A Travellerspoint blog

Turks/Caicos Islands

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)

Day 3: Grand Turk!

semi-overcast 82 °F

On Wednesday, the Emerald Princess' port of call was Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. Tuesday was a day at sea, so although it was extremely relaxing and enjoyable, there is nothing to post about for that day. Wednesday was also enjoyable - but in an action-packed and very birdy way!

My dad and I disembarked the ship at about 8:15 in the morning so that we had a nice chunk of time for birding on Grand Turk. My mom and Pearl stayed back for most of the morning and then later joined us for snorkeling.

My dad and I birded the island by foot, focusing on the salinas (saltwater ponds/mudflats) that dot the island, which are great for shorebirds (many of which are winter residents that migrate to Grand Turk every year from arctic Canada) and other aquatic species. The first salina we visited, Hawke's Nest Salina, proved to be very productive for shorebirds.

SANDERLINGS:
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RUDDY TURNSTONE:
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RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINS, LEAST, SEMIPALMATED, and WESTERN SANDPIPERS. The white stuff is not snow (it was a pleasant 80 degrees!), but salt buildup due to the salty nature of the salina.
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RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINGS, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, and a life bird for me: 2 STILT SANDPIPERS which are the birds in the water in the middle of the photograph:
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We then somewhat followed the Grand Turk Birding Trail, which leads through areas of native scrubland and occasionally past various ponds and salinas which are the most productive spots for birding on the island. At one point, we found these two lizards alongside the trail:
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Female AMERICAN KESTREL:
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Female GADWALL (left) with a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL (right):
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Female BLUE-WINGED TEAL (left) with a LESSER YELLOWLEGS (right):
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Then, I found my lifer WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL, a beautiful resident duck of Caribbean islands:
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Here is another pintail with two BLUE-WINGED TEAL on the right:
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Two more WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL:
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Nonbreeding-plumage SPOTTED SANDPIPER:
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Horses roam free on Grand Turk, and this photo captures the ambience of the island nicely in my opinion. Notice the white CATTLE EGRET underneath the horse on the left, feeding off of insects attracted to the horses.
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LITTLE BLUE HERON, haven't seen this bird since Panama in November of 2013:
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Nonbreeding-plumage BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, which loses its black-bellied breeding plumage in the winter:
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This SMOOTH-BILLED ANI, a type of cuckoo native to the Caribbean, was a life bird for me:
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My dad and I saw a sign for Columbus Landfall National Park:
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And just beyond that sign was a beautiful vista of the Caribbean Sea:
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OSPREY:
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We then picked up a cab, who first took us to a Salina he knew about where one can find flamingos. We succeeded in finding a solitary AMERICAN FLAMINGO, a life bird for me!
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Then, he took us to Bohio Beach, which was probably the most beautiful beach we had ever visited.
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It was great for birding, too, with salinas right behind the resort full of shorebirds and other species. This beautiful male YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER even perched right on the bathroom for a nice photo:
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Then, my mom and Pearl joined my dad and I and we went on an hour snorkeling excursion where a guy took us in his motorboat to a buoy. He gave us an hour to snorkel there and informed us that the area around the buoy was one of the best snorkeling spots on Grand Turk. It was astounding! A huge school of fish greeted us immediately as we entered the water, with brilliant yellows and iridescent hues shimmering through the crystal-clear water. Continuing back another twenty feet, we encountered a huge underwater drop-off from the coral reef that revealed a deep blue vastness reminiscent of scenes from the movie "Finding Nemo." The coral on top of the underwater wall was breathtaking and the schools of multicolored fish were absolutely stunning. A group of a dozen yellow-patterned medium-sized fish swam by while a dazzling, tiny blue fish weaved its way through the coral. This snorkeling experience was second only to the Great Barrier Reef in February of 2014.

After snorkeling, my parents lounged around on lounge chairs, my sister played in the sand, and I went birding again in the salinas (salt ponds) behind the resort.

BLACK-NECKED STILTS (left) with one nonbreeding-plumage BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (right):
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LEAST SANDPIPERS:
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Cute SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS:
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GREATER YELLOWLEGS:
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ROYAL TERNS:
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This TRICOLORED HERON foraged astonishingly close to me and allowed for a gorgeous photo shoot:
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This CAPE MAY WARBLER, a winter resident from the Canadian boreal forest, also was very cooperative:
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A female or immature-type MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD flew by the beach:
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LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL:
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All too soon, it was time to get back on our ship, the Emerald Princess.
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As we departed Grand Turk, I took some photos from the back of the ship. Here is the island. Take note of one of the salinas at which I birded on the right side of the photo:
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I even spotted this small shark from the ship. Glad I didn't spot him when I was snorkeling!
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And my best spot of the day was this MASKED BOOBY, a life bird for me, that must have been over a mile away from the ship. This is a pelagic (largely sea-faring) species, so I was super excited to spot it!
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It was a fantastic day on the beautiful island of Grand Turk. I identified 36 species of birds in total, including 5 life birds for me (see full list below).

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 875 Species (5 life birds, see list below)

  • indicates a life bird

36 species + 1 other taxa:

Gadwall
Blue-winged Teal

  • White-cheeked Pintail
  • American Flamingo
  • Masked Booby

Magnificent Frigatebird
Great Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Osprey
American Kestrel
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Ruddy Turnstone

  • Stilt Sandpiper

Sanderling
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Royal Tern
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Dove Sp.

  • Smooth-billed Ani

Northern Mockingbird
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Bananaquit

Posted by skwclar 11:57 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged me landscapes lakes beaches people animals birds boats Comments (0)

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