Dobson, A., & A. Levesque. 2023. Winter 2022–2023: West Indies & Bermuda. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-fDQ> North American Birds.
Significant first records occurred in Antigua (Northern Lapwing), Cuba (White Wagtail), Dominican Republic (Ruff), Guadeloupe (Western Reef-Heron), Saint Kitts (Spotted Redshank), and Jamaica (Southern Lapwing), while Bermuda recorded its second record of Hairy Woodpecker.
Ducks to Shorebirds
One long-staying Fulvous Whistling-Duck was joined by two more at Fosters Private Wetland, Saint Lucy, Barbados 7 Jan (Michael St John). At Road Bay Pond, Anguilla a single American Flamingo arrived 22 Feb, joined by a second bird 27 Feb (Jackie Cestero)—they have not been on Anguilla for 18 months.A flock of 15 Short-tailed Swifts were seen northwest of Lorrain, Martinique 10 Jan (Vincent Rufray). Three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were discovered in Bermuda with one in Jenningsland 23 Nov–17 Dec (Jeremy & Lizzy Madeiros) and one in the Botanical Gardens 17 Dec–10 Jan with two seen there 27 Dec–28 Feb+ (Herb Marshall, Joanne Smith). An American Oystercatcher was present at Inch Marlow, Christ Church, Barbados 1–28 Feb+ (Michael St. John). A Northern Lapwing was a terrific find at Potworks Dam, Saint Paul, Antigua 4 Dec—”A single bird was seen flying over Potworks Dam and a mobile phone video was taken which captures the call of the bird. Additionally with my binoculars the white wing tips as well as the white on the tail was very visible and the white under belly. It also had a dark plumage looking like a very dark brown” (Jermaine Jarvis)—the video footage can be viewed on eBird. Jamaica’s first Southern Lapwing was photographed at Harbour View Sewage Ponds 13 Feb (Wayne Sutherland). A count of 20 Snowy Plovers was a notable flock at Long Salt Pond by Fish Farm Rocks, Anguilla 22 Jan, during a Caribbean Waterbird Count (Jackie Cestero). An impressive 78 Wilson’s Plovers were seen at Punta Galinde, Vieques, Puerto Rico 5 Dec (Erick Bermúdez). Two Piping Plovers were at Cove Bay, Anguilla Jan 18 (Jackie Cestero). A calling Marbled Godwit was a surprise fly-over at Prospect Point Beach, Grand Cayman 4 Jan (Peter Davey); while another was photographed at Laguna Flamingos, Ciego de Avila, Cuba 16–18 Feb (Marieta Manolova)—with two at the same location 28 Feb (Byron Swift). Single Ruff were seen at Esperanza, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico 4 Jan (Michael Murphy); at Woodbourne Shorebird Refuge, Christ Church, Barbados 4 Dec–19 Jan (Eddie Massiah); and at Salinas de Bani, Peravia, Dominican Republic for a first island record 8 Feb (Neil Hayward). A Spotted Redshank in non-breeding plumage, the first record for St. Kitts, was photographed at Muddy Pool, North Frigate Bay 12 Feb (John Bowler….This bird was feeding on its own on the seawards edge of the pool. A tall, elegant wader with long deep-red legs, a fine straight longish red-based bill (with a slightly-drooping tip), rather plain grey plumage above, whiter below and with a bold white supercilium above a dark line from the bill base to the eye.
