West Indies & Bermuda: Fall 2019

Fall 2019: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

Dobson, A., R. Norton, and A. Levesque. 2021. Fall 2019: West Indies & Bermuda. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-ccx> North American Birds.

The fall is always a highly anticipated season, with migrants heading south. This year did not disappoint, with highlights of the season including several notable firsts. Guadeloupe documented the first Caribbean record of Yellow-green Vireo (excluding the Colombian island of San Andrés). The US Virgin Islands recorded their first Tropical Kingbird and Jamaica logged their first Savannah Sparrow. Lapland Longspurs put in a good showing with a first for the Bahamas, and second and third records for Cuba. In Bermuda, there was a return of the Trindade Petrel. 

Whistling-Duck to Yellowlegs

Two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were at Cloverdale Pond, Bermuda 24 Aug (Tim White) with one at various Bermuda locations to 24 Oct–30 Nov+ (Paul Watson). A Snow x Ross’s Goose hybrid was at Port Royal GC, Bermuda 27–30 Nov+ (Ingela Perrson). During a bird count at Lagunas Maspoton y Esteros, Pinar del Rio, Cuba 26 Sep, amongst 12 species of wildfowl there were Snow Geese (6), Greater White-fronted Goose (3), Blue-winged Teal (70,000), Northern Shoveler (200), White-cheeked Pintail (359), Redhead (1), and Red-breasted Merganser (2) (Rudolfo Castro Alvarez). A Bridled Quail-Dove heard on Mt. Pirata, Vieques, Puerto Rico was the first one heard by the observer since Hurricane Maria in Sep 2017 (Daphne Gemmill). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Puerto Diablo, Puerto Rico 28 Sep was only the second fall record on Vieques (Erick Bermúdez). Two Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds were seen together in Jenningsland, Bermuda 27 Nov (Jeremy Madeiros, Paul Watson). A Virginia Rail was at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 26 Oct (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson). The second and third fall records of American Coot were recorded on Vieques, Puerto Rico with single birds at Laguna La Chiva 12 Sept (Erick Bermúdez) and at a freshwater pond off route 997 29 Nov (Daphne Gemmill). A Purple Gallinule was at Pembroke Dump, Bermuda 12 Jan (Joanne Smith, Paul Watson) and another at Cloverdale, Bermuda 28 Jan (Peter Adhemar). Rare on Barbados, a Black-necked Stilt was seen in St. Philip Parish 1 Aug (Edward Massiah). An American Avocet was at Port Royal GC, Bermuda 5 Sep–30 Nov+ (Chris Gibbons). Shorebirds at Laguna Playa Grande, Vieques, Puerto Rico 26 Nov included 61 Wilson’s Plovers and 88 Stilt Sandpipers (Daphne Gemmill). A juvenile Piping Plover was at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 10 Oct (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson)—later seen at Cross Island and Spanish Point, and one banded ‘AU’ at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda first seen in Aug remained to 30 Nov+ (Tim White). A Long-billed Curlew was seen at Calo Beach, Saint George, Grenada 23 Oct (Jiminy Scott). A record nine Hudsonian Godwits were present at Fosters, St. Lucy, Barbados 7 Sep (Edward Massiah), while a lone Hudsonian Godwit was on The Causeway, Bermuda 13 Sep (Paul Watson). A Baird’s Sandpiper was photographed at West Bay, Grand Cayman 1 Nov (Anthony Levesque, EM). Two Ruff were noted at Congo Road private impoundment, Saint Philip, Barbados 21 Nov (John Webster). An impressive 255 Lesser Yellowlegs were counted at Congo Road private impoundment, Saint Philip, Barbados 2 Sep (John Webster). 

