West Indies & Bermuda: Spring 2020

Spring 2020: 1 Mar–31 May

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

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

Highlights for the region include a remarkable discovery of Trindade Petrel prospecting nesting at Bermuda: the region’s first Common Redshank in Guadeloupe; a first Little Egret for Anguilla; a pair of Swainson’s Hawks at Cuba, and a Bicknell’s Thrush in the Bahamas.

Observers: David Ascanio, Erick Bermúdez, Sylvie de Blois, Lisa Brin, Bradly Brown, Brad Bergstrom (BBr), Martha Cartwright, Jacqueline Cestero, Adrian Cobas, Donnie R. Dann, Peter Davey, Ancilleno Davis (ADa), Andrew Dobson, Eric Delcroix, Frantz Delcroix, Jérémy Delolme, Dale Doucette, Dana Duxbury-Fox, Jephtanie Francois, Erika Gates, Erich Hetzel, Alan Johnston, Christopher Johnson, Peter Jones, Sonya Keene, Peter Kemp, Marilyn Laing, Alex Lamoreaux (ALx), Anthony Levesque, Tarra Lindo, Mark Martin (MMa), Doug McClure, Vivian Moultrie, Miguel Mejias, Gustavo Melendez, Thomas Monjoin, Duncan Mullis, Mike Murphy, Roberto Navarro, Robert L Norton (RLN), Andrea Ottley, Carlos Hernández Peraza, Shawn Pfautsch, Joseph Prosper, Ernesto Reyes, Michel Robert, Caroline Rogers, Sean Rowe, Julio Salgado, Nils Servientis, LeShun Smith, Alejandro Llanes Sosa, Alana Stickland, Janet Storr, Denny Swaby, Manuel Torres, Paul Watson.

Waterfowl through Tropicbirds

Thirty Fulvous Whistling-Duck were seen 9 May (ER) at Amarillas Rice Plantations, Matanzas, Cuba. Two Canada Geese were reported 8 Mar (MC) at the Reef GC, Freeport, Grand Bahama. Three Blue-winged Teal lingered at Patrick’s Island Dykes, George Town, Grand Cayman to 24 May (AS). A large group of 80 Lesser Scaup were noted 4 Mar (MR, SdB) at Jimani, Laguna, Azuei, Independencia, Dominican Republic. Two Bufflehead present during much of the winter were last seen on Belmont GC, Bermuda 26 Apr (NM). A Horned Grebe was seen and ph. at Coot Pond, Bermuda 11 Mar (PW). A Common Nighthawk was reported 9 Apr (DS) at West Church Street, West Bay, Grand Cayman. A Chuck-will’s-widow was reported (with audio) 5 Apr (DS) at West Church Street, West Bay, Grand Cayman. Three Eastern Whip-poor-will were heard calling round 8:15 pm 7 May (ADa) at Adelaide Village, New Providence, Bahamas. An estimated fifty Black Swifts were seen 27 May (JF) at Etang Laborde, Sud, Haiti. Two Black Rails were reported 9 May (ER) at Amarillas Rice Plantations, Matanzas, Cuba.

A Piping Plover was discovered and ph. at Cove Pond, Anguilla 6 Mar (JC). A Red-necked Phalarope was photographed 9 May (TL) at Maroon Hill Road, Inagua, Bahamas. A Whimbrel was seen 2 Mar (SK) at Red Pond, Anegada British Virgin Islands. The region’s first Common Redshank discovered at Pointe des Châteaux, Guadeloupe 15 Jan was last seen 16 Apr (JD, EG). Of particular note during the spring migration of skuas and jaegers at Pointe des Châteaux, Guadeloupe were a Great Skua 20 May (FD, JD) and South Polar Skua 7 May (JD). A Franklin’s Gull was photographed 18 May (CJ) at Ocean Club GC, New Providence, Bahamas. The first returning Roseate Tern to the Great Sound, Bermuda was seen 22 Apr (EH). The first Common Tern of the year in Bermuda was recorded on a remote camera at Pearl Island 15 March (fide EH). An Arctic Tern was off at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 21 May (PW). A Royal Tern was recorded on a remote camera at Pearl Island, Bermuda 22 Apr (fide EH). A Sandwich Tern was seen on Pearl Island, Bermuda 17 Apr (EH). Four White-tailed Tropicbirds at the cliffs Cerro Playuela, Vieques, Puerto Rico 3 Mar are considered rare in spring (EB, DD, MM).

