January 2006 – Report on Small Hope Bay Lodge’s 8th annual Birding and Ecology Adventure on Andros Island, Bahamas
This year seven participants from all over the States (Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, and Virginia) were treated to great looks at just about every Bahamian specialty during a great week of birding on Andros. There were Bahama Swallows on the wire in Staniard Creek; Bahama Woodstar Hummingbirds at the Methodist Church; and Bahama Yellowthroats in the mist nets. The beautiful Stripe-headed Tanagers were one of the most common birds on the trip this year. And a Bananquit could almost always be found probing flowers in a coconut palm. The most colorful bird of the trip hands-down was a male Painted Bunting, arguably the most colorful songbird in all of North America.
There were many memorable sightings, but the Clapper Rail on the first day of the trip sticks in my head. We found it in the mangroves in front of Small Hope Bay Lodge. It poked along among the prop roots looking for breakfast just a few yards in front of the group. (There were, of course, also Limpkins feeding on snails at the airport and super-photogenic Bahama Mockingbirds.)
The three mornings of mist-netting produced the regular cast of characters including long-distance migrants Ovenbirds, American Redstarts, Worm-eating Warblers, and a Prairie Warbler. The most glamorous capture however, was surely a Key West Quail Dove, twice. This is one of the harder resident species to see and guests were treated to close-up looks at the iridescent green and pink head and back, red iris, and ruddy wings and tail feathers (as the bird flew away after banding).
The group saw 96 species in all during the week and also made time to dive, bike ride, hammock, and hot tub. We’re up to 134 species now (and several SCUBA converts). Can’t wait for next year. We’ll see old friends (birds and guests) and add some new ones. Join me!
Our next trip is January 7-14, 2007.