Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Abaco National Park’

Plovers and Parrots in Paradise

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
A RETURN TRIP TO THE BAHAMAS

By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager

Piping Plover on Wintering Grounds, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, The Bahamas. © Tom Reed

Piping Plover on Wintering Grounds, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, The Bahamas. © Tom Reed

Last month marked the third January I have been able to go to the Bahamas in the name of piping plover research. This recent trip was a little different than the others in that it was not an official work funded trip. Still, it wasn’t a traditional vacation either as a good portion of the trip was dedicated to plover surveys and related work. (It’s hard keeping me away from those pipers!)

This being on my own dime, I did make it a point to sample some of the Bahamas other wildlife this time around. At the top of my list was the Bahama parrot. Once found on many Bahamas islands, the parrot is now only present on Abaco and Great Inagua, and is a protected species in the Bahamas. Abaco National Park, overseen by the Bahamas National Trust, encompasses over 20,000 acres, including some of the most critical parrot habitat. Ongoing research of the parrot’s breeding success is being conducted on Abaco as well – it is heartening to see significant conservation effort being put towards parrots in the Bahamas.

Flock of Bahama Parrots in Flight on Abaco. © Tom Reed

Flock of Bahama Parrots in Flight on Abaco. © Tom Reed

I had heard the calls of parrots on previous trips, but since I literally had my “head in the sand” looking for plovers I hadn’t actually seen them. For awhile I didn’t think I would get a glimpse of them this time either – although we were at a parrot hotspot in Abaco known as Bahama Palm Shores, once again I heard them but couldn’t quite get them in my sights.  Parrots can be quite social and their chatter was clearly audible in the trees around us – tantalizingly close – but surprisingly hard to see for a large colorful bird. Our patience paid off as suddenly a flock of at least 100 parrots lifted up and circled over us, temporarily blackening the sky (perhaps “brightening the sky” is more appropriate in this case). What a spectacular sight and later we would see a smaller flock close up foraging in a field. (more…)