Petrels through Hawks

Miguel Mejias discovered a Trindade Petrel prospecting and calling at night in rocky crevices at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 14 May. Its leg band confirmed it to be the same bird that made an extraordinary visit to the same location in 2019 (MM). What was presumed to be the same bird was seen off Cooper’s Island, Bermuda on 21 and 25 May (PW). A Black-capped Petrel was reported 14 Mar (SR) off the north coast of eastern Cuba at Camagüey district. A Great Shearwater was seen 29 May (BB) off North Abaco and Grand Cay, Bahamas. Sooty Shearwater seen passing Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 11 Mar was considerably earlier than the usual peak movement in May (PW). A Northern Gannet was seen 9 Mar from a cruise ship (SP) off Bimini, Bahamas. American White Pelicans made quite a showing in the Greater Antilles with two reported 1 Mar (PD) at Meagre Bay Pond IBA, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman while another was found 14 Mar (JS) at Lake West, near Lighthouse Road, San Salvador and Rum Cay, Bahamas. A record high count of 120 Great Egrets were at Laguna Sombre, Vieques, Puerto Rico 1 Mar (DD, MMa). Anguilla’s first record of Little Egret was photographed at Meads Bay Pond 4 Mar (JC). An injured Black-crowned Night-Heron at Meads Bay Pond, Anguilla on 4 Mar provided the first known record for that country (JC, DM). Two continuing Scarlet Ibis were noted 9 May (JS, MT) at Caño Tiburones-oeste, Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Four Black Vulture were counted 2 Mar (LB) at Sancti Spíritus, Cuba. Turkey Vultures are rarely reported on Vieques, Puerto Rico, so the sightings of two at Laguna Sombe (DD) 11 March and three at Esperanza 28 May 2020 (MMa) were significant.

Table 1. Timing and distribution of Swallow-tailed Kite during spring 2020.





1 March

Inagua, Bahamas

1 (ph)

V. Moultrie, Tarra Lindo

5 March

Grand Cayman


P. Davey

8 March



L. Smith

8 March

St. John, USVI


P. Jones

13 March

Ciego de Ávila, Cuba


A. Dobson

14 March

San Salvador, Rum Cay, Bahamas

2 (ph)

J. Storr

Five Mississippi Kite were noted 16 May (CHP) at El Trigal, Boyeros, La Habana, Cuba. Two Swainson’s Hawks were seen 25 Mar at La Habana, Cuba (ALS) who commented: “Two individulals were light morph showing whitish wing lining contrasting with the dark primary feathers, dark bib and whitish underpart. The Swainson’s Hawk is a rare spring migrant”.

Flycatchers through Buntings

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was photographed 6 Mar (AC) at Casa Ana Birding, Matanzas, Cuba. Two Bank Swallow were seen 27 May (JF) at Etang Laborde, Sud, Haiti. A Black-whiskered Vireo was seen and ph. at Tudor Hill, Bermuda 28 Mar (AO, PW). A Bicknell’s Thrush, a bit late and a little east of its expected spring route (RLN), was reported 3 May (ph, ADa) at Salt Cay IBA (Blue Lagoon Island), New Providence, Bahamas. A Wood Thrush was seen 25 Mar (ML) at Garden of the Groves, Freeport, Grand Bahama. A Baltimore Oriole was seen at the Botanical Gardens, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12 Mar (DA, DRD, DDF, AJ). Two Red-winged Blackbirds were discovered at Compston’s Pond, Bermuda 13–21 Mar (PW). A Brown-headed Cowbird was noted in the company of four Red-winged Blackbirds 30 Mar (EG) at Garden of the Gates, Freeport, Grand Bahama. A Great-tailed Grackle continues at Kingston Airport, Saint Andrew, Jamaica, 20 Mar (BBr) while another female Great-tailed Grackle was seen (ph) 11 Mar (ALx) at Puerto Arecibo, Arecibo, Puerto Rico in a mixed flock with Greater Antillean Grackles in palms behind Carbón y Lena.

Amongst a mixed warbler flock at Punta Arenas Road, Vieques, Puerto Rico both Worm-eating Warbler and Hooded Warbler (female) were noted 5 Mar (GM). They are considered an extremely rare spring migrant. A Kentucky Warbler was a good find at Reserve Naturelle de La Caravelle, Martinique 11 Apr (TM, NS). A Magnolia Warbler was a nice find at St John, Antigua and Barbuda 9 May (JP). A Summer Tanager was reported 3 Apr (PK) at Blue Shark GC, New Providence. A Summer Tanager was seen at Petite Terre, Guadeloupe 5 May (ED). A Scarlet Tanager was photographed 8 May (CR) at Saint John, US Virgin Islands. Single Scarlet Tanagers were seen at Ste Rose, Guadeloupe 4 Apr (AL); a male at Monte Santo 24 Apr provided the second island record for Vieques, Puerto Rico (RN); and another at St John, Antigua and Barbuda 9 May (JP). Bermuda witnessed an influx of Blue Grosbeaks with a record 19 seen together on St. Georges GC 27 Apr (PW).  A remarkable flock of 46 Indigo Buntings was seen at St. Georges Cemetery, Bermuda 27 Apr (PW). 

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 29 July 2021.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda: Spring 2020

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