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New Providence I. and Castaway Cay (formerly Guana Cay, near Great Abaco)

November 1999

by Mark Lockwood

In November 1999, my wife and I took a Bahamas Cruise on the Disney Magic.  The cruise made stops at Nassau and at Castaway Cay, Bahamas.  The first stop was at Nassau where we birded  the botanical gardens and visited the freshwater ponds on Lakeshore Drive on Paradise Island.  The botanical garden was an excellent place to bird and we saw many of the Bahamian species we had expected to find on New Providence at that one stop.  Much to our surprise, there were also three free-flying cockatoos, two Sulphur-crested and one Corella at the botanical garden as well.  Paradise Island is reached by causeway from New Providence.  We had originally planned to rent a car in Nassau, but Budget did not have a car when we arrived.  We took taxis and rode the city buses instead.  As a result we did not visit the Westgate Estates area (east of Nassau) as we had originally planned.  We had wanted to visit The Retreat, the headquarters of the Bahamas National Trust, but the office and sanctuary are closed on weekends.  We made no effort to find the introduced Cuban Grassquit during our day on New Providence.

The other stop was at Disney's "private island" of Castaway Cay.  The islands had patches of coppice, but was mostly mangroves.  Unfortunately, only one small patch of coppice was accessible.  Where we did see Bananaquits, Black-faced Grassquit and one Thick-billed Vireo.  I suspect that if there had been trails on the main body of the island we would have see other Caribbean specialties.


Taxonomy and nomenclature follows the AOU 7th edition Check-list of North American Birds.

5 November - left Port Canaveral at 5:00 pm.
6 November - New Providence; birded botanical gardens at Nassau and ponds along Lakeshore Drive on Paradise Island.
7 November - Castaway Cay (formerly Guana Cay); Disney's private island, mostly mangroves with very little coppice accessible.
8 November - returned to Port Canaveral by 7:00 am

NP - widespread birds seen on New Providence and Paradise Island
BG - Nassau Botanical Gardens
PI - freshwater ponds on Paradise Island
CC - Castaway Cay
Least Grebe two at PI
Brown Pelican five at NP and one at CC
Neotropic Cormorant one at PI
Double-crested Cormorant three at CC
Magnificent Frigatebird one female at CC
Great Blue Heron two just off CC, seen from the ship 
Great Egret one at CC
Turkey Vulture three at CC
White-cheeked Pintail 25 at the ponds on PI
Osprey one at PI
American Kestrel one light phase female at BG and one dark phase male at CC
Common Moorhen three at PI
American Coot one at PI
Black-bellied Plover one at CC
Piping Plover five at CC
Ruddy Turnstone four at CC
Laughing Gull common at NP and CC
Ring-billed Gull four at CC
Herring Gull one first winter bird at CC
Royal Tern four at CC
Rock Dove common on NP
White-crowned Pigeon about 10 at BG
Eurasian Collared-Dove five at BG, several others seen on NP 
Common Ground-Dove common on NP and CC
Smooth-billed Ani one on CC
Bahama Woodstar one male and two females at BG
Belted Kingfisher one at PI
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker one on CC
Cuban Pewee one seen well at BG
La Sagra's Flycatcher four ot five at BG
Gray Kingbird two at BG, they are reported to leave by late October
Loggerhead Kingbird one at BG and another at PI
Thick-billed Vireo singles at BG and CC
Red-eyed Vireo three at BG
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher one on CC
Hermit Thrush on at BG
Red-legged Thrush three at BG
Gray Catbird five on CC
Northern Mockingbird common on NP and CC
Bahama Mockingbird two adults at BG and one immature on CC
Cape May Warbler 10+ at BG
Black-throated Blue Warbler three males at BG
Yellow-rumped Warbler four on CC
Black-throated Green Warbler one at BG
Prairie Warbler five at BG and one on CC
Palm Warbler common on NP and CC
Blackpoll Warbler one at BG
Black-and-white Warbler one at CC
American Restart common at BG and one on CC
Bananaquit 10+ at BG and two on CC
Black-faced Grassquit one at Bg and two on CC
Clay-colored Sparrow one on CC
White-crowned Sparrow one immature on CC
Blue Grosbeak one at BG
Indigo Bunting two on CC
Red-winged Blackbird 15+ on CC
House Sparrow four on CC

Mark Lockwood
Austin, Texas 78745

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