Feb 22-March 7, 2014

Jan Wierda

 

Aruba, Feb/March 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

3rd Trip report by Jan Wierda, Netherlands from February 22nd until March 7th, 2014

 

Title: “Amazing Aruba!” (part III)

 

We were delighted to visit Aruba for the 3rd time (see my trip report 2012 and 2013), and also for my literature used. I changed the equipment and now used Canon EOS 1DX and 300 EF 2.8 with 2x converter, further telescope Swarovski 30-70 and Binoculars 8.5x42. In this report I only give you the highlights per spot and a list of seen species at the end. I conclude with an overview of missed species in comparison to 2013 and 2012 and listed new species for me.

 

 

 

Spanish Lagoon

I visited this place some 10 times, mostly between 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. I found many Yellow Warblers, some Green Heron, 5 Northern Waterthrush, Grey Kingbird, Brown Flycatcher and Scrub Flycatcher. This year I saw some times 2 Yellow Orioles (very noisy) and a White-tipped Dove. Many hours of ‘phishing’, also produced American Redstart, Hooded Warbler, Black-whiskered Vireo and a Caribbean Elaenia.

 

Yellow Warbler  (left) and  Northern Waterthrush (right), Spanish Lagoon, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

American Redstart(left) and  Caribbean Elaenia(right), Spanish Lagoon, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Hooded Warbler (left) and  Black-whiskered Vireo (right), Spanish Lagoon, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Grey Kingbird (left) and  Brown-crested Flycatcher (right), Spanish Lagoon, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Yellow Oriole  (left) and  White-tipped Dove (right), Spanish Lagoon, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

 

Windmill area

 

Close to the ‘high rise’ hotel area, you cannot miss the red windmill. There are several good points to check the best places. If you drive the path close to yellow building (along a canal with mostly a lot of egrets), it ends up at a small lagoon, where I found regularly the (4) Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and an immature Scarlet Ibis.

 

Scarlet Ibis,  Windmill area, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda     

 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks,  Windmill area, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda     

        

Bubali

 

Opposite the red Windmill, you’ll find the entrance to the Bubali watch tower. Waterfowl and waders can be seen from here. I found on the green ‘carpet’ an immature Purple Gallinule and Sora.

 

Purple Gallinule, Bubali, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda     

 

Sora, Bubali, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

 

 

 

 

‘Kite surf’ salina

 

More to the North, into the direction of the Californian Lighthouse, you’ll find a kite surf club along the sea. Opposite you’ll find a small surf store facility. If you drive on there you’ll find a good place for waders. This year I found here among many others (again) a Willet and (2) Southern Lapwing.

 

Southern Lapwing, ‘Kite Surf’, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Malmok

 

Close to the Californian Lighthouse, you can drive along the rocky beach. Here the best chance for (roosting) seagulls and terns.

Cabot’s and Royal Terns,  Malmok  March 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tierra del Sol

 

Going up, just before the Lighthouse, you’ll find sandy roads all the way to the salina at Tierra del Sol. It is a 2 km drive with change for owls and bobwhites.

Californian Lighthouse area, Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Close to the fence, you have an overview of the salina (telescope needed!). Here I found many good species as:

 

Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Roseate Spoonbill, Pectoral Sandpiper, and to my big surprise, a Black Skimmer.

 

 

American Wigeon (left) and Northern Shoveler (right), Tierra del Sol Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

 

 

 

 

Black Skimmer (left) and Roseate Spoonbill (right), Tierra del Sol Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

Tierra del Sol Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

You can also visit this place from the other side, via the entrance of Tierra de Sol. Here I found again the Cattle Tyrant, that is supposed to be there already now for 1 ½ year.

Pectoral Sandpiper (left) and Cattle Tyrant (right),  Tierra del Sol Feb 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

 

 

 

Horseback trail

 

If you go further from the sea, after passing the entrance of Tierra de Sol, you’ll find after one mile or so at your left hand side some streets with scattered houses. At the very end you’ll find a horseback facility. Drive on for another mile until the path turns to the left (with a great panorama of the ‘cunucu’), park there in the late afternoon. I found there (2) White-tailed Nightjars, that came roosting short on the path. They did not sing in February, but only made each 15 seconds or so, a short ‘tsiet’ contact call. In 2012 I found in this area also Crested Bobwhite.

Horseback trail,  March 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Baby Beach and Rodger’s Bay

 

At the very South of the Island, passing San Nicolas,you’ll find a nice beach area (ideally for non-birding travel partners!). I found there nesting Brown Noddy’s and Sooty Terns on the small islands opposite Rodger’s Bay.

 

 

Jan Wierda at work at Rodger’s Bay, March 2014 © Jan Wierda

 

Summary

 

In the 2 weeks of my 3rd visit, I saw 80 species, of which 9 new to my ‘Aruba-list’, now totals 97 species (all in February/March). I suggest renting a car, to regularly visit the above described spots. The Arikok natural park is also worth a visit.

Thanks to my wife Hetty and my daughter’s family (Carolien, Remy, Toon and Reyn) for all their support! Many thanks to Jeff Wells, for his ‘on the spot’ information.

