Birding Aruba – Part 3

Tim SchreckengostBirding1 Comment

See also Part 1 | Part 2

I started out Saturday morning sea watching from Eagle Beach (eBird Checklist), where Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds were plentiful. I scanned the beach and noticed four Common Terns to the east, my first for the island. More people were showing up on the beach and the avian activity slowed, so I decided to head in for breakfast.

Common Terns at Eagle Beach, Aruba on 28 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Common Terns at Eagle Beach, Aruba on 28 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Later that morning, I swung by Bubali Bird Sanctuary (eBird Checklist) again to see if anything new was around. I was surprised to see three Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks just below the tower. A fourth joined the group shortly after. A family group of White-cheeked Pintails was also hanging around. Carribbean Coots gave me more satisfying, but still distant looks this time around. Two Southern Lapwings were associating with a couple of Black-necked Stilts as well. Since the pond at Tierra del Sol was dried up, I thought I didn’t have a chance to see the lapwings, but it was a much appreciated life look! It was starting to rain, so I decided to walk back to the car, but before I started walking this Gray Kingbird teed up nicely.

Gray Kingbird at Bubali Bird Sanctuary on 28 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Gray Kingbird at Bubali Bird Sanctuary on 28 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

After Bubali, I made a quick stop at the Aruba Salina (eBird Checklist) to check out the shorebird spread. There was higher shorebird diversity than my first visit. Highlights included two Southern Lapwings, a continuing Black-bellied Plover, two Semipalmated Plovers, two Killdeer, three Lesser Yellowlegs, a lone Whimbrel, and a Collared Plover!

Collared Plover at the Aruba Salina on 28 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Collared Plover at the Aruba Salina on 28 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

I started the next day, which was my last full day on the island, at Eagle Beach (eBird Checklist). My favorite bird of the trip was Magnificent Frigatebird, but I still didn’t have a photo of one. I went out early and was fortunate to catch a few frigatebirds close to shore.

Magnificent Frigatebird at Eagle Beach, Aruba on 29 June 2014. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Magnificent Frigatebird at Eagle Beach, Aruba on 29 June 2014. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

After birding the beach, I worked the grounds around Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts and the Manchebo Casino (eBird Checklist). Birds were very active. Bananaquits were flying from tree to tree, Bare-eyed Pigeons were doing what they do best – perch on wires, and Tropical Mockingbirds were plentiful. My favorite sighting of the morning was this Eared Dove that perched perfectly for a photo opportunity.

Eared Dove at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba on 29 June 2014. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Eared Dove at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba on 29 June 2014. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

After breakfast, my wife and I made our way to Baby Beach (eBird Checklist), where we would spend the rest of the morning. I did a quick binocular scan from the beach and noticed a sizeable flock of terns a good bit from shore. I went and grabbed my scope and immediately spotted by lifer Brown Noddy! There were roughly four individuals flying up and down the coast. There were also eight Sooty Terns (also a lifer!), a few Common Terns, and about 30 Sandwich Terns in the flock. There was a lone Black-bellied Plover on the beach as well. As we were lounging on the beach, Rock Pigeons and Laughing Gulls presented an amazing photo opportunity. Here’s one of my favorite Laughing Gull shots.

Laughing Gulls at Baby Beach, Aruba on 29 June 2014. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Laughing Gulls at Baby Beach, Aruba on 29 June 2014. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

We wrapped up our honeymoon the following day. I didn’t get to do much birding, but as we were waiting to drop the car off at the airport, an adult Crested Caracara made a few passes and ended up hunting out on the runway. Unfortunately, the bird was too far for photos!