Thursday, January 18, 2018

More Bahamas birds, Lakeview Drive Ponds

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Gallinule, New Providence, Bahamas
glam Gallinule

In the Bahamas, we stayed at the Comfort Suites on Paradise Island (following a recommendation by Corey Finger at 10000 Birds). Just down the road, less than a quarter-mile, is a birding hotspot, the Lakeview Drive Ponds, and we visited them several times during our stay.

Even before getting there, there were birds, like this cooperative young Green Heron by the roadside.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Green Heron, New Providence, Bahamas
too young to know better

And the edge of a dirt parking lot held a few Common Ground-Doves, which were actually a life bird for me.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Ground Dove, New Providence, Bahamas
hello, lifer!

There are two ponds. The east pond is larger and a little wilder, and harder to find a good vantage point to. In one spot at the west end, you can sit on the roadside railing (or stand between it and the pond edge) and look east over the pond, though. The east pond is where the Least Grebes mostly stay (another lifer).

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Least Grebe, New Providence, Bahamas
Least but not last

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Least Grebe, New Providence, Bahamas
very grebelike

There was a mama grebe with a baby grebe peeping after her around sunset one day. Quite charming, though the light was too poor for photos.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; White-Cheeked Pintail (Bahama Duck(, New Providence, Bahamas
Bahama Duck, yet another life bird

The west pond has a nice viewing platform, and is where the ducks mostly hang out. The exceptionally cute White-Cheeked Pintail (a.k.k Bahama Duck) was a real highlight.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; White-Cheeked Pintails, New Providence, Bahamas
Elena has decided these are the Best Duck.

Other waterbirds were also plentiful--a surprising number of White Ibis, one Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Common Gallinules, American Coot, a couple of stray Mallards that I'm assured are releases, Neotropic Cormorant...

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Neotropic Cormorant, New Providence, Bahamas
Neotropic Cormorant

About sunset, an Osprey flew in to roost, and we saw Merlins as well.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Osprey, New Providence, Bahamas
I'll be your Osprey this evening

The viewing platform makes the west pond a popular place to feed ducks. I watched one afternoon as six people (one couple and four individuals) came and fed mostly the resident domestic Muscovy Ducks over a half-hour period. These are very fat ducks. Oddly the Mallards didn't come close for feeding, though the Pintails and Coots did.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Gallinule, New Providence, Bahamas
Common Gallinule not shy at all

Some of the other waterfowl were quite habituated as well; a couple of the Gallinules would come right up on the platform and mix with the Muscovys, one one of the Great Egrets liked to loaf there as well.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Great Egret, New Providence, Bahamas
habituated Egret

Notable among the landbirds was a fairly sizable flock of Boat-Tailed Grackles, which apparently are increasing numbers in New Providence recently. I took this photo just to document how many there were in one tree, but I kind of like how it came out.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Boat-Tailed Grackles, New Providence, Bahamas
artistic Grackles

North of the ponds, you can walk east along Casio Road to the Ocean Club. There were some nice birds hanging out in the vegetation on the north side of the road. Though I didn't find the Black-Faced Grassquits I was hoping for I did get amazing close looks at Smooth-Billed Anis foraging in the hedges.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Smooth-Billed Ani, New Providence, Bahamas
smooth operator

Near the Ocean Club, I had my best view (and only half-decent photo) of a Red-Legged Thrush. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by these thrushes; for some reason I thought they were bold and easily seen like Robins. Oh well. Very pretty, though.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Red-Legged Thrush, New Providence, Bahamas
got to be good-lookin' 'cause you're so hard to see

I'm going to do one more post about the Bahamas soon. Fair warning!

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Common Ground Dove, New Providence, Bahamas
Common Ground-Dove, ohsocute

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