 

Jan Wierda

jan.wierda@ziggo.nl , Netherlands

 

#

Species

first location

Status

Total seen

1

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Windmill

V

4

2

American Wigeon

Tierra del Sol

R

6

3

Blue-winged Teal

Bubali

C

100+

4

Northern Shoveler

Tierra del Sol

V

1

5

White-cheeked Pintail

Bubali

C

100+

6

Pied-billed Grebe

Bubali

C

10

7

Magnificent Frigatebird

Bubali

C

20+

8

Brown Booby

Harbour Oranjestad

C

3

9

Neotropic Cormorant

Bubali

C

100+

10

Brown Pelican

Bubali

C

50+

11

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Bubali

C

1

12

Green Heron

Spanish Lagoon

C

10+

13

Cattle Egret

Parkietenbos

C

6

14

Great Blue Heron

Salina

C

10+

15

Great Egret

Salina

C

100+

16

Tricolored Heron

Salina

C

10+

17

Little Blue Heron

Salina

C

10+

18

Snowy Egret

Salina

C

30+

19

Scarlet Ibis

Windmill

R

1

20

Roseate Spoonbill

Tierra del Sol

V

1

21

Osprey

Bubali

C

6

22

Crested Caracara

Bubali

U

6

23

American Kestrel

Tierra del Sol

C

4

24

Peregrine Falcon

Tierra del Sol

U

1

25

Sora

Bubali

U

2

26

Purple Gallinule

Bubali

R

1

27

Common Moorhen

Bubali

C

20+

28

Caribbean Coot

Bubali

C

50+

29

Southern Lapwing

Salina

V

2

30

Black-bellied Plover

Malmok

C

20+

31

Semipalmated Plover

Salina

C

10+

32

Killdeer

Windmill

C

8

33

American Oystercatcher

Malmok

U

4

34

Black-necked Stilt

Salina

C

50+

35

Greater Yellowlegs

Salina

C

100+

36

Lesser Yellowlegs

Salina

C

50+

37

Willet

Salina

U

1

38

Spotted Sandpiper

Salina

C

10+

39

Hudsonian Whimbrel

Salina

C

20+

40

Ruddy Turnstone

Malmok

C

8

41

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Salina

C

10+

42

Least Sandpiper

Salina

C

10+

43

Pectoral Sandpiper

Tierra del Sol

R

1

44

Stilt Sandpiper

Salina

U

10+

45

Short-billed Dowitcher

Salina

U

10+

46

Laughing Gull

Malmok

C

50+

47

Royal Tern

Malmok

C

50+

48

Cabot's (Cayenne) Tern

Malmok

C

4

49

Sooty Tern

Rodger's bay

C

1000+

50

Brown Noddy

Rodger's bay

C

100+

51

Black Skimmer

Tierra del Sol

R

1

52

Rock Dove

Oranjestad

C

5+

53

Bare-eyed Pigeon

Mazurka

C

50+

54

Eared Dove

Mazurka

C

20+

55

Common Ground Dove

Mazurka

C

50+

56

White-tipped Dove

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

57

Brown-throated Parakeet

Mazurka

C

40+

58

Groove-billed Ani

Tierra del Sol

U

3

59

Burrowing Owl

Arikok

U

4

60

White-tailedNightjar

Tierra del Sol

R

2

61

Blue-tailed Emerald

Spanish Lagoon

C

5

62

Caribbean Elaenia

Spanish Lagoon

R

1

63

Northern Scrub Flycatcher

Spanish Lagoon

U

4

64

Cattle Tyrant

Tierra del Sol

V

1

65

Brown-crested Flycatcher

Spanish Lagoon

U

4

66

Gray Kingbird

Spanish Lagoon

U

5

67

Black-whiskered Vireo

Spanish Lagoon

R

1

68

Barn Swallow

Tierra del Sol

C

10+

69

Tropical Mockingbird

Mazurka

C

10+

70

Northern Waterthrush

Spanish Lagoon

C

5

71

Hooded Warbler

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

72

American Redstart

Spanish Lagoon

U

1

73

Yellow Warbler

Spanish Lagoon

C

20+

74

Bananaquit

Mazurka

C

100+

75

Black-faced grassquit

Mazurka

C

20+

76

Carib Grackle

Mazurka

C

40+

77

Shiny Cowbird

Tierra del Sol

U

8

78

 Troupial

Tierra del Sol

C

10+

79

Yellow Oriole

Arikok

U

6

80

House Sparrow

Mazurka

U

20+

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of which new to me in 2014

 

 

 

 

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

 

 

 

 

Scarlet Ibis

 

 

 

 

Pectoral Sandpiper

 

 

 

 

Brown Noddy

 

 

 

 

Black Skimmer

 

 

 

 

White-tailedNightjar

 

 

 

 

Caribbean Elaenia

 

 

 

 

Black-whiskered Vireo

 

 

 

 

Hooded Warbler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missed in comparison to 2012/2013

 

 

 

 

Glossy Ibis

 

R

 

 

American Flamingo

 

V

 

 

Crested Bobwhite

 

C

 

 

Pomarine Jaeger

 

R

 

 

Least Grebe

 

U

 

 

Reddish Egret

 

R

 

 

Lesser Scaup

 

U

 

 

Ring-Necked Duck

 

V

 

 

Ruby Topaz Hummingbird

 

U

 

 

Belted Kingfisher

 

U

 

 

Tropical Kingbird

 

U

 

 

Bank Swallow

 

C

 

 

Northern Parula

 

R

 

 

Black-throated Blue Warbler

 

V

 

 

Black & White Warbler

 

U

 

 

Prothonotary Warbler

 

U

 

 

Worm-eating Warbler

 

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C= Common

 

 

 

U=Uncommon

 

 

 

R=Rare

 

 

 

V=Vagrant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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