West Indies & Bermuda: Fall 2018

Fall 2018: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

Norton, R., A. Dobson, and A. Levesque. 2021. Fall 2018: West Indies & Bermuda. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-aiJ> North American Birds.

The outstanding sighting of the season was North America and the Caribbean’s first record of Squacco Heron photographed in Guadeloupe. Other highlights included a Black-browed Albatross photographed in the Bahamas, Guadeloupe’s second record of Red-necked Phalarope, and Bermuda’s second record of Marsh Wren.

Contributors (sub-regional compilers in bold)

Peter Adhemar, Nathan Beccue (NBe), David Bernstein, Nick Bonomo, Elwood Bracey (Bahamas), Randolph “Casper” Burrows, Zoe Cartwright, Kara Clark, José A. Colón López, Bob Dawson, Andrew Dobson, Anna Dobson (AMD), Fiona Dobson, Nick Ebanks, Wayne Fidler, Erika Gates, Chris Gibbons, Doug Gochfeld, James Goetz, Sadhu Govardhan, Milton Harris, Erich Hetzel, Aslam Ibrahim, Christopher Johnson, Jai Johnson, Scott Johnson, Tom Johnson, Arturo Kirkconnell, Jr., Anthony Levesque, Norm Lewis, Gabriel Lugo-Ortíz, Laurent Malglaive, Edward Massiah, Castellón Maure, Ricardo Miller, Kaderin Mills, Julian Moore, Neal Morris, Vivian F. Moultrie, Luis Muñoz, Denise Neely, Rodger Neilson, Ted Nichols II, Grete Pasch, Carlos Hernández Peraza, Tania Piñeiro, Ernesto Reyes, Jose Salguero, Elijah Sands, Alejandro Llanes Sosa, Gabriel Y. Soto, Hna. Maldonado Soto, Julie Spapperi (JSp), J. L. Stan, Janet Storr, Denny Swaby, F. Wamboldt, Marianne Wamboldt, Paul Watson, John Webster, Tim White, Dick Williams, David Wingate.

Waterfowl to Raptors

A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was noted 12 Aug (GL) at Yeguada, Camuy, Puerto Rico; one remained at Somerset Long Bay, Bermuda to 30 Nov+ (DBW et al.). As many as eight Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were seen 24–29 Oct (KC, AI, AK, NL, CM, FW, MW) at Guajimico, Cienfuegos, Cuba. Eight West Indian Whistling-Ducks were reported 15 Aug (RM) at Font Hill Pond, Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica. Five Tundra Swans were seen (DB) and photographed at some distance 8–10 Nov at retention/agricultural ponds along the Vinales to Havana highway in Artemisa, Cuba. A Redhead was noted 28 Oct (CJ) at Duck Pond, Andros, North Andros, Bahamas. Five Masked Ducks were seen 15 Aug (RM) at Font Hill Pond, Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica. A Common Merganser was photographed at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 26 Nov (fide AD). Two Common Nighthawks were seen 3 Aug 03 (JLS) at Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands. An Antillean Palm-Swift was seen flying with Barn Swallows 21 Aug (RCB) at Red Pond, Great Inagua. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was noted at close range 16 Nov (JSp) at Anchorage Drive, Treasure Cay, Central Abaco, Bahamas.

Table 1. Timing of Antillean Nighthawk fall migration in the Greater Antilles





2 Aug


Safehaven, West Bay, Grand Bahama

Denny Swaby

5 Aug


Laguna Cartegena, Lajas, Puerto Rico

Jose Salguero

6 Aug


West Bay, Grand Cayman

Nick Ebanks

6 Aug


Laguna Cartegena, Lajas, Puerto Rico

José A. Colón López

6 Aug


Boquerón-Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Jose Salguero

29 Aug


Acul de Pins, Nord-Est, Haiti

Sadhu Govardhan

A Sandhill Crane was photographed 13 Dec at Fox Town Primary School in Little Abaco, Bahamas (KM, https://ebird.org/checklist/S50637330) for an exceedingly rare Bahamas record. A Pacific Golden-Plover seen 9 Nov at Congo Road, Guadeloupe (JM) was probably the returning bird from the last two years. A Piping Plover was at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 2 Sep–30 Nov+ (NM). A Ruff was at East End Dairy, Bermuda 8 Sep (EH), while another was on grassland at Guadeloupe Airport 12 Nov (AL); a third was studied through a scope 27 Sep (EB) at Treasure Cay dump, North Abaco and Grand Cay, Bahamas. A Long-billed Dowitcher was at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 15–24 Oct (EH, PW). A surprise Red-necked Phalarope at Pointe des Châteaux 14 Sep was only the second Guadeloupe record (AL, LM). A Wood Sandpiper was an unexpected find at Fosters, Barbados 30 Nov (JW, GP). Two Black-headed Gulls were at Bernard Park, Bermuda 28–29 Nov (NM), and one was at Fosters, Barbados 30 Nov (JW, GP). A Black Tern was in Harrington Sound, Bermuda 15 Aug (AD, AMD, FD). Three Roseate Terns (a breeding pair and a juvenile) were last seen in the Great Sound, Bermuda 17 Aug (EH). A Common Tern was noted 30 Aug (JG) at Lac Azuéi, Tét Sous, Ouest, Haiti. A Forster’s Tern was seen  29 Nov (LM, ph) at Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. An astounding observation of a Black-browed Albatross was reported 19 Oct (ES, ph) ¾ mi. offshore from Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, Bahamas. Wilson’s Storm-Petrels were seen 3 Aug (TJ, ph) aboard NOAA 08032018 D off Berry Islands, Bahamas. An impressive 31 Bermuda Petrels were seen in one sweep from Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 8 Nov (DBW). Three Great Shearwaters were seen 3 Aug (DG) aboard NOAA 08032018 G near Freeport and West Grand Bahama. A Sooty Shearwater was observed for about 30 minutes 11 Oct (NBe) taking flying fish disturbed by the bow waves from a cruise ship off West End, Grand Bahamas.

