Feb 1-12, 2013
Jan Wierda

 

2nd Trip report by Jan Wierda, Netherlands from February 1st until February 12th, 2013

 

Title: “Amazing Aruba!” (part II)

 

After the good experiences in 2012 we were delighted to visit Aruba for the 2nd time (see my trip report of last year in February, also for my equipment and literature used). In this report I only give you the highlights and a list of seen species at the end. I conclude with an overview of missed species in comparison to 2012 and a list of the ones new to  my Aruba-list.

 

 

Spanish Lagoon, February 1st

 

1st day in 2013, I went right away to Spanish Lagoon, where I had the good memories of last year (where I saw good species last year). Highlights of this first visit: an American Redstart and a Black-and –white Warbler.

  3

American Redstart (left) and Black-and-white Warbler (right), Spanish Lagoon, Feb 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

 

Later in the day, I went to the Kite surf pond, where an adult Reddish Egret walked around. The 1st  new species for my Aruba list.

Reddish Egret, Kite surf pond, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

Kite surf pond, February 2nd

Like last year I found many waders here. It was obvious that it was still very wet. (I also noticed this when I got stuck with my rental car). Nevertheless I found a new one for me, a Semipalmated Sandpiper. Another good species was a white morph Reddish Egret.

 

 

Reddish Egret (white morph), Kite surf  pond, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

                      

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Kite Surf pond ,  February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

Later on I went to Bubali, where I checked the bush closest to the sea. It produced, among other things, a Northern Parula.

 

 

Northern Parula, Bubali, February 2013© Jan Wierda

 

Salina Tierra del Sol, February 3rd

I was astonished to find a male and a female Ring-Necked Duckagain, like last year. In addition, I found a new species for me: (3) Lesser Scaup.

Lesser Scaup, Salina Tierra del Sol, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

Late afternoon I checked the Windmill pondagain. This time it produced an immature Roseate Spoonbill.

Roseate Spoonbill, Windmill Pond, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

Bubali, February 4th

Early morning I drove in the direction of  the observatory tower when a beautiful Belted Kingfisher  flew over the water. Without success I spent hours trying to locate this bird.

 

Windmill pond, February 5th

I checked this nice Salina daily, but the Spoonbill seemed to have disappeared. Another new species for me were (2) Bank Swallows flying over the water. Later in the day I checked again the Kite surf pond. This time I was rewarded by no fewer than 3 Willets.

After having birded now for 5 days, my total number of species seen in 2013 is 61, of which 6 were new to my Aruba list (Reddish Egret, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Lesser Scaup, Roseate Spoonbill, Belted Kingfisher and Bank Swallow).

Salina Tierra del Sol, February 6th 

 

Cattle Tyrant walked around in the grass near the club house (thanks Jeff!!). Later in the  day, I saw two.

Cattle Tyrant, Salina Tierra del Sol, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

In the afternoon I worked hard in the Spanish lagoon. I was ‘phishing’ for more than an hour, when suddenly an agitated warbler landed on the tree next to me (less than 8 meters!). I must have looked at it for some 10 seconds, when it disappeared again. It was a striking bird. I saw black throat, black sides, from the top of the head to the back completely blue-gray. Belly white and on the dark blue wing a contrasting clear white patch: a male Black-throated blue Warbler! I have read in Birds of ABC that at least 3 males have been seen in Aruba earlier.

 

In the evening I tried again for the Tyrant (taking pictures with the soft light), but this time it did not show up.  I found another nice bird, however (close to the 18th hole) in a tree top: a Tropical Kingbird.

 

 

Spanish Lagoon, February 7th

After the success yesterday I spent another morning phishing in the Spanish Lagoon. As every time, it proved to be unpredictable. No sign of the Black-throated Blue. But it produced American Redstart, Black and White, Northern Parula, plenty of Northern Waterthrush and in addition another breath-taking Warbler, I remembered from last year, the Prothonotary Warbler.

 

 

Northern Waterthrush, Spanish Lagoon, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

Arikok , February 8th

As a consequence of participating in the Carnaval Parade in San Nicolas, we started late at Arikok Natural Park. After two hours of work, we found 2 Yellow Orioles at Cunucu Arikok.

.

