A Travellerspoint blog

Day 3: From Wilson's Plovers to sea turtles!

all seasons in one day 80 °F

Today (Monday, January 2) was another fun-filled day on the beautiful tropical island of Providenciales in the Caribbean.

Some morning birding in Northwest Point National Park yielded great birds!

AMERICAN KESTRELS:
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SANDERLINGS:
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This WILSON'S PLOVER, spotted by my dad, was a life bird for both of us!
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OSPREYS:
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RUDDY TURNSTONE:
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ROYAL TERN:
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Crab in a tide pool:
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The actual Northwest Point of the island is stunning, with the sea crashing into a ledge of rocks with many beautiful tide pools:
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BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT:
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SMOOTH-BILLED ANI, a common inhabitant of the island:
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Then, in the afternoon, my family and I went snorkeling! It was AWESOME, some of the best Caribbean snorkeling I have ever done. Some highlights included seeing 2 sea turtles, a huge sting ray, grouper fish, angelfish, and many amazing coral formations.

I also saw a few birds in the afternoon, including these BANANAQUITS:
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And this COMMON GROUND-DOVE:
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The day came to an end with an evening spotting of this hunting YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON right outside our front door!
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It was a fantastic day! Bird-of-the-day goes to my life-bird Wilson's Plover with runners-up to the Osprey & Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Honorable mention to the two sea turtles. :)

Happy birding!

Henry
World Life List: 929 Species (1 life bird today: Wilson's Plover)

List from today:

Brown Pelican
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
American Kestrel
Wilson's Plover***
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Royal Tern
Common Ground-Dove
Dove Sp.
Barn Swallow
Northern Mockingbird
Mimid Sp.
Thick-billed Vireo
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bananaquit
Black-faced Grassquit

Posted by skwclar 02:58 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged osprey american_kestrel bananaquit sanderling wilson's_plover ruddy_turnstone royal_tern black-faced_grassquit smooth-billed_ani common_ground-dove yellow-crowned_night-heron Comments (0)

Day 2: 2 life birds 2 kick off 2017!

all seasons in one day 82 °F

Today was our first full day on the island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos Islands. We spent the day birding, swimming, and snorkeling. Although the snorkeling was slightly disappointing, I found some quality bird species today.

The wifi is very spotty so I will add photos once I have a strong enough connection...

I kicked off the day to a good start with sighting this awesome life-bird MANGROVE CUCKOO which posed oh so nicely just five feet away from me! I thought these were supposed to be elusive!
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BANAQUITS, such as these guys, abounded throughout the day:
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Male AMERICAN KESTREL:
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The resort at which we are staying is located at a beautiful seafront location:
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Pretty butterfly:
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COMMON GROUND-DOVE:
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THICK-BILLED VIREO:
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BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT:
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This beautiful PRAIRIE WARBLER was an amazing life bird for me!
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Bird-of-the-day goes to the stunning MANGROVE CUCKOO, with runner-up To my other life bird, the PRAIRIE WARBLER. The list for today is attached below.

Brown Pelican
Osprey
American Kestrel
Common Ground-Dove
Dove Sp.
Mangrove Cuckoo***
Smooth-billed Ani
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Thick-billed Vireo
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler***
Bananaquit
Black-faced Grassquit
Passerine Sp.

Posted by skwclar 17:26 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged mangrove_cuckoo prairie_warbler Comments (0)

Day 1: Chicago to Providenciales

all seasons in one day 78 °F

Happy New Year's Eve! And this concludes the year of 2016 as a fresh start to 2017 lies before us!

Photos to come later since the wifi signal is too weak to upload any photos...

Today, my family and I flew to Providenciales, an island in the northern Caribbean as part of the country of the Turks and Caicos, east of the Bahamas. We will spend a week here and I will post when I can because the wifi here is spotty! A 2016 birding-year-in-review post will come out sometime soon, not sure when...

We had a pleasant and on-time flight courtesy of United, and we arrived onto the island at around 3pm, picked up our rental car, stopped to pick up groceries, and soon were unpacking at the lovely, quaint resort at which we are staying. Here is a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, the first bird I identified on the island, as seen from the airport:
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And here is the view from our room:
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We ended the evening enjoying the pool and hot tub on premises, serenaded by the calls of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS overhead.

It should be a fun week! Happy birding!

Henry
World Life List: 927 (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 17:10 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Comments (3)

Winter Catch-up Post & a Life Bird!

semi-overcast 53 °F

So...at last another busy semester has ended! It has been rewarding, though, with so many great musical opportunities through my choir, the Voice of Chicago. I did; though, manage to see a few birds in these first few weeks of winter.

Female RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:
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On one of my bird surveys I captured this nice photo of a CEDAR WAXWING:
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December 8 turned out to be the big Sandhill Crane migration day for the fall, as thousands of these guys streamed overhead. It was quite impressive!
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Today (Monday, December 26), my family and I took advantage of the warm temps and went to the Morton Arboretum to get outside. I had three target birds: Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, and a Harris' Sparrow - which had recently been seen near the Visitor Center.

Although I failed to find all three of those species (bummer!), I did gain one LONG OVERDUE life bird - an AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (note slightly larger size & darker overall than surrounding Mallards)! Thanks to birder Pete M for birding with me (he was after the Harris' Sparrow, as well) and giving this ID:
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So Bird-of-the-day definitely goes to the American Black Duck.

Stay tuned, because on Saturday, my family and I will fly down to the island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos for a week in the Caribbean! I am looking forward to the warmer temps and hopefully more life birds!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 927 Species (1 life bird today: American Black Duck)

Posted by skwclar 12:39 Archived in USA Tagged cedar_waxwing red_bellied_woodpecker sandhill_crane american_black_duck Comments (2)

A Wild Goose Chase

overcast 40 °F

Before I dive into this post, I think it might be of interest to both long-time and new followers alike to see what I was doing exactly three years ago (!)
http://worldbirding.travellerspoint.com/13/

This Friday I went birding at Northerly Island near the Adler Planetarium in downtown Chicago in search of a rare bird that was being reported there: a Brant, a small species of goose that has only been documented a few times before in Illinois - qualifying it as a downright rarity!

On the walk there from the train, I spotted a few goodies in the lake such as this small pod which included an AMERICAN COOT (upper left), REDHEADS, & LESSER SCAUP.
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This pretty male NORTHERN CARDINAL was also nice:
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I arrived at around eleven in the morning and pretty soon happened to meet up with a few local birders who were also searching the island for the Brant and any other good things that might be in the area.

AMERICAN COOTS:
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Distant HOODED MERGANSERS:
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One fantastic surprise was a small group of six SNOW BUNTINGS - a species I believe I have only seen once before in my entire life!
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SWAMP SPARROW:
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AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, these little guys were quite numerous as expected:
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Finally, after looping around Northerly Island, we spotted the distant BRANT goose - my target bird - tucked up against the seawall right next to the Adler Planetarium:
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Then, we walked over there to get a better look at the goose to find it had moved up to the grassy areas right next to the Planetarium - the regular passerby would have probably taken it as just yet another (albeit small) "regular" goose!
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At one point, the cute little feller waddled right across the path in front of us - what an obliging life bird!
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We also spotted this weird dark-morph CANADA GOOSE. Anybody have any ideas as to what race this guy belongs to?
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It was a fantastic day of birding! Bird-of-the-day goes to the Brant, of course, with runners-up to the cute little Snow Buntings!

Happy birding,

Henry
World Life List: 926 Species (1 recent life bird: Brant)

Posted by skwclar 19:53 Archived in USA Tagged chicago rarity brant snow_bunting Comments (1)

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