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Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates Last Updated: Dec 10, 2019 - 10:23:40 AM
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Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Successful 14th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Held - Jan 15, 2014 - 11:25:12 PM

Freeport, Bahamas - The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held on January 4th. Erika Gates of Grand Bahama Nature Tours who has been organizing the count over the past 9 years was delighted with the results. “We recorded a total of 110 species, whereby 99 were observed this past Saturday and an additional 11 during count week, a period 3days prior and 3 days after count day! I am also pleased with the number of participants that turned out for this year’s event which reached 35!”, from sunrise to sunset on Grand Bahama Island.

The first “Christmas Bird Count” was held over 100 years ago in the United States. Up until then it had been a tradition for persons that enjoyed the outdoors to engage in the “Christmas Bird Hunt”. People would go into the fields and forests in teams and shoot any bird that they came across...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Garden of the Groves’ Celebration of Migratory Birds - Dec 14, 2013 - 11:37:24 AM

Freeport, Bahamas - During the final months of this year nature enthusiasts, researchers, scientists and conservation leaders throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas joined in the celebration and promotion of public awareness of the miracle of bird migration.

Each year birds travel over thousands of miles between their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada and their winter homes in the Caribbean, Bahamas and South America. For the past five years it has become a tradition at Garden of the Groves to host a variety of events and Mrs. Marilyn Laing, co-ordinator, states...

Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Erika Gates to hold Grand Bahama Birding Class, starting October 26th - Oct 24, 2013 - 10:30:41 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Just a reminder that our Basic Birding Class  begins this coming Saturday, October 26 and runs for four consecutive Saturdays (2 hours classroom work + 2 hours field trip).  

Instructor, Erika Gates, is a Certified Bahamas Birding Guide, Author of many bird columns and reports on birding and birding events. She also wrote "Natives of Grand the Bahamas" - a Guide to Vegetation and Birds of Grand Bahama. in 2010 Erika received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution in Bird Conservation on Grand Bahama Island by the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB). In 2000 she was the recipient of the Cacique Award presented by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Garden of the Groves International Migratory Bird Day Celebration - Sep 17, 2013 - 8:21:45 PM

Freeport, Bahamas - Once again, the Garden of the Groves family is pleased to announce its participation in the annual International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) activities. Along with the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) we will spend the entire month of October educating our community. The main objective is to heighten everybody’s awareness of the thousands of migratory birds that pass through the Bahamas or spend the winter here and find ways to protect their habitat.

Co-ordinator, Mrs. Marilyn Laing, states, “We want to share the message of bird conservation with everybody and due to the interest by so many..."
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Grand Bahama’s rarest bird highlighted at Conservation Conference in Grenada - Aug 14, 2013 - 7:42:16 PM

Dr. Howard Nelson, President of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), the largest organization devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean, has described the Society’s 19th international meeting in Grenada a resounding success. The theme of the conference, held recently on the St. George’s University campus on the island of Grenada, was “Bird Conservation in a Changing Climate”.

Dr. Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director of the Society, noted that more than 560 species of birds call the Caribbean region home. She also said that the islands provide a critical habitat for hundreds of long-distance
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
June Field Trip of the Grand Bahama Birding Group Report - Jul 4, 2013 - 11:23:19 AM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - In the summer all the colorful migrants have left us to raise their families up north and sometimes we are reluctant to get out to see our "own" Bahamian resident birds. However last Saturday's fieldtrip of the Grand Bahama Birding Group was surprisingly productive and exciting for all and several birders were able to add a couple of species to their life list.

The ponds at the Reef Golf Course provided 19 species (listed at the bottom), among them two Killdeer - one of them beautifully captured in flight by Christopher Baker...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Grand Bahama Birding Group June Field Trip‏ - Jun 26, 2013 - 9:46:48 AM

Hello Birders in Grand Bahama,
Come join us next Saturday, June 29th for our June Fieldtrip. We will meet at Thompson's parking lot at the Reef Golf Course and will bird there from  8 until about 11 am. Those of you who would like to see a Bahama Woodstar sitting on her nest may visit her afterwards at Grand Bahama Nature Tour's property. By Saturday the babies may have hatched! Bring your cameras!