Yellow Oriole, Arikok, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

A Peregrine and, half an hour after sunset a Burrowing Owl completed the list for the day and 2013 score with 71 of which 9 new to me for Aruba!

 

Spanish Lagoon , February 9th

I found a nice Female Ruby-topaz Hummingbird near the entrance of the trail.

 

 

Hotel area, February 10th

2 Barn Swallow were flying just before a rain shower. In the evening I found the immature Roseate Spoonbill (see February 3rd) back at the Kite surf pond.

Roseate Spoonbill, Kite Surf Pond, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

Tierra del Sol , February 11th

In another attempt, I finally found 2 Southern Lapwings around the ‘T’ of the 13th hole. Later on  (around the 15th hole) I scanned all the present ducks. This now produced 5 Northern Shovelers (3 males, 2 female) and 3 American Wigeons (2 males, 1 female).

  Southern Lapwings, Tierra del Sol, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

In the afternoon I went to the Spanish Lagoon (about the 10th visit during the 12-day visit). Phishing around produced Brown-crested Flycatchers,

                                                                                                                               Brown-crested Flycatcher, Spanish Lagoon, February 2013 © Jan Wierda

 

and another spectacular warbler: Worm-eating Warbler. I knew from Jeff Wells that he had seen this very rare warbler in November 2012 (see also his astonishing video, on  www.youtube.com/ArubaBirds,) but after all those days ‘phishing’, I had forgotten about this one.

Suddenly it appeared in a mangrove tree at about 3 meters from the ground. It is a quite dull, but robust warbler, with greenish upperparts and buff/light underparts, no spots, no wing stripes, nothing. But the head is striking, and I saw it fortunately very well (though too short for pictures). It has 4 bold black stripes on it, eye-stripes and on the head, divided by a bold light crown-stripe. The combination is unmistakable.

 

Thank you, Jeff for all the good information!

Summary

I saw a total of 79 species, of which 12 new to my Aruba-list. To me the trail at Spanish lagoon is the best place in Aruba for birding. But anywhere on the ‘dushi’island of Aruba you can have amazing bird moments!

Jan Wierda

Jan.wierda@ziggo.nl , Netherlands

 

Jan Wierda

jan.wierda@ziggo.nl , Netherlands

 

Sequence of species seen following the Checklist of Aruba by Jeff Wells,

#

Species

first date 2013

first location

Status

Total seen

 

