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Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates Last Updated: Apr 25, 2019 - 9:29:44 PM
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Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
New birding trail in eastern Grand Bahama‏ - Nov 8, 2011 - 2:16:35 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - We are excited about a new birding trail on Eastern Grand Bahama. A member of our Grand Bahama Birding Group, Rudy Sawyer, has been busy travelling out east for many weekends now in a quest to discover interesting birding sites. Rudy shared many of his findings with me and sent me an amazing number of his bird pictures (one of them even a "lifer" for me - an American Golden Plover!!) Hope to put him on my list soon!

The trail leads along the coastline and traverses coppice, pineforest, mangroves and beach habitat. It also leads through the local community of McCleans Town...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Go Wild, Go Birding - Oct 28, 2011 - 12:40:16 PM

Freeport, Bahamas - This year's theme for International Migratory Bird Day is "Go Wild, Go Birding" and exciting events are ongoing at by Garden of the Groves throughout the month.

The Grand Bahama Birding Group will meet at 8 am this coming Saturday at the Reef Golf Course to welcome some of the new fall arrivals, among them many of the Sandpiper species that forage on inland waters whereby the 11 ponds at this particular golf course offer an ideal habitat.

The student's art competition under the theme "Go Wild, Go Birding" will climax with the official opening of the exhibition of all the youngsters' works in the chapel at Garden of the Groves this Saturday at 3 pm. At that time a panel of judges will select...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
International Migratory Bird Day Students' Art Competition - Oct 17, 2011 - 7:51:45 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - During this year's International Migratory Bird Day Celebration (IMBD) throughout the month of October the Garden of the Groves is hosting an art competition for young people. The theme of the contest is "Go Wild - Go Birding" whereby students' imagination is allowed to picture birds doing wild and funny things!

First prize for the best drawing or painting will be $ 100.00, second $50.00 and third $ 25.00 to be redeemed at Bellevue Business Depot or Bellevue Gifts.
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Celebration of Migratory Birds in The Bahamas - Oct 8, 2011 - 2:33:06 PM

Freeport, Bahamas  - During the month of October, conservation leaders, researchers and nature enthusiasts from across the Caribbean and the Bahamas will join forces to celebrate and promote public awareness surrounding the incredible phenomenon of bird migration. Each year millions of birds representing hundreds of species, travel between North America, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, South America and back.

While ongoing threats like development, illegal hunting and destruction of habitat continue to endanger many of the nearly 350 species of birds that migrate annually between summer and winter habitats, conservation organizations and individuals have shown that they can make a real difference.
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Meet "Ivan" and "Como" at the Garden of the Groves' next Bird Walk - Sep 15, 2011 - 11:21:38 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Quite a few migrants have arrived at the Garden and we look forward to welcoming them this coming Saturday at the next Bird Walk. We have observed Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black Throated-blue Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, American Redstart and even Wallace, our winter resident Great Blue arrived last week.
We have also two new permanent residents: "Como", the rehabilitated Cormorant that is unable to fly but can fish like a pro!

Then there is "Ivan", the Red-tailed Hawk that was found by Ivan Reid hanging...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
2011 Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) Conference in Review - Aug 19, 2011 - 11:19:39 AM

Freeport, Bahamas - One hundred and sixty-two delegates representing thirty countries attended the recent 18th Regional Meeting of the SCSCB on Grand Bahama Island at the beautiful new conference centre at Pelican Bay Hotel, resulting in so many benefits for so many.  It was the largest SCSCB meeting ever with the exception of the Cuba meeting of 2001. 

It was also the first offshore conference for the new state-of-the art Canal House at Pelican Bay and the staff went out of its way to make the delegates feel at home. Special praise is due to the team of Isabel Allison at Canal House...
News : Grand Bahama
Nature tour guides ready to host delegates of SCSCB (Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds) conference - Jul 21, 2011 - 10:13:27 PM

Freeport, Bahamas - Tour Guides of Grand Bahama Nature Tours and Calabash Eco Adventures are preparing to have over 100 delegates experience the natural beauty of Grand Bahama Island. Conference participants are in working sessions throughout the week, however, on Saturday they have the day to enjoy various nature tours focusing on birding but also integrating kayaking and "Jeeping" activities.

