Back from the Turks and Caicos

Sorry for the long hiatus from my last post–I’ve been pretty busy these last few weeks.

This past Monday, my family returned from a 5-day vacation to the Turks and Caicos Islands, specifically the island of Providenciales, also known as Provo. Most of the birding was done on the hotel grounds, but on Saturday the 19th, my dad and I spent an incredible day birding North and Middle Caicos.

Upon hearing about the trip, I was a little disappointed about the island choice, but as I began to delve deeper, I found some amazing stuff about birding the Turks and Caicos. For example, I discovered that around eighteen West Indian Specialties are found in the islands. Also, although there are no endemics, I did find that the Bahama Woodstar, endemic to the Bahamas occurs here, as does an endemic subspecies of Greater Antillean Bullfinch that occurs only on Middle and East Caicos. Plus, Cuban Crow, a West Indian Endemic, occurs only in Cuba and the Turks and Caicos!

Now that I had a few targets in mind, it was time to plan the trip. My bible for this was, A Birder’s Guide to the Bahama Islands (Including Turks and Caicos) by Anthony W. White. Published in 1998, this book is part of the ABA/Lane Birdfinding Guides Series, and proved invaluable during our stay.

The day ended up being an incredible success. I was able to track down birds that I had just a small hope for. Plus, I was able to plan a good time-aware itinerary which really helped at the end. Out of the eighteen West Indian Specialties/Endemics that reside here, I saw 12, meaning that I was able to nail 2/3 of these species in just eight hours of hard birding. But I can’t take all the credit. It was my dad who spotted, arguably the rarest bird of the trip and he was spotting and hearing birds throughout the day. I’ve been birding with my father before and every time he surprises me!

The rest of the trip was spent birding on the hotel grounds, which were, in a word, dry. However, although no targets were seen here I did enjoy watching some wintering Wood-Warblers as well as the common coastal species.

Overall it was a very successful trip! I’ll be posting one or two entries about the trip in the coming days. Stay tuned!


This entry was posted in Turks and Caicos: February 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Back from the Turks and Caicos

  1. Betsy Hermann says:

    Hi Alex,

    I was thinking about you as I did the Back Yard Bird Count last week. Rangeley normally comes in first or second for participation. No exotic birds were seen through my binoculars.

    Your trip sounded great. Glad the birding with Dad was so successful.

    Thanks for sharing your birding knowledge with me!

    The skiing has been fantastic. Got another 10 inches of snow. Heck, we may be skiing until May! Our ski club hosted the High School Class C competitions this week. We had 16 schools racing. A moose was spotted on the trails, which was a huge hit with the kids. Only in Rangeley!


    Betsy and Bruce

  2. Deanna says:

    It sounds like you had a great day of birding with your Dad. I must say, he never ceases to amaze me! He’s starting to put Jim to shame. You’ve done a great job training him, Alex! Sounds like your trip was great–missed you in Florida this year. Will see you when we get back to CT in May.

  3. Deanna says:

    Just lost my first comments–got a message saying I was posting too quickly. Let me start again! Sounds like you had a great day of birding with your Dad. He’s really impressing me with his birding prowess these days. He’s starting to put Jim to shame! Very impressive with the number of species you saw–no wonder it was a great day for you. Missed you in Flordia this year–will see you when we get back to CT in May.

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