Dobson, A., R. Norton, & A. Levesque. 2021. Fall 2021: West Indies & Bermuda. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-cUJ> North American Birds.
This report is dedicated to the memory of Robert L. Norton who passed away on 11 January 2022. He was the originator of the West Indies & Bermuda regional report, first appearing in American Birds, in 1980. He continued in this capacity though Field Notes and North American Birds for over 40 years. His knowledge of the region’s birds was considerable, and he will be greatly missed.
A Hammond’s Flycatcher was seen in Bermuda for the first time—it has never been recorded in the West Indies. It was an outstanding season in Grenada, where a Palm Tanager was the first for our recording region. The island also recorded its first Black Kite and six Hudsonian Godwits. A Squacco Heron in Barbados provided only the third record for the West Indies. The Cayman Islands also had a purple patch, recording their first ever Black Rail (three birds), Lark Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. A Short-eared Owl at Montego Bay Airport in Jamaica may well prove to be the island’s first record. A Western Wood-Pewee provided Cuba with a rare record.
Geese to Rails
Four Greater White-fronted Geese were a good find at Lote 7 Cubanacan, Pinar del Rio, Cuba 9 Oct (Rodolfo Castro Alvarez). A Cinnamon Teal was reported at East End, Grand Cayman 27 Oct (Ian Kirkjam); while four were present at P1 Lag. Maspoton, Los Palacios, Pinar del Río, Cuba 27 Nov (Rodolfo Castro Alvarez). Observers on Vieques, Puerto Rico were pleased to report the presence of Quail-Doves which were severely impacted by Hurricane Maria in 2017—two Ruddy Quail-Doves were heard at Punta Arenas 1 Dec (Linda Petrulias, Erick Bermudez, Daphne Gemmill); a Key West Quail Dove was heard at Puerto Mosquito 22 Nov (Linda Petrulias, Daphne Gemmill); and a Bridled Quail-Dove on Mt. Pirata 19 Nov (Linda Petrulias, Angie Hernández, Daphne Gemmill). Elsewhere on Vieques, Green-throated Caribs and Antillean Crested Hummingbirds were making a slow comeback, but two mangrove-dependent species—White-crowned Pigeon and Greater Antillean Grackle—were noticeably scarce compared to pre-Maria (Daphne Gemmill). Rarely seen on Anguilla, a Purple-throated Carib was present at Lilly Bay, Turtle Dove Hill, Anguilla 18–19 Aug (Jacqueline Cestero). A Black Rail, the first record for the Cayman Islands, was flushed from Otto Watler Ponds, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman 15 Nov (Denny Swaby)—”Observed in flight with view of back of bird. Small black bird with short bill. It flew a short distance and disappeared into taller grass, noted speckles and white above.” A remarkable three birds were seen there on 17 Nov and two on 24 Nov (Peter Davey). The last sighting was made on 27 Nov (m. ob.).
