CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds

Animalstuffstore grey-kingbird-7388 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

It’s undoubtedly probably the most great time of 12 months – after we don our binoculars and boots and head off on a convention spanning greater than 100 years – that of the Christmas Chicken Rely! I’ve been main a small however trustworthy group on Trinidad for a number of years to depend birds inside a livestock farm that’s typically restricted to the general public (you’ll be able to examine a few of these shenanigans here); this was the primary time I used to be to embark on a CBC on the smaller island of Tobago. What made this all of the extra interesting (on a egocentric stage) was that I used to be not the group chief – and so was relieved of a lot duty!

Once I was invited to take part by a fellow birder and pal, I used to be admittedly a bit intrigued by its designation of being the “THA Christmas Chicken Rely” – the primary three letters representing the Tobago Home of Meeting, the native administrative governing physique on Tobago. On Trinidad, there was no such state involvement within the depend, we have been just about on our personal. I didn’t have a lot of an concept of what I used to be getting myself into – however I used to be pleasantly stunned.

As I arrived on the assembly spot half hour earlier than dawn, I seen fairly a variety of folks milling round a white van with the THA emblem emblazoned on the aspect. To my shock – there was breakfast! I felt unprepared for this stage of pampering. A field was already put aside for me. I had packed my customary bowl of oatmeal; so I handled that earlier than it turned to stone (please inform me this has occurred to another person on the market). Anyway, I digress. We quickly departed to our numerous areas, bellies full and eyes hungry for birds.

Our group of six intrepid souls started at certainly one of my favorite areas on the island – sewage ponds. Additionally termed in far more palatable vogue as “remedy ponds”. A calling Black-faced Grassquit was the primary chook on the listing, shortly adopted by the far more melodious Home Wren. A trio of Carib Grackles flew overhead, and a pair of Gray Kingbirds surveyed their territory from up excessive. A Inexperienced Heron stalked the canals, and a pair Eared Doves flushed as we walked previous. To entry the ponds themselves, we handed by way of a stand of vegetation that yielded White-fringed Antwren and Scrub (Tobago) Greenlet.

Gray Kingbird

Because the ponds got here into view, a Nice Egret took flight, and a number of other Black-crowned Evening-Herons stood hunched over the water, unwilling to interrupt their very own silhouette within the occasion it might jeopardize their possibilities at snagging a remaining meal earlier than daylight took maintain. Various Anhingas have been perched within the surrounding timber. Paddling round within the water have been many Least Grebes together with Frequent Gallinules and the chook of the day – Lesser Scaup. Three of them the truth is, uncommon guests from the north. The same old geese have been additionally current – Black-bellied Whistling Duck and White-cheeked Pintail. Each of those are dabbling geese whereas the scaups are divers. There was not a lot time to relish any sighting, nevertheless, as many different areas beckoned.

Animalstuffstore lesser-scaup-7414 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

A Lesser Scaup flaps its wings in entrance of attending Least Grebes.

Animalstuffstore osprey-7445 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

The Osprey in a quintessential tropical setting.

On the best way out we noticed a number of Lesser Yellowlegs together with a Higher Yellowlegs. White-winged Swallow was additionally added to the listing. At an adjoining wetland we noticed an Osprey perched on an outdated coconut tree stump, a number of Clean-billed Ani in addition to a neighborhood specialty Mangrove Cuckoo. The latter was gently coerced with audio playback – a follow I defined to the opposite members that’s not usually condoned for trivial functions of merely seeing a chook; the exception was made on this case because the purpose was to document the presence of the chook for this official CBC. The decision was performed for a short time after which turned off. After lower than 5 minutes, we heard a response from deep throughout the mangrove. Some zealous people advised enjoying the decision once more, excited with the prospect of seeing such a fantastic chook. Endurance being the important thing, we waited silently – and positive sufficient we have been capable of finally get a view earlier than it continued its journey.

Animalstuffstore mangrove-cuckoo-7447 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

Mangrove Cuckoo

Checking among the different ponds revealed extra geese, particularly a gaggle of ten Blue-winged Teal and a staggering variety of Black-bellied Whistling Geese. A big, cumbersome falcon cruising overhead may solely be a Peregrine Falcon. As quickly as we seen it, a Merlin appeared from nowhere and headed straight for the Peregrine, divebombing the bigger falcon. That was the primary time I ever noticed any interplay between these two excessive octane migratory predators. As per typical falcon process, all of it occurred a lot too shortly for me to get an honest {photograph}!

Animalstuffstore blue-winged-teal-7514 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

Blue-winged Teal

Animalstuffstore black-bellied-whistling-ducks-7522 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

Meticulous counting led us to a complete of 122 Black-bellied Whistling Geese.

The subsequent cease was alongside the coast, right here we added Royal Tern, Laughing Gull, Sanderling, and a whopping variety of Ruddy Turnstones to the listing. By this time the solar was already stinging any uncovered pores and skin, as idyllic as the placement was the white sand and azure water solely served as reflectors, including to the feeling of being mildly cooked as we counted birds.

Animalstuffstore peregrine-falcon-7471 CBC in Paradise – 10,000 Birds Bird

The Peregrine Falcon after its fleeting interplay with the Merlin.

Skirting across the worldwide airport to the mangroves on its jap finish, we picked up Brown-crested Flycatcher and much more Barred Antshrikes. A pair of Yellow Warblers hunted bugs within the cover, and a Northern Waterthrush did the identical simply over the floor of the water. A Spectacled Thrush foraged among the many leaf litter. This endearing and really acquainted species grabbed the eye of all current, together with the official occasion photographer from the THA! And sure, there was an official photographer despatched to doc us documenting birds – see the submit here.

Our remaining cease was at one other collection of ponds bordering a lagoon on the southern coast of the island. Many Southern Lapwings and Purple Gallinules have been added to the listing, together with a lone immature Yellow-crowned Evening-Heron. Totally baked by this level, we returned to the beginning location the place we have been handled to a chilly fruit juice and a scrumptious lunch.

Personally, I had by no means earlier than been fêted like this for counting birds, but it surely definitely is one thing I can get used to. Our little group managed a remaining tally of 56 species! See the total listing beneath:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Rufous-vented Chachalaca (Ortalis ruficauda)
Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)
Pale-vented Pigeon (Patagioenas cayennensis)
Ruddy Floor Dove (Columbina talpacoti)
White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi)
Eared Dove (Zenaida auriculata)
Clean-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani)
Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor)
Quick-tailed Swift (Chaetura brachyura)
Copper-rumped Hummingbird (Saucerottia tobaci)
Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)
Frequent Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica)
Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Noticed Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)
Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)
Higher Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)
Willet (Tringa semipalmata)
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Nice Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Nice Egret (Ardea alba)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Inexperienced Heron (Butorides virescens)
Black-crowned Evening-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Yellow-crowned Evening-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Purple-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus)
Yellow-headed Caracara (Daptrius chimachima)
Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Inexperienced-rumped Parrotlet (Forpus passerinus)
Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus)
White-fringed Antwren (Formicivora grisea)
Cocoa Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)
Ochre-lored Flycatcher (Tolmomyias flaviventris)
Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster)
Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)
Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)
Scrub Greenlet (Tobago) (Hylophilus flavipes insularis)
White-winged Swallow (Tachycineta albiventer)
Home Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus)
Spectacled Thrush (Turdus nudigenis)
Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis)
Carib Grackle (Quiscalus lugubris)
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)
White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus)
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum)
Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina)
Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)
Black-faced Grassquit (Melanospiza bicolor)

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