West Indies & Bermuda: Spring 2017

March 1 – May 31

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

Norton, R., A. Dobson & A. Levesque. 2020. Spring 2017: West Indes. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-9wp> North American Birds.

Bermuda highlights included the first May record of Iceland Gull.  Bicknell’s Thrush was more widespread among the Greater Antilles in its spring dispersal before heading north.

Contributors (sub-regional compilers in bold):

Peter Adhemar, James Barber, Linda Barry-Cooper, Susan Barton, Liz Leslie Brace, Elwood Bracey, Martha Cartwright, Sean Christensen, Dan Chronowic, DS CT (initials only) Judith Dawkins, Eric Delcroix, Jérémy Delolme (JDe), Andrew Dobson, Rodrigo Fariña, Erika Gates, James Goetz, Sadhu Govardhan, Charmaine Hall, Greg Homel, Loren Hintz, Delores Kellman, Keith M Kemp, John Kvarnback, Marilyn Laing, Anthony Levesque, Robert Lewis, Tarra Lindo, Duncan Maillis, Kaderin Mills, Daniele Mitchell (DMi), Julie Mobley, Julian Moore, (JMo) John Nishikawa, Christian Olaciregui, Craig Rasmussen, Chris Rimmer, Vicki Sandage, Elijah Sands, Tim Shelmerdine, Richard Soffer, Peder Svingen, Murray Terceira, Paul Watson, John Webster, David Wingate, Pauline Yeckley.

Waterfowl through Raptors

Two, possibly three, Fulvous Whistling-Duck were reported 9-14 Apr (TS, LH, PY and RL) at Cayo Coco, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba. A pair of Egyptian Goose of unknown provenance was photographed 11 Mar (ES) at Mailis Farm, New Providence, Bahamas. Speculation is they are feral, however, this species is locally common in Florida wetland parks at approximately the same latitude about 100 miles to the west. A Canada Goose was reported 18-19 Mar (EG, LB-C, ph.) at Ruby Golf Course and later 5 Apr (DM) Freeport, West Grand Bahama. Barbados’ first record of Tufted Duck was reported 4-22 Mar (JW) at Christ Church. A Bufflehead 22 Mar (Martha Cartwright) at West End, Grand Bahama was a hold-over (DM) from winter season.

A group of 16 American Flamingo was noted 7 Mar at Trou Caiman, Ouest, Haiti (SG).  A Black-capped Petrel was seen 14 Mar (JB, ph.) offshore approximately 25km off SE corner of Cuba, along Greater Antilles Ridge, Guantánamo. It was “observed flying erratically with loose pod of 12 dolphins. GPS 19 47′ 26.12″ N 74 19′ 40.92″ W. Displayed obvious white upper-tail coverts, black front edge of underwing, black cap and more bent wrist than a shearwater”.  A Cory’s Shearwater was seen from a cruise ship 8 Apr (DS CT), North Atlantic Ocean – 23.3741x-82.9688 – nearest to Artemisa, Cuba noting underside as it soared and flapped its wings. “Very large seabird, solidly white underside except edges/tips of wings”. A Brown Pelican was seen over the Little Sound, Bermuda 10 Apr (PA).

Waders through Woodpeckers

A Least Bittern was reported 9 Apr (JN) at Treasure Cay Golf Course, Central Abaco, Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay. A Purple Heron found at St Andrew, Barbados 31 Mar – 2 Apr was an outstanding find (JMo). A White Ibis was noted 13 Mar (SC) at Childcare Hill, Les Cayes, Sud. Haiti. A vagrant Black Vulture was found 20 Mar (LB-C, ph.) at West End, Freeport and West Grand Bahama.  The first spring reports of Swallow-tailed Kites (12) were 15 Mar (LLB) at San Andros, North Andros, and simultaneously five Swallow-tailed Kites noted soaring together headed north 15 Mar (DC) from Blanca Hwy- between Matanzas and Havana, Mayabeque, Cuba.