1

Pied-billed Grebe

2-feb

Bubali

C

10

2

Least Grebe

3-feb

Tierra del Sol

U

2

3

Brown Pelican

2-feb

Bubali

C

50+

4

Neotropic Cormorant

2-feb

Bubali

C

100+

5

Magnificent Frigatebird

2-feb

Bubali

C

20+

6

Great Blue Heron

2-feb

Salina

C

10+

7

Great Egret

2-feb

Salina

C

100+

8

Snowy Egret

2-feb

Salina

C

30+

9

Little Blue Heron

2-feb

Salina

C

10+

10

Tricolored Heron

2-feb

Salina

C

10+

11

Reddish Egret

1-feb

Salina

R

3

12

Green Heron

2-feb

Spanish Lagoon

C

10+

13

Black-crowned Night-Heron

2-feb

Bubali

C

5

14

Roseate Spoonbill

3-feb

Windmill

V

1

15

American Wigeon

11-feb

Tierra del Sol

R

3

16

Blue-winged Teal

2-feb

Bubali

C

100+

17

Northern Shoveler

12-feb

Tierra del Sol

V

5

18

White-cheeked Pintail

2-feb

Bubali

C

100+

19

Lesser Scaup

3-feb

Tierra del Sol

U

3

20

Ring-Necked Duck

3-feb

Tierra

V

2

21

Osprey

2-feb

Bubali

C

10+

22

Crested Caracara

2-feb

Bubali

U

10+

23

American Kestrel

6-feb

Tierra del Sol

C

6

24

Peregrine Falcon

7-feb

Arikok

U

1

25

Common Moorhen

2-feb

Bubali

C

20+

26

Caribbean Coot

2-feb

Bubali

C

50+

27

Southern Lapwing

11-feb

Tierra del Sol

V

2

28

Black-bellied Plover

3-feb

Malmok

C

4

29

Semipalmated Plover

2-feb

Salina

C

4

30

Killdeer

2-feb

Spanish Lagoon

C

10+

31

American Oystercatcher

3-feb

Malmok

U

4

32

Black-necked Stilt

2-feb

Salina

C

50+

33

Greater Yellowlegs

2-feb

Salina

C

100+

34

Lesser Yellowlegs

2-feb

Salina

C

50+

35

Willet

5-feb

Salina

U

3

36

Spotted Sandpiper

2-feb

Salina

C

10+

37

Hudsonian Whimbrel

2-feb

Salina

C

20+

38

Ruddy Turnstone

11-feb

Malmok

C

1

39

Semipalmated Sandpiper

2-feb

Salina

C

1

40

Least Sandpiper

2-feb

Salina

C

10+

41

Stilt Sandpiper

2-feb

Salina

U

10+

42

Short-billed Dowitcher

2-feb

Salina

U

5

43

Laughing Gull

3-feb

Malmok

C

20+

44

Royal Tern

3-feb

Malmok

C

50+

45

Cabot's (Cayenne) Tern

3-feb

Malmok

C

1

46

Rock Dove

2-feb

Oranjestad

C

5+

47

Bare-eyed Pigeon

2-feb

Mazurka

C

50+

48

Eared Dove

2-feb

Mazurka

C

20+

49

Common Ground Dove

2-feb

Mazurka

C

50+

50

White-tipped Dove

6-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

51

Brown-throated Parakeet

2-feb

Mazurka

C

40+

52

Groove-billed Ani

3-feb

Tierra del Sol

U

5

53

Burrowing Owl

7-feb

Arikok

U

1

54

Ruby Topaz Hummingbird

9-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

55

Blue-tailed Emerald

2-feb

Spanish Lagoon

C

5

56

Belted Kingfisher

4-feb

Bulbali

U

1

57

Northern Scrub Flycatcher

3-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

5

58

Cattle Tyrant

6-feb

Tierra del Sol

V

2

59

Brown-crested Flycatcher

11-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

4

60

Tropical Kingbird

6-feb

Tierra del Sol

U

1

61

Gray Kingbird

3-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

5

62

Bank Swallow

5-feb

Windmill

C

2

63

Barn Swallow

10-feb

Divi Hotel

C

2

64

Tropical Mockingbird

2-feb

Mazurka

C

1

65

Northern Parula

2-feb

Bubali

R

2

66

Yellow Warbler

3-feb

Spanish Lagoon

C

10+

67

Black-throated Blue Warbler

6-feb

Spanish Lagoon

V

1

68

Black & White Warbler

1-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

69

American Redstart

1-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

70

Prothonotary Warbler

7-feb

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

71

Worm-eating Warbler

12-feb

Spanish Lagoon

V

1

72

Northern Waterthrush

6-feb

Spanish Lagoon

C

5

73

Bananaquit

2-feb

Mazurka

C

100+

74

Black-faced grassquit

2-feb

Mazurka

C

20+

75

Carib Grackle

2-feb

Mazurka

C

40+

76

Shiny Cowbird

3-feb

Tierra del Sol

U

4

77

 Troupial

3-feb

Tierra del Sol

C

20+

78

Yellow Oriole

8-feb

Arikok

U

2

79

House Sparrow

2-feb

Mazurka

U

20+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of which new to me in 2013

 

 

 

 

Reddish Egret

1-feb

 

V

 

Semipalmated Sandpiper

2-feb

 

C

 

Lesser Scaup

3-feb

 

U

 

Roseate Spoonbill

3-feb

 

V

 

Belted Kingfisher

4-feb

 

U

 

Bank Swallow

5-feb

 

C

 

Cattle Tyrant

6-feb

 

V

 

Tropical Kingbird

6-feb

 

U

 

Black-throated Blue Warbler

6-feb

 

V

 

Southern Lapwing

11-feb

 

V

 

Northern Shoveler

12-feb

 

V

 

Worm-eating Warbler

12-feb

 

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missed in 2013 (compared to 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Booby

 

 

C

 

Cattle Egret

 

 

C

 

Glossy Ibis

 

 

R

 

American Flamingo

 

 

V

 

Crested Bobwhite

 

 

C

 

Sora

 

 

U

 

Purple Gallinule

 

 

R

 

Pomarine Jaeger

 

 

R