Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Birds of Aruba

I read that Aruba is home to 195 species of birds. No way did I come close to seeing that many birds during my family's week on the island earlier this May (2013). I saw a couple dozen types, though, and really enjoyed seeing a number of first-time "lifer" feathered friends. Here are my photos with specific and general locations where the encounters occurred.
My wife and I returned to Aruba the following summer for a second wonderful vacation on this Happy Island. I had a really neat bird encounter along those waters across the street (and behind the trees) from the Riu Palace on Palm Beach.
Troupial, Aruba's national bird
(Sand dunes near California Lighthouse; Caribbean Sea in back)\
Troupial (Malmok Beach)


Troupial (near Arikok National Park)
Caribbean Brown-throated Parakeet (small inland wooded area near the Marriott Resort)
Caribbean Brown-throated Parakeet (also called Prikichi)
Crested Caracara (near drainage canal Palm Beach area)
 I had to go all the way to Aruba to see my first American Kestral! That watery area across from the Riu Palace is not publicized as a birding spot, but it's one of the best on the island. 
What a treat to see, in nature, this Flamingo. Also pictured are two Black-necked Stilts.

Roseate Spoonbills were among several bird species encountered in the same small area. Note the Black Skimmers, another very cool bird! 
A lifer bird for me: this White-cheeked Pintail (left) was part of the feathered crowd on this day. I'm so glad I returned to this little-known spot near the Riu Palace after first stumbling across it in 2013. That's a Black-necked Stilt on the right. 
Magnificent Frigatebird (Marriott's Aruba Surf Club Beach)
I love the distinctive profile of this large soaring bird. I recognized it instantly after seeing frigatebirds on the shores of St. Kitts two years ago.
Bananaquit (2014) 
Bananaquit (numerous around the Palm Beach high rise hotels and elsewhere on Aruba)
Bananaquit Pair (Palm Beach)
Tropical Mockingbird or Chuchubi (Palm Beach)
These are abundant and quite similar to Northern Mockingbirds, though a bit smaller and slighter
Caribbean Mockingbird (Marriott Surf Club)
Bare-eyed Pigeon- one of my Aruba favorites! (Palm Beach)
Bare-eyed Pigeon (Palm Beach tennis court fence)
You know you're being looked at when a Bare-eyed Pigeon is looking at you! (Palm Beach)
Pretty clever defense mechanism this bird has adapted (Palm Beach)
Cute, fluffy juvenile dove or pigeon, Eared Dove juvy I think (Palm Beach)
Eared Dove (Palm Beach)
Carib Grackle (Palm Beach)
 Carib Grackle (Palm Beach)
Troupial (sand dunes area near California Lighthouse and coast)
Troupial (near California Lighthouse- that's the Riu Palace in back)
Yellow Oriole (Arikok National Park)
Caribbean Brown-throated Parakeet (near Arikok National Park)
House Sparrow (Marriott Surf Club)
House Sparrow (Marriott Surf Club)
I think this is a juvenile House Sparrow- it was in the same nesting area in the roof as the above adult
(Marriott Surf Club)
Brown Pelicans (Marriott Surf Club pier)
Brown Pelicans (Marriott Surf Club pier)
 American Oystercatcher (Basiruti Beach)
 Cayenne Terns (Basiruti Beach)
Cayenne Tern (Basiruti Beach)
Green Heron- Fish On! (Bubali Bird Sanctuary)
Green Heron- Fish In! (Bubali Bird Sanctuary)
Common Moorhen or Common Gallinule (Bubali Bird Sanctuary)
 Caribbean Coot (Bubali Bird Sanctuary)
Tricolored Heron (Bubali Bird Sanctuary)
Neotropic Cormorant (Bubali Bird Sanctuary)
Bare-eyed Pigeon (California Lighthouse Sand Dunes)
 Killdeer (Arikok National Park)
Killdeer (Arikok National Park)
Laughing Gulls (Baby Beach)
Laughing Gulls (Baby Beach)
Rock Pigeons (Baby Beach)
Ruddy Turnstone (Baby Beach)
I'm still trying to identify this small cactus-loving bird (Arakok National Park)

The wind turbines along the coast in the Arikok National Park (2014 visit)

With my lady Alesia on Eagle Beach during our fabulous dinner at Passions on the Beach in 2014.
We had a great time visiting this Happy Island and hope to be back to see more of Aruba and its birds.
This is the type of big Delta bird that brought us to Aruba and returned us home to Charleston, S.C.

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