BIRDING THE BAHAMAS WITH BORDERLAND TOURS - FEB 1-7 2017
Bahamas endemics and much more! From 1-7 February 2017, I was co-leading a birding tour to the Bahamas with Rick Taylor of Borderland Tours www.borderland-tours.com
DAY 1 - ABACO
The tour started in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, where we found Cuban Emeralds in the grounds and Bahama Parrot in walking distance. The grounds were bustling with Thick-billed Vireos, Red-legged Thrushes, Black-faced Grassquits and several species of migrants including many Cape May Warblers and an Indigo Bunting.
DAY 2 - ABACO
In the morning we headed south to Bahama Palm Shores, where we got great views of the Bahama Parrot, Olive-capped Warbler, Hairy Woodpecker. West Indian Woodpecker, Western Spindalis, Greater Antillean Bullfinch and Black-faced Grassquit and I saw my first male Painted Bunting..
Further south, at the Y, we were fascinated by the abundant and spectacular Atala Hairstreak butterflies. They are endangered in Florida but common on Abaco. On the pine trees, we found our first Bahama Warblers and Pine Warblers a plenty.
We heeded the warnings about parrots but didn't see any..
We lunched at Nancy's at Sandy Point where we saw Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Laughing Gull and Brown Pelican. On the return trip we had great views of Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel and Smooth-billed Ani.
DAY 3 - ELEUTHERA
The next morning we transferred to Eleuthera via Nassau. We stayed at Pineapple Fields, which is adjacent to the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, run by the Bahamas National Trust. www.levypreserve.org/
At the feeders at Leon Levy we had great views of the scintillating Bahama Woodstar. We also saw Mangrove Cuckoo and several warblers, including Magnolia, Yellow-throated and Yellow-rumped, as well as Greater Antillean Bullfinch and some anole lizards.
DAY 4 - ELEUTHERA
On the 4th February we headed south, pausing at Tarpum Bay for a very rewarding look at gulls and terns. In a large group of Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns we found 2 Black Skimmers, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 1 Black-headed Gull.
Further south, we were lucky to find 2 Kirtland's Warblers, 2 Giant Lizard Cuckoos and at least 6 Bahama Mockingbirds.
We headed on to Rock Sound for lunch and after excellent views of Yellow-throated Warbler, an Osprey and some Kingfishers we had a similarly excellent lunch at Wild Orchid Restaurant, where a Palm Warbler tried to join us.
Heading back, we stopped at the Great Pond, where waterbirds were few and hard to see. We found some Lesser Scaup. We also visited Oyster Pond to see the cormorants and paused at Barrow Ponds to see a Tricolored Heron and some Antillean Saddlebags dragonflies.
DAY 5 - ELEUTHERA
The morning of the 5th February saw us back in the coppice - and we were very excited to see and photograph 2 more Kirkland's Warblers! We also saw Western Spindalis and more Bahama Mockingbirds.
DAY 5 - ANDROS
Mid-morning on 5th February, we left Eleuthera, flew to Nassau and on to Andros, where we stayed at Small Hope Bay, a dive resort on the beach - with Bahama Orioles in the grounds!
DAY 6 - ANDROS
We returned for lunch at Small Hope Bay, and after lunch found this Piping Plover on the rocks. Later Rick and Reed saw a Red-breasted Merganser in the bay in front of the hotel.
Day 7 - return via Nassau
Sadly we had to leave the Bahamas on the 7th February but we're looking forward to the next visit.