West Indies & Bermuda: Summer 2017

June 1 – July 31

Robert L. Norton (Greater Antilles, Bahamas)

Andrew Dobson (Bermuda)

Anthony Levesque (Lesser Antilles)

Recommended citation:

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

This season often has less excitement than other seasons in the region, except for Barbados. Its location in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean may attract species from three continents during this period of one-sixth of the year. Pacific Golden-Plover from either North America or eastern Siberia; Black Kite from Europe and Striated Heron from South America. At Bermuda, highlights included the return of a Leach’s Storm-Petrel to Nonsuch Island and the first July record of Killdeer.

Contributors (sub-regional compiler in boldface)

Scott Baron, Steve Bershader, Elwood Bracey, Randolph ‘Casper’ Burrows, Pam Clayburn, Sergio Colon, Peter Davey, Frantz Delcroix (FDe), Andrew Dobson, Anna Dobson (AMD), Fiona Dobson, Martin Gebauer, Jeff Gerbracht (JGe), James Goetz, Sadhu Govardhan, Rhett Harper, Linda Huber, Anderson Jean, Keith M Kemp, Tarra Lindo, Jeremy Madeiros, Francheska Maillis, Miguel Mejias, J E Moore, Robert L Norton, Willy Raitière, Denny Swaby, Richard Trinkner, Paul Watson, John Webster, David Wingate.

Waterfowl through Rails

Two Black-bellied Whistling-Duck were photographed 20 Jul at Maillis Farm, New Providence, Bahamas for the first time (FM). A very late or injured Ring-necked Duck was reported 21 Jun (SG) near Rt. 485 at Camuy, Puerto Rico. A Hooded Merganser was once again summering in Bermuda, seen at Port Royal G.C. 1-31 Jul+ (AD). A covey of seven Northern Bobwhite was noted 13 Jun (LH) at Gladstone Rd Agricultural Centre GRAC, New Providence, Bahamas. A Pied-billed Grebe summered at Somerset Long Bay NR, Bermuda (AD, DBW). There was record breaking success for the Cahow (Bermuda Petrel) with 117 pairs producing 61 fledglings (JM). The rarely reported Great Shearwater was noted/ph 19 Jun (KMK) at Cherokee Sound, Central Abaco, Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas; where it or another was seen again (KMK) 15 Jul “in a flock of feeding Audubon’s Shearwater for a good comparison.  Kemp states Great Shearwaters are in this area around this time of year for the past two years”. A Leach’s Storm-Petrel once again returned to a vacated Cahow nest burrow on Nonsuch Is., Bermuda, being captured on a webcam 13 Jun-17 Jul (JM).

Striated Herons were noted at two widespread areas of the region in July, one 4 Jul (SG) at Valle de Lajas, Lajas, Puerto Rico and another lingering at Barbados 12 Jun, 8-30 Jul (JW, JE Moore, Martin Gebauer) to 13 Jul (MG, ph) at Sustainable Barbados recycling pond, Saint Thomas, where it’s considered “a returning bird from year to year”. A Black Kite apparently re-occurring at Mangrove Landfill, Saint Thomas, Barbados 8-28 Jul was an outstanding find (JEM). The kite was photographed at Mangrove Road (JEM, MG) with” excellent views in flight and scope while perched in thick canopy. Overall brown chest and back, with lighter patches on back. Yellow legs, light coloured eyes, sharp down-curved black bill lighter, yellowish at base. Slightly forked tail. Tail lighter than body. Perched upright. Lighter coloured head with darker around eyes.” A Ridgway’s Hawk was reported 18 Jul at Labadee, Town, Nord, Haiti by RH who noted “a compact hawk soaring overhead with uniform grayish under belly (no belly band) with rufous legs and ‘windows’ in outer primaries.” An unusually late Sora was seen at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 1 Jun (SB).