Ornithologists, wildlife biologists, environmentalists and conservation managers have not only come to Grand Bahama to discuss protection and restoration of bird habitats throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas, they have also come to observe the Bahamas' unique bird species, especially those that only occur in our islands...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Freeport to Host 2011 Regional Meeting of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds - Jul 20, 2011 - 10:39:21 AM
Freeport, Bahamas - July 21st through 25 will be an exciting time for birding enthusiasts on Grand Bahama as  Freeport has been chosen to host the 2011 regional meeting of the SCSCB!

This is a great opportunity to meet ornithologists, writers, environmentalists and bird lovers from the USA, Mexico and the Caribbean, and anyone can attend!  Please visit their website   www.scscb.org and click on the Freeport Conference site for the programme and information on the speakers .

Meetings will be held in the conference center at Pelican Bay Hotel and interested persons can participate for a day or the week...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Birds Outnumber Birders at Recent Walk at Garden of the Groves‏ - May 30, 2011 - 12:00:24 AM
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Birds outnumbered birders on our recent field trip.  However, those who participated were treated to unexpected sightings.

A migratory American Widgeon looked quite comfortable among a crowd of exotic Ringed Teals, Fulvous Whistling Ducks and a male Mandarin.

It was 8 am Saturday and the ducks were going about the business of getting themselves pretty and waterproof for a day at the Garden ponds by preening and zipping up their feathers with "grease"...

Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Caribbean Waterbird Census Recap‏ - Feb 18, 2011 - 9:56:14 AM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Hello Birders and Friends of the Garden:
Our February field trip will be this coming Saturday, February 19th. We will be visiting the Pine Forest and searching for Pine Warbler, Olive-capped Warbler and the elusive Brown-headed Nuthatch. Meet at 8 am at Thompsons' Real Estate at the Reef Golf Course.

Thanks to everybody who supported our first Caribbean Waterbird Census! It was fun and educational  and a job well done! Here is a recap...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Caribbean Waterbird Census Continues this Saturday - Jan 28, 2011 - 9:19:31 AM

Freeport, Grand Bahama -  In order to comply with the SCSCB (Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds) protocol and carry out the required second site inventory of the 11 ponds on the Reef Golf Course.

Thanks to all of you who turned out for this first CWC on Grand Bahama Island last Saturday. Thanks to Dr. Lisa Sorensen from SCSCB we were guided electronically through a proper point count. Jill Cooper and Sarah Knowles recorded all species and numbers of birds meticulously and had no problem with the standard abbreviation from the AOU species alpha codes...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
2010 Bird Count on Grand Bahama Island - Jan 10, 2011 - 9:03:26 AM

Freeport, Bahamas - The 10th annual Christmas Bird Count for the year 2010 was held this past Wednesday, January 5th, 2011.

The Grand Bahama birding community enthusiastically participated in the count and joined visiting birding experts to form five teams that observed, identified and recorded species from sunrise to sunset.
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Christmas Bird Count to take place January 5th in Grand Bahama - Jan 2, 2011 - 2:15:36 PM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - The 2010 Christmas Bird Count will take place on Wednesday, January 5th from sunrise to sunset. Orientation meeting will take place Tuesday, the 4th at 5 pm at Garden of the Groves. On the evening after the count, the popular "tally rally" will take place at Garden of the Groves with everybody sharing dinner and the excitement of the day's sightings.

It promises to be an exciting count with experienced team leaders coming in from the U.S., Abaco and Nassau. Don't miss this opportunity to make Grand Bahama number one again in the number of bird species being recorded...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Basic Birding Course Students Graduate - Dec 6, 2010 - 10:41:39 AM

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Over the past ten years, during the month of November, the Garden of the Groves in conjunction with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has been conducting a basic birding course for interested persons of the Grand Bahama community. Over 200 nature and bird enthusiasts have participated in this program which is led by Erika Gates. Erika is a certified Bahamas Birding Guide, has studied Bird Biology with Cornell University and wrote a book in 1998 on the Bahamian Speciality birds and their habitat.

