Dateline Andros Island, Bahamas: Birding Andros 2004 is a great success!
Weather was great; no rain, cool nights, some wind, and lots of sun.
And the birds cooperated nicely, too. Lots of warblers (17 species). Total for the week was 93 species including 2 new trip species (Black-necked Stilt and Hooded Merganser) bringing the total for the seven years of the trip to 132 species.
This year we birded the agricultural land near the San Andros airport more thoroughly than ever before. The farm provided flocks of Limpkins and a very memorable look at a Great Lizard Cuckoo (one of the trip's money birds). The farm lands also had some uncommon migrants including Northern Harrier and Eastern Phoebe.
A new twist on the trip to the Staniard Creek tidal flats was visiting them at sunrise (necessary to catch the low tide). In addition to the regular shorebirds, including Piping Plovers, we had Reddish Egrets and a bonus Bahama Yellowthroat on the walk in.
The settlement of Staniard Creek gave us great looks at several things. Most memorable birds on this trip was a large flock of Bahama Swallows (low and in great light) and a very cooperative male Bahama Woodstar hummingbird. And the Burrowing Owls were out for our 'Owl Prowl' as usual.
Mist-netting was a bit slower than in some years but everything that was supposed to be there showed-up inlcuding average numbers of Thick-billed Vireos, Greater Antillean Bullfinches, Red-legged Thrushes, Ovenbirds, and American Redstarts. The oldest bird was a male Bahama Yellowthroat that we banded in 1998. That makes him at least 7 years old!
We were joined on the netlines one morning by Eleanor Phillips, The Nature Conservancy's new Bahamas Program Director. Eleanor also ate lunch with the group and showed a great powerpoint presentation on the Conservancy's work in the Bahamas.
The Big Day was the usual mix of birding and sightseeing. We had lunch in Nichols Town and picked-up several new species there including a spectacular male Hooded Warbler. We stopped by Red Bays for baskets and were back at Small Hope in plenty of time to clean-up, get a drink, and get toward the front of the line for conch fritters.
Hope to see you next year!
This report submitted by Small Hope Bay Lodge,