Shorebirds through Parakeets

At least five Black-necked Stilts remained at various Bermuda locations to 18 Jun (AD).  A continuing report 26 Jun-31 Jul of Pacific Golden-Plover at Barbados (JEM, JW) was at Congo Road Impoundment (Private), Saint Philip (MG). A Collared Plover was ph 26 Jul (JEM) at Bright Hall Turf Farm, Saint Lucy, Barbados. A highly unusual record of five Semipalmated Plovers at Spanish Point, Bermuda 16 Jun-1 Jul was most intriguing, as all appeared to be young birds (AD, PW). A returning Killdeer at Spittal Pond, Bermuda 28-31 Jul+ (MM) was the earliest ever recorded and the first July record. At Great Inagua, RCB found an adult Double-Striped Thick-Knee with a chick in the evening 10-17Jun, thus confirming sustained breeding there. The only other location of breeding thick-knee in the region is the Dominican Republic. Three Whimbrel were reported at Chancery Lane wetlands, Christ Church, Barbados 19 Jul (MG). A Hudsonian Godwit was ph 17 Jul (TL, RCB) at Inagua National Park Boundary Rd, Gr. Inagua, where 80 Long-billed Dowitcher were counted/ph 20 Jun (RCB) at North Dam Road, Inagua.  A Red Knot was noted 11 Jun at Port-Louis swamp, Guadeloupe (FDe). A well described Buff-breasted Sandpiper was photographed at Safehaven, West Bay, Grand Cayman 18 Jun (DS et al. Swaby). A Western Sandpiper was reported 19 Jul (JGe) at Cuba’s Las Salinas, Matanzas.  Also at Inagua, Bahamas were two Wilson’s Phalaropes ph 20 Jun (RCB) at North Dam Rd.

A late Parasitic Jaeger en route to the north was noted 11 Jun La Désirade Island, Guadeloupe (AL,WR). A Roseate Tern was once again with the local Common Terns in the Great Sound, Bermuda 12-27 June (DBW).  Six Roseate Tern were seen 16 Jun (EB) “actively feeding over a school of baitfish over the Sea of Abaco, 2-4 miles off Great Guana Cay to Munjack Cay, where also a good sized flock of Roseate Terns, likely nesting nearby was photographed 19 Jun (KMK) at Cherokee Sound, Central Abaco, Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas. A Common Tern was noted 26 Jun (RT) at DO-Calle Palma La Altagracia, Dominican Republic. A single Royal Tern was in the Great Sound, Bermuda 27 May-3 Jun and 30 Jun (PW). A Sandwich Tern was off Dockyard, Bermuda 30 Jun-1 Jul (PW).  A Brown-throated Parakeet was noted 26 Jun (PC) at Sage Mountain NP, British Virgin Islands indicating some interisland movement from its stronghold at St. Thomas, USVI (RLN).

Flycatchers through Grosbeaks

A Puerto Rican Flycatcher was reported 26 Jun (PC) from Sage Mountain NP, British Virgin Islands for one of the few reports from the BVI.  A La Selle Thrush, one of Hispaniola’s rarest endemics, was noted 28 Jun (AJ) at Pelerin 9, Ouest, Haiti. A Purple Martin at East End Dairy, Bermuda 31 July was much earlier than expected (AD, AMD, FD). A Northern Rough-winged Swallow was seen at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park – IBA, National Trust, East End, Grand Cayman 25 Jul (SB). A group of Purple Martins (15) was reported from South Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman 28 Jul (PD). Another rare endemic, Golden Swallow, of Hispaniola, formerly also found at Jamaica, was reported 13 Jun (JG) at 1060m elevation, Ouest, Haiti, The first returning fall warbler in Bermuda noted was a Louisiana Waterthrush at Walsingham Bay 29 Jul (JM). A tardy Rose-breasted Grosbeak was noted 3 Jun (DS) at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park – IBA, National Trust, East End, Grand Cayman.


A vagrant Great Crested Flycatcher was tentatively identified and photographed 3 June (SG, SC) at an abandoned lot, Añasco, Puerto Rico where SG remarked “noticed the yellow belly of this flycatcher and able to take a few photos. At first, I thought it may be a Stolid Flycatcher, but (SC) Sergio Colon tentatively identified it as Great Crested Flycatcher, which is a rare and a lucky find. [The last reliable records are from a few decades back]. What stands out about this flycatcher are the yellow belly, gray wash throat and breast, brown cap and mantle as well as tail, rufous-orange flashes in primaries. Aside from that, it has broad shoulders and a large head. It is certain that the genus of this bird is Myiarchus, and that the possible ID can be narrowed down to a handful of species out of over 20 Myiarchus species. Since there are several, extremely similar looking species that exist in the geographical range of PR, the most secure way to identify the species would be by sound.”

Report processed by Byron Swift, 29 Dec 2020.

Photos–West Indies & Bermuda Summer 2017

The second record of Black Kite for Barbados was discovered at Mangrove Landfill, St. Thomas on 8 Jul 2017. This kite from the Old World was present until 28 Jul and photographed here on 8 Jul. Photo © Julian Moore.