First stop was Grand Bahama where we booked an excursion to visit Lucayan National Park. I was excited and hungover all at once. It was supposed to have a 40-50 minute nature walk that went through pine woodlands... this was not the case. Our leader knew nothing about the wildlife around, only a few plants that he blabed about for a while. He also tried to tell us about some of the science behind the island, but all he kept saying was "carbon dating", even for samples of fish and inverts taken from the caves today. So, left to fend for myself, in the middle of the day, I skipped out on most of the cave presentations and got my bird on. Lucky for me, a few birds were still braving the heat, including a nice La Sagra's Flycatcher.
|Western Spindalis of a subspecies|
After a night of drinking and dancing with a few new "birds" that I had found, I arrived to my room at promptly 6:15am to catch an hour of sleep before the Nassau experience. My mom didn't seem amused. We made our way to the taxi and I told him we wanted to go to The Retreat. He had no idea what I was talking about, but said he did, and took us to the complete other side of the island. He dropped us off at 9am and told us he would be back at 1:30. Of course, this place also lacked any pine woodlands (aka there goes my best chances for Loggerhead Kingbird, Cuban Pewee and any other pine woodland birds). This place was called Clifton Heritage National Park, and besides the Coppice dominated habitat, was pretty sweet. One of the first birds I saw was this female Bahama Woodstar.
Had a few species that hit a little closer to home. This Northern Parula posed nicely for the camera. Too bad the light wasn't a little better.
|Most hated Common Yellowthroat of all time|
The next stop was Great Stirrup Cay where we decided to go beaching and snorkeling. Since I was going on a whole 2 1/2 hours of sleep that day, I passed out in the chair in the shade by the beach until noon. Snorkeling was awesome, the diversity of fish was truly amazing. There was some interesting looking habitat on the Cay, but by this day I was too burnt out to try to find anything new.
All in all, not a bad cruise despite missing a few prime birds. Guess I'll have to go back!
Stay tuned for another blog post from Florida and the Everglades.