Gull to Vireo

Vieques recorded its first Lesser Black-backed Gull at Punta Arenas 26 Sep—to be expected as it is an increasing visitor to Puerto Rico (Erick Bermúdez). A Gull-billed Tern was at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 6–12 Sep (Erich Hetzel). A White-winged Tern was present at Congo Road private impoundment, Saint Philip, Barbados 5–13 Sep (John Webster) and likely the same bird 812 Oct in St. Lucy, Barbados (Julian Moore). As a result of Hurricane Dorian, at least six Royal Terns arrived in Bermuda in 8–10 Sep (Neal Morris et al.) with a further sighting of two birds in Harrington Sound 26 Sep (Paul Watson). Two vagrant Black Skimmers were seen at Portland Cottage Mud Flats, Clarendon, Jamaica 23 Oct (Gina Kent, Ricardo Miller). Two Red-tailed Tropicbirds off Cayo Real, Vieques, Puerto Rico 19 Oct were extremely rare, providing the fourth fall record for Vieques (Erick Bermúdez and Mark Martin). A Trindade Petrel seen in Devonshire, Bermuda 23 Nov, and what was presumed to be the same individual that appeared unexpectedly in Feb 2019. A Bermuda Audubon Society pelagic trip 23 Nov produced about 20 Bermuda Petrels off Cooper’s Point (Charles Davies). Single Magnificent Frigatebirds were seen at Port Royal, Bermuda 27 Aug (Chris Gibbons) and at various locations in Bermuda 29 Sep–27 Oct (Simon Eijsenga). A Brown Pelican was present off Port Royal, Bermuda 9–15 Sep with two on 15 Sep (Ingela Persson, Neal Morris). A White Ibis was at Jubilee Road, Bermuda 24–31 Aug (Charles Whitehead). Now an almost annual visitor to Barbados, a Glossy Ibis was seen in St. Lucy Parish 19 Aug30 Nov+ (Julian Moore). A Peregrine was seen at various Bermuda locations 11 Oct–30 Nov+ (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson) with two birds present 17 Oct and 10 Nov. An Eastern Wood-Pewee (ph.) at La Désirade Island, Guadeloupe 7 Nov (Anthony Levesque) was the second country record. An Alder Flycatcher was described and photographed here at Barker’s NP, West Bay, Cayman Islands 24 Aug (Denny Swaby). A Tropical Kingbird (photos here), the first record for the US Virgin Islands, was seen at Annaberg and Shannon Grove Estate, Christiansted, St. Croix 26 Sep (Chris Marshall). Single Western Kingbirds were seen at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 12 Oct (Joanne Smith) and Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 27 Oct (Neal Morris). A Blue-headed Vireo was a nice find at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 26 Oct (Erich Hetzel, Janice Hetzel, Joanne Smith). A Yellow-green Vireo was photographed at Parcelle Nord Gîtes, Guadeloupe 25 Oct (Anthony Levesque, Laurent Malglaive)—the first in the Caribbean away from San Andrés (there is one Bermuda record from Oct 1992). 

