Bird Talk - Erika Gates
Birding Fieldtrip to West Grand Bahama
By Erika Gates
Apr 9, 2015 - 6:44:58 PM

Grand Bahama Birding Group surveying Paradise Cove Mangrove Wetland Bottom left: Reddish Egret, and bottom right: Tricolored Heron

The recent fieldtrip by the Grand Bahama Birding Group, led by Erika Gates, took enthusiastic participants to several productive birding sites in the western part of Grand Bahama Island.

The first stop was the mangrove wetland between Paradise Cove and the Westend Highway where 14 species were observed. A Reddish Egret and a Tricolored Heron were exciting new species for several of the birders.

Off to a good start, the group proceeded to a wetland at Bootle Bay and amongst 14 species recorded at that location was a pair of Gadwalls which had not been seen on Grand Bahama before but had been recently recorded by Dr. Woody Bracey on Abaco! The male and female migratory ducks were “lifers” for everybody in the group.

The Gadwall male with his distinctive white patch (Birding Fieldtrip to West Grand Bahama)

A brief stop was made at one of the three miniparks that have been developed along the waterfront through the efforts of the Westend community under the leadership of Nakira Wilchcombe, Linda Barry-Cooper and Keith Cooper. The attractively landscaped areas invite visitors and residents to relax on benches, have a picnic and enjoy the birds that are foraging or resting in the natural mangrove habitat and along the sandy shoreline at low tide. An interpretive bird sign, designed and installed by Grand Bahama Nature Tours, enhances the site.

Nineteen Birders on Fieldtrip to West Grand Bahama (from left to right: Rudy Sawyer, Peter and Nikki Meith, Keith Cooper, Judith Dawkins, Chas Tuchel, Erika Gates, Zeko Mckenzie, Delores Kellman, Linda Barry-Cooper, Barbara Zill, Mary Tarzwell, Louise Durocher, Charmaine Hall, Bridget Davis, Marian Chamberlain, Duncan Mullis and his guest, Christopher Baker taking photo

The Birders were once again permitted by Mr. Derek Gape to visit the Ginn Golf Course at Westend where the last three hours were spent that resulted in the observation of 21 species. Again they were treated to a highlight by being able to observe a rare Bonaparte’s Gull which was bobbing on the waves of a canal totally oblivious to the group!

Bonaparte's Gull (Birding Fieldtrip to West Grand Bahama)

To end a perfect day of birding, the group gathered at the Old Bahama Bay beach front restaurant for a late lunch. The service was friendly and food was excellent and the camaraderie and friendship among the birders were outstanding ! For species list please refer to and check 2/14/15 locations Paradise Cove, Bootle Bay, Westend

Lunch at Old Bahama Bay

Erika Gates is owner of Kayak Nature Tours (one of the first Eco-Tour businesses in The Bahamas); co-founder of the Ecotourism Association; a published writer; and a Cacique award winner! Her column Bird Talk will enlighten and educate us about birds of The Bahamas, as well as the importance of Ecology. Erika can be reached at or (242) 373-2485


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