Saturday, May 3, 2014

San Andres Island's Big Pond

As mentioned earlier, the Cubilla-Archbold family made an escape to San Andres Island (Colombia) for the weekend.  After leaving the keys of our room at the deck of our resort, we headed to the hilly center of the island, to a natural lagoon known as Big Pond.
We first crossed the urban center and passed through La Loma neighborhood.  You can have breathtaking views of the beaches at this part of the island (and where the First Baptist Church is located as well).  After a while, you reach the pond, surrounded by scrubs and secondary growths.
One of the main attractions there are the Spectacled Caimans (known as "Babillas") that come out the water to inspect the visitors.  Most of them are small, but there are some reports of 2 meters-long individuals.
Spectacled Caiman
We were more interested in the birds... and the site turned out to be quite good.  Immediately, we noticed a nice collection of herons and shorebirds taking advantage of the calm waters: Great and Snowy Egrets, Green, Tricolored and Little Blue Herons plus Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers and two Lesser Yellowlegs.  Even a male Blue-winged Teal was resting at the shore!
Snowy Egret and immature Little Blue Heron 
Tricolored Heron (immature)
Blue-winged Teal (male)
We walked around the pond following our taxi driver Emerson who accompanied us.  This is a short and easy walk, full with migrant species.  We saw Yellow, Tennessee, Protonothary, Magnolia and Yellow-rumped Warblers in quick succession.
Some resident species were present too, like Smooth-billed Anis, Brown-throated Parakeets, herds of Bananaquits and Black-faced Grassquits, San Andres Vireo and a lonely Mangrove Cuckoo that allowed some shots.
Mangrove Cuckoo
However, one resident caught my attention.  While enjoying some cold drinks at a nearby bar, we saw some Tropical Mockingbirds in the surroundings.  The subspecies magnirostris is endemic to San Andres Island... and some authorities considered it a full species.
Tropical "San Andres" Mockingbird
Tropical "San Andres" Mockingbird
These birds were comparatively pale-faced and with an obvious larger bill with curved culmen.  In fact, that is exactly what magnirostris means: large bill.  Compare it with the Tropical Mockingbirds present in Panama.
Tropical Mockingbird (photo from Panama Viejo)
We had enough time to reach our transfer to the airport.  This was an intense weekend, with tons of interesting sites visited, lots of sun, sand and cays and, of course, many special birds (39 species in total).  Surely this will not be our last time on San Andres Island!

No comments:

Post a Comment