Monday, 23 May 2011

Antigua (cont)

Day 1 PM.
In the afternoon we had hired the services of Victor Joseph a local teacher who seems to be the islands only bird guide. Victor picked Angie and myself up at 2.00 pm and we set off to Potworks Reservoir. As we drove along 2 West Indian whistling ducks flew over (quite a rarity it seems) then we saw our first mangrove cuckoo.......unfortunately it was dead by the side of the road. It must have been hit by a car only in the previous hour or so because, other than being a little stiff, the bird was in pristine condition:
Mangrove Cuckoo

Victor told us they were not that common making the loss of one particularly sad.
As we pulled up at the Reservoir a dozen or so pied grebes could be seen at a distance (as they were every time I saw them) and a wader on the shore line (no idea what I was though). We had just got out of the car to investigate and had the incredible luck of a mangrove cuckoo landing in the bush some 20 yrds away!
Mangrove Cuckoo

The cuckoo didn’t stay long then we went in search of the wader – as expected Victor recognised it immediately - a kildeer!
Kildeer

We scanned the lake for ducks and belted kingfisher but there were none present (or in view) but we did see another green heron.
After that we went to McKinnon’s Pond. This is another of the main birding sites on the island but is just about as far as you can get from where we were staying. On the way we had the pleasure of seeing a soaring broad winged hawk and a lot of egrets – cattle egret, great egret and snowy egret.
Immediately on reaching McKinnons we saw a lot of pelicans, frigate birds, white faced pintail and terns. All of the larger terms turned out to be Sandwich terns (which was a bit of a disappointment) but there were also a lot of least terns (100+?). On the seaward side of the road there were some shallow pools  and these were most interesting holding half a dozen Wilson’s plovers (thick billed plover being the local name), a willet (which I actually managed to recognise), a whimbrel,  and a very distant lesser yellowlegs.
Wilson's Plover

Willet (plus Laughing gull)

Moving down the lake (south) Joseph knew where there was an interesting inlet where we found 3 royal terns fishing but as we left we found an American Kestrel on the wires that straddled the road and there  it stayed allowing me to take a lot of pictures – what a stunning little bird and one of the highlights of the week.
American Kestrel

As we moved south down McKinnon’s Pond there were some sand bars and feeding were another willet and a greater yellow legs.
Greater Yellowlegs

 Further on again a tree scrub covered peninsular juts out into the pond and a lot of herons/egrets nest and roost here. In  this area we added little blue heron, tri-coloured heron and yellow crowed night heron to the day list but all were too distant for decent photographs (and I managed better pictures later in the week).
Herons Roosting

All in all  by the end of the day 1 we had managed 46 “ticks” 41 of which were lifers. Pretty pleasing really!!!!!! (The non life ticks being collared dove, sandwich tern, whimbrel, turnstone and semi-palmated plover).

1 comment:

  1. Wow, some session. When it's easier and quicker to list the non life ticks you know you have had a good day. A good account Steve.

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