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The Bahamas

NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND


Beaches of Nassau

We have just returned from a wonderful trip to the Bahamas, visiting Andros and New Providence Islands during our stay. Many thanks to Carolyn Wardle from Bahamas Outdoors for taking us around the islands and helping us locate many of the endemics that the Bahamas has to offer.

Cuban Grassquit
Cuban Grassquit

We started off in Nassau, New Providence Island and were able to locate Cuban Grassquit, Black-faced Grassquit, White-crowned Pigeon, Cuban Pewee (Crescent-eyed Flycatcher), La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Greater Antillean Bullfinch and Bahama Woodstar with relative ease.

Greater Antillean Bullfinch
Greater Antillean Bullfinch

La Sagra's Flycatcher
La Sagra’s Flycatcher

We took care to avoid coming in contact with any Poisonwood bushes which were scattered all across the islands of the Bahamas. The anti-dote is pictured in the second photograph and known as the “Gumbo-Limbo” Tree or, as locals refer to it, the “tourist tree” since it is easily identified by it’s bark which is “red and peeling”.



Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum)


Termite nest – attached to a Gumbo-Limbo Tree

We ended the afternoon with a lovely stop to watch Buffy Flower Bats flying in and out of their cave roosts. The Buffy Flower Bat (Erophylla sezekorni) is a species of bat in the leaf-nosed bat family, Phyllostomidae. It is monotypic within the genus Erophylla. It is only found in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, and Jamaica.

Buffy Flower Bat
Buffy Flower Bat

Another treat was the Bahamian sub-species of the Curly-tailed Lizard:

Little Bahama  Curly-tailed Lizard
Little Bahama Curly-tailed Lizard

ANDROS ISLAND


Andros Island

On Monday, Carolyn and I flew over to Andros Island for the day. The primary objectives were to find and photograph Bahama Oriole, Bahama Mockingbird, Bahama Yellowthroat, Bahama Swallow and Great Lizard Cuckoo. We were actually able to find all objectives except for the Bahama Swallow.

We had a quick glimpse of a female Bahama Oriole but I wasn’t fast enough to get a photograph of it before it flew a long ways off and unfortunately we didn’t find any others that day. We did manage to finally find a single Bahama Mockingbird, Bahama Yellowthroat, several Western Spindalis and a lone Great Lizard Cuckoo.

Bahama Yellowthroat
Bahama Yellowthroat

Great Lizard-Cuckoo
Great Lizard-Cuckoo

Bahama Mockingbird
Bahama Mockingbird

It was a treat to be here during the start of fall migration and gave us ample opportunity to see many of the eastern US passerines throughout the day. Mostly Prairie Warblers, Cape May Warblers, Ovenbirds but a particular treat was a fresh HY Blackburnian Warbler which is quite an uncommon passerine to the islands.

Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warbler

I shall conclude this blog posting with a collection of various images I took throughout our journey of the Bahamas:

 



Flying into Fresh Creek, Andros Island


Pine forests of Andros Island


Cove on Andros Island


Our rental car on Andros


Pine forests on Andros


Playing Co-pilot on flight back to Nassau

 

 

Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Photography Adventures

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Ballona Wetlands – Plants, etc.

I was out photographing some of the native (and non-native) plant and animal species of the Ballona Wetlands with Dan Cooper (Cooper Ecological) yesterday morning. We’re currently working on a comprehensive book on the Birds, Plants and Wildlife of the Ballona Wetlands and we wanted to get photos of many of the plant species currently in bloom.

The Ballona Wetlands, near the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), contain the last significant coastal wetland system left in Los Angeles County, and are now about 25% of their original size. They are also bifurcated by a large cement flood control channel which has cut off tidal flow to large areas. [Cooper Ecological]

The wetlands once included the areas now taken up by Marina del Rey, Venice, and Playa Vista, extending north to about present-day Washington Blvd. in Venice. It is one of the last significant wetlands area in the Los Angeles basin, and is named for Ballona Creek which now runs through the area as a flood control channel. In the 1930s the Ballona Creek corridor was channelized in concrete, thus greatly reducing the inflow of salt water to the marsh, and eliminating spring floods which brought freshwater to the wetlands. This channelization, and the construction of Marina del Rey in the late 1950s, reduced the 2,100-acre (8.5 km2) estuary to some 700 acres (2.8 km2). Additional open space east of the wetlands was converted to agricultural uses by the early 1900s, with cultivation continuing into the 1990s, when these became some of the last farm fields in the Los Angeles Basin. Most of this remaining open space was eliminated by the early 2000s to make way for Playa Vista, a planned mixed-use community east of Lincoln Blvd. [Wikipedia.com]

We started at the Southeastern corner of the Ballona basin – just below the Westchester Bluffs. The following photos will give you an idea of our vantage point over looking the entire Ballona Wetlands area.

