January 18, 2022 Bird Walk
The walks are led by VCHT’s Birding Team: Dale and Priscilla Doucette, Mike and Marie Murphy, Jeff Mandoza, Chuck Sklar
Ten birders joined VCHT’s leaders today on another successful walk/drive. Starting on the Malecon across from the Trust we immediately located a Royal Tern resting on a buoy, a Brown Pelican flying low across the water and a Great Egret out by the island. We also saw a White-winged Dove on a wire and a Belted Kingfisher looking for breakfast near the rocks at the east end of the beach.
Next, we drove to the entrance area of Sun Bay and scanned the fields and trees for birds. We were not disappointed. A Smooth-billed Ani posed for us at the top of a tree on a dead snag. It’s a large, black bird usually found in brushy, semi-open areas. A Scaley-naped Pigeon, a White-winged Dove and a Zenaida Dove were easily seen. A, not-so-common, Eurasian Collared Dove was clearly identified by the black collar around the back of its neck. A Gray Kingbird darted around the area and European House Sparrows rested on the fence. Thanks to the scope, we clearly saw four Caribbean Martins resting high up in the radio tower.
Our next stop was at the east end of Sun Bay where we parked and walked a short distance to a spot where we had a clear view of the lagoon. The leaders made it very clear that we be very quiet and avoid frightening the birds feeding there. Everyone cooperated; we had excellent views of 42 Black-necked Stilts, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, an estimated 120 Great Egrets, estimated 20 Snowy Egrets, 5 Brown Pelicans, 1 Little Blue Heron, 1 Osprey, 1 Magnificent Frigatebird. 2 Gray Kingbirds and 1 Northern Mockingbird were feeding in the bushes at the water’s edge. How do you tell a Great from a Snowy Egret? Look at the feet. The Snowy Egret has yellow feet.
Finally we had a pleasant hike half-mile hike to a freshwater pond where we had very close views of 9 Black-necked Stilts, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 1 Greater Yellowlegs. Yellowlegs travel thousands of miles to nesting areas. They need to store energy for their migration. We were particularly careful not to frighten them.
As we walked back down the path, some of us saw a Bananaquit and heard the Mangrove Cuckoo. Marie took a great picture of the Cuckoo.
Our next walk is Tuesday, February 1, 2022 Tank you for joining us and for supporting the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust