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07 - 09 November 2000

by John Haas

I have just returned from a ten day trip to South Florida and the Grand Bahamas.  My total trip list was 130 species, which was a record for me for any trip I have taken!  I had 91 species in Florida and 65 species on Grand Bahamas.  I had a total of 19 life birds on this trip, two in Florida and 17 on Grand Bahama.  In Florida I birded Ding Darling wildlife sanctuary on Sanibel Island, the lagoon on Ft. Meyers Beach at the Holiday Inn, Corkscrew Swamp east of Naples, Caracara loop at Immokolee, Pembroke pines in Ft Lauderdale, and Rt 41 through the upper everglades.  On Grand Bahama I birded the Rand Nature Center, Lucayan National Park, Enlins tract #1, The Bridle Path, West End, and the main highway, both east and west from freeport out to the far ends of the island.

Most of you are familiar with the Florida sites, so I won't elaborate.  If anyone wants specific information feel free to contact me personally.  The two lifers I added on this trip were Purple Swamp Hen at Pembroke Pines (not ABA countable) and Audubons Shearwater on the cruise to the Bahamas ( in Florida waters).  Other birds of note were: Snail kite, Crested Caracara, Roseatte Spoonbill, Red Shouldered Hawk, Limpkin, Magnificent Frigatebird, Sandhill Crane, Loggerhead Shrike, Woodstork, Mottled Duck, Caspian Tern, Sizzortailed Flycatcher, and a flock of 31 American Avocet.

I will elaborate on Grand Bahama.  This was a great trip!  It was a chance to add some exciting carribean species and expand my life list.  I took the Discovery Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Freeport, Grand Bahama.  I went on the Am cruise on 11/7 and was on Grand Bahama by 1pm.  I spent two nights at the Lucaya resort and Yacht club, and returned to Florida on the third evening at 5pm and arriving at 10 p.m..  Two nights, three days, round trip cruise including three meals was $189.00.  The hotel was excellent.  I rented a car, because taxis are expensive and I wanted free access to all the sites.  Rand Nature Center was Excellent.  I had RED LEGGED THRUSH, STRIPE HEADED TANAGER, CUBAN EMERALD, OLIVE CAPPED WARBLER, CUBAN PEWEE, LA'SAGRA'S FLYCATCHER, Least Grebe, White Crowned Pigeon, bananaquit,BLACKFACED GRASSQUIT, the BAHAMA COMMON GROUND DOVE, BAHAMA YELLOW THROATED WARBLER, a subspecies, distinct from the mainland species. THICK BILLED VIREO as well as numerous NA warblers, including the Only Worm Eating Warbler of the trip.  There is also a captive flock of Greater Flamingos there which although not countable, add a nice touch to the center. Rick Oliver is just a friendly and helpful as Tony White states in his "Birders guide to the Bahamas" which is a must to read before you go.

Lucayan National Park was also excellent.  I had BAHAMA HAIRY WOODPECKER, LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRD, GREATER ANTILLIAN BULLFINCH, BAHAMA YELLOWTHROAT, SMOOTHBILLED ANI and the Bahama subspecies of the RED WINGED BLACKBIRD, This bird is also identifyable as different from the mainland species as well as many of the forementioned birds.

On the Bidle Path I had the subspecies of the BAHAMA GREEN HERON. Mourning dove (only place seen), Bahama ground dove and common yellowthroat.

The West End is truely the migrant trap Tony white descibes. One note: You can no longer bird the Old west end resort.  the guard will not let you in.  Also you can't go back by the airport or the ponds.  This area is being developed also and huge trucks and equipment go in and out constantly.  A sign posted states trespassing is strictly forbidden and you would get killed by those crazy equipment operators.  You can however, bird outside both of these areas and its worth the trip.  I got the following Neotropic migrants: Black Throated Blue, Yellow Rumped, Palm, Pine, Black and White, Black Throated Green, Prairie, Yellow Throated, Blue Winged Warblers, Ovenbird, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush,and Summer Tanager!  Also in the town of westEnd you can find Laughing Gulls, Royal Terns and Herring Gulls as well as Double-crested Cormorants.  This was the only location I saw these birds. In closing, the Bahamas was both a cultural and birding change of pace to spruce up anyone’s birding year!

Trip List:

01. Audubon’s Shearwater
02. Common Ground Dove (Tobacco Dove subsp)
03. Ovenbird
04. Gray Catbird
05. Red-legged Thrush
06. American Redstart
07. Cuban Emerald
08. Stripe-headed Tanager
09. Gray Kingbird
10. Least Grebe
11. Common Moorehen
12. Common Yellowthroat
13. Black-and-white Warbler
14. White-crowned Pigeon
15. (Bahama) Pine Warbler  - sub sp.
16. Northern Waterthrush
17. Cuban Pewee
18. (Bahama) Yellow-throated Warbler
19. Olive-capped Warbler
20. Yellow-bBellied Sapsucker
21. Blackfaced Grassquit
22. Thick-billed Vireo
23. LaSagra's Flycatcher
24. (Bahama) Hairy Woodpecker - subsp
25. Greater Antillean Bullfinch
26. Bananaquit
27. Bahama Yellowthroat
28. Smooth-billed Ani
29. (North American) Yellow-throated Warbler
30. American Coot
31. Black-crowned Night-Heron
32. Prairie Warbler
33. Black-throated Blue Warbler
34. Black-throated Green Warbler
35. Worm-eating Warbler
36. Spotted Sandpiper
37. (Bahama) Green Heron - subsp
38. Blue-winged Warbler
39. Summer Tanager
40. Brown Pelican
41. Ruddy Turnstone
42. Red-winged Blackbird
43. Red-winged Blackbird endemic subsp
44. Sanderling
45. Double-crested Cormorant
46. Great Blue Heron
47. Great Egret
48. Snowy Egret
49. Red-tailed Hawk
50. Osprey
51. Black-bellied Plover
52. Herring Gull
53. Laughing Gull
54. Royal Tern
55. Black Skimmer
56. Mourning Dove
57. Eurasian Collared-Dove
58. Belted Kingfisher
59. Northern Mockingbird
60. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
61. European Starling
62. Yellow-rumped Warbler
63. Palm Warbler
64. House Sparrow
65. Magnificent Frigatebird
66. Loggerhead Kingbird
67. Turkey Vulture
68. Rock Dove

John Haas
Wurtsboro, New York

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