West Indies & Bermuda: Spring 2019

Spring 2019: 1 Mar–30 Apr

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

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

A number of country firsts were registered, with a Blackburnian Warbler for Anguilla; a Common Myna for Cuba; and a Tufted Duck for Guadeloupe (only the third for the Caribbean). Cuba also recorded its fourth Large-billed Tern. 

Ducks through Terns

A Redhead continued its stay at West End, Grand Bahama to at least 6 Mar (Frantz Delcroix et al.). A Tufted Duck discovered at Gachet Reservoir, Guadeloupe 1324 Mar was the first Guadeloupe record and only the third for the Caribbean (Anthony Levesque). Considered rare on Vieques, Puerto Rico, two Pied-billed Grebes were on the Pond off Rt. 997/4.7 km 14 Mar (Dale Doucette). There were two late season records of Sora, one 12 May at Petite Terre, Guadeloupe 12 May (Anthony Levesque) and another at Searles, Barbados 27 May (John Webster). A Sandhill Crane was seen near the S C Bootle Highway church, North Abaco, Bahamas 4 Mar (Frantz Delcroix, Anthony Levesque, Elwood Bracey). At least two Black-necked Stilts were present at various Bermuda locations 1031 May+ (John Weale, Neal Morris). A rare passage migrant on the Cayman Islands, an American Golden-Plover (ph.) was at Colliers Pond, East End, Grand Cayman 30 Mar5 Apr (Steven Mlodinow). A Piping Plover was at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 1 Mar10 Apr (TW). A Ruff was seen at Westover Farm, Bermuda 23 Mar (Erich Hetzel). An impressive 302 Semipalmated Sandpipers were counted at Laguna Playa Grande, Vieques, Puerto Rico 14 May (Erick Bermúdez). Cooper’s Point, Bermuda provided sightings of Great Skua 10 May (Paul Watson) and South Polar Skua 20 May (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson). In addition to the four classic “Skuas/Jaegers” seen every year from the East side of Guadeloupe, a South Polar Skua was nicely photographed 24 Apr (Laurent Bouveret). A wintering Black-headed Gull was last seen in Hamilton Harbour, Bermuda 17 Apr (Erich Hetzel). Two Least Terns at Laguna Playa Grande 4 May are uncommon on Vieques, Puerto Rico (Erick Bermúdez). Cuba’s 4th record of Large-billed Tern was discovered sitting on an old dock with gulls and terns at Guanimar, Artesima 8 Apr (Alejandro Llanes Sosa). A Roseate Tern returned to the Great Sound, Bermuda 1 May (Paul Watson), with three present by 29 May (Erich Hetzel, Janice Hetzel). Probably under-recorded on Vieques, Puerto Rico, a flock of 20 Common Terns was a good sighting at Esperenza Beach 27 Apr (Christina Votja). Four Arctic Terns passed Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 20 May and another was seen offshore on 23 May (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson). A Royal Tern was seen in Great Sound, Bermuda on 18 May (Ian Fisher, Paul Watson). 

Tropicbirds through Eagle

Considered rare on Vieques, Puerto Rico, 3 White-tailed Tropicbirds were seen at Bahia Pirata 9 May (Erick Bermúdez). A Leach’s Storm-Petrel returned to a Cahow nest burrow on Nonsuch Island, Bermuda for the third year running on 22 Apr and actually shared the burrow with a Cahow and its chick before the chick fledged (JM). This Storm-Petrel continued to visit the burrow to 31 May+. A Black-capped Petrel flew off-shore past Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 21 Mar (Paul Watson). There are many spring records of Manx Shearwater in Guadeloupe, but of particular note were 505 birds passing Pointe des Châteaux during a 2h 23m seawatch 25 Mar (Eddie Massiah, Anthony Levesque). A Red-footed Booby was seen and photographed from a cruise ship in Bahamian waters at 24.0403, -80.3023 on 17 Mar (Aaron Holschbach). An American White Pelican found last winter was still present at Potworks Dam, Antigua 27 Mar (Andrea Otto, Junior Prosper, Jeff Gerbracht, ph.). An immature Brown Pelican photographed in the Little Sound, Bermuda 28 Apr (Erich Hetzel) relocated to Shelly Bay to 17 May (Neal Morris). A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen at Bermuda’s West End 616 Apr (Ingela Perrson). A late Northern Harrier was over Morgan’s Point, Bermuda 4 May (Joanne Smith). A Bald Eagle was photographed at West End, Grand Bahama 8 Mar (Martha Cartwright, Duncan Mullis, Shelagh Paton-Ash). 