At least five Black-necked Stilts were present at various Bermuda locations 26 Apr-30 May+ (AD).  A Red Knot was seen 26 Mar (KMK) at Green Turtle Cay Sand Spit, Central Abaco, Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay.  A Ruff was reported 17-21 Apr at Cayo Coco, Ciego de Avila, Cuba (DMi, JM, m. obs, ph.). “Plump-bodied, medium-sized shorebird (similar to nearby Dowitchers) with grayish-brown scaly plumage, smallish head, pale around relatively short dark bill, greenish-orange legs, white below with grayish blotchy breast”.  A Curlew Sandpiper was seen at Pointe des Châteaux, Guadeloupe 28 May (JDe).  A Wilson’s Phalarope was on Spittal Pond, Bermuda 25-28 May (AD).  An Iceland Gull was a surprise at Port Royal G.C., Bermuda 28 Apr-13 May (AD), the latest spring record. A single Royal Tern was in the Great Sound, Bermuda 27 May-31 May+ (PW).

Two Common Nighthawks were at Astwood Park, Bermuda 12 May (DBW). Nine Chimney Swifts were over Spittal Pond Farm, Bermuda 13 May (AD, PW). The first report of Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the Bahamas was 24 Mar w/ ph (KM, EB) at a backyard in Treasure Cay, Central Abaco, Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was in Smiths Hills, Bermuda 7-8 Apr (AD).  A drumming Downy Woodpecker was captured on video in Devonshire Marsh, Bermuda 22 Apr (MT).

Flycatchers through Buntings

An Eastern Kingbird was found 14 Apr (RS, EB, ph.) perched in a Poinciana tree at Treasure Cay Golf Course, Central Abaco, Bahamas.  An Eastern Wood-Pewee ph (EB) was observed 13 Apr with good details at Angel Fish Point, North Abaco and Grand Cay.  One of the rarest birds in the region, a Golden Swallow was reported 13 Jun (JG) at 1060m elevation, at HT-PAP 2017-06-11 Hike midpt. Sect03 2.8km, Ouest, Haiti. Two Bahama Swallow were seen 27 Mar (VS, ph.) at Cayo Guillermo, Ciego de Ávila. They were described as “greenish on back with white vent and white underwings. Forked tail unlike similar Tree Swallow. “A regional endemic, this swallow is being seen more frequently in eastern Cuba. A Tree Swallow was seen at Pointe des Châteaux, Guadeloupe 8 Apr (AL). Two Bank Swallows were noted 30 May (RF) at Parque Lenin, La Habana, Cuba. A Cliff Swallow was noted 11 Mar (DM, JD, ML, and TL) at Salt Pond Hill, Inagua. Another Cliff Swallow was reported 29 Mar (CR) at Camaguey City, Camagüey, Cuba.

Two Veery were seen well 7 May (PS, SB, and GH, ph.) at PN Peninsula de Guanahacabibes–Cabo Corrientes, Pinar del Río, Cuba, a location known as a migrant trap yielded other Catharus species including Gray-cheeked Thrush and two Bicknell’s Thrush which were carefully noted and described (SB, PS and GH) with a photograph “showing that the base of lower mandible was at least 50% orange. It responded dramatically at first to playback of Bicknell’s Thrush by flying across a clearing”.  Apparently two Bicknell’s Thrush responded to playback early morning 2 Apr (CR) at Granma, Cuba and both approached to within meters. Another Bicknell’s Thrush was noted 7 Apr at HT-SE PNLV Kaskad, Ouest. Haiti (JG) “using playback.”  A Grey-cheeked Thrush was a window fatality in Hamilton, Bermuda 22 May (DBW). A Swainson’s Thrush was at Seymour’s Pond NR, Bermuda 30 Apr (AD).  Two American Robins were noted 17 Mar (MC, DK and EG, ph.) at Freeport Harbour Cruise Port, West Grand Bahama through 22 Mar (CH) and at Reef Golf Course, West Grand Bahama.

A Blackpoll Warbler was at Christ Church, Barbados 4-10 May (JMo). A Cape-May Warbler was noted at Petite Terre, Guadeloupe 15 May (ED). A Wilson’s Warbler was noted 12 Mar (JK) at Cueva del Jabalí, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba.  A Grasshopper Sparrow was noted 31 May (CO) at the Hotel Meliá, La Habana, Cuba.  The infrequently reported Summer Tanager was seen 30 Mar (EG) at Garden of the Groves, Freeport and West Grand Bahama. A Summer Tanager was at Elm Lodge, Bermuda 29-30 Apr (DBW).  An adult male Painted Bunting 12 Mar as seen 12 Mar (JK) at Cueva del Jabalí, Ciego de Ávila. Cuba.  A Dickcissel was on Wreck Road, Bermuda 2 Apr (AD).

Report processed by Byron Swift, 29 Dec 2020.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda Spring 2017
Hover on each image to read the caption.