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Birding With The Trust February 21, 2024

Birders gathered for the VCHT bird walk at 7:30 a.m. on the Malecon. Immediately we spotted 4 Royal Terns over the water, 2 Brown Pelicans near the east end, and 2 Eurasian Collared Doves on the wires. Daylight breaks noticeably earlier now and birds are active earlier so we hurried to the lagoon.

Birders at the lagoon (also called the Salitral)

The water level in the lagoon ebbs and flows, not a lot, but enough to change the depth, and the depth affects where water birds swim and forage. Today herons and egrets stood in deeper water halfway across the lagoon, but were easily seen with binoculars and the scope. We identified 3 Great Blue Herons, 2 Little Blue Herons, and 7 Great Egrets. At first we thought we saw 2 Snowy Egrets, but after looking at photos we believe they are 2 Little Blue Heron which are actually white in their first year.

Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Herons   Little Blue Heron (white phase during first year)

Much closer in, we counted 7 Blue-winged Teal, 1 White-cheeked Pintail Duck dabbling , 18 Greater Yellowlegs probing for mollusks in shallow water, and 1 Black-necked Stilt wading around dead mangrove stumps.

Blue-winged Teal and White-cheeked Pintail Duck

Greater Yellowlegs 

The 2 Clapper Rails, which we have seen before this year, gave us long-lasting views going in and out of the mangrove roots and swimming in deeper water.  Clapper Rails are noted for being secretive and difficult to see because they blend in with their surroundings, but these two were not shy. We won’t forget them.

Clapper Rails blend in with the vegetation

1 Antillean Grackle, easily Identified by its tail feathers, flew overhead.

We left the lagoon and had a pleasant walk to the small freshwater pond on the eastern side of Sun Bay where we had close views of 2 Black-necked Stilts and 1 Greater Yellowlegs.

Greater Yellowlegs & Black-necked Stilt

Back in the parking area 1 Pearly-eyed Thrasher looking for insects picked its way around a Sea Grape and 3 Zenaida Doves walked along the beach.


Thank you for joining us today. As you saw, the lagoon areas provide rich habitat for a diverse species of land and water birds. We have more walks scheduled between now and the end of March:  March 6, and March 20. Join us again if you can. Follow us on Facebook, and check out the Trust’s website:, and if you use eBird, check to see what is being seen in other parts of Vieques.

Another special thanks to Pinto and Teresa for their help.

VCHT Birding Team

Chuck, Mike, Marie, Olga, Priscilla, Dale,


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