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Columns : Bird Talk - Erika Gates Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Caribbean Waterbird Census Recap‏
Feb 18, 2011 - 9:56:14 AM

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A Glorious day for birders and birds when golfers seem to be the minority on the golf course!

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:


Garden of the Groves initiates First Caribbean Waterbird Census on Grand Bahama Island

The Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) has started a new region-wide waterbird and wetland monitoring program called the Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC). The goal of this program is to learn more about the distribution, status, and abundance of waterbirds in the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda.

Garden of the Groves and members of the Grand Bahama Birding Group have participated in the first two counts on January 22nd and 29th. The site for the counts was the Reef Golf Course which has 11 ponds that provide excellent habitats for resident and migratory birds.

Duncan Mullis, a recently graduated student from Garden of the Groves's

Numbers of species recorded on the first Saturday were 29 with the same number on the second Saturday, although there were several different species. All participants shared the responsibility in counting after identifying the birds, calling the numbers out to the two diligent recorders, Sarah Knowles and Jill Cooper. Jill has been an enthusiastic  birder for only a few years but has observed and recorded more birds on her personal "life list" than most local birders. Sarah also volunteered to record each species by the American Ornithology Union standard abbreviation, the species alpha code. She had to research these codes for more than forty birds.

Duncan Mullis, a recently graduated student from Garden of the Groves's  "Basic Birding Class of 2010" was charged with the responsibility of submitting the collected data to http:ebird.org/ebird/Caribbean, a database developed by Cornell University. Duncan is a wizard at e.bird and recently re-designed, amended and updated the Grand Bahama Bird checklist.

Dr. Sorenson feeding a Red-billed Streamertail in Jamaica

Dr. Lisa Sorenson of Boston University and President of SCSCB, who advised the group in its first census, remarked that she was delighted that the Grand Bahama Birding Group initiated the Caribbean Waterbird Census on this island and indicated that the group will provide valuable information for the CWC database that serves as an important tool for scientists, natural resource managers and conservationists.   

The Belted Kingfisher with her red "belt" was another enjoyable sight during the Census. This is one of the species where the female sports a more colourful plumage than the male!

"It was a wonderful new project for our Grand Bahama birders and we are committed to its continuity in order to assist SCSCB with their Caribbean CWC program. We will be conducting a summer CWC as well as a fall survey as SCSCB recommends in order to establish trends in increases or declines of waterbirds populations." Commented Erika Gates of Garden of the Groves.

This American Kestrel, smallest of the Bahamian birds of prey, was "captured" through the lens of Christopher Baker during the census.

During the second Saturday of the winter census all participants were able to add a new species of "lifer" to their personal lists.  A Western Kingbird, a rare migrant to Grand Bahama, could be observed snatching insects on pond # 11 and devouring them on his perch.

A Western Kingbird, a rare migrant to Grand Bahama

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Bird Talk - Erika Gates
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