West Indies & Bermuda: Fall 2020

Fall 2020: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Robert L. Norton (Bahamas, Greater Antilles)

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

Norton, R., A. Dobson, and A. Levesque. 2021. Fall 2020: West Indies & Bermuda. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-aQ6> North American Birds.

New regional and island records are reported from Guadeloupe, Bermuda, The Bahamas, and St. Vincent. Guadeloupe provided the first Caribbean record of Azure Gallinule and the country’s first record of Common Cuckoo (photographed by Anthony Levesque). Never recorded in the Caribbean, two European Golden Plovers (photographed by Erich Hetzel) were the first for Bermuda. Further evidence of a Eurasian wave(s) of strays including a White-winged Tern making an appearance in Barbados and a first Bar-tailed Godwit for St. Vincent. South American strays also played a role in regional firsts in the region with a Snail Kite lingering in Barbados for the first time. The Bahamas recorded its first Olive-sided Flycatcher. 

Observers (subregional editors in bold): Peter Adhemar, Wayne Arendt (WAr), Wilson Aubourg, Eddie Aviles. Jorge A. Baez-Jimenez, Erick Bermúdez, Richard Brewer, Renee Carlton, Lou Carroll (LCa), Martha Cartwright, Roger Cartwright (RCa), Sergio Luis del Castillo, Adrian Cobas, Jill Cooper, Liz Copeland, Hector C. Cruzado, Peter Davey, Bridget Davis, Eric Delcroix, Frantz Delcroix, Benny Diaz (BDi), Joel Edwards, Victor Feliciano, Wayne Fidler, Luke Foster, Glenroy Games, Erika Gates, Daphne Gemmill, Joanne Gusto-Games, Demeka Hanniford, Erich Hetzel, Jorge Illanas, Luis Indacochea, Christopher Johnson, Ian Kirkham, Natacha Lamy, Amarilys Lebron (ALe), Anthony Levesque, José A. Colón López, Angelica Luciano, Gabriel Lugo-Ortíz, Larry Manfredi, Edward Massiah, Marcos A. Acosta Mauri, Miguel Mejias, Maikel Cañizares Morera, Jason Moore, Julian E. Moore, Neal Morris, Vivian F. Moultrie, Maria Milagros Paulino, Ingela Persson, Guillermo Plaza, Bruce Purdy, Timoteo Rafael, Ernesto Reyes, Edwin Javier Rodríguez, Pablo A Roman, Lens Saint-Louis, Julio Salgado (JSa), Elijah Sands, Joanne Smith, Wayne Sutherland, Cherie Swaby, Denny Swaby, Gustavo Torres, Manuel Torres, Eric Torres-Rivera, Paul Watson, John Webster, Tim White, Damion Whyte, David Wingate, Lisa Yntema. 

Waterfowl to Terns

Three Snow Geese were seen 26 Nov (GL-O) at Caño Tiburones (Punta Palmas), Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. A Cinnamon Teal, first seen 26 Sep (JI) at Yeguada, Camuy, Puerto Rico, and noted as “slightly larger than Blue-winged Teals with brown/cinnamon coloration from abdomen up to neck,” was observed later that day (MT, JSa, PAR). An immature Black-billed Cuckoo was seen and photographed 29 Aug (ES, CJ) at Blue Shark GC, New Providence, Bahamas, incredibly perched near both Yellow-billed and Mangrove Cuckoos. Observers noted “the faint red eye ring that’s very visible in the photos.” A Black-billed Cuckoo was seen on Darrell’s Island, Bermuda 10 Oct (DBW et al.) Guadeloupe’s first record of Common Cuckoo was found and photographed at La Désirade Island 22 Nov 2020 (AL)—only the third record for the Caribbean. Two Common Nighthawk were noted 7 Aug (DS) at Safehaven, West Bay, Grand Cayman. In Guadeloupe, a very early Common Nighthawk was at Lamentin 11 Aug (AL) and seven were counted and photographed at La Désirade 19 Oct (AL, ED, FD). In Puerto Rico, single Antillean Nighthawk were noted 3 Sep at Trujillo Alto (JAB-J) and Bayamón (ALe). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen on Jennings Road, Bermuda 23 Nov (RC). A dead Azure Gallinule found at La Désirade Island, Guadeloupe 1 Aug was the first Caribbean record (NL). An amazing three Black Rails were reported 18 Oct (AC) at Los Arroyones, Matanzas, Cuba. An American Avocet was reported 29 Oct (LCa) at Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, West Grand Bahama. Two European Golden Plovers were photographed amongst a flock of Black-bellied Plovers at Bermuda Airport 22 Nov (EH)—the first known record for Bermuda or the West Indies. Both birds were present 18 Feb, with the last sighting of one bird in Apr 2021. Single American Golden-Plovers were noted 14 Sep at Las Mareas, Salinas, Dominican Republic (EJR), and Gramas Lindas, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico (ALe). Another American Golden Plover, considered rare at Vieques, Puerto Rico, was noted 10 Oct (EB) at the old Navy Headquarters grassy field area. Farther south an American Golden-Plover was photographed 25 Oct (VFM) at Pigeon Park, Inagua. A rarely seen Wilson’s Plover was found at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 29 Aug (IP) and likely the same bird at Clearwater, Bermuda 15 Sep (PW). Twenty-seven Wilson’s Plovers were counted at Playa Grande Beach, Vieques, Puerto Rico 31 Oct (EB, fide DG). A flock of five Snowy Plovers was noted 8 Sep (MMP) at Monumento Natural Bahía de las Calderas (Salinas de Bani), Peravia, Dominican Republic suggesting a regular gathering location. 

