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

June Field Trip of the Grand Bahama Birding Group Report
By Erika Gates
Jul 4, 2013 - 11:23:19 AM

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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.

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We also had a very close look at a Yellow-crowned Night Heron walking straight past our group in pursuit of some prey.

Upon leaving the Reef we visited a pair of Monk Parakeets constructing one of their huge nests in a Cabbage Palm at the Cove House condominium. While a very industrious male carried nesting material into a side opening of the nest, a female sat on a branch next to the nest screeching orders to him to do a proper job!
Our final stop was the Bahama Woodstar nest at Grand Bahama Nature Tours premises where Mama was still incubating.

The birders were in agreement that this summer fieldtrip had been an exciting one. We were especially pleased to have members from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism with us - Rennamae Symonette and Jean Simmons.

We also welcomed Penny Ettinger and her husband, Dr. Clarence Green, to the group. There are high expectations for Clarence as he may be attempting to fill Chuck Seidel's shoes in bird photography. He got off to a good start by this shot of our star photographer, Christopher Baker!

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.

Later on Christopher returned the favour and captured an intensely focused Clarence.

I will be travelling to the SCSCB (Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds) conference in Grenada in July - remember we were able to attract this conference to Grand Bahama two years ago and had an attendance of over 160 delegates at the Pelican Bay Hotel. The purpose of the meeting is once again to bring together international wildlife professionals, ornithologists, educators, nature tour operators and others to share their knowledge, passion and experiences promoting conservation of birds and their habitat in our region. I have encouraged our own Grand Bahamian, Zeko McKenzie, to present a scientific paper on the Bahama Nuthatch and he is preparing a paper with the assistance of Prof. William Hayes from Loma Linda University. Zeko has assisted Prof. Hayes in numerous field studies here as an undergraduate student and will make a passionate appeal to the scientists at the conference in Grenada to further study and elevate this rare bird to a new species status! I am also very excited that my husband is accompanying me to the conference!

Grand Bahama Birding Group's next fieldtrip will be August 17th. Meet at the Garden of the Groves at 8 am.


Our Basic Birding Class will begin Nov. 23rd and will run four consecutive Saturdays until Dec. 14th from 8 am until 12:00 noon (2 hours classroom work and 2 hours fieldtrip).  Register early as class is limited to 20 persons. Price per person $ 40. No charge for members of Garden of the Groves. Includes fieldtrip transportation and study materials. Binoculars are required and may be rented.


Just a reminder that our required birding field guide for the class is the Sibley's and it happens to be on sale at 20 % off at the Garden Shop throughout our month of July's Independence book sale!


Good birding!

Erika Gates


Species list, thanks to Jill Cooper, for June 29th (8 am until 11:00am):

Magnificent Frigate Bird

Green Heron

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

White-crowned Pigeon

Common Ground Dove

Eurasian-collared Dove

Mourning Dove

Rock Pigeon

Least Tern

Laughing Gull

Double-crested Cormorant

Common Gallinule

Pied-billed Grebe

American Coot

Turkey Vulture

Monk Parakeet

Northern Mockingbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Smooth-billed Ani

Grey Kingbird

House Sparrow


Bahama Woodstar

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Bird Talk - Erika Gates
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