Thursday, 29 November 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

Steve Carter and I conducted a late morning visit to the reserve with conditions dry but cold with little wind if any. As the work party were busy conducting their duties around the clubhouse we decided to head off towards the Long Hedge briefly visiting the Teal and Lynsters hides along the way. Species encountered of any significance as follows:-
Little Grebe (3), Great Cormorant (1 on the clubhouse lake), Red Kite (1over), Common Buzzard (1over), Ring-necked Parakeet (10 briefly at the clubhouse feeding station), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1 at the clubhouse feeding station), Blackcap (female in the long hedge), Redwing (15 over heading north), Eurasian Jay (2 feasting on nuts at the clubhouse feeding station), Eurasian Siskin (c10 at the alder plantation).

                                                                     Eurasian Jay

                                                              Ring-necked Parakeet

                                                                 Eurasian Siskin


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

A morning visit in wet but mild conditions provided the following species:-
Little Grebe (2), Great-crested Grebe (1 Lynsters G.P), Great Cormorant (2 Lynsters G.P), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (1 plus several colour ringed at Lynsters Farm), Greylag Goose (4 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (21 Lynsters Farm), Eurasian Wigeon (12 Lynsters Farm), Gadwall (16), Common Teal (3), Mallard (32), Northern Shoveler (3), Common Pochard (2), Tufted Duck (18), Red Kite (1), Common Moorhen (6), Eurasian Coot (33), Black-headed Gull (2 over), Feral Rock Dove (116 Lynsters Farm), Stock Dove (24 Lynsters Farm), Woodpigeon (5), Collared Dove (2), Green Woodpecker (2), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Pied Wagtail (7 Lynsters Farm), Meadow Pipit (2 Lynsters Farm), Wren (1), European Robin (3), Common Blackbird (4), Song Thrush (3), Redwing (1), Goldcrest (1), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay (2), Common Magpie (4), Western Jackdaw (c50 Lynsters Farm), Rook (8 Lynsters Farm), Carrion Crow (2), Common Starling (1), House Sparrow (singing male at Maple Lodge Close), Common Chaffinch (23), European Goldfinch (6), Eurasian Siskin (c50), Lesser Redpoll (1).

After several months of drought the marsh in front of Rotunda Hide is finally in flood.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

A late afternoon visit in sunny, cold conditions provided the following species:-
Little Grebe (4), Grey Heron (1 Lynsters Gravel Pit), Mute Swan (2), Greylag Goose (24 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (33 Lynsters Farm), Gadwall (16), Common Teal (3), Mallard (13), Northern Shoveler (5), Tufted Duck (9), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Common Moorhen (12), Eurasian Coot (29), Black-headed Gull (11 Lynsters Farm), Herring Gull (7 over), Woodpigeon (8), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Grey Wagtail (1 over), Pied Wagtail (2 Lynsters Farm), Wren (4), Dunnock (2), European Robin (5), Common Blackbird (5), Goldcrest (4), Long-tailed Tit (2), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (6), Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie (2), Western Jackdaw (c100 over), Rook (2 over), Carrion Crow (2), Common Starling (1), Common Chaffinch (2).

                                                       Great-spotted Woodpecker (male).

                                          Eurasian Jay.

                                                           Ring-necked Parakeet.


Friday, 9 November 2012

St Lucia 29-10-12 - 06-11-12

A family holiday to the Caribbean island of St Lucia offered great birding opportunities where I would be looking to add to my life list. We departed London Gatwick at 10:36 in dry mild conditions arriving at Hewanorra, St Lucia 14:32 local time. The weather was very sunny and hot with a light sea breeze and temperatures topped 36 degrees Celsius. En route to the hotel Cattle Egret, Carib Grackle and Zenaida Dove were all noted with Common Tern, Grey Kingbird, Tropical Mockingbird, Shiny Cowbird all noted at our hotel the Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa.

