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Annual Bird Reports

Andrew Dobson


In conjunction with National Audubon in the US, the Bermuda Audubon Society held its 40th CBC on 27th December 2014. Features of this year’s count included:

• 7,493 individual birds were counted (well down on last year’s total)
• 92 species of birds (99 in 2013, 101 in 2012, 88 in 2011, 101 in 2010, 100 in 2009)
• European Starling was the most common species (21.6% of the count)
• Record counts for Hooded Merganser and Horned Grebe

Members of the Bermuda Audubon Society discovered a Snow Goose at Clearwater while doing the annual Christmas Bird Count. Nearly 7,500 birds were recorded of 92 species on the December 27 count day with an additional 7 species in count week.

This year’s CBC went very well and we recorded an above average number of species. Observers were keen to see whether this year’s two hurricanes had taken its toll on local birds. Numbers of bluebirds, white-eyed vireos and cardinals seem to have held up well, but the number of mourning doves was about half the number recorded in recent years. The most numerous species was the starling, which combined with the kiskadee and sparrow, made up over 50 per cent of the birds seen. Highlights this year included the recording of 18 species of wood warbler, 15 species of wildfowl, with record numbers of hooded mergansers and only the second ever record of a redhead duck on count day.

The results are submitted to the National Audubon Society in the United States as part of a continent-wide study of birds that has been running for more than 100 years. Citizen Science provides a way for people to connect with the natural world through activities that generate vital information for the conservation of birds. The observers can learn about birds by taking part in these science-based activities and Audubon’s science staff gains invaluable information. The Audubon Society says the practice also benefits the birds because it helps the organisation focus on those birds and habitats that need our help most. Count results will be available as they are entered on to the National Audubon website.

January to February 2014

Highlights in this period included: Bermuda’s first records of Common Raven and Phylloscopus warbler; a rare January record of Western Sandpiper.

A Horned Grebe was seen at various West End locations 5-13 Jan (PW). Two White-tailed Tropicbirds were off Spittal Pond 31 Jan (KR). A Northern Gannet was diving off Cooper’s Point 4 Jan (E&JH). Four Gadwall, including three males were at Spittal Pond 1 Feb (AD). A Eurasian Wigeon was on Spittal Pond 19 Jan (TW). A Common Merganser was at Ireland Island to 16 Feb (WF). Both Red-tailed Hawks were over Port’s Island 9 Jan (KD). A probable Yellow Rail was on Mid-Ocean GC 14 Feb (PW). A Virginia Rail was on Mid-Ocean GC 21-22 Feb (AD). An unusual influx of Purple Gallinules, with singles at Flatts Inlet 10 Jan (AC), Spanish Point 13 Jan (AD), South Pond 26 Jan (PW) and two at Somerset Long Bay 1 Feb (PW). Two Piping Plover at Warwick Long Bay 13 Jan (DBW) may have been the same ones seen at Cooper’s Is. to 26 Jan (AD). A Western Sandpiper, the first January record for 43 years, was at Cooper’s Is. 26 Jan (AD). A Black-headed Gull in Harrington Sound remained to at least 1 Feb (JM). An Iceland Gull was in Hamilton Harbour 11 Jan-25 Feb (PW). A Black-legged Kittiwake was off Cooper’s Point 11 Jan (DBW). A Forster’s Tern was at Spittal Pond 8-16 Feb (KR). A Pomarine Jaeger was off Cooper’s Point 14 Feb (PW). A Common Nighthawk was over Khyber Pass 22 Jan (NM). An imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen at Wreck Road 16 Feb (DBW). Bermuda’s first confirmed Common Raven was at various locations in Somerset 1 Jan-28 Feb+ (DB). Bermuda’s first Phylloscopus Warbler (probably Arctic Warbler) was on Pompano Road 16-25 Feb (WF, DBW). Cedar Waxwings (40) were in Botanical Gardens 23 Feb (TW). A Wilson’s Warbler was on the Heydon Trust 20 Jan (AD). A Chipping Sparrow was at Ocean View GC 31 Jan (AD). Snow Buntings (max 11) were at the Airport and Cooper’s Is throughout Jan to 16 Feb (AD). A Summer Tanager was in the Arboretum 1 Jan (AD).

