9 Feb 2019

Caribbean Cruise

To celebrate my early retirement from full time employment we booked a Caribbean cruise in late Jnauary  and early February. Although not a birding holiday I did go armed with a guide book, binoculars and the camera - unfortunately I had no room for a big lens and had to make do with the 50-125 mm zoom. We visited a number of islands including Barbados, Antigua, Bequai, British Virgin Islands (Spanish Town and Road Town), Gauadeloupe, St Barths, Grenada, St Kitts, St maarten& St Lucia.

I was amazed by the lack of seabirds in this part of the world and we only had a few Brown Boobies and a solitary Red-footed Booby keeping us company on a few days. We saw very few gulls or terns and most of those were in ports - Royal Tern and Caspian Tern being the commonest.

Magnificent Frigatebirds were seen most days we docked but were usually distant but on one occasion a pair came close to the ship enabling me to get a few photos - females have the white heads and chest.

Star bird of the trip for me was Red-billed Tropic birds. As we went on a kayaking trip to Greater Bird Island (Antigua)  I didn't take the camera!  It was amazing birds flying over our heads.

Bananaquits were everywhere and probably the commonest bird we saw.

A couple of trips further inland to forested areas produced birds such as Lesser Antillean Bullfinch and Pearly-eyed Thrasher.

Humming birds were fairly common and we saw two species - Antillean Crested (top photo below) and Green-throated Carib. Both were extremely difficult to photograph with such a small lens!

On one of the trips into rain forest habitat we picked up a Bridled Quail Dove which I understand is pretty scarce and hard to see.

Other common birds seen were Carib Grackle, Common Ground Dove, Zenaida Dove, Scaly-naped Pigeon, Gray Kingbird, Shiny Cowbird and Black-faced Grassquit.

 Common Ground Dove
 Gray Kingbird
Zenaida Dove.

Wading birds were scarce with the moat regularly encountered being the ubiquitous Cattle Egret.We did see the occasional Snowy Egret (mainly in the mangroves) and a couple of Little Blue Herons including a showy bird fishing on the beach on Bequia (St Vincent & the Grenadines).

The only waders seen were a few Turnstone on Barbados whilst raptors were extremely scarce with only a single Osprey and Red-tailed Hawk being seen.

A great trip and a few birds added to my World list!

1 comment :

sleipnerofasgard said...

Well done mate, some good birds there, had a week in Tobago last year and would go back in a heartbeat