dobson and Jennifer Gray

The first ever sighting of Bohemian Waxwings Bombycilla garrulous was at “Brannel”, #15 Dock Hill, Devonshire on December 29th 2001 when Michelle and Rebecca Conklin spotted three lovely little birds just above their heads as they played on their new Christmas trampoline. The birds were “fluffed up” like little butterballs on the branches of the trimmed casuarina trees on the Dock Hill side of the property. They pointed them out to their mother, Jennifer Gray, who phoned Andrew Dobson that evening discussing what they might be – “perhaps Bohemian Waxwings”. The following morning, the three birds, now sleek and more active, spent much of the time high in the branches of a bare Pride of India tree, taking swift trips down to the birdbath below to drink. Their soft trills or “bleating” calls could be heard clear across the property as they chatted from their high sunny perch. Andrew Dobson arrived to see the birds and confirmed them to be Bohemian Waxwings, the first ever to have been recorded in Bermuda. (The similar Cedar Waxwings Bombycilla cedrorum are regular migrants and winter visitors to Bermuda). Other keen birders were called but the birds had already flown off before anyone else arrived. On the morning of December 31st there were only ever two birds present, but they were enjoyed by a number of visitors. In the late afternoon Jennifer was surprised to find five Bohemian Waxwings in the Pride of India tree. Amazingly, Andrew and his family had found the same five waxwings feeding on Mexican Pepper berries about a mile away on the Railway Trail and watched them fly back towards “Brannel”. The birds were last seen on January 6th and heard calling on January 7th. Bohemian Waxwings breed in Alaska and western Canada. In the winter they can stray as far east as New England with the odd vagrant as far south as Virginia. Their roaming lifestyle has earned them their “Bohemian” name. They are readily distinguished from Cedar Waxwings by their grey underparts (not yellowish), rufous undertail and yellow tips on outer web of primaries. The name “waxwing” is the result of drop-like, red waxy appendages on the end of the secondaries.

An early Manx Shearwater was seen off South Shore 30 Jan (AD). An Audubon’s Shearwater was seen at Elbow Beach, Paget 26 Sep (JM). A Greater White-fronted Goose, the second record for Bermuda, was in Devonshire Marsh 20 Sep-11 Oct. Two Eurasian Wigeon were at Lover’s Lake 26 Jan-Mar. A Black Scoter was on Spittal Pond, Smiths 18-20 Nov. A record ten Black-necked Stilt were at Spittal Pond 8 Jun. A Piping Plover was at Spanish point 24 Jan. A Glaucous Gull was in St. Georges Harbour Jan-Mar. Two Gull-billed Terns were off Nonsuch Island 22 Jul. A Great-crested Flycatcher was in HogBay Park 22 Sep (JM). An Olive-sided Flycatcher was seen at Hog Bay Park 21-22 Sep (AD, WF, PR). A Grey Kingbird was at Coral Beach Club 19 Sep (PR). A Northern Rough-winged Swallow was over Pembroke Dump 10 Dec. A Brown Creeper was in Jenningsland, Smiths 16 Jan-24 Mar (JM). Seven Horned Larks were seen at the Airport 25 Jan (SDS). Single wintering Yellow-throated Vireos were seen at St.Marks, Smiths 4 Jan and in Paget 19 Feb. A very late Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen in Devonshire Marsh 11 Jun (PH). An unusually late Blackpoll Warbler was seen at the Bio Station 22Dec (PW). A Louisiana Waterthrush at Compston’s Pond 8 July was the earliest fall record for any warbler species (AD). A Clay-coloured Sparrow was in Hog Bay Park 23 Sep (PR, DW). A Lapland Longspur was at East End Dairy, St. Georges 13 Nov. There were 15 Common Redpolls at Spittal Pond 15 Dec. Eight White-winged Crossbills were at Pembroke Marsh 9 Dec.

Observers: Eric Amos, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Peter Holmes, Jeremy Madeiros, Paul Reed, David Wallace, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

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

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