ABACO: THE PERFECT PLACE FOR BAHAMAS BIRDING
fairly very often mentioned the remarkable diversity of the bird species on Abaco. This small island has a wide variety of permanent resident species and the advantage of being on a primary migration route so that it has both winter and summer migratory visitors. Here’s an example of some of the species a visitor might reasonably expect to find during a day’s birding. This isn’t an ‘invented inventory’, easy though that would be to compile. It records a birding outing by Abaco visitor Susan Daughtrey, guided by the legendary Woody Bracey, with sightings of 53 species from A (baco Parrot) to Z (enaida Dove). Here are some of Susan’s photos of the birds she encountered. At the end is the full list of the 34 species she photographed.There’s nothing very rare – most of those shown are permanent residents (PR), breed on Abaco (B) and are commonly found (1). Hence the code* PR B 1. SR is for the 2 summer residents, I is for the introduced collared dove. The best ‘get’ is the Bahama Mockingbird (PR B 3), a bird mainly of the pine forests and not so easy to find.
ADDENDUM Susan has now sent me her complete record for a great day out in which 53 species were seen. The list shows the numbers seen for each species. I have had to reformat the list from the original to make it work in this blog. I have added links for the first bird, the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, which was recorded on Abaco for the first time in early June. Of the six seen at any one time to begin with (including at Delphi), the reported numbers dropped to 2, then 1. The latest news is an unconfirmed sighting of a single bird at Treasure Cay Golf Course.
ABACO (CUBAN) PARROT Amazona leucocephala PR B 1
ANTILLEAN NIGHTHAWK Chordeiles gundlachii SR 1
BAHAMA MOCKINGBIRD (ENDEMIC) Mimus gundlachii PR B 3
BAHAMA SWALLOW (ENDEMIC) Tachycineta cyaneoviridis PR B 1
BAHAMA PINTAIL (WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL) Anas bahamensis PR B 1
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER Polioptera caerulea PR B 1
CUBAN PEWEE Contopus caribaeus PR B 1
EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto I PR B 1
HAIRY WOODPECKER Picoides villosus PR B 1
LEAST TERN Sternula antillarum SR B 1
LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRD Tyrannus caudifasciatus PR B 1
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (female) Fregata magnificens PR B 1
OLIVE-CAPPED WARBLER Setophaga pityophila PR B 1
RED-LEGGED THRUSH Turdus plumbeus PR B 1
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD Agelaius phoeniceus PR B 1
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI Crotophaga ani PR B 1
THICK-BILLED VIREO Vireo crassirostris PR B 1
WESTERN SPINDALIS Spindalis zena PR B 1
WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON Patagioenas leucocephala PR B 1
SUSAN’S LIST OF BIRDS PHOTOGRAPHED
SUSAN’S COMPLETE LIST FOR THE DAY – 53 SPECIES
To learn about Abaco’s latest new species the Black-bellied Whistling Duck click HERE & HERE
Credits: all photos, Susan Daughtrey; *the excellent birding code was devised by ornithologist Tony White with Woody Bracey
amazing beings : ) do they stay away all year long or some migrate North during hot summers?
Good question! All except 2 of these birds are permanent residents of the island and breed there. The Antillean Nighthawk and Least Tern are summer visitors. RH
I find the Eurasian Collard Dove interesting looks very different to the ones in my garden, love to see one of those frigatebirds
There are considerable variations, I think. Maybe Darwinian adaptations for the climates into which the species is introduced..? The male frigatebird in the breeding season is the one to see, with its inflated red balloon front saying ‘Look how cool I am, Laydeez”!
I’m always struck by the different sounds of bird call that let’s you know you’re on the other side of the world. Also, brightly coloured parrots – love them!
I agree entirely EST – even if that strange, exciting “kweek kweek kwook” turns out to come from a bird that, locally, is ubiquitous and considered banal. I first got into birds a bit in Central Park NYC – suddenly very excited by seeing completely new species, even though most were mundane to the residents… RH
That’s a very impressive bird list, RH, and the photos are terrific. I think I would never tire of seeing the frigatebird overhead.
Thanks Jet – not bad for Susan’s day out. Good mix, too. And yes, her pics are excellent. It’s always nice to have a guest contributor. The frigate birds are very special – especially the males when they have inflated their fronts / gular pouches. And they pathfind shoals of fish, as I discovered this Spring on my first deep sea fishing trip. Follow the frigate birds, and there are the fish! RH
Thanks for that! I taught Woody’s three oldest children piano lessons back in the States 30 years ago. To add to our Excellent Adventure in Abaco, I also had the pleasure of hearing Woody’s daughter, Kim, play the piano at church one day, AND hear Woody sing a solo with Kim accompanying. Very fun.
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Beautiful photos as always ! 🙂 Have a nice summer. Kamila
Why thank you, Kamila! Birds are always (nearly) rewarding to photograph, and I like to feature other people’s. Summer is very good with us thanks. Hope yours is too (and I think you may be having a little holiday from blogging?). Take Care. RH
Olala,thanks for nice answer.And you have a good observer and you are right(holidays)..but I slowly prepare my “comeback”. 🙂 And looking forward to see new beautiful pictures!
Thanks for writing up my excellent adventure with Woody! It’s always a pleasure to bird in Abaco and to do it with an old friend is even better.
Susan and Woody’s Excellent Adventure? It has a certain ring to it! Until today I didn’t know the connection. No wonder you liked the book-signing photo of him… BTW in the light of your eBird form, for which thanks, I’ve amended the post to incorporate it in modified form that WordPress can cope with. Hope it more accurately depicts the adventure now…