Martin to Grosbeak

A Cuban Martin was discovered at Bruce Vale, St. Andrew Barbados 24 Aug (Julian Moore). A White-winged Swallow was seen at Grenada Airport, St. George, Grenada 5 Oct (Francis Vaughan). A House Wren, the first since 2007, was seen on St. George’s GC, Bermuda 23–30 Nov+ (Paul Watson). A Northern Mockingbird was at St. Georges GC, Bermuda 27–29 Oct (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson, Neal Morris). Thrushes are increasingly scarce on migration in Bermuda, but several were recorded: Veery and Wood Thrush in the Arboretum 27 Oct (Joanne Smith, Erich Hetzel et al.), Grey-cheeked Thrush caught and banded at Ferry Point Park 21–29 Oct (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson) and another at Alton Hill 13 Nov (Neal Morris), Swainson’s Thrush on Mid-Ocean GC 11 Oct (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson) and at Spittal Pond 26 Oct (Neal Morris), Hermit Thrush at St. Georges GC 17–23 Nov (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson), and Wood Thrush in the Arboretum 27 Oct (Joanne Smith et al.). A Northern Wheatear was at St. Georges GC, Bermuda 4 Oct (Paul Watson). A Lapland Longspur was photographed (Erika Gates) and later identified (Bruce Hallett) as the first record for Bahamas at Freeport Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, Grand Bahama on 16 Oct—surely an overdue species to the country. Lapland Longspurs were also seen and photographed here in Cuba at Faro Roncali, Pinar del Rio 25 Oct (Alejandro Llanes Sosa) and again on Oct 30 and Nov 4 (Karen Aguila Mugica)—particularly significant with only one previous record for Cuba. Of the less commonly occurring sparrows in Bermuda, a Clay-colored Sparrow was at Ferry Point Park 15–17 Oct (Neal Morris), a Dark-eyed Junco at St. George’s GC 23 Nov (Paul Watson), and Song Sparrow on St. George’s GC 30 Nov (Joanne Smith, Paul Watson). Jamaica’s first record of Savannah Sparrow was photographed here at Elim Pools, Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica 11 Apr (Rich Hoyer, Ann Sutton et al.). A Song Sparrow (ph.) was at Havensight Dock, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 13 Nov (Noam Markus), and was considered a likely ship-assisted arrival. A Yellow-breasted Chat was in South Shore Dunes, Bermuda 15 Oct–30 Nov+ (LeShun Smith). A Louisiana Waterthrush (ph.) at Kiani Wetlands, Vieques, Puerto Rico 25 Nov provided a first fall record for Vieques (Daphne Gemmill). A very profitable trip to Grande Anse, Deshaies, Guadeloupe 19 Oct produced single a Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Waterthrush, Black and White, Prothonotary, Tennessee and Hooded Warbler, an American Restart, 30 Blackpoll Warblers, and one Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Anthony Levesque, Frantz Delcroix). Considered rare in Jamaica, a Kentucky Warbler was well seen at Ecclesdown Road, Portland 27 Oct (Edward Massiah). A Black-throated Green Warbler was well observed on Mt. Pirata for the first record on Vieques, Puerto Rico 27 Nov (Daphne Gemmill). A non-breeding Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Puerto Ferro limestone forest, Vieques, Puerto Rico 24 Nov provided a first fall record for Vieques (Daphne Gemmill).

Report processed by José Ramírez-Garofalo, 28 Dec 2021.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda: Fall 2019

Guadeloupe’s first Yellow-green Vireo was discovered by Anthony Levesque and Laurent Malglaive at La Désirade Island 25 Oct 2019. Photographed here on 25 Oct. This represents the only Caribbean record other than on San Andres. Photo © Anthony Levesque.

Royal Terns are a scarce vagrant to Bermuda. As a result of Hurricane Dorian, at least six birds were blown to Bermuda in Sep 2019. This bird posed nicely to be photographed at Bermuda Airport on 9 Sep. Photo © Tim White.

Magnificent Frigatebirds are a scarce vagrant to Bermuda. This bird was seen in various location during a prolonged stay from 29 Sep–27 Oct 2019. Photographed here in St. Georges on 12 Oct. Photo © Neal Morris.

American Avocets are a very scarce vagrants to Bermuda. A single bird at Port Royal Golf Course 5 Sep–30 Nov+ delighted local observers. Photographed here on 23 Oct 2019. Photo © Tim White.

A juvenile White Ibis was present at Jubilee Road, Bermuda 24–31 Aug2019. Photographed here on 31 Aug. Photo © Neal Morris.

Extremely rare in Bermuda, two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were discovered and photographed at Cloverdale Pond on 24 Aug 2019. Photo © Tim White.

A Song Sparrow found at Havensight Dock, St. Thomas, USVI on 13 Nov 2019 was thought most likely a ship-assisted arrival. Photographed here on 13 Nov. Photo ML187599481 © Noam Markus.

Guadeloupe’s second record of Eastern Wood-Pewee was discovered at La Désirade Island on 7 Nov 2019. Photographed here on 7 Nov. Photo © Anthony Levesque.