Elaenia through Myna

During a walk along the Mastic Trail, Grand Cayman 29 Mar, Steven Mlodinow recorded some impressive numbers of resident species including: 116 Caribbean Elaenia, 42 TB Vireo, 68 Yucatan Vireo, 57 Vitelline Warbler, and 42 Cuban Bullfinch. A rare passage migrant on the Cayman Islands, a Philadelphia Vireo (ph.) was at Barkers National Park, West Bay, Grand Cayman 67 Apr (Peter Davey, Denny Swaby). Three Black-whiskered Vireos were seen at Conch Point, Barkers, Cayman Islands 1 Apr (Steven Mlodinow). Their breeding status is apparently unclear on the Caymans with two of the three birds counted singing males. An over-wintering Red-breasted Nuthatch was last seen in the Bermuda Arboretum 31 Mar (Neal Morris). Also in Bermuda, the long-staying Marsh Wren at Spittal Pond, was last seen 24 Mar (Neal Morris); a White-crowned Sparrow remained at Spanish Point until at least 3 Apr (Erich Hetzel); a Yellow-breasted Chat lingered at Ferry Point Park to 13 Apr (Neal Morris); and a Red-winged Blackbird continued on Jubilee Road to 9 Mar (Neal Morris). A Prothonotary Warbler (ph.) at The Shores, West Bay, Grand Cayman 6 Apr is regarded an uncommon migrant in the Cayman Islands (Steven Mlodinow). A Cape May Warbler at Calle Pueblo, Nueva, Vieques, Puerto Rico on 8 Mar is considered a scarce spring migrant (Matt Marshall, Isabel Segunda). A Blackburnian Warbler (ph.) was a surprise on Prickly Pear Bar, Anguilla 14 May—it proved to be the first record for Anguilla (Jacqueline Cestero, Laurie Gumbs). Two stunning male Scarlet Tanagers were at La Désirade, Guadeloupe 19 Apr (Anthony Levesque, Eric Delcroix). Far less common in spring passage than in the fall, single Blue Grosbeaks were seen at Pedro Castle, Bodden Town 2 Apr and Sunnyfield Road, East End, Grand Cayman (ph.) 5 Apr (Steven Mlodinow). Cuba’s first record of Common Myna was photographed here in Miramar, Havana 3 Apr (Maikel Cañizares Morera). There is a large established population in Florida, and it is likely this bird was ship-assisted.

Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, 10 Oct 2021.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda: Spring 2019

Click image to view fullscreen with caption.

A Tufted Duck discovered by Anthony Levesque at Gachet Reservoir, Guadeloupe 13–24 Mar 2019 was the first Guadeloupe record and only the third for the Caribbean. Photographed here on 13 Mar. Photo © Anthony Levesque.

A Blackburnian Warbler discovered by Jacqueline Cestero and Laurie Gumbs on Prickly Pear Bar proved to be the first record for Anguilla. Photo © Laurie Gumbs.

A South Polar Skua was photographed resting on the ocean well off the east end of Guadeloupe 24 Apr 2019. Photo ML15494732 © Lauren Bouveret.

American Golden Plover is a rare passage migrant on the Cayman Islands. Present at Colliers Pond, East End, Grand Cayman 30 Mar–5 Apr, this photo was taken on 5 Apr 2019. Photo © Steven Mlodinow.

Uncommon on spring passage, a Blue Grosbeak was seen on Sunnyfield Road, East End, Grand Cayman on 5 Apr 2019. Photographed here on 5 Apr. Photo © Steven Mlodinow.

A rare passage migrant on the Cayman Islands, a Philadelphia Vireo was at Barkers National Park, West Bay, Grand Cayman 6–7 Apr 2019. Photographed here on 7 Apr. Photo © Steven Mlodinow.

A Prothonotary Warbler seen at The Shores, West Bay, Grand Cayman on 6 Apr 2019 is considered an uncommon migrant in the Cayman Islands. Photographed here on 5 Apr. Photo © Steven Mlodinow.

A Bald Eagle was a nice surprise for those undertaking the International Shorebird Survey at West End, Grand Bahama on 8 Mar 2019, enabling record photos. Photo ML144666251 © Duncan Mullis.

A Red Knot, scarce in the Bahamas, was at Freeport Pine Ridge Landfill, Grand Bahama on 29 May 2019. Photographed here on 29 May. Photo ML161669471 © Erika Gates.