Archive for the ‘The Bahamas’ Category

After my trip to Chapel Hill, NC, I went down to Nassau to meet up with some friends for a beach vacation.  Although I would have liked to spend a little more time exploring the wildlife there, I did enjoy being lazy on the beach all day.  While on the beach, I caught a few pictures of the birds that were hanging out among the tourists.

The gulls that are common there are Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla), named because their call sounds like a high-pitched laugh.  I liked the white around the eyes.  Like most gulls, these were scavengers and ready to grab any left over food from sunbathers.  They were wearing their mating plummage while we were there; a black head instead of white when not in mating season.  In the 1800’s these birds were nearing extinction due to hunting but have recovered completely.  Cornell’s website has been a great resource!  (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Laughing_Gull/id)

Laughing Gull, Nassau, Bahamas

Another common shorebird I encountered was the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres).  These birds took me a while to identify because they’re wearing their non-breeding plumage which is very different than their breeding plumage.  Like the laughing gulls, they were picking up scraps of food from people on the beach, darting around in small groups.

Ruddy Turnstone, Nassau, Bahamas

Ruddy Turnstone, Nassau, Bahamas

Some interesting facts about the Ruddy Turnstone:

  • They are named ‘turnstones’ because they use their beaks to flip over stones to get at food underneath.
  • Turnstones are monogamous and live on average 9 years.
  • They are in the sandpiper family, but were sometimes placed in the plover family in the past.

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