25 Mar 2010

Birding from The Delphi Club in the Bahamas Part 3

As we had decided not to hire a car I did most of my birding around the lodge. However on one day I hitched a ride into Marsh Harbour with Sandy the General Manager and while he ran some errands I had a look at some gulls. It was blowing a gale and the gulls were all hunkered down on a dock.

The gulls were nearly all Laughing Gulls, a first for me, and within seconds of them seeing me I realised why they were called Laughing Gulls! Listen to them HERE There was one Ringed Billed Gull amongst them and a Lesser Black Backed Gull and a Royal Tern, which was also new to me.

After watching the gulls I made my way to a restaurant called Mangoes and on the way heard a Northern Mockingbird singing away in a tree and flying overhead was an American Kestrel. The American Kestrel is alot smaller than ours and unfortunately I never really got close enough for a decent photo.

On another day my father was having back problems and wasn't that keen on going fishing as sometimes the journey out to the marls was very bumpy if there was a strong onshore wind. So we borrowed one of the Delphi Club Toyota Hilux's and went to visit the Abaco National Park about ten miles further south. It covers 20,500 acres in South Abaco, and is under the management of the Bahamas National Trust. Within this area are 5,000 acres of Pinewoods where the largest populations of the endangered Bahama Parrot survives . In addition to the parrot, there is a great diversity of birdlife which are protected in this area. As a result, the Abaco National Park has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and Bird Life International.

We first of all drove to Sandy Point a small village on the east coast where we found both Cattle and Great Egrets walking around the village.
There were also more Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns on one of the piers. I had read that it was a good place to find Piping Plover but all I could find were Turnstones on the beach. So on failing to find them we headed into the National Park along a fairly bumpy road. We stopped every now and again and I got out to see if I could hear or see the parrots. Unfortunately not. I had heard them a number of times back at the lodge and seen a few in the distance flying over the drive but not close up. I also spished to see if I could call in any warblers. On the first attempt an American Redstart came very close and I was able to photograph it.
I was also able to get good views of a Prairie Warbler which I found to be one of the more common warblers around the lodge.

My main aim on this drive was to get to the Hole in the Wall lighthouse which was 20 kilometres down this track which progressively got rougher and more uncomfortable for my father. It is in the scrub by the lighthouse that Kirtland's Warbler has been seen and as it is a fairly rare warbler I really wanted to hook up with one. I was on the point of turning back on the account of my father's anguished moans when the Lighthouse appeared. We decided to continue at that point.

I didn't find a Kirtland's Warbler and infact we had to get the vehicle back in time to pick up the boats so were under time constraints. No Parrots either, hopefully another day.

No comments: