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VCHT Bird Walk - January 18, 2023

Paul Tavares eBird S34913154

A diverse group of birders, including some new and some familiar faces, met on the Malecon for our bird walk on the 18th where we had a lovely view of:

4 Royal Terns

5 Brown Pelicans

After an introduction, we headed off to see what we could find in the wetland under the radio tower. Scopes were set up immediately and voila, we quickly spotted the Ruff and several other water birds, which everyone was able to see. Species checked there included:

1 Zenaida Dove (Heard)

5 Common Gallinule

1 Ruff

1 Stilt Sandpiper

2 Lesser Yellowlegs

7 Cattle Egret

2 Gray Kingbird

1 Loggerhead Kingbird

1 Northern Mockingbird

2 Greater Antillean Grackle

After loading gear and birders back in the cars, we convoyed to the parking lot at the east end of Sun Bay to begin the walk to the lagoon. Immediately we saw a Pelican and a Great Blue Heron. The roadside jungle on the walk to the lagoon is good songbird habitat. We saw a Bananaquit and a Yellow Warbler. Our list of observations grew:

1 Brown Pelican

1 Great Blue Heron

1 Yellow Warbler

1 Bananaquit

We always ask birders to be quiet as we approach and when in the lagoon to avoid frightening the birds. Cesar led the way and set up the scope. Sun Bay lagoon hosts hundreds of birds. It is tidal and the water level changes and influences where the birds feed and rest. Thanks to some powerful binoculars and the scope we could see great flocks of peeps feeding and flying, and herons and egrets roosting in trees on the far shore. Ducks (teal) swam closer to us and Yellowlegs ventured nearby. It was a treat to see the Little Blue wading in front of us and to have good views of the Tricolored Heron resting on a dead snag in the water. A flock of noisy Ani passed back and forth just over our heads. Our lagoon birds included:

22 Blue-winged Teal

1 White-cheeked Pintail

5 Smooth-billed Ani

1 Black-necked Stilt

4 Brown Pelican

14 Great Egret

1 Little Blue Heron

2 Tricolored Heron

1 Greater Antillean Grackle

Our final destination was the small freshwater pond at the eastern rim of Sun Bay where everyone had close-up views of the elegant Black-necked Stilts and some good looks at Yellowlegs. It is a bit of a hike out there, but doable and well worth it. There was lots of happy chatter on the walk back to the cars. We added:

18 Black-necked Stilts

4 Lesser Yellowlegs

1 Caribbean Elaenia (Heard)

Please join us on the next walk on February 1, 2023, and thanks for your interest and support of conservation efforts to save our birds, as well as for helping grow the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust.

PS - Thanks, Dale, for all of your efforts to produce the narrative and for your mentorship!


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