Observers: Davis Barker, Alison Copeland, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Erich and Janice Hetzel, Jeremy Madeiros, Neal Morris, Keith Rossiter, Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate

March to May 2014

Highlights in this period included: the second confirmed record of Wilson’s Plover since the 1960s.

A Canada Goose that appeared to be blind in one eye was on Mid-Ocean GC 1 Apr to 10 May (AD). Wildfowl arriving in May included an American Wigeon on Mid-Ocean GC 3-10 May (PW) and a Ring-necked Duck at Spittal Pond 3 May (AD). A Common Merganser  in Mangrove Bay 27 Apr is the latest date recorded (AD). Manx Shearwater were passing at about 30 per hour off South Shore 29-30 Mar and past Cooper’s Point at 108 per hour 8 Apr (AD). A Magnificent Frigatebird was reported from St. George’s Harbour 1 Mar (per PW). A Masked Booby was photographed on Challenger Banks 18 Apr (RL). An adult Brown Pelican was in the Great Sound 14-16 Mar (AD). Trip report (DBW) on BIOS ‘Atlantic Explorer 10-15 Apr south of Bermuda White-tailed Tropicbird(2), Pomarine Jaeger (5), Parasitic Jaeger (2), Arctic Tern, Leach's Storm-Petrel (33), Manx Shearwater (6), Sooty Shearwater (6). A Glossy Ibis was at Somerset Long Bay NR 27 Apr to 9 May (RB). At least three Swallow-tailed Kites were seen at various locations 5-17 Mar (RH). A Northern Harrier was still present at the Airport 21 Apr (PA). Single Purple Gallinules were photographed at Somerset Long Bay NR 27 Apr (RB), Rural Hill 30 May (WS) and Hamilton 30 May (TAW). A Virginia Rail was at North Pond 4 Apr (AD, DBW). A Piping Plover was still present at Cooper’s Is 11 Apr (AD). A Wilson’s Plover at Cooper’s Island 1 June (AD) was probably present on the Castle Harbour islands since 22 May (JM). A Red Knot  was at Cooper’s Point 31 May-1 June (PW). Daniel’s Head Farm hosted Least Sandpipers on 4 Apr (3) and 7 May (2) (DBW). Three White-rumped Sandpipers were roosting on Pearl Island 26 May (PW) with 33 Ruddy Turnstones. The first returning Common Tern was noted in Harrington Sound 6 Apr (AD). A Royal Tern was off Daniel’s Head 15 Apr (MM). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was noted at the Airport 21 Apr (NM). A Northern Shrike was discovered at Cooper’s Point 9 Mar AD, R&KL, PW). A Yellow-throated Vireo was seen at Stokes Point NR 13 Apr MM). One Common Raven was still present at Daniel’s Head Farm until at least 3 Apr (DBW). The first Purple Martin (2) was noted at East End Dairy 16 Mar while the first Tree Swallows (5) were seen at Horseshoe Bay 15 Mar (PW). An Arctic Warbler, a first for Bermuda, was still at Pompano to 9 Mar (WF, DBW). Warblers arriving in May included: a Cape May Warbler at BIOS 3 May (MM), an American Redstart (singing male) at Stokes Point NR 9-10 May (DBW, MM), and a Blackpoll Warbler (singing male) at Shorelands 4 May (AC). A rare MacGillivray’s Warbler was seen on Morgan’s Point 28 Mar (EN, MM). A fine male Scarlet Tanager was in a Hungry Bay garden 28-29 Apr (EH). A Lincoln’s Sparrow was seen on Morgan’s Point 29 Mar (AD).

June to July 2014

Highlights in this period included: a flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, the second confirmed record of Wilson’s Plover since the 1960s and another record year for the Cahow.