Shorebirds to Skimmer
An American Avocet was photographed at Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, Grand Bahama 24 Oct (Martha Cartwright). A Pacific Golden-Plover remained in Barbados 22 Oct–13 Nov (John Webster). One Piping Plover was present at Saline d’Orient, St Martin 1–28 Sep, with three birds present 5 Sep (Binkie Van Es). A vagrant Red Knot was seen at Willoughby Bay Lookout, Saint Paul, Antigua 22 Aug (Vishwatej Pawar); and another at Dockyard, Bermuda 7 Nov (Herb Marshall). A Ruff was photographed at Woodbourne Shorebird Reserve, Christ Church, Barbados 20 Sep–24 Oct (Julian E. Moore). Two White-rumped Sandpipers seen at Puerto Ferro, Vieques, Puerto Rico 21 Sep provided a rare sighting in Vieques (Erick Bermudez). A scarce fall migrant in the Bahamas, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was at Freeport Pine Ridge Landfill, Grand Bahama 4 Sep (Martha Cartwright, Jill Cooper). An impressive flock of 100 Pectoral Sandpipers at Laguna Algodones, Vieques, Puerto Rico 21 Nov was a record high number for the island (Linda Petrulias, Erick Bermudez, Daphne Gemmill Vieques). A Long-billed Curlew (ph.) was very good find at Manglar del Rincón de Guanabo, Havana, Cuba 18–19 Aug (Vladimir Mirabel, Jorge Uria). A Hudsonian Godwit was at Shelly Bay, Bermuda 7 Sep (Peter Adhemar); and six were photographed at Grenville, St. Andrew Grenada 9 Oct (Kate Charles, Kenrith Carter)—possibly the first record for the country. A high count of 31 Wilson’s Snipe at Otto Watler’s Lake, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman was a good record 17 Nov (Peter Davey). A Wilson’s Phalarope was seen at Bahia Sucia, Cababo Rojo, Puerto Rico 6 Sep (José Colón López). A Red-necked Phalarope was photographed at Playa del Chivo, Havana, Cuba 4–5 Sep (Marcos Verdecia Días), and another three were photographed at #3 Pump Station, Inagua, Bahamas 13 Nov (Vivian F. Moutrie). A Bonaparte’s Gull, the 2nd Guadeloupe record, was present at Marais de Port-Louis 24-30 Nov+ (Anthony Levesque). A first-winter Franklin’s Gull was an unexpected sighting on flooded fields at Bernard Park, Bermuda 10 Nov (Neal Morris)—seen at various locations to 22 Nov; while another was a surprise find at Havana Port, Cuba 25 Nov (Carlos Hernández Peraza). A Black Skimmer was at the Cruise Jetty, St George, Grenada 24-31 Oct (Kenrith Carter).
Pelican to Merlin
Daphne Gemmill reported on a Brown Pelican survey on Cayo Canejo, Vieques, Puerto Rico 21 Nov where a total of 82 birds included 58 adults, five juveniles and 19 large chicks. On her previous survey (2019) prior to covid interruption she also had 82 pelicans, so that number seems to be holding. It was an impressive number but still well below the height of the colony of 151 in the 1970s and 1980s. An American Bittern was a nice find at Cuisine Centrale, St Martin 24 Oct (Binkie Van Es, Edgar Martinez). At Puerto Mosquito, Vieques, Puerto Rico 27 Nov there were 192 Great Egrets present—a record high for Vieques (Daphne Gemmill, Linda Petrulias). The third record of Squacco Heron for the West Indies was a great discovery in Barbados at Graeme Hall Sanctuary, Christ Church, Barbados 26–28 Nov (Glyn Foley, Ryan Chenery)—the previous records of this Old-World heron were in Guadeloupe and Martinique. A Turkey Vulture over the US Fish and Wildlife Office at Principal Road, Vieques, Puerto Rico 26 Oct was only the second fall record for Vieques (Erick Bermudez). A Swallow-tailed Kite (ph.) over Stocks Harbour, St. Georges on 1 Aug was the first ever fall record for Bermuda (Andrea Webb). A Snail Kite continued its stay on Barbados to 30 Nov+ (Julian Moore). A Mississippi Kite was well seen over the Agriculture Grounds, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman 28 Sep (Peter Davey, Denny Swaby). Grenada’s first Black Kite was seen over Beausejour dump site, Saint George 28 Aug (Kenrith Carter). A Short-eared Owl was an exceptional find (ph.) at Montego Bay Airport, Jamaica 2 Oct (Allison McIntosh)—probably the first country record. A Merlin seen over The Causeway, Bermuda 24 August was the earliest fall record (Paul Watson).
