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Community Last Updated: Oct 8, 2017 - 9:48:07 AM

Grand Bahama Island Birders soaring to new heights
By Erika gates
Oct 6, 2017 - 11:40:37 PM

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Grand Bahama Island Birders working group from left to right standing: Christopher Baker, Louise Duroucher, Delores Kellman, Bridget Davis, Joshua Davis, Erika Gates, Charmaine Hall, Alexis Duncombe seated, Gena Granger, Poppy Chitwood, Shelagh Paton-Ash, Martha Cartwright, (Marilyn Laing absent)

Over the years hundreds of people have been exposed to the joys of bird watching through Erika Gates in her annual Basic Birding Classes, Fieldtrips, Citizen Science Birding Events and Bird Habitat Conservation. The Grand Bahama Birding Group was formed in 2002 when the first Birding Class graduated and since then each year new birders discovered their passion for birds; to date the organization has grown to 0ver 100 members. In a recent meeting a small working group strategized how to expand the group's birding activities. The group intends to organize monthly local birding field trips, bi-annual off island trips, clean-up of favorite birding trails and habitats and social events for fun and bird education. Annual dues will be $ 20.00 and events will be no charge to members; non-members may join excursions and events for a nominal fee of $ 5.00. The group also adopted a logo in form of the endemic Bahama Woodstar and agreed on a name change to "Grand Bahama Island Birders" The next birding trip to West End will be on Saturday, October 14th. Interested persons, experienced or new birders alike, are welcome to join the group. Please contact Erika at erikagatesgb@aol.com

Clay-colored Sparrow

After the meeting a group of eight birded in the Garden and spotted 25 species in less than two hours! As Christopher exclaimed to Poppy, "This is special, what a feast of birds we're seeing!" We observed 13 different warbler species which were early winter migrants as well as a rare vagrant a Clay-colored Sparrow, the first one ever recorded at Garden of the Groves!

Magnolia Warbler

Our 2017 Basic Birding Class is scheduled for four consecutive Saturdays in December (2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd). You will meet with your instructor, Erika Gates, at Garden of the Groves at 8 am for two hours of classroom work followed by a two hour field trip to a different site each week.    There is no charge for the class, however the following items are required for participation: binoculars (may be rented for four week use), Sibley's Guide to birds of North Eastern US (available at cost in the Garden Shop), laptop, iPad or iPhone to submit bird observations with Cornell University (www.ebird.org), notebook, etc. Classes will cover the use of binoculars, organization of field guide, bird identification skills, diversity of bird habitat, introduction to eBird and more. A certificate of completion will be issued to participants who have attended all classes! For registration contact Erika at erikagatesgb@aol.com

Basic Birding Class in outdoor setting learning proper use of binoculars

Graduates of Class of 2013 - left to right back row: Dr. Clarance Green, Mike Flowers, Lamont Stuart, Jordan Davis, Mikey Moss. front row: Erika Gates, Delores Kellman, Leroy Darling, Ted and Deirdre Goddard

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