Thirteen Black-bellied Whistling Duck were discovered on Port Royal GC 7-12 June (AD). There had only been one previous record of this species in Bermuda in 2008. A Canada Goose summered at Ocean View GC 29 June-4 Oct (AD). Two Wood Ducks spent the summer in Bermuda at various locations (AD). The final translocated Cahow chick fledged from Nonsuch Is. 9 Jul. JM reports a record number of both breeding pairs of Cahows (108) and successfully fledging chicks this season (59). A Wilson’s Plover was at Cooper’s Point 1-20 June (AD), the second confirmed sighting since the 1960s. There was also a Red Knot at Cooper’s Is 1 June (AD, TW). A Black Tern was in Castle Harbour 24 Aug (JM).

Observers: Peter Adhemar, David Barker, Richard Brewer, Alison Copeland, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Eugene Harvey, Erich and Janice Hetzel, Robert Hollis, Ray & Kay Latter, Richard Lee, Jeremy Madeiros, Miguel Mejias, Neal Morris, Erica Nol, Keith Rossiter, Wendy Soares, Paul Watson, Tricia Walters, David Wingate.

August to October 2014

Highlights included very early Horned Grebes, a record number of Least Terns and a rarely seen Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

A Ruddy Duck was seen on Tucker’s Point GC 30 Sept (PW). Two Horned Grebes were seen at Ferry Reach 29 Oct (J&JP, PW). Ten Great Blue Herons were seen on the Castle Harbour Islands 25 Oct (JM) with a further eleven at Cross Bay 29 Oct (CB). A Glossy Ibis was at Pitman’s Pond to 23 Aug-5 Oct (AD). An adult Purple Gallinule was at Pitman’s Pond 21 Aug (AD). A Western Sandpiper was at Jubilee Road 6-7 Sept (DBW). Ten Least Terns were in Mangrove Bay 29 Aug (WF, DBW) increasing to 16 on 30 Aug (AD, PW) with another 10 at the Airport 1 Sept (AD). A Roseate Tern was noted in Castle Harbour 25 Oct (JM). Common Nighthawks have been very scarce this year with single sightings over Mid-Ocean 29 Aug (PA) and Warwick 1 Sept (AD). A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher showed well at Ferry Point Park 20 Sept. (AD, PW). A single Great Crested Flycatcher was seen at Ferry Point Park 7 Oct and 11 Oct (PW). A single Blue-headed Vireo was in Jenningsland 26 Oct (JM) and the only Warbling Vireo was on Riddell’s Bay GC 9 Sept (AD) while single Philadelphia Vireos were seen at Ferry Point Park 19 Oct (PW) and on Hinson’s Is. 23 Oct (E&JH). A Northern Rough-winged Swallow was a surprise at Spittal Pond 19 Oct (AD). A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was at Ferry Point Park 30 Oct (AD, PW). A Swainson’s Thrush was seen at Cemetery Hill 6 Oct (PW). An American Robin was at BIOS on 30 Oct (AD). Thirty-two species of warbler had been recorded this season to the end of October. A Louisiana Waterthrush at Devonshire Marsh 3 Aug (BL) was the first warbler of the fall. A single Swainson’s Warbler was at Tudor Hill 5 Oct (AD, DBW).The first of at least 4 Golden-winged Warbler sightings was made at Ferry Point 19 Sept (PW). Magnolia Warblers were one of the more commonly recorded species this year. A Grasshopper Sparrow was on Gwelly Lane 27 Oct (WF). A White-throated Sparrow at Ferry Point 19 Sept (PW) was the earliest ever recorded. Possibly the same bird was seen there 19 Oct (PW). Single Dickcissel were seen at in Southampton 19 Sept (AD) and St. Georges GC 19 Oct (AD, PW). An Orchard Oriole was seen on St. Georges GC 24 Sept (PW).

Observers: Peter Adhemar, Chris Burville, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Erich and Janice Hetzel, Jeremy Madeiros, Jayden & Julia Parker, Tim White, Paul Watson, David Wingate. 

