Category Archives: Birding

The 2018 Calendars are Here Featuring Bonaire’s Underwater and Avian Worlds

This year’s calendars feature Bonaire’s underwater world, as well as the avian world of birds.

 

It’s September, and that means it is time to start thinking of 2018!  For Bonaire Insider readers, or their Bonairephyle friends, who wish to keep Bonaire in their hearts all year long, there is no better way than to display one of these nature-related Bonaire 2018 wall calendars.  These calendars make the best stocking-stuffers!

Ellen Muller’s Underwater Bonaire 2018.

For those who just can’t get enough of Bonaire’s marine creatures, InfoBonaire is highlighting Ellen Muller’s Underwater Bonaire 2018 Calendar.  Ellen not only takes stunning underwater images, but she manages to find the un-findable!  These calendars actually become collector’s items, because the images are just too wonderful to throw out at the end of the year.

Learn how to order your copy of Ellen’s Underwater Bonaire 2018 Calendar.


The Pure Bonaire 2018 Calendar

To celebrate Bonaire’s membership in the Caribbean Birding Trail, the 2018 Pure Bonaire Calendar is featuring the wide diversity of birds that can be discovered on Bonaire. Most of the various birds illustrated throughout the calendar can be easily seen when traveling around the island.

The Pure Bonaire 2018 Calendar can be ordered individually or in any quantity online, and the calendar normally ships within five business days of placing an order.

Buy the Pure Bonaire 2018 Calendar now.

(Source:  Ellen Muller, Pure Bonaire)


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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


 

 

The Hunt for Big Bird, the Great White (Oops) Blue Heron!

Finding “Big Bird,” the white morph of the Great Blue Heron; not just another big, white bird!

In the latter part of 2016, I applied to participate in a very special, week-long course held on Bonaire sponsored by BirdsCaribbean relating to Bonaire’s membership in the Caribbean Birding Trail. There was only room for twenty participants, so I was thrilled to be accepted and assigned one of those spots. A team from BirdsCaribbean led the workshop, and we had knowledgeable lecturers from Panama who work within bird and nature tourism in that country.

Learning about Bonaire’s birds.

During the intensive five-day program, we enjoyed twice-daily birdwatching sessions at various points around Bonaire, classes on how best to impart our knowledge to visitors, bird photography, and interactive projects. We were tutored in the types of birds found on Bonaire, and I had flashbacks to when I had to “learn my fish” back in the 1980s as a first-time diving tourist.

It was during the lecture on bird photography, given by local bird photographer extraordinaire, Sipke Stapert, that set my fate. He informed the group that he had recently seen the very rare white morph of the Great Blue Heron on Bonaire’s southern lee coast. I sat up and took note–before he had completed his sentence, I promised myself I would find and observe this rare bird for myself.

Birding to Bonaire’s southern lee coastline.

And so, I set off to do just that.  Whenever I found some time to go birdwatching, I set my compass southward. As I got past Cargill, along the coast road, I slowed down to a crawl. I’m sure the divers, eager to get to their dives sites, were not happy with me! But they passed, and I continued with my search.

As I slowly drove along the coast, carefully watching for oncoming traffic, or unhappy shore divers behind me, my head slowly swiveled left to right, and back left again in a continuous loop. I was watching for any dot of white.

You’ll see many big, white birds!

Now, it should be noted that Bonaire has a number of big, white birds, so just because I saw a flash of white in the distance, it didn’t necessarily mean I had found “Big Bird,” as I had by now affectionately dubbed my quarry.

Note the bill and legs and feet to identify your bird.

At first glance, all these big, white birds look alike! One really must study them to tell them apart. A way to quickly ascertain which bird you are viewing is to note the bill (beak) and legs and feet. Note the size, shape, and color of the bill and the color of the legs and feet, and you are on your way to identifying your feathered friend.

The Snowy Egret.

For example, on Bonaire, we often can see the Snowy Egret. The Snowy Egret can be discerned by its black bill and startling yellow feet on black legs. However, during breeding season, they tend to try to confuse us birders, with their feet turning bright red!

The Reddish Egret in the white morph.

Then we have the Reddish Egret, which one would think should be reddish. And some are. However, they also come in white, and they can be distinguished by their pink-and-black two-toned bill and rather bad hair days, along with dusky blue legs.

The Cattle Egret, and other big, white birds.