During the course students learn how to use binoculars and how to organize and use their fieldguide for the purpose of bird identification...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Looking back at October's International Migratory Bird Day events - Nov 4, 2010 - 7:04:05 PM
Freeport, Bahamas - During the month of October the Garden of the Groves joined forces with local school teachers and birding enthusiasts to promote public awareness surrounding the incredible phenomenon of bird migration.

Each year millions of birds, representing hundreds of species, travel between North America, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and back. Approximately 350 species of birds that breed in North America migrate each year to spend the winter in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a group they are referred to as Neotropical migratory birds and they include many species of songbirds, hawks, egrets and duck...

Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
International Migratory Bird Day activities in full swing at Garden of the Groves - Oct 19, 2010 - 9:08:38 AM
Freeport, Grand Bahama - During this first week of October several schools seized the opportunity to send classes to an informative session and field trip at the Garden of the Groves. Mrs. Marilyn Laing, coordinator of this year's Migratory Bird Day events for children introduced the youngsters to the amazing journeys that migratory birds take each year.
"These birds, like our resident and endemic species, are part of our natural heritage and it is up to us to conserve the habitats they need to feed and rest during their migratory journey or on their wintering grounds" remarked Erika Gates who organized this month's events at the Garden of the Groves...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
International Migratory Bird Day, October 16th - Oct 14, 2010 - 11:50:38 AM
Freeport, Grand Bahama - Come out this Saturday, October 16th, at 8 am to the Garden of the Groves and share with me the miracle of the migration of birds.  We will discuss their migratory routes, find out how we can assist in habitat conservation, and observe several early arrivals at the Garden - seen during the past week:  male Painted Bunting, Blackpoll Warblers, Northern Parula, Prairie, Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Grey Catbird, Ovenbird and Baltimore Oriole.

Later, over complimentary coffee, tea and pastries, we will select the birder with the largest number of species on his or her list.  This person will receive a "Birds of the Bahamas..."
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
International Migratory Bird Month Celebration on Grand Bahama Island - Sep 29, 2010 - 4:54:25 PM
Freeport, Bahamas - While ongoing threats continue to endanger many of the nearly 350 species of birds that migrate annually between summer and winter habitats in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas as well as throughout the Caribbean and South America, conservation organizations and individuals have shown that they can make a real difference.

Launched in 1993 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is now coordinated by Environment for the Americas, based in Boulder, Colorado. IMBD is the largest-known bird conservation and education event of its kind in the Western Hemisphere...

Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
10th Annual Christmas Bird Count on Grand Bahama Island - Jan 5, 2010 - 8:18:08 PM

Grand Bahama, The Bahamas - There is excitement in the birding circle on Grand Bahama Island these days. During the 10th annual Christmas Bird Count on December 18th of 2009 the visiting experts and local birders had recorded 117 species on this island - the highest number ever observed!

When the final tally was held at Garden of the Groves birders were not only pleased to have surpassed the Nassau and Abaco counts but were ecstatic at the high number of species which is an indication that birding populations have rebounded on Grand Bahama Island after the devastation of three major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 when some species had been decimated by 75 %.

Tony White of Bethesda, Maryland, who had lead the Grand Bahama teams over the past nine years as compiler for the count...
Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Garden of the Groves celebrates "International Migratory Bird Day in the Caribbean" - Oct 27, 2008 - 1:27:00 PM
On Saturday, Oct 18th the Grand Bahama Birding Group gathered at Garden of the Groves to observe migratory birds that have arrived for the winter. International Migratory Bird Day is a celebration of the spectacular journey that migratory birds take between their summer and winter homes. The event is sponsored by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds and Bird Life International.
Many species of migratory birds spend the winter here or migrate through the Caribbean. They rely on food, water and shelter provided in our forest, scrub and wetland habitats for up to nine months out of the year.
One of those tiny birds making an astonishing journey is the Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata), a small, active songbird. It breeds in the forest habitat in Alaska and Canada and winters in northern South America...

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