Westchester Bluffs
Westchester Bluffs

Ballona Freshwater Marsh
Ballona Freshwater Marsh

Ballona Wetlands
Ballona Wetlands

Some of the species we encountered included various ssp. of Fence Lizard, Side-blotched Lizard, Wooly Darkling Beetles and Yellow-faced Bumblebeed.

Yellow-faced Bumblebee
Yellow-faced Bumblebee

Yellow-faced Bumblebee
Yellow-faced Bumblebee

Wooly Darkling Beetle
Wooly Darkling Beetle

We then worked out way West toward the coast between LAX and Playa del Rey and finally ended at Del Rey Lagoon.

Del Rey Lagoon
Del Rey Lagoon

Del Rey Lagoon
Del Rey Lagoon

Del Rey Lagoon Tidal Dam
Del Rey Lagoon – Tidal Dam

We found a burrowing subspecies of Scorpion under a piece of wood and many California Horn Snails along the Lagoon.

Scorpion Vejovis
Scorpion [vejovis sp.]

California Horn Snail
California Horn Snail

Photographs of the many plant species of the Wetlands now follow. I’ve indicated whether they are native or non-native. Many thanks to Dan Cooper for helping me get these labeled. I’d be completely lost without his assistance!

Arroyo Willow
Arroyo Willow [Salix lasiolepis] -NATIVE-

Beach Bur
Beach Bur [Ambrosia chamissonis] -NATIVE-

Bladderpod
Bladderpod [Isomeris arborea] -NATIVE-

Bush Sunflower
Bush Sunflower [Encelia californica] -NATIVE-

Bush Sunflower
Bush Sunflower [Encelia californica] -NATIVE-

California Poppy
California Poppy [California poppy] INTRODUCED

California Sagebrush
California Sagebrush [Artemisia californica] -NATIVE-

Castor Bean
Castor Bean [Ricinus communis] INTRODUCED

Common Woody Pickleweed
Common Woody Pickleweed [Salicornia virginica] -NATIVE-

Deerweed
Deerweed [Lotus scoparius] -NATIVE-

False Jimson Weed
False Jimson Weed [Datura wrightii] -NATIVE-

Garland Chrysanthemum
Garland Chrysanthemum [Chrysanthemum coronarium] INTRODUCED

Golden Wattle
Golden Wattle [Acacia pycnantha] INTRODUCED

Lupinus
Lupinus -NATIVE-

Lupinus
Lupinus -NATIVE-

Mexican Elderberry
Mexican Elderberry [Sambucus mexicana] -NATIVE-

Myoporum
Myoporum [Myoporum laetum] INTRODUCED

Petty Spurge
Petty Spurge [Euphorbia peplus] INTRODUCED

Phacelia
Phacelia -NATIVE-

Phacelia
Phacelia -NATIVE-

Sand Verbena
Sand Verbena [Abronia maritima] -NATIVE-

Sea Fig Ice Plant
Sea Fig Ice Plant [Carporotus chilensis] INTRODUCED

Sea Fig Ice Plant
Sea Fig Ice Plant [Carporotus chilensis] INTRODUCED

Short Fruited Filaree
Short Fruited Filaree [Erodium brachycarpum] INTRODUCED

Sour Grass
Sour Grass [Oxalis pes-caprae] INTRODUCED

Suncups
Suncups [Camissonia bistorta] -NATIVE-

Suncups
Suncups [Camissonia bistorta] -NATIVE-

Suncups
Suncups [Camissonia bistorta] -NATIVE-

Wild Radish
Wild Radish [Raphanus sativus] INTRODUCED

Wild Radish
Wild Radish [Raphanus sativus] INTRODUCED

Yellow Pincushion
Yellow Pincushion [Chaenactis glabriuscula] INTRODUCED

 

Posted by on April 2, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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