West Indies & Bermuda: Winter 2018–2019

Winter 2018–2019: 1 Dec–28 Feb

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

Norton, R., A. Dobson, and A. Levesque. 2021. Winter 2018–2019: West Indies & Bermuda. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-aii> North American Birds.

The undoubted highlight of the winter was the first Caribbean record of Wattled Jacana discovered in Antigua. Other highlights included the Caribbean’s third record of Common Ringed Plover in Guadeloupe and Bermuda’s second records of Trindade Petrel and Common Eider. A House Finch provided a new record for Cuba, while Anguilla recorded new records for Green-winged Teal and American White Pelican.

Contributors (subregional editors in bold):

Peter Adhemar, Scott Amos, Geoff Bell, Aaron Bourque, Elwood Bracey (Bahamas), Richard Brewer, Lou Carroll, Martha Cartwright, Jacqueline Cestero, Sean Christensen (Haiti), Jessica Cox (JCo), Peter Davey, Eric Delcroix, Jacky Froidefond, Erika Gates, Lisa Greene, Jorge Luis Guerra, Ian Harrison, Carlos Hernandez, Erich Hetzel, Christopher Johnson, Toni Jourdan, Delores Kellman, Keith Kemp, Garrett Lau, Natalya and Jordan Lawrence, Anthony Levesque, Sarah Ludlow-Circuito, Ricardo Miller, Julian Moore, Maikel Cañizares Morera, Yve Morrell, Neal Morris, Andrea Otto, Carey Parks, Nancy Pascoe, Ana Pazos, Carlos Hernández Peraza, Jr., Mekhi and Sonaya Prosper, Bruce Purdy, Dale Quaife, David Robichaud, Pablo A Roman, Forrest Rowland, Julio Salgado (JSal), Tatiana Sanchez, Rebecca Sander (RSa), Jose Santiago, Martin Siese, Alejandro Llanes Sosa, Robert Stephenson, Denny Swaby, Susan Vallis, Carolyn Wardle, Paul Watson, Tim White, Rob Williams, David Wingate, Gail Woon, Lisa Yntema (St Croix, USVI).

Waterfowl to Jaeger

Four White-faced Whistling-Ducks were reportedly seen at close range 15 Jan (RSa) at Princess Cays, Eleuthera Bahamas, South Eleuthera, Bahamas, swimming together in a pond, showing unmistakable white faces. A long-staying Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was last seen at Somerset Long Bay, Bermuda 2 Jan (RB). A small group of six Fulvous Whistling-Ducks was seen 12 Dec (CP) at La Cuchilla, Cienfuegos, Cuba; ten were noted at Norte, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba 20 Jan (SL-C). A Canada Goose was noted 5 Jan (BP) at Garden of Grand Bahama Birders B&B (Garden of the Gates), Freeport, Grand Bahama. A pair of Mottled Ducks were seen at West End, Grand Bahama 28 Feb (AL, FD), representing a first Bahamas and second Caribbean record. A pair of Green-winged Teal were seen at Bad Cox Pond, Anguilla 27 Feb (AB) for the island’s first known record. A pair of Lesser Scaup were noted 3 Dec (LY, m. ob.) at Southgate Pond, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Bermuda’s second record of Common Eider (first winter male) was seen off St. George’s 11 Dec (LG). A Common Merganser was seen on Ships Hill Pond, Bermuda 19 Dec (DW) and Mangrove Lake, Bermuda 10–28+ Feb (SV). A Masked Duck was noted 25 Dec (MCM) at Embalse Niña Bonita and again 1 Jan (ALS) off the Autopista Nacional, La Habana, Cuba. A colony of 2,000 American Flamingoes was seen 1 km east of the causeway between Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, Cuba 20 Jan (SL-C).

Bermuda’s first January record of Common Nighthawk was seen over St. Georges Golf Course 13 Jan (NM). An Antillean Nighthawk was heard and seen 5 Dec (JS) at a parking area in Caguas, Puerto Rico. In Bermuda, an immature Purple Gallinule was seen at Jubilee Road 16 Jan–20 Feb (GB) and perhaps the same individual at Pitman’s Pond 13 Feb (TW). Anguilla’s second record of Purple Gallinule and first to be photographed was at Road Salt Pond 9 Feb (JC). A Sandhill Crane was first seen 13 Dec (EB, ph.), remaining through 16 Jan (MC, KK, CJ), at the Fox Town schoolyard, North Abaco and Grand Cay, Bahamas. A Pacific Golden Plover was at Deshaies, Guadeloupe 5 Dec–30 Jan (JF); another was noted 24 Dec (PD, ph.) at Old Prospect, George Town, Grand Cayman. A Snowy Plover was seen 9 Jan (FR) at Cabo Rojo, Pedernales, Dominican Republic. The discovery of a Common Ringed Plover at La Désirade, Guadeloupe 18 Jan (AL, ED, TJ) provided the island with its second record and was only the third for the Caribbean. Two Piping Plovers were seen at Cooper’s Island, Bermuda 1 Dec, with one present to 9 Feb (the leg flag showed it to have been banded in Nova Scotia in Aug 2018) and the other to 15 Feb (TW). While conducting a Caribbean waterbird count, six lucky observers discovered the first Caribbean record of Wattled Jacana at Potworks Dam, Saint Paul, Antigua & Barbuda 11 Jan. It remained for two more weeks, last seen 25 Jan (AO, M&SP, N&JL). A Ruff was present at Westover Farm, Bermuda 24 Jan (PW). American Woodcock is rarely seen in Bermuda, but one provided great views in a Devonshire garden, Bermuda 24 Dec–2 Jan (fide EH). A Red Phalarope was seen during a sea-watch off Coopers Island, Bermuda 23 Jan (PW). A Parasitic Jaeger was seen from land harassing a tern at Cayo Guillermo, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba 10 Dec (DQ).