Gulls to Kites
A Black-legged Kittiwake was noted over St. George’s GC, Bermuda 7 Dec (Paul Watson). Paul Watson and Joanne Smith had a memorable seawatch from Cooper’s Point, Bermuda 29 Jan—Black-legged Kittiwake (3 juvs.), Sabine’s Gull (2 ads.), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Bermuda Petrel (20), and a single Cory’s Shearwater. A Sabine’s Gull was spotted and photographed at Playa del Chivo, Havana 5 Jan (Carlos Hernández)—the third record of the species for Cuba and the first to be photographed. Rare in Cuba, four Bonaparte’s Gulls were seen at Playa del Chivo, Havana 30 Dec (Pedro Raúl Reyes Matos). A Parasitic Jaeger was photographed off Aguadilla Beach, Puerto Rico 15 Jan (Sage Church). A Leach’s Storm-Petrel was seen between Antigua and Montserrat 12 Feb (Charlie Bostwick). The first night visit on 21 Dec to the Audubon’s Shearwater nesting site at Bird Rock, St. Lucy, Barbados in some 29 years provided a tally of 451 sightings (Eddie Massiah, Julian Moore, Michael St. John). A Black-capped Petrel was well described off the east end of Bermuda 1 Dec (Gerard Desjardins). An immature Brown Pelican was seen in the Great Sound, Bermuda 5–9 Jan (Christopher Woolgar). A Grey Heron was photographed at Bawdens Irrigation Ponds, Saint Andrew, Barbados 14 Dec–28 Feb+ (Michael St John). A Western Reef-Heron was well described at Sainte-Rose, Pointe Allegre, Nogent, Guadeloupe 15 Jan (Jacky Froidefont)—rare in the Caribbean and the first record for Guadeloupe. Six Glossy Ibis spent the entire winter period at Fosters Private Wetland, Saint Lucy, Barbados (Julian Moore). Scarce in the Cayman Islands a Roseate Spoonbill was discovered and photographed at Cricket Ground, George Town, Grand Cayman Dec 27 (Peter Davey)—unfortunately killed by a car later in the day. Two Black Vultures were observed soaring over the fish market in Grenville, Grenada 7 Dec (Zoya Buckmire). A Snail Kite, present in Barbados since Sep 2020, was last seen 14 Jan at the closed Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Christ Church (Todd Pepper).
Woodpeckers to Toucans
Downy Woodpeckers are extremely rare sightings in Bermuda, but three birds were present with records at Warwick Pond 9 Dec (LeShun Smith), the Naval Cemetery, Dockyard 11 Dec (Steven De Silva), and the Botanical Gardens 24 Dec–28 Feb+ (Herb Marshall). A female Hairy Woodpecker photographed in Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens was a superb find 21–24 Dec (Miguel Mejias)—the only previous Bermuda record was a sight-only observation in 2011.A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was a good find in Savannah, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman Jan 22 (Ian Kirkham). A Yellow-throated Vireo, scarce in Guadeloupe, was photographed at Deshaies 9–14 Dec (Anthony Levesque). With few records of Bahama Swallow in Cuba, the presence of 12 at Cayo Guillermo, Ciego de Ávila 6 Feb was a significant find (Maikel Cañizares). An American Robin was videoed at Crabbing Bay, East Grand Bahama 23 Oct (H Rudy Saywer); while another was seen on Dampier Drive, Freeport, Grand Bahama 25 Feb (Bridget Davis). A Bohemian Waxwing was a very good find on Orange Valley Road, Bermuda 28 Jan (Miguel Mejias). A Cedar Waxwing was photographed at Stone’s Throw, Little Cayman 13 Jan (Nicole Martin)—the first sighting in the Sister Islands (Little Cayman & Cayman Brac) and the last time they were spotted in Grand Cayman was 2015. Two Cedar Waxwings were photographed at the Garden of the Groves, Freeport, Grand Bahama 20 Jan (Bridget Davis). A singing male House Sparrow was seen and photographed at the Carlisle carpark, Bridgetown, Barbados 20 Jan (Julian Moore). Cuba’s first record of White Wagtail was photographed at Portillo Granma 26 Feb (Ricel Polán Hernández)—there is one other record for the West Indies from Barbados (Jan 1987). In Bermuda, three Snow Buntings were seen at Bermuda International Airport 3 Dec (Miguel Mejias) and four in Dockyard 30 Dec–15 Jan (Joanne Smith, Herb Marshall). Possibly the Bahamas’ first late winter record of White-crowned Sparrow was photographed at Cocodimama, North Eleuthera 18 Feb (Delores Kellman, Steven Oxley, et al). A Golden-winged Warbler was an exceptional find at Little Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas 20 Feb (John and Sheryl McNair). Vagrant in the Lesser Antilles, single Common Yellowthroats were seen in Marais de Port-Louis, Guadeloupe 19 Jan (Anthony Levesque) and Lower Belham Gravel Pits, Montserrat 25 Feb (Adam Stinton).A Palm Warbler was well described at Pont d’Alliance, Guadeloupe 2 Feb (Daniel Chantrel). Of 25 species of warbler seen in Bermuda during the winter period, the rarest was a Townsend’s Warbler which remained in the Arboretum for over two months and was last seen 9th Feb (Peter Adhemar). A Palm Tanager was seen and heard as it flew over the observer at Clabony Sulphur Spring, Saint Andrew, Grenada 31 Dec (Kenrith Carter)—a species first recorded in the country in Nov 2021. A Channel-billed Toucan, an introduced resident, was recorded calling on the Cocodee Trail, Saint David, Grenada 21 Jan (Kenrith Carter).