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

Grand Bahama “tourist” tucks into tasty island treat
By Erika Gates
Nov 28, 2011 - 10:56:03 AM

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The West Indian Woodpecker enjoys its morning treat. Photo: Christopher Baker

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.

“We were rewarded with sights of 30 different species of bird life and some interesting plants and fauna but the highlight of our morning was when Shamie Rolle of Calabash Eco Tours spotted the bird perched in a bush,” said Christopher.

The group had been invited to try the new trail by Rudy Sawyer. They were joined by Jock Hall, who was recording the events of the day for a website Rudy is preparing, and Shamie who had made the trip to share in the experience.

Garden of the Groves’ Erika Gates shows off a native necklace pod plant Photo: Christopher Baker

They were first taken to a pond to begin the walk and immediately they were rewarded with a Great White Egret perched in the red mangrove and an Osprey flying overhead. The path was to take them along the shore to eventually arrive at the well-known McLean’s Town gathering place Crabbing Bay.

Earlier in the morning en route to the East End the group stopped off in the pine forest to try to catch a glimpse of the Brown-headed Nuthatch, which is a very shy and rare bird. This species only exists on Grand Bahama in a small colony in the pine forest. After several minutes of calling they were rewarded with the sight of not just one but three which were darting around the trees with the Palm Warblers.

Eventually they arrived at Crabbing Bay and were escorted back to Rudy’s home to enjoy a picnic lunch and down load their photos to see if they had any good pictures of their sightings

Everyone was unanimous in their opinion that Rudy has established another treat for eco-minded visitors to these shores and also local residents with an interest in wild life.

For information about activities, fieldtrips and art competition call 242-374-7778

Erika Gates – Bird Talk: 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 gbntours@hotmail.com


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Bird Talk - Erika Gates
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