To Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Located in the glass-clear, chalcedony waters of the Caribbean just 50 miles east of Miami, the Bahamas are an archipelago of over 700 islands, islets, and cays where approximately 385,000 people subsist primarily on tourism. This has led to an infrastructure of hotels, lodges, and transportation that will facilitate our week exploring Abaco, Eleuthera, and Andros in search of over 20 birds that do not occur in the United States. We’ll begin in the pine and coppice—or broadleaf—forests of Abaco National Park in search of Cuban Parrot, Cuban Pewee, and La Sagra’s Flycatchers, Thick-billed Vireo, Bahama Swallow, Red-legged Thrush, the big Bahama Mockingbird, Bahama Yellowthroat (with its gray cap offset by yellow), Olive-capped Warbler, and the newly-minted Bahama Warbler, a split from Yellow-throated with a noticeably longer bill. Here, too, is Western Spindalis, a day-glow tanager with a striped face and green back. The subspecies of Spindalis we’ll find on the next island south, Eleuthera, has an almost black back. One of the possibilities on Eleuthera is Kirtland’s Warbler. Although difficult to see, this 110-mile-long and often only one-mile-wide island supports a large percentage of the world population of perhaps 5,000 birds. There are no pines on Eleuthera, but there are White-crowned Pigeons in the plentiful palms that fringe its pink sand beaches, as well as Key West Quail-Doves, and the rose-gorgeted Bahama Woodstar. To conclude our island hops we’ll fly to Andros, the largest landfall in the Bahamas. Andros represents the last stronghold for the endemic black-hooded Bahama Oriole. There are only estimated to be 250 remaining in the world. Here, too, we might find the charismatic Great Lizard-Cuckoo, Cuban Emerald, endemic Bahama Swallow, and the black-bodied, red-accented Greater Antillean Bullfinch. If launching spring in an island paradise appeals, the Bahamas offer some of the loveliest birds and beaches in the world for a backdrop.
Cost of The Bahamas includes all accommodations, all meals, all transportation, and all entrance fees beginning in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island and ending in Nassau—$3995.
Photo: Bahama Mockingbird
Photo by: Rick Taylor