Friday, April 4, 2014

Island Hopping Trip Summary - Jan 26-Feb 6, 2014

This past winter I led a fascinating Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel Tour that we dubbed "Island Hopping." This was birding by cruise ship...a 12-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale aboard Holland American's ms Noordam through the Greater and Lesser Antilles as far southeast as Barbados. The itinerary was as follows:

Jan 26 - fly in, pre-cruise evening birding in Florida
Jan 27 - pre-cruise morning birding in Florida, followed by boarding of ship and late afternoon departure
Jan 28 - at sea
Jan 29 - at sea
Jan 30 - St. Thomas (USVI)
Jan 31 - Dominica
Feb 1 - Barbados
Feb 2 - St. Lucia
Feb 3 - Martinique
Feb 4 - St. Maarten (Dutch and French sides)
Feb 5 - at sea
Feb 6 - Half Moon Cay (Bahamas)
Feb 7 - depart ship back at Fort Lauderdale, fly out

This was the first time we've run a trip like this and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Our pioneering group had a wonderful time. Island birding was fast and furious with only limited time at each port, but our local guides were fantastic and able to show us most of the hoped-for island and regional endemics. The pelagic birding from the ship consisted of hours of birdlessness interspersed with brief moments of great excitement, plus some rather amazing booby feeding displays

Over the next several days I will be posting a day-by-day report with some photos, detailing our experiences on each island.

Note: all sightings have been logged in eBird, including pelagic sightings with accurate locations as determined by GPS device.

 - Nick

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