Parakeet to Thrushes
A Brown-throated Parakeet, perhaps an escaped bird, was photographed at Monte Pirata, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico 18 Oct (Sadhu Govardhan). A Red-and-green Macaw first seen in Grenada 24 May was last seen at Morne Delice, Saint George 18 Oct (Vaughn Francis) —it is unlikely to be a natural vagrant. A Western Wood-Pewee was seen and identified by call at the National Botanic Garden, Havana, Cuba 20 Oct (Randy Simón Vallejo). A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was photographed in Havana, Cuba 12 Oct (Ernesto Reyes, Tania Piñeiro, Maikel Cañizares). An Acadian Flycatcher was a good find at El Morro, Havana, Cuba 12 Sep (Vladimir Mirabal et al.); and another was well described at Savannah Grand Cliffs, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman 18–25 Sep (Peter Davey). A Least Flycatcher seen at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 23 Aug equalled the earliest fall record for this species (Paul Watson). A Hammond’s Flycatcher was a sensational find by Luke Foster at Port Royal GC 5–8 Oct. This record is the first for Bermuda and the West Indies. A confiding bird, it provided great photo opportunities for local birders. A Western Kingbird (ph.) was a very good find at The Reef GC Freeport, Grand Bahamas 2 Nov (Martha Cartwright, Bridget Davis). A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen at Savannah Grand, North Side, Grand Cayman 7 Oct (Peter Davey). A total of 180 Fork-tailed Flycatchers were counted on St Georges University campus, Grenada 20 Sep (Cristians Rivas). A Fork-tailed Flycatcher (ph.) was a surprise vagrant at Rennard & Janet’s Pond, San Salvador and Rum Cay, Bahamas 5 Nov (Janet Storr). Single White-winged Swallows were seen in South Grenada on 1 Sep and 15 Oct (Kenrith Carter). A Northern Wheatear at Daniel’s Head Dairy, Bermuda 10–13 Oct (Luke Foster, Miguel Meias) was joined by a second bird 13 Oct (Paul Watson). Wood Thrush are now a rare sighting in Bermuda, with a single bird seen in the Arboretum 27 Oct (Paul Watson).
Sparrows to Tanagers
A Clay-colored Sparrow was at Pine Ridge Landfill, Freeport, Grand Bahama 13 Oct (Martha Cartwright). Single Lark Sparrows were seen in the Bahamas at West End, Grand Bahama 3 Sep (Martha Cartwright) and at Radio Beach, Bimini 12 Sep (Bridget Davis); and the Cayman Islands recorded their first Lark Sparrow at Stone’s Throw, Little Cayman 22–23 Sep (Nicole Martin). Amazingly, a White-crowned Sparrow was photographed at the same site—Stone’s Throw, Little Cayman 2 Nov, providing another first record for the Cayman Islands (Nicole Martin). Extremely rare in Cuba, a Savannah Sparrow (photo here) was captured north of Violeta, Ciego de Avila, Cuba 16 Nov (Cuba Rare Bird Registry). Very scarce in Bermuda, a Song Sparrow was photographed on Morgan’s Point 8 Nov (Luke Foster, Miguel Mejias). Rarely reported in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a Tennessee Warbler 19 Oct and Chestnut-sided Warbler 4 Oct were both seen at Villa Verde, Providenciales (Simon Busuttil). A Kentucky Warbler along the Boca Quebrada Road, Vieques, Puerto Rico 21 Oct was only the second fall record for Vieques (Erick Bermudez). A fall-out of Blackpoll Warblers occurred on La Désirade Island, Guadeloupe with 68 birds counted 30 Oct (Anthony Levesque). A Black-throated Blue Warbler was seen west of Esperanza, Vieques, Puerto Rico 17 Oct was the fourth fall record for Vieques (Richard Norgaard). A Wilson’s Warbler (a rare passage migrant) was seen at Salto el Caburni, Parque Altiplano, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba 9 Nov (David Martinez)—see photographs here. An Indigo Bunting on the road between Playa Grande and Punta Vaca, Vieques, Puerto Rico 20 Oct was the first fall record for Vieques (Erick Bermudez). Indigo Bunting is rare in Guadeloupe, with a single bird at Petite Terre 19 Oct, and two at La Désirade 21 Oct (Anthony Levesque). Three Palm Tanagers at Belmont Estate, Grenada 18 Nov (Kenrith Carter) was the first record for our recording area. It is an abundant species on Trinidad and common on Tobago—both islands being outside our reporting region.
Report processed by José Ramírez-Garofalo, 26 Feb 2022.