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First sighting of a mountain bluebird in Bermuda

A mountain bluebird spotted on the Port Royal Golf Course last month. (Photograph by Neal Morris)

More than 100 bird species were spotted in Bermuda last month - including the first sighting of a mountain bluebird on the island.

Paul Watson and Erich Hetzel of the Bermuda Audubon Society said the unusual visitor was seen as part of a month-long birding competition in February.

In a story in the spring edition of the Envirotalk newsletter, the Audubon Society members said 110 bird species were seen, including a variety of uncommon visitors.

The mountain bluebird - a species that usually resides in the central and western mountains of the US - was first reported by Andrea Webb at the Port Royal Golf Course.

Adult male mountain bluebirds are sky blue but generally lack the orange chest found on Bermuda’s resident eastern bluebirds.

The female of both species are duller in colour than their male counterparts, but still have blue tints to their wings and tail.

Mr Watson and Mr Hetzel wrote: “It is not known if more birds were present this winter or more observer sightings occurred due to increased coverage but a total of 110 species were documented here during February, so quite a few more than the resident 20 or so species - and a lot more than the usual kiskadees, sparrows, and starlings commonly observed here.

“To put things into perspective, the average number of species seen in February over the past ten years was 84.

“The lowest total number observed, 46, was in 2011, while 2019 had the highest, 102.”

Other unusual sights included two European golden plovers and a ruff, which were spotted at LF Wade International Airport, along with a Lapland longspur, a species not seen in Bermuda for 15 years.

Birdwatchers also reported a surf scoter on Spittal Pond, American robins, northern mockingbirds and a short-eared owl.

The story added: “A regular spring migrant seen by several at Warwick Pond was a lovely purple gallinule, and an early barn swallow was found on February 22.”

Further information can be found on the Bermuda Audubon Society website, www.audubon.bm

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Published March 26, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 25, 2021 at 6:09 pm)

First sighting of a mountain bluebird in Bermuda

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