                                          Grey Kingbird

I began the day with an early morning walk along the beach and around the hotel complex with my 9 year old daughter Emily. Cattle Egret, Carib Grackle, Zenaida Dove, Greater Yellowlegs, Bananaquit, Black-faced Grassquit, Tropical Mockingbird, Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird and Shiny Cowbird were all seen. Spending much of the day on the beach and around the pool I noted a fishing Osprey that caught a fish off shore, but due to its preys large size it had great difficulty in getting airborne and eventually had to drop its catch. At least 7 Magnificent Frigatebirds were observed out to sea following several small fishing vessels. By mid afternoon the resident feeding flock of  Shiny Cowbirds had risen to c80 and a Greater Yellowlegs was photographed as it fed in a drainage ditch. A single Grey Kingbird was also observed as it caught insects on the wing. From the beach viewing the Lesser and Greater Maria Islands that lie half a mile offshore I noted 7 Tropicbirds in flight but they were too distant to identify any further, a great pity as both species of Tropicbird are missing from my life list. I did later try to make a visit to these islands but could not get an official guide to this protected wildlife reserve.
Late afternoon I again walked around the hotel grounds noting Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

                                          Greater Yellowlegs

                                         Spotted Sandpiper

                                          Tropical Mockingbird

                                          Zenaida Dove
Another early morning walk around the hotel grounds produced the usual suspects plus 2 Snowy Egret briefly overhead, a single American Kestrel, a single Mangrove Cuckoo, a single Scaly-breasted Thrasher and a migrant Blackpoll Warbler. Late morning from the beach provided 2 Magnificent Frigatebirds that  put in brief appearances overhead as a storm approached. Also of interest an adult male Carib Grackle was noted feeding a juvenile Shiny Cowbird that it had obviously reared. Shiny Cowbird like the Cuckoo is a parasitic species. A late afternoon walk along the beach produced a single Yellow-crowned Night Heron, my first of the holiday.

                                          Lesser Yellowlegs

                                         Solitary Sandpiper

                                          Greater Yellowlegs

                                          The Lesser and Greater Maria Islands just offshore

A morning walk around the hotel grounds produced the usual suspects and after overnight rain there was a fresher feel to the day. Among an area covered in fruiting trees I briefly viewed a single Waterthrush that was quite vocal and bobbed about before being flushed and was probably Louisiana Waterthrush.
Among a wet area of waste ground I flushed a Wilson’s Snipe which circled once before settling down again to feed. Among a flower garden I discovered my first Lesser Antillean Bullfinches of the holiday as they fed on berries. In the distance I briefly observed a single Black Swift as it flew by which was large in size similar to our European Swift. Out to sea at least 2 Magnificent Frigatebirds cruised around while on the beach the resident flock of Shiny Cowbirds fed on discarded food. Late in the afternoon while photographing Cattle Egrets I noted 3 Common Ground Dove.

                                         Lesser Yellowlegs

                                                     Cattle Egret

                                         Solitary Sandpiper

                                         Shiny Cowbird (female)

I began the day with my usual early morning walk around the hotel grounds adding a pair of nesting Eurasian Collared Dove, a single Barn Swallow and 2 Yellow Warbler to my holiday list. I also noted a single Small Asian Mongoose that crossed the path in front of me as I returned back to my room.

                                                   Tropical Mockingbird


                                         Eurasian Collared Dove

                                          Antillean Crested Hummingbird (female)

                                          Greater Yellowlegs

Today we went on a day trip along the Caribbean coast to Soufriere Volcano and sulphur springs via Laborie and Choiseul and then onto Diamond Waterfall and botanical gardens before finishing at Asne Chastanet beach. En route I noted at least 2 Great Egret feeding in the marsh near Hewannorra Airport. On arriving at the volcano and sulphur springs I observed 3 Broad-winged Hawk circling overhead while a single St Lucia Warbler showed briefly from nearby foliage. Then at Diamond Waterfall and Botanical Gardens I discovered my first Grey Trembler feeding and trembling from a fruiting Mango. Overhead at least 2 Lesser Antillean Swift were observed their short, squat tail most noticeable. A Mangrove Cuckoo showed briefly and a pair of Caribbean Elaenia displayed nearby. Many Lesser Antillean Bullfinch were seen with several displaying pairs observed. At our final destination, Asne Chastanet beach a single immature Brown Booby cruised low over the sea while overhead 2 hunting American Kestrel made several sorties into the forested hills.