November to December 2014

Highlights included a Redhead, the first since 1987 and a Canvasback, the first since 1979. 

An imm. Snow Goose was seen on Southside motocross track 27-31 Dec+ (RP). A female Eurasian Wigeon was at Devonshire Marsh 7 Nov to 31 Dec+ (AD). A male Redhead discovered at Port Royal GC 21 Nov to 31 Dec+ (DBW) was the first since 1987. A Canvasback at Stokes Point NR 5-31 Dec+ (DBW) was the first since 1979. Another was found at Warwick Pond 14-31 Dec (AD). An adult male Bufflehead was at Spittal Pond 5-8 Nov accompanied by a female to the 9 Nov (AD). An adult male Hooded Merganser was at Port Royal GC 6-14 Nov (AD). A wintering flock of Hooded Mergansers increaded to 18 at Mangrove Lake 2 Jan (AD). A record eight Horned Grebes were present to 31 Dec+ including 7 seen together at Somerset Long Bay (TW, AD et al.). Twenty-six Cattle Egrets reported on 2 Nov included 24 at Jubilee Road (AD). A Glossy Ibis at Somerset Long Bay remained to 31 Dec+ (AD). A number of Purple Gallinules were reported during the winter period including Somerset Long Bay 1 Dec (DBW). A Ruff was on Port Royal GC 21 Nov (AD). A Forster’s Tern was at Dockyard 27-32 Dec+ DBW. The latest recorded Least Flycatcher was on Mid-Ocean GC 14-?Nov (PW). Horned Larks (4) were first noted at Lukes Farm 26 Nov (PW) increasing to an impressive thirty-five at Bermuda Airport 28 Dec (AD).

Observers: Andrew Dobson, Jeremy Madeiros, Ron Porter, Tim White, Paul Watson, David Wingate.

 

January to February 2013

Highlights in this period included: a record record number of Canada Geese, a Northern Lapwing (4th record), an adult Glaucous Gull and eight White-winged Crossbills.

