After a large breakfast both my father and I had decided not go fishing but to take it easy on the first day. I decided to go on a walk. The drive is a loop of about two miles in length and every morning from 7.30am to 9.30am I would bird this loop. The first bird I saw in the Bahamas was a female Western Spindalis. Below is the male
This bird is also on the front cover of my bible for this trip "Birds of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands" by Bruce Hallett.
It is a photographic guide of what could be found on the island and information on the breeding birds of the region plus the most commonly recorded migrants that either pass through on their way to other destinations or stay during the winter season. It was extremely helpful for most bird ids and where it could not help me I resorted to the net.
Within five hundred yards of the lodge I had seen two species of woodpecker the West Indian Woodpecker
and Hairy Woodpecker.
I was to see a great deal of both over the week. When I came back to the Lodge and was talking about them and I was shown where the West Indian Woodpecker was making a nest in the lodge itself. Then one of the guests told me that it had even flown into their bedroom!!
On the drive there are the power lines that come to the lodge and on a number of the telegraph poles and lines some Turkey Vultures were sitting.
I thought they were wonderful and the ease with which they fly on the wind made up for their ugliness. Sometimes they would fly within a few yards of the lodge. On one morning I saw about four sitting on the steps down to the beach and I spent twenty minutes approaching them very slowly and got to within a few yards of them.
From the Lodge to the main road there are two types of habitat. Firstly there is the Coppice which is a mixture of hardwoods and broadleaf trees and then there was the Pinewoods. the Pinewoods are made up of Caribbean Pine of which the Bahamian variety can grow upto 80 feet. There is also an understorey of thatch palms, some ferns and various grasses.
Along the road I came across my first Hummingbird and it was the Cuban Emerald. I was hoping it would be the endemic Bahama Woodstar but sadly I never saw one on my trip. I did see the Cuban Emerald on many occasion and I found them very difficult to photograph because they rarely were ever still.
I did however see the endemic Bahama Swallow which regularly flew past the lodge and lived in the pine trees at the beginning of the drive. I also saw my first Barn Swallow of the year flying over the pool. When I was talking to Robin Lane a fellow guest about the swallows he said he had seen a swallow type bird flying in and out of the eaves of the house but he felt it looked larger than a swift or swallow. Well a couple of days later I saw it and it was bigger and stockier than anything I had previously seen and it turned out to be a Purple Martin.