                                          Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (male)

                                                        Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (female)

                                                       Sulphur Springs at Soufriere

My last early morning birding around the hotel gardens produced the usual species but a sneaky final look around the scrub mid-afternoon provided me my first Lesser Antillean Streaked Saltator.

                                          Shiny Cowbird (male)

06-11-12 Vieux Fort Bay, St Lucia
I was unable to travel home with my family on our departure date as the flight was full so had a couple of extra days based in the Vieux Fort Area. While enjoying the delights of the beach at Vieux Fort Bay I noted the following species adding Royal Tern and American Golden Plover to my holiday list.
Royal Tern (7), Brown Booby (1), American Golden Plover (1),
Osprey (2).

List of species observed:-
1. Brown Booby (Common along coastal areas).
2. Magnificent Frigatebird (common along coastal areas).
3. Tropicbird Species (Present at Greater Maria Island ).
4. Royal Tern (Vieux Fort Bay).
5. Common Tern (Beach at Coconut Bay).
6. Cattle Egret (Common).
7. Snowy Egret (Briefly over at Coconut Bay).
8. Great Egret (Several sighting near Hewanorra Airport. 
9. Yellow-crowned Night Heron (1 from beach at Coconut Bay).
10. Green Heron (Coconut Bay).
11. American Golden Plover (1 on beach at Vieux Fort Bay).
12. Solitary Sandpiper (Several at Coconut Bay).
13. Wilson’s Snipe (1 at Coconut Bay).
14. Spotted Sandpiper (1 at Coconut Bay).
15. Lesser Yellowlegs (Several sightings Coconut Bay).
16. Greater Yellowlegs (Several sightings at Coconut Bay).
17. American Kestrel (2 at Coconut Bay and Asne Chastanet Beach).
18. Broad-winged Hawk (Soufriere Volcano and Diamond Botanical Gardens).
19. Osprey (Common).
20. Feral Rock Dove (2 at Vieux Fort).
21. Common Ground Dove (Several sightings Coconut Bay).
22. Zenaida Dove (Common).
23. Eurasian Collared Dove (Coconut Bay and Vieux Fort).
24. Mangrove Cuckoo (Singles at Coconut Bay and Diamond Botanical Gardens).
25. Black Swift (1 at Coconut Bay).
26. Lesser Antillean Swift (2 at Diamond Botanical Gardens).
27. Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Common).
28. Purple-throated Carib (1 at Diamond Botanical Gardens).
29. Green-throated Carib (Several sightings at Coconut Bay).
30. Grey Kingbird (Common).
31. Caribbean Elaenia (Pair at Diamond Botanical Gardens).
32. Barn Swallow (2 sightings at Coconut Bay).
33. Grey Trembler (1 at Diamond Botanical Gardens).
34. Scaly-breasted Thrasher (1 at Coconut Bay).
35. Tropical Mockingbird (Common).
36. Blackpoll Warbler (Several sightings at Coconut Bay).
37. Waterthrush Species (1 at Coconut Bay).
38. Yellow Warbler (2 at Coconut Bay).
39. St Lucia Warbler (1 at Soufriere Volcano).
40. Bananaquit (Common).
41. Shiny Cowbird (Common).
42. Carib Grackle (Common).
43. Black-faced Grassquit (Common).
44. Lesser Antillean Saltator (1 at Coconut Bay).
45. Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (Common).