A Piping Plover with the band AU was spotted at Cooper’s Island 24 Aug–30 Nov+ (TW)—the third year that it has returned to Bermuda. An additional, un-banded Piping Plover was also at the same location 21 Sep–17 Oct (TW). Two Piping Plovers were seen 15 Sep (LI) at Playa Punta Popy, Samaná, Dominican Republic. A Collared Plover was found on 19 and 26 Sep (EM) at North Point, Saint Lucy, Barbados. A Double-striped Thick-knee was reported 16 Oct (JE) at Laguna Prieta, Santiago, Dominican Republic. A European Whimbrel was discovered and photographed at Pointe des Châteaux, Guadeloupe 8 Sep (AL, LSL). A Bar-tailed Godwit was a surprise find on Brighton Pasture, St. Vincent 5 Nov (GG, JGG)—the first record for the island and only the second Caribbean record. Nineteen Hudsonian Godwits at Pointe des Châteaux, Guadeloupe 8 Sep was a significant number (AL, LSL); and two Hudsonian Godwits were reported 12 Sep (JSa, GT, ET-R) at Gramas Lindas, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. In Bermuda, a single Ruff was seen at Port Royal GC 11–12 Sep (RB) and at the airport 27 Sep (PW). A carefully noted Ruff was photographed 31 Aug (RCa) at Barefoot Bay, Long Island. Bahamas. A Baird’s Sandpiper seen at both Spittal Pond, Bermuda (PW) and Eve’s Pond, Bermuda (MM) 18 Aug was possibly the same bird. Two Herring Gulls were noted 23 Nov (DH) at Salem, Saint Ann, Jamaica. A Wilson’s Phalarope was noted 2 Sep (BD) at Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, West Grand Bahama; a Wilson’s Phalarope was seen 7 Sep (JACL) at SCR Lagunas Candelaria, Cabo Rojo, and it or another was photographed 20 Sep (EA) at Las Mareas, Salinas, Puerto Rico; and another Wilson’s Phalarope was seen 26 Sep (BDi) at EL Corozo, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. A Red-necked Phalarope was photographed 7 Nov (VFM) at # 3 Pump Station, Great Inagua. A dark morph Parasitic Jaeger was seen “attacking terns while feeding” 14 Aug (JI) at 115, Añasco, Puerto Rico. A Black-headed Gull was at Bernard Park, Bermuda 26–28 Nov (NM). A pair of first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen 9 Nov (VF) at Cataño, Puerto Rico. A Common Tern was noted 19 Sep (IK) at Rum Point Drive, North Side, Grand Cayman. A White-winged Tern was photographed 21 Nov (JEM, JM, JW) at Animal Flower Cave Road, Flatfield, Saint Lucy, Barbados.

Tubenoses to Owls

A Leach’s Storm Petrel was brought into the bird rehab facility at Bermuda Aquarium Museum & Zoo 23 Sep but did not survive, and two more were found dead at Bermuda Airport 20 and 22 Oct (JS, PW). A Great Shearwater was noted and compared to the smaller Audubon’s Shearwater 3 Nov (RCa) off Barefoot Bay, Long Island, Bahamas. The first returning Bermuda Petrel was seen from Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 20 Oct (PW). A Least Bittern was seen at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 2 Sep (PW). Two American White Pelicans were observed and photographed 3 Sep (HCC) at Boquerón WR North-South Trail, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. A Striated Heron was found 12 Sep–17 Oct (JEM) at SBRC, Mangrove Landfill, Saint Thomas, Barbados. At least four Glossy Ibis were at various Bermuda locations 2 Sep–28 Nov (PW et al.). Puerto Rico’s continuing Scarlet Ibis, a vagrant from a private collection in the British Virgin Islands, was seen 5 Sep (JSa) at Reserva Natural Caño Tiburones, Arecibo. Two Black Vultures were noted 18 Sep (MAAM) at La Habana, while the same or another pair was seen 30 Oct and 2 Nov (both ER) at Tierra Firme, Matanzas, Cuba. A Black Vulture was seen again 5 Nov (JC) at its favorite haunt at Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, West Grand Bahama. Two Swallow-tailed Kites were seen 26 Aug (PD) at Agriculture Grounds, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman Islands. A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen 1 Sep (MAAM) at H Vedado (Parque Victor Hugo), La Habana, Cuba and was photographed 4 Sept (MCM) at Vedado, La Habana. A juvenile Snail Kite present from late Aug into 2021 (JW) at Bay Street, Bridgetown, Saint Michael, Barbados, proved to be a new species for Barbados. A probable immature Cuban Black Hawk was seen 29 Oct (IK) at Frank Sound Road, Breakers, North Side, Grand Cayman. Two Ashy-faced Owls were noted 16 Oct (TR) at Fantino Sánchez Ramírez, Dominican Republic. A Short-eared Owl was seen 11 Sep (PAR, JSa), Central Aguirre, Salinas, Puerto Rico.

