Sunday, April 27, 2014

Island Hopping (Part 6 of 8) - Feb 3, 2014 (Martinique)

Feb 3 - Martinique
On Martinique we targeted two species, one endemic and one nearly so. The Martinique Oriole is a true endemic, while the highly endangered White-breasted Thrasher resides only here and on St. Lucia. We would devote the entire day to searching for these two birds but enjoyed several others along the way.

The place to go for the thrasher is the Caravelle Peninsula on the northeast side of the island, where a preserve is located to protect the species. After not much searching we stumbled upon a foraging party of WHITE-BREASTED THRASHERS, which gave us all great looks as they scratched through the shadowy understory. Really great stuff. We watched as the birds approached us more and more closely.

White-breasted Thrasher

White-breasted Thrasher


Further down the same trail we enjoyed a LESSER ANTILLEAN SALTATOR and a couple of "Golden" Yellow Warblers, which on this island are curiously red-headed like most "Mangrove" Yellow Warblers.

"Golden" Yellow Warbler of Martinique

Lesser Antillean Saltator...wish I knew how to Photoshop out that twig :)
Once done on the peninsula we headed toward the higher elevation of the center of the island in search of the endemic oriole. Once again, the skies opened up and we were poured on for a good long time. Between downpours we snuck out for some birding and found several RUFOUS-THROATED SOLITAIRES, a female ANTILLEAN EUPHONIA, and eventually a MARTINIQUE ORIOLE. A nearby meadow was swarming with hummingbirds: BLUE-HEADED, ANTILLEAN CRESTED, and PURPLE-THROATED CARIB. In an effort to save my camera from water damage I kept it in the van for this part of the day.

Back to the ship for yet another fine dinner celebrating yet another successful day!

 - Nick

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