January 2nd, 2009, 04:25 PM
The Last Day of 08 and the First Day of 09
The last day of 2008 and the first day of 2009 were the best birding days Iíve had for some time. Of course entering a new region of avifauna is a big reason for having so much fun. Nearly everything I see is a lifer and there are some very nice birds down here in the Lesser Antillies. Itís not only the birds that have made my walks so interesting. The native flora and cultivated gardens are a treat and butterflies flit everywhere. I saw two species of lizard, land crabs, a rat, several loose Terriers and a Pit Bull on my New Years Day walk.
On the 31st, I left all my work and responsibilities and went birding instead. I cleaned my lenses, and put in contacts rather than wear my scratched up glasses. I even put on my lucky Ivory-billed Woodpecker T-shirt. I went out the marina entrance and turned left. I was looking for a way to the marina channel in hopes that I might see the all dark swifts/swallows?? that I got a glimpse of while we entered the bay aboard Peregrine. The main drag runs parallel to the water so I walked along it to the first road I could turn left on. As I walked the main road I was distracted by butterflies. I tried to get a few photos of some of them. They were small and were landing on grass height plants. I was practically on hands and knees trying to capture an image. After a few blurry blobs, I gave up, I was supposed to be birding anyway! I took the first left which headed me to the channel. It was a dirt road and bordered a boat yard on one side and homes on the other. I saw Zenaida Doves in the boatyard grounds. Then, on a wire in the housing area, a shrike-like bird. It was some distance and I walked slowly towards it with the bins to my eyes. I stepped in a water-filled pothole and got a soaked shoe for my efforts but it was worth the first lifer of the day, a Gray Kingbird*. It turns out there are lots of them here. The road sort of ended and became a goat trail behind some houses. I followed it and came out to the gas dock on the channel. I saw Ruddy Turnstones, and a Spotted Sandpiper hunting on the edge of the large cement ramp. I went back out and followed another road where the air was filled with various butterflies and the scent of ganja. I thought it best to do an about-face. Back on the goat trail I found a Lesser Antillean Bullfinch*. I headed back toward the main drag and saw Common Ground Doves on the grounds of a dive shop and a herd of goats in the road. I crossed the road and meandered through a residential area as I headed back to the marina. On the way I saw: American Kestrel, Cattle Egrets, Antillean Crested Hummingbird*, Green-throated Carib*, Bananaquit *(all in someoneís beautiful garden), Tropical Mockingbird* and Black-faced Grassquit.
January 1, 2009
The first bird of the New Year was a pair of Royal Terns flying around Peregrine. Before I got to the marina exit I saw the ubiquitous Carib grackles. I decided Iíd wander the residential area to the right of the marina this time. The birds in the order I saw them (wonít list them twice-as in seeing King birds on nearly every street):
American Kestrel s
Scaly-breasted Thrasher* **
Some kind of Yellow-breasted Flycatcher ( I saw just the edge of yellow for a split second when the bird whose back was to me turned slightly. The head was obscured by a branch. I ducked down to see if I could get a better view but it flew down into a walled yard.)
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch
Less Antillean Saltator* (was surprised to find I should list this under Finches-never would have thought that when I saw the bird)
Yellow-Bellied Seedeater?? (Need to research this a bit. Will be a lifer if Iím right.)
Ant. Crested Hummingbird
Shiny Cowbird?? (I think it had to be, but it had a notched tail and the illustration I have of that bird doesnít show that.)
**Many thanks to Mark Sutton onSurfbirds for helping me identify this bird.
January 2nd, 2009, 06:01 PM
Nice list Sue! Those crested hummingbirds are great aren't they? Sounds like your winter holidays will be a good deal warmer than the rest of us.
January 2nd, 2009, 08:17 PM
January 2nd, 2009, 08:26 PM
January 3rd, 2009, 04:51 PM
Hopefully in a quiet cove where the St. Lucia parrots land on the boat to say 'Hi' while we sip our rum punches.
Originally Posted by Colin Key
I must be truly mad at this point. Even after eight years of cruising and having been slapped in the face with the harsh realities of this life, I still harbor those 'Living The Dream' fantasies.
Definition of Gunkholing for you Landlubbers:
Last edited by sue-o; January 3rd, 2009 at 05:06 PM.
January 3rd, 2009, 04:57 PM
January 3rd, 2009, 05:07 PM