A flock of 26 Great Egrets arrived at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 14 Oct (TW)a fall-out from Hurricane Michael. A Little Egret was at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 6–15 Oct (PW et al.). Squacco Heron had never been recorded in North America or the Caribbean until one was photographed by AL at La Désirade, Guadeloupe 10 Nov—a truly remarkable record for this Old World heron. A Scarlet Ibis was seen again 1 Aug (HMS) at Culebra, Puerto Rico; its provenance has been attributed to escaped birds from a private collection at Necker Island, British Virgin Islands. The Eurasian Spoonbill count for Barbados increased to two when a second bird was discovered 24 Nov (JW) in the same area as one found 30 Nov 2017. Three Black Vultures were photographed 13 Nov (ER, GL-O) at Santo Tomas, Zapata National Park, Matanzas, Cuba. Four Swallow-tailed Kites were seen 18 Sep (WF) at Guantánamo, Cuba; one was noted 6 Oct (ALS) at Pinar del Río, Cuba. An impressive 15 Mississippi Kites were seen (ALS) migrating through western Cuba at Pinar del Río 6 Oct. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was found 18 Sep (JG) at FdP pt Ouest, Haiti. Two Cooper’s Hawks were reported 12 Oct (TP) at Pinar del Río, Cuba. A Bald Eagle was seen flying 25 Oct (RN, EB) with a Turkey Vulture, which looked smaller, at Treasure Cay Sunset Ridge, North Abaco and Grand Cay, Bahamas. A Common Black Hawk was a surprise 6 Oct (VFM) in Matthew Town proper, Great Inagua.

Flycatchers to Dickcissel

An Olive-sided Flycatcher was at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 13–19 Sep (NM). A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was at Coney Island, Bermuda 25–30 Sep (PW). A Western Kingbird was at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 3 Nov (EH). A very late Eastern Kingbird was at Bermuda Airport 5 Dec (PA). A Fish Crow was seen 4 Oct (EG, DN, EB) at Freeport Pine Ridge Landfill, West Grand Bahama. Bahama Swallows sometimes winter outside of the Bahamas, so one found 9 Nov (GYS) at El Yakum, Camuy, Cuba suggests regular post-breeding dispersal to Cuba. In Bermuda, single Red-breasted Nuthatches were on St. George’s Golf Course 29 Oct–13 Nov (PW) and in the Arboretum 6–15 Nov (BD). A Marsh Wren spent time at Spittal Pond 17–30 Nov+ (NB), Bermuda’s second record. A Northern Wheatear was in a St. George’s garden, Bermuda 15 Oct (PW). A Bicknell’s Thrush was heard calling at two locations in Haiti 8 Nov (JG): at SE PNLV Berak North and Ouest Berak Rak. An American Robin was seen 24 Oct (EM) at North Bimini, Bahamas. A Pine Siskin was on St. George’s Golf Course, Bermuda 22 Oct (PW). The first Snow Bunting of the season was on Port Royal Golf Course, Bermuda 24 Nov (CG).

A Grasshopper Sparrow was found at Big Bird Chicken Farm, Central Abaco, Bahamas 22 Sep (EG). A Chipping Sparrow was noted at close range 26 Nov (MH) at North End, Elbow Cay, Central Abaco, Bahamas. Uncommon at West End, Grand Bahama was a Clay-colored Sparrow reported 8 Oct (CJ) at the Freetown Farm; another was at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 14–17 Oct (EH, PW). A White-crowned Sparrow was photographed 24 Oct (EM) at a pond on North Bimini, Bahamas. Alongside the aforementioned Clay-colored Sparrow at the Freetown Farm, Grand Bahama 8 Oct was a bonus Lark Sparrow that allowed for great views (CJ). A ship-assisted White-throated Sparrow was seen flying down off the dockside of the ship 30 Oct (TN, ph) at Havensight Dock, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, having arrived via the cruise ship that departed Boston 26 Oct. A Lincoln’s Sparrow was reported 15 Nov (JS) at Rennard and Janet’s Pond, San Salvador, Bahamas. A Yellow-breasted Chat was at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 11–30 Nov+ (NM).

A Great-tailed Grackle was noted 18 Nov (DW) at Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Saint James, Jamaica. A Swainson’s Warbler was seen 6 Oct (CJ) at Reef Golf Course, Freeport, West Grand Bahama; a Swainson’s at Tudor Hill 22 Oct (DBW) was the rarest of 32 species of warbler recorded during the season in Bermuda. A group of six Kirtland’s Warblers were seen 21 Oct (JS, et al.) at Landfall Park, and two males were seen 8 Nov (JJ) at Walkers Tract, San Salvador, Bahamas. Following the passage of Hurricane Michael, Bermuda experienced a huge fall-out of Blackpoll Warblers 14 Oct; 250 were recorded on Paget Island, with a similar number on St. George’s Golf Course, suggesting four-figure numbers spread across Bermuda (EH, PW, DBW). A female Painted Bunting was noted 14 Oct (CHP) at Boyeros, El Trigal, La Habana, Cuba. A female Dickcissel was closely observed 19 Nov (SJ, ZC) in a grassy yard at Long Island, Bahamas.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda: Fall 2018

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