Flycatchers to Dickcissel

An impressive list of four Empidonax flycatchers was submitted from the region. An Olive-sided Flycatcher, photographed on 3 and 5 Oct (EG, MC) at Garden of the Gates, Freeport, West Grand Bahama, proved to be the first record for the Bahamas (fide BP). Single Acadian Flycatchers were reported 13 Oct at Parque Ecológico Monte Barreto, La Habana photographed (SLdelC); 14 Oct at Parque H, La Habana, Cuba (MCM); 18 Aug at Splendid View Blvd, North Side, Grand Cayman (IK); and 20 Sep at Blue Shark GC, New Providence, Bahamas (ES, CJ). A Willow Flycatcher seen 19 Sep (ES, CJ) at Blue Shark GC, New Providence, who remarked “didn’t even realize this bird was calling in the background of the Alder Flycatcher but kindly pointed out and confirmed by LM.” A Least Flycatcher was noted and photographed 3 Oct (CJ, ES) at Blue Shark GC, New Providence. A Great Crested Flycatcher was carefully noted 28 Oct (IK) at the Agriculture Grounds, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman. A Western Kingbird was at the East End Dairy, Bermuda 17–20 Oct (LF, MM). A Gray Kingbird was at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 12–16 Oct (PW). At least five Red-breasted Nuthatches were seen in Bermuda 9–20 Oct (MM m. ob.) including two at Bermuda Airport 15 Oct (PA). A Northern Mockingbird was found on St. Georges GC, Bermuda 4–28 Nov (PW). A Gray Catbird was seen 21 Sep (GP) at Manglar Playa Carabinero, Mayagüez. Puerto Rico. Two Bicknell’s Thrushes were found 31 Oct (WA) at Pointe Abacou St Jean du Sud, Haiti. In Bermuda, two or possibly three Northern Wheatears arrived in the tail of Hurricane Teddy 21–28 Sep (PW). Two American Pipits were found and photographed in grassy meadows 9 Oct (MC) at Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, West Grand Bahama. 

Four Grasshopper Sparrows were found and photographed 17 Oct (WAr) at Los Novilleros Abajo, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic; and two Grasshopper Sparrows were noted 11 Oct (DW) at St. Catherine Parish, Jamaica. A Clay-colored Sparrow was on St. Georges GC, Bermuda 10 Oct (NM). A Dark-eyed Junco was found and carefully described 3 Aug (CS, DS) at Safehaven, West Bay, Grand Cayman. This is an unusually early date for this northern vagrant. A flock of 30 Bobolink was seen 1 Sep (MC, EG, BD) at Reef GC, Freeport, West Grand Bahama. Another sizable flock (35) of Bobolink were reported 6 Oct (WF) at a golf course at Guantánamo, Cuba. A Brown-headed Cowbird was seen at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 6 Sep (JS, m. ob.). It was an irruption year for Pine Siskins with 30-plus recorded in Bermuda 10 Oct–7 Nov. Maximum counts included 20 at Tudor Hill 12 Oct (EH), three at Ferry Point Park 16 Oct (PW) and eight at St. Georges GC 7 Nov (LK, MM). Ten Great-tailed Grackles were counted 4 Oct (WS) at Norman Manley International Airport, Harbour View, Kingston, Jamaica, where they are considered “abundant and breeding at the Norman Manley Airport and surrounding area.” Bermuda recorded 36 species of warbler during the fall, the most notable being a Townsend’s Warbler photographed in a Pembroke garden 16 Oct (LC) and a Cerulean Warbler at Shelly Hall 7 Oct (MM). Elsewhere, Two Louisiana Waterthrushes were found together 14 Sep (LY) at Mahogany Rd, Kingshill, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands. A Prothonotary Warbler was noted 30 Aug (CJ) at Blue Shark GC, New Providence, Bahamas, which was fairly early for this latitude. Three Kirtland’s Warblers were noted 19 Oct (ES) at Lighthouse Junction, South Eleuthera, which quickly grew to eight birds 22 Oct (ES) at Maderia Road, South Eleuthera, where they were “very actively feeding and foraging.” A Dickcissel was found 19 Oct (IK) at Splendid View Blvd, North Side, Grand Cayman.

Report processed by José Ramírez-Garofalo, 27 Jun 2021.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda: Fall 2020

Click image to view fullscreen with caption.