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18 - 19 May 2000

by Tony White

Participants: Woody Bracey, Bruce Hallett, Gibbon McKenzie, and Tony White


Flew to from Nassau to Congo Town, South Andros on early (7:15 AM) flight. Took cab to our hotel, Emerald Palms by the Sea, and birded around the hotel until McKenzie arrived about 11:00 AM. He took us into the bush to Nine Tasks Lake (B8). Christopher Lewis (a.k.a. Rasta) guided us to the lake. At 4:00 PM McKenzie took us on a 2 hour circular walk past Rat Bat Lakes (CT3), El Dorado (CT2), and Swimming Hole (CT1), his normal route for tourists. We had dinner of black crab and rice and lobster tail at Erezena's Restaurant in Drigg's Hill. On the 19th we birded in the vicinity of the hotel and made a second trip to Nine Tasks Lake to photograph the area and swallows. (Note: The term task refers to an area 100 feet square.) We took the afternoon flight back to Nassau. We strongly recommend using Gibbon McKenzie as a guide on South Andros. (Note: Names and codes for blue holes are taken from Hutchinson 1999, Factors influencing the Surface Fauna of Blue Holes on South Andros, Bahamas Journal of Science 6(2): 29-43.)


We were able to confirm that Cave Swallows (Hirundo fulva) were present on South Andros and probably nested there. This species was originally reported by Rob Palmer, the cave diver, in 1986. Aileen Bainton, Hallett and White looked for them May 1 and 2, 1997 but did not see them. In retrospect we were at the wrong end of Nine Tasks and possibly too early. This time we were unable to get photos of the swallows to document their presence, but McKenzie has a video of Cave Swallows in a cave at Swimming Hole from 1999 documenting their presence and probable nesting. The Neotropic Cormorant we saw in El Dorado on 5/18 was the first report from South Andros.

SPECIES COMMENTS (First figure is number of days seen, second in high daily count.)
Neotropic Cormorant 1/1 El Dorado. Bird was an adult but not in breeding plumage - no filoplumes or white border to gular pouch.
Great Blue Heron 1/1 Bracey only near hotel 5/18.
Great Egret 1/1 near hotel 5/18.
Cattle Egret 1/1 near Congo Town Airport 5/19.
Green Heron 2/3.
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 2/25+ a common breeder in the blue holes. Nests with three blue eggs or young partially covered with down. 
Turkey Vulture 2/15.
(West Indian Whistling-Duck) McKenzie has seen this species on El Dorado on two occasions.
Osprey 1/1 One P. h. ridgwayi flew over hotel 5/18.
Wilson's Plover ½ Two on beach 5/18.
Killdeer 2/2 apparently nesting at Congo Town Airport.
Laughing Gull 2/10.
Rock Dove 2/1
White-crowned Pigeon 2/9.
Eurasian Collared-Dove 2/3.
Zenaida Dove  2/2. 
Mourning Dove 2/2. 
Common Ground-Dove 2/15.
Key West Quail-Dove 1/1 Bracey and Hallett. Flew across road near hotel 5/19.
Mangrove Cuckoo 2/3.
Great Lizard Cuckoo 2/3
Smooth-billed Ani 2/6.
Burrowing Owl 1/1 seen after dark at hotel 5/18. McKenzie says they are common in the evening at The Bluff Settlement.
Antillean Nighthawk 2/3.
Cuban Emerald 2/3.
Bahama Woodstar 2/5. More common and easier to see than Cuban Emerald. Just the opposite of situation on North Andros.
La Sagra's Flycatcher 1/1.
Gray Kingbird 2/20. 
Cave Swallow 2/10. Pairs or individuals were seen flying into caves at Nine Tasks, Rat Bat, and Swimming Hole Lakes.
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher ½.
Red-legged Thrush 2/4.
Northern Mockingbird 2/5.
Bahama Mockingbird 2/6.
Thick-billed Vireo 2/12.
Black-whiskered Vireo 2/16.
Blackpoll Warbler 1/1. White only. Near hotel 5/18.
Northern Waterthrush 1/1 Hallett only. Near hotel 5/18.
Bahama Yellowthroat 1/heard only. At Nine Tasks 5/18
Bananaquit 2/7.
Black-faced Gassquit ½
Greater Antillean Bullfinch 2/4.
Red-winged Blackbird 2/3
Black-cowled Oriole 2/4. First year male sang in front of hotel both days.

Tony White

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