Despite the dark clouds and threat of rain, nineteen birders eager to see some Vieques birds gathered in Esperanza early this morning. Huge waves crashing against the wall threw ocean spray up on the Malecon so we quickly got into our cars and drove to the east end of Sun Bay where we parked. Marie distributed extra binoculars to folks who didn’t have their own, and we walked to the lagoon.
Chuck, Pinto, and two others went ahead to “scope” out some shore birds. We have noticed that the water level in the Salitral, i.e. lagoon changes. It has been different each time we have been there this season. Today an inch of water covered the beach. It was higher than we have seen it. However, Mike had sent out notices urging people to be prepared for mud, and they were.
Mike speaks about the Trust, eBird, WHSRN and the Motus Network.
We want people to see birds on our walk, and they did at the Salitral. With binoculars and the scope, in the lagoon we saw: 4 Blue-winged Teal, 46 White-cheeked Pintail Ducks, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Stilt Sandpiper, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Brown Pelican, 1 Little Blue Herons, 7 Great Egrets, 2 Great Blue Heron, 1 Belted Kingfisher, 5 Royal Terns. (It is unusual for us to see the terns in the lagoon; we usually see them from the Malecon. Today, they found shelter in the lagoon.) 2 Magnificent Frigatebird circled overhead.
The mangroves surrounding are a rich habitat for other birds. While there we heard a Mangrove Cuckoo, and saw: 1 Antillean Crested Hummingbird, 2 Gray Kingbirds, 2 Northern Mockingbirds.
**We always try to include photos taken on the day of the walk. We couldn’t do that today so we are
including photos taken on walks earlier this season.
White-cheeked Pintail Ducks.
Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret and Great Egret (yellow beak)
Leaving the lagoon we hiked along the eastern side of Sun Bay to Laguna Patito Sendero, a small freshwater pond, where we had good views of: 7 Black-necked Stilts, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Brown Pelican, 2 Magnificent Frigatebird.
We were delighted to have a person from Kansas add a life bird to her list, the White-cheeked Pintail. For other possible lifers, we suggest looking for the Wilson’s Plover on Mosquito Pier, an Adelaide’s Warbler in the area of the Ceiba tree, and the Puerto Rican Woodpecker on the wooden telephone poles in Fish and Wildlife.
Thank you for joining us today and for showing sincere enthusiasm about the birds despite a few sprinkles and muddy feet. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. We are committed to keeping this area a safe place for migrant and endemic birds. Your support is essential.
We have more walks scheduled between now and the end of March: February 17, February 21, March 6, and March 20. Join us again if you can. Follow us on Facebook, and check out the Trust’s website: VCHT.org.
A special thanks to Pinto and Teresa for all their help. VCHT Birding Team
Chuck, Mike, Marie, Olga, Priscilla, Dale,