Alcids to Buntings

An ailing Dovekie was found in the waters off Castle Island, Bermuda 26 Nov (MS) and taken into care. It did not survive, and upon examination, three large pieces of plastic were found in its gut, thus illustrating the tragedy of the commons.  Two Great Black-backed Gulls were seen 29 Dec (RS) at Varadero, Matanzas, Cuba. Two Common Terns and a Forster’s Tern were seen 21 Dec (RM) at Parottee Pond, Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica.  Another Common Tern was noted 9 Jan (FR, ph.) at Laguna Oviedo, Pedernales, Dominican Republic. A Trindade Petrel was discovered circling over an inland residence in Devonshire, Bermuda 30 Jan (JCo). Remaining through 18 Feb, this extraordinary visitor provided views for many observers and photo opportunities. There is only one previous confirmed record off Bermuda. A Wood Stork was seen 5 Jan (GW, MC, et al.) at Reef Golf Course, Freeport, West Grand Bahama for one of the few records east of Cuba. A Magnificent Frigatebird was photographed over Smith’s Island, Bermuda 16 Feb (SA). An immature Brown Pelican was present at various Bermuda locations 31 Dec–28 Feb+ (NM et al.), and an adult bird was at Coney Island 31 Jan (NM). A Brown Booby was spotted from Bermuda Airport 12 Dec (PA). Rare in the Lesser Antilles, an American White Pelican was at Potworks Dam, Saint Paul, Antigua & Barbuda 11 Jan (AO et al.). Anguilla recorded its first record of American White Pelican at Meads Bay Pond 27 Jan (JC, ph.).  An American Bittern was seen in Pembroke Marsh 3 Feb (TW). A record 50 Glossy Ibis were at Gaschet Reservoir, Guadeloupe 6 Feb (AL). One of the two Eurasian Spoonbills in Barbados was found injured with a broken wing 27 Jan (JM et al.). It was taken to the Barbados RSPCA where its right wing had to be removed. The bird is healthy and being housed in a local sanctuary.

The off-again, on-again West End, Grand Bahama Black Vulture was noted at the landfill 19 Dec (EG, LC) and seen again 5 Jan (DK) at the Rand Nature Center, West Grand Bahama. Two Black Vultures were photographed roosting with Turkey Vultures 8 Dec (YM, GL, et al.) at PN Ciénaga de Zapata, San Tomas, Matanzas, Cuba. A Black Vulture was studied carefully at Guayanilla, Puerto Rico 14 Dec (JSal, PAR), and it or another was seen 1 Jan (AP) at Bosque Estatal de Guánica, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico. An Antillean Short-eared Owl was noted 7 Jan (PD, IH) at Patrick’s Island Lake, George Town, Grand Cayman. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was noted 12 Dec (SC) at Grand’Anse, Haiti. A well-described Gyrfalcon was seen at Port Royal Golf Course 29 Dec (SD). If confirmed, this would be only the second record for Bermuda. Two Brown-throated Parakeets were noted 27 Dec (NP) at the Virgin Gorda ferry terminal, British Virgin Islands. The first December record of Eastern Kingbird was seen at Bermuda Airport 5 Dec (PA).  A Fish Crow was seen at West End, Grand Bahama 4 Jan (MC, ph.). A Red-breasted Nuthatch was seen in St. George’s, Bermuda 6–11 Jan (PW) and at Port Royal Golf Course, Bermuda 13 Jan (EH, PW). A Marsh Wren first seen at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 17 Nov remained to 28 Feb+ (m. ob.). A Bicknell’s Thrush Initially observed flying responded to audio playback 29 Dec (AP) at Bosque Estatal de Cambalache, Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

An adult male House Finch seen 28 Dec–28 Feb+ at Quinta de los Molinos, La Habana, Cuba (JLG, TS, ph.) constituted the first Cuban record of this species (photos on eBird at https://ebird.org/checklist/S51020929). House Finch is not a species known in Cuba’s caged bird trade. It may be a true vagrant, especially as the Florida population is increasing, but a ship-assisted arrival can’t be ruled out. A Purple Finch was seen at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 3 Feb (NM). A Common Redpoll was reported at Ferry Point Park, Bermuda 4 Jan (EH). A Red Crossbill was discovered at the A. B. Smith Reserve, Bermuda 27 Dec (EH). A Yellow-breasted Chat first seen 11 Nov in Ferry Point Park, Bermuda remained to 28 Feb+ (NM). Two Orchard Orioles were noted 6 Dec (DR, RW) at Puerto Escondido, Independencia, Dominican Republic. A Red-winged Blackbird remained at Jubilee Road, Bermuda 31 Dec–28 Feb+ (NM). The long-staying Tawny-shouldered Blackbird was reported 31 Dec (DS) at its known hangout at Kirk Supermarket, George Town, Grand Cayman. A male and two female Great-tailed Grackles were noted 29 Dec (RW) at Greater Portmore Sewage Ponds, Saint Catherine, Jamaica. A Swainson’s Warbler was seen with a flock of warblers in dense cover 4 Jan (CW) at Lakeview Drive ponds, New Providence, Bahamas. A rare occurrence of a female Painted Bunting was noted 19 Dec (PD) at Savannah Grand, North Side, Grand Cayman.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda: Winter 2018–2019

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