This week I was privileged to assist a most accomplished birder, Keith Camburn from Charlotte, N.C., to find several bird species...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Grand Bahama Birding Group views over 20 species of bird on recent walk - Apr 12, 2013 - 12:40:24 AM

Freeport, Bahamas - Grand Bahama Birders March monthly fieldtrip took place on Saturday, March 23rd and the following species were recorded during a two hour walk at Garden of the Groves and the adjacent Shannon Nature Trail:
Least Grebe; Pied-billed Grebe; Little blue Heron; White-cheeked Pintail; Turkey Vulture; American Coot; Common Gallinule; White-crowned Pigeon; Eurasian-collared Dove; Cuban Emerald Hummingbird; Hairy Woodpecker; La Sagra's Flycatcher; Northern Mockingbird; Gray Catbird; Red-legged Thrush...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Successful 13th Annual Bird Count held in Grand Bahama - Jan 22, 2013 - 8:03:33 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is conducted in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and the Bahamas by over 500,000 birding enthusiasts. Birds are counted in the same areas each year for one day from sunrise to sunset during the months of December and January. By participating in this count Grand Bahama Birders contribute valuable information to the longest running database in ornithology.

The primary objective of the annual count is to monitor the status and distribution of bird populations across the Western Hemisphere. When counts are entered into a database, we begin to gain a clearer picture of how bird populations have changed over the years. This information is also vital for conservation. For example...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Garden of the Groves International Migratory Bird Day Celebrations - Jan 9, 2013 - 8:00:43 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama island - During the final months of 2012, Conservation Leaders, Researchers and Nature enthusiasts from the Caribbean and Bahamas joined forces to celebrate and promote public awareness surrounding the miracle of Bird Migration.  While there are threats of development  and illegal hunting that continues to endanger the habitat of birds, nearly 350 species of these birds make their annual migration between their summer homes in the U.S. and Canada and their winter homes in the Caribbean, Bahamas and South America.

 This year the Garden of the Groves was again able to highlight the importance of preserving habitats for these migratory Birds. As we focused on the theme, “Connecting People to Bird Conservation.” The Garden of the Groves team...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Birding Field Trip with Erika‏ Gates hopes to find the Purple Gallinule - Dec 11, 2012 - 5:00:05 PM

Annual Grand Bahama Christmas Bird Count set for Saturday, January 5th

Our December Birding Fieldtrip will take us to the Emerald Pond, the Ruby Golf Course and to the Reef Ponds as well, where we will be searching for the beautiful Purple Gallinule which has usually arrived by now at either of these locations. We will meet at 8 am on Saturday, December 15th at Thompson's Parking lot at the Reef Golf Course.

Please remember, that the annual Grand Bahama Christmas Bird count will be held on Saturday, January 5th. The orientation and assignment of teams and areas will be Friday, Jan. 4th at 5:30pm at the Junkanoo Beach Club (complimentary Chicken Souse will be served!!!) If you would like to share this wonderful event with us, spend a day with dedicated birders and contribute to conservation ...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Birding With Erika Gates Certified Bahamas Birding Guide - Nov 10, 2012 - 9:39:30 PM
Freeport, Bahamas - Our November Fieldtrip this past Saturday at Garden of the Groves gave us the opportunity to welcome many of our fall migrants like Ovenbirds, Black and White Warbler, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Prairie and Palm Warbler and Black-throated blue Warbler.  A Sora and Wilson's Snipe were also observed that same morning at the little wetland near Island Seas Resort.

The highlight of the morning came for those that decided to join meto check on the survival of a tiny Bahama Woodstar nest after hurricane Sandy near the resort! The two youngsters were fine and thelittle nest was solidly "cemented" on a Casuarina branch and had not budged throughout the storm!
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Grand Bahama birding group protects nesting seabirds - Jul 16, 2012 - 3:18:44 PM

Grand Bahama birders conducted their annual field trip to Peterson Cay, home to a nesting colony of over 200 Bridled Terns.

Bridled Terns are pelagic birds which means they spend their lives at sea and come only to land during their breeding season in the summer.

They lay a single egg in limestone crevices on uninhabited offshore cays and islands.

In order to prevent people from walking through the vegetation and disturbing these nests, possibly crushing eggs and chicks, the birders installed...

Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
June Birding: A Trip to Peterson's Cay! - Jun 15, 2012 - 10:13:18 AM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Some of you remember last year's trip by kayak to Peterson Cay to survey the Bridled Terns nests and young. Our researcher friend Irene Lieu captured the photo of a chick hatching from the egg as mother is watching!

This Saturday's field trip is planned to Peterson Cay where we are planning to erect signs and barriers to protect the Seabird nesting colony. We also want to record the species that have arrived  to date on the Cay...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Grand Bahama Island plays host to a different visitor - Jun 6, 2012 - 11:05:11 PM

Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas - During the months of June the beaches of Grand Bahama become busy with birds that spend their life at sea or over coastal waters but need to find a hospitable place to raise their young before returning back to the sea in August or early September.

One of those birds is the Least Tern appropriately named as it is the smallest tern in the region measuring only 9 inches in length. Least Terns nest in colonies on sandy beaches and an become quite aggressive and noisy when defending their nests. 

The nest is merely a "scrape" in the sandy ground along the dune or above...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Eleventh Annual Grand Bahama Bird Count breaks records - Jan 15, 2012 - 5:25:51 PM

Freeport, Bahamas - More than 50.000 observers in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and the Bahamas participate each year in an all-day census of migratory and resident bird populations. The primary objective of this "Christmas Bird Count" is to monitor the status and distribution of bird populations across the Western Hemisphere.
Grand Bahama Island provided five teams for its eleventh count with a total of 34 local and visiting field observers that were assigned to five different count sections in the Freeport/Lucaya area. The event began Friday evening...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
November Birding Fieldtrip overview by Grand Bahama Birding Group - Dec 13, 2011 - 11:12:44 AM

Freeport, Bahamas - Over 20 participants set out on a recent birding field trip out east. Transportation was provided by Garden of the Groves and Kalabash Eco Adventures. The first stop was made in the pineforest off Grand Bahama Highway where everybody was excited to observe the Brown-headed Nuthatches, one of the rarest species in the Bahamas.

A "lifer" for several in the group was also the Olive-capped Warbler, a bird of the pineforest canopy that can only be found on Grand Bahama and Abaco...

Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
New Nature Trail Established in McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama - Nov 29, 2011 - 6:11:09 PM
A new birding trail has been established in McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama on Saturday, 26th November, 2011 when nineteen (19) birders from Freeport, along with the principal of the All-age School in McLean’s Town, Mrs. Dorothy Lewis and a student from Grade 6, Georgette Laing joined Mr. H. Rudy Sawyer through the trail that he had developed over the previous three (3) months. Mr. Jock Hall, professional photographer, video taped the expedition. Among the birders were Mrs. Erika Gates of Grand Bahama Nature Tours and top naturalist on the island, who organized the birders and transported them to McLean’s Town from Freeport; Mr. Shamie Rolle, owner of Calabash Tours and a leading naturalist and birder on Grand Bahama; and Ms. Renamae Symonette of the Ministry of Tourism - Sustainable Tourism Division.
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
International Migratory Bird Day Art Competition winners announced - Nov 29, 2011 - 12:38:03 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - The student art competition during International Migratory Bird Month at Garden of the Groves climaxed with the judging of the best paintings depicting birds migrating to Grand Bahama Island. Over 30 students presented outstanding works under the theme "Go Wild, Go Birding" and the judges had a difficult time to determine the winners. First prize was $ 100.00, second $ 50.00 and two third prizes were awarded in the amount of $ 25.00 each. All monies to be redeemed for school and educational supplies at Bellevue Gifts and Bellevue Business Depot...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Grand Bahama “tourist” tucks into tasty island treat - Nov 28, 2011 - 10:56:03 AM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - A rare visitor to Grand Bahama – a West Indian Woodpecker – enjoys a lizard it dug out of the bark of a tree at McLean’s Town at the weekend.

The bird has not been spotted on the island since the two major hurricanes of 2004 and its return is further evidence of how nature is gradually recovering seven years later.

It was spotted by a group of 20 bird spotters who were trying out a new nature trail aimed at attracting human tourists to the east end community. The photo was taken by Christopher Baker, one of the group from the Garden of The Groves...

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