June 5 - 13, 2010
Brian Daly


I was in Aruba from June 5-13, 2010 and had the opportunity to bird Bubali and the surrounding area during my stay. I saw the usual suspects for an early June visit and have some additional interesting sighting information.

Sightings of Note


Whistling Heron: Pair sighted landing at 9:00am on 2010-06-08 and foraging closely together in the grasses along west coast just south of the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Palm Beach, halfway between the highrises on Palm Beach and the lowrises on Eagle Beach where the land bulges out into the ocean and there is a square of dirt roads along the water on the west side of J.E. Irausquin Boulevard. Luckily, they stuck around for a while as I did not have a camera on hand when I sighted them and had to run back to my hotel to retrieve same and hope that they would not have moved on by the time I was able to return. Sure enough, they were still foraging nearby upon my return, and I was able to photograph them both together extensively.



Photos by Brian Daly


Black Skimmer: Repeated sightings of either a pair (one noticeably larger than the other), or an individual, at Bubali between 2010-06-09 and 2010-06-10.

I had a close study of both the distinct bill and the plumage as one flew by right above me on the first morning I saw them and of course their behaviour (prolonged skimming) was also diagnostic. Whether alone or together, they would always be skimming along the reed line of the eastern side of the large lagoon, skimming up and down, mainly sticking to the northeast end of the lagoon. They would typically fly in, skim the lagoon for 15-20 minutes, and then leave by flying over the trees between the Westin Resort Aruba and the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, over Palm Beach, to the ocean. I was able to photograph them extensively, both as a pair and as individuals, from both the observation tower and from my balcony on the northeast corner of the 17 th floor of the Westin Resort Aruba, overlooking Bubali.


Burrowing Owl: Repeated sightings of a pair at the waste water treatment facility.

The reason I include this as a sighting of note is not simply because it is a rare bird, but because of the unique location in which this pair is located. Though I did not look for a nesting burrow, this pair was on site every day that I arrived here. They remained [nest location omitted] here even while people walked about  and the large trucks drove by along the inside of the fence line. (In response to Steve Mlodinow 's Aruba trip report on surfbirds: How's that for both a hotel and an airport-bus bird!)

Burrowing Owls at wastewater treatment plant, photo by Brian Daly

Odds and Sods (given time of year):


Sanderling: In white and light gray coloured plumage (lacking reddish-brown), foraging along tideline on Palm Beach in late afternoon.


Ruddy Turnstone: In plain coloured plumage (lacking pronounced facial markings and reddish-orange back), foraging under tables at Baby Beach in mid-afternoon.


Misses - Non-breeding in Aruba :

Groove-billed Ani (U)

Brown Booby (C)

White-tipped Dove (U)

Yellow Oriole (U)

Birds Easily Pished:

American Kestrel (Bubali) - using the “two-fingers pressed to lips kiss” technique, I immediately had an adult appear from over the treetops and hover in the clearing directly above my head until it realized I was not an injured passerine and moved on. I also photographed an adult and juvenile extensively at and around the terra-cotta-roofed building at the end of the road to the east of the Wind Mill at the northeast corner of Bubali.

Bananaquit (everywhere) - responded heavily to standard “pishing”, which I noted sounds somewhat like their buzzy vocalizations.

Blue-tailed Emerald (various) - always came in close and perched on closest branch for quite a while whenever I pished in areas I suspected would hold them, and even some I didn't.

Blue-tailed Emerald, photo by Brian Daly

“Golden” Yellow Warbler (throughout) - it was surprising when less than 2-4 individuals appeared anytime I pished in appropriate habitat.

Brown-throated Parakeet (surprisingly!.) - coming in and then throwing its head from side to side to give me a direct “one-eyed” close-up stare.

Brian Daly

Ontario, Canada