During trips on the R.V. Explorer to the south of Bermuda, DBW recorded a Cory’s Shearwater 14 Feb, two Manx Shearwaters 27 Feb and a Leach’s Storm-Petrel 26 Feb (DBW).  A White-tailed Tropicbird was seen at Challenger Banks 10 Dec (per AD). The first returning migrant was on South Shore 2 Feb (LM). An adult Brown Pelican was in Castle Harbour 12-23 Feb (GBu). An imm. Great Cormorant was in the Great Sound 21-28 Feb+ (AD, PW). An imm. Black-crowned Night-Heron was at Seymour’s Pond in Jan and Feb (DBW). A record 13 Canada Geese were present this winter. First seen in St. Davids 9 Nov (7 birds) the presumed three family groups settled at Tuckers Point GC (3), Port Royal GC (6) and Southampton golf range (4) to Feb 28+ (AD). Five Snow Geese (3 ad. 2 juv.) were present at various locations Jan 1- Feb 28 (AD). Seventeen species of duck were recorded in Bermuda during the winter period. A Eurasian Wigeon at Spittal Pond 23 Oct (DBW) was the first of four present at various locations to 28 Feb+ (AD). A Black Duck in Harrington Sound 4 Jan was the first of an influx of about 10 birds at various locations to Feb 28+ (AD). A Eurasian Teal was seen in Warwick Pond 24 Feb (AD). Bermuda 8th record of Long-tailed Duck was on Tucker’s Point GC 17 Nov-28 Feb+ (AD). A Bufflehead at Spittal Pond on 28 Feb (PW) was certainly a spring arrival. Red-breasted Mergansers peaked at 7 birds at Cambridge Beaches 10 Feb (PW). A Ruddy Duck was at Cloverdale Pond 1 Dec-28 Feb+ (AD). The two Red-tailed Hawks were seen over Morgan’s Point throughout the period (AD, PW). A Peregrine was seen at various locations 20 Dec- 28 Feb+ and from 16 Feb-28 Feb roosted on the window ledge of an office block in Hamilton (AD, RA, NM). A Virginia Rail was seen on Mid-Ocean GC 29 Dec-20 Jan (PA, GB) and another at Paget Marsh 6 Feb. An exhausted Purple Gallinule was found at Coco Reefs Hotel 11 Jan and taken into care. A Northern Lapwing (Bermuda’s 4th record) was first seen over Hamilton 8 Dec before moving to the Airport to 24 Dec- 1 Feb (PW). A Piping Plover was at Cooper’s Island 12 Jan-7 Feb (AD). A Short-billed Dowitcher was unseasonal at Mid-Ocean GC 20-30 Jan (GB). Single Bonaparte’s Gulls were seen in Harrington Sound 3 Jan (PW), Port Royal GC (ad.) 24 Feb (DBW) and Ferry Reach (imm.) 23-24 (PH). An adult Glaucous Gull was photographed off Bermuda on the R.V. Explorer 26 Feb (DBW). Two Forster’s Terns were at Dockyard throughout Dec to 28 Feb+ (PH). A dark phase Parasitic Jaeger was photographed off Bermuda on the R.V. Explorer 27 Feb (DBW). A Short-eared Owl was over the Airport 26 Feb (PW). An Eastern Phoebe was at Morgan’s Point 5 Jan (AD). A Yellow-throated Vireo was seen in Camden Marsh 29 Dec (AD). A flock of 16 Horned Larks were at the Airport 16 Dec-3 Jan (DBW). Eight American Pipits were seen on Port Royal GC 13 Feb (PW). Twenty-two species of warbler were recorded during the winter period including Swainson’s Warbler in the Smith’s Hills 20 Jan (JM). A Lincoln’s Sparrow was at Morgan’s Point 12 Jan (AD). A Swamp Sparrow was at Morgan’s Point 5 Jan (AD). At least five Red-winged Blackbirds were reported from various locations Jan 1 – Feb 24 (AD). A Brown-headed Cowbird was discovered at Port Royal GC 11-12 Jan (PW). Eight White-winged Crossbills were reported from Southampton Princess GC 13 Jan – 10 Feb (JR). Two Common Redpoll were seen at St. Georges GC 19 Jan (PW).

Observers: Peter Adhemar, Richard Amos, Geoff Bell, Gregory Burgess (GBu), Alison Copeland, Geoff Bell, Chris Burville, Steven DeSilva, Andrew Dobson, Wendy Frith, Charles Gosling, Peter Hopkin, Jeremy Madeiros, Leila Madeiros, Herb Marshall, Neal Morris, Nigel Pollard, Ron Porter, Adam Power, Natasha Power, J-P Rouja, Paul Watson, Tim White, David Wingate.

Andrew Dobson

In conjunction with National Audubon in the US, the Bermuda Audubon Society held its 39th CBC on 29th December 2013. Features of this year’s count included:

-          8,370 individual birds were counted (almost identical with last year’s total)

-          99 species of birds (101 in 2012, 88 in 2011, 101 in 2010, 100 in 2009)

-          Record counts for American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Semipalmated Plover and Mourning Dove.

-          House Sparrow was the most common species (17.8% of the count)

Nineteen members of the Society counted every bird from dawn to dusk as well as adding any additional species seen during the week. Thousands of individual birds were recorded of 99 species. Additional species seen in Count Week (3 days either side of the count day) take the total to over 100 species. This year’s CBC went very well and we recorded an above average number of species. 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. 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. Highlights this year included the recording of 20 species of wood warbler, 19 species of wildfowl (with record numbers of American Wigeon and Northern Pintail) and 11 species of shorebird (including a record 12 Semipalmated Sandpipers). The results are submitted to the National Audubon Society in the US as part of a continent-wide study of birds that has been running for over 100 years. 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 gains invaluable information. Most importantly, the birds benefit because it helps Audubon focus on those birds and habitats that need our help most. Count 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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Telephone: (441) 238-8628

Email: info@audubon.bm

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