If that is not enough to confuse the newbie birder looking to find Big Bird, one might also stumble upon the Cattle Egret, which occasionally visits Bonaire as well. So it’s easy to understand that finding Big Bird can become quite an obsession! Along the way, I came upon nearly every other type of big, white bird that lives on Bonaire. (For those who wish to learn more about identifying big, white birds, the Cornell Lab is a great resource.)

The Great Blue Heron in the white morph.

So, what’s the big deal about the white version (“morph” is a better word) of the Great Blue Heron? The big deal is that they are very rare. Further, they are also hardly ever sighted in the southern Caribbean. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says this about Great Blue Herons in the white morph:

“The largest heron in North America, Great White is very rare outside central and southern Florida (and quite rare elsewhere in its range; confined to the Caribbean). Though they are regular throughout most of the southern half of the state, Florida Bay holds the majority of known Great White Herons, with about 850 breeding pairs. Very few are known to breed anywhere else in the world.”

— The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The majestic “Great White Heron” is actually a subspecies of the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias occidentalis). These large, elegant birds are all white and have a massive yellow-orange bill, long neck, pale-pinkish-to-dull-yellow legs and bluish facial skin. They are much larger than Great Egrets which have a slimmer yellow bill, black legs and yellow facial skin. They are very rare in the Caribbean islands, locally common only in Cuba (in addition to south and central Florida). They prefer salt water habitats such as mangroves, shallow tidal areas and coastal ponds and lagoons. They stand still, waiting until their prey comes near, and then strike at it, swallowing it live, or, when large, beating it on the water or shaking it until subdued. 

Bonaire also hosts the normal coloration of the Great Blue Heron, and this large bird often can be seen feeding in shallows or marshy areas, especially close to dusk.

Finding Big Bird.

And so I hunted. A week after my search began, Hurricane Matthew brushed by north of Bonaire and the storm surge generated by the weather system rearranged Bonaire’s coastline, taking away sand where it had been, and re-depositing it in areas which previously had none. I feared Big Bird might relocate and seek quieter surroundings somewhere else.

I searched and searched. Five months into my search, I was ready to cease and desist. One Sunday morning, I grabbed my binoculars, spotting scope, and, of course, camera and tripod, and headed out to bird. As usual, my car was on auto-pilot to the south. It was a great session, with many migratory birds making appearances. I had been out for several hours, and decided it was time to turn back for home. “I will just go to Willemstoren Lighthouse, and then turn back,”  I told myself.

It was high noon, and very warm, and the birds became scarce, as if they, too, were seeking cooler temperatures. I passed Willemstoren and was getting ready to turn around and head for home, when I spotted a flash of white in the distance! Dare I hope? I grabbed binoculars and jumped out of the car, but the flash of white was still so far away as to be hardly discernible. I grabbed the spotting scope and plopped it onto the tripod and tried again–still too far, this big white bird was just a smudge of white.

But as I watched, the flash of white took flight and flew toward me! It landed about half way between its first location and where I was standing. Now I could see it!  It was Big Bird! Hardly containing my excitement, I swiftly set up the camera, but even with a super zoom, the white morph of the Great Blue Heron–my quarry for many months–was still too far away to photograph.

I HAD to get an image, if only to prove I found it! Lady Luck was with me that day, because Big Bird took flight one more time, and flew directly to me. I held my breath…….it flew past and landed on the other side of road, just in front of the rough eastern coastline. It seemed to settle in, and so I set up my camera, and, finally, after a five-month search, my Mission Impossible became Mission Possible!

Great Blue Heron in the white morph, found at Willemstoren Lighthouse, Bonaire

Most visitors to Bonaire do not take the time to study the birds they see while driving around the island for their diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, or kiting activities. But it is easy to incorporate birdwatching into your vacation! Just keep your eyes open as you drive, and you’ll be amazed at the diversity of birds you will see. As birdwatching is a tourism sector without negative environmental impact, Bonaire’s tourism officials hope to realize an increase in birding tourism for the future.
And, if you find Big Bird, my big, white bird?  Log in your sighting!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter, BirdsCaribbean, Cornell Lab of Ornithology)


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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Join in the Count for World Shorebird Day, 2017

World Shorebirds Day is September 6th, 2017.

It was only September, 2016–one short year ago–that Bonaire joined the Caribbean Birding Trail, but, in that time, the number of our visitors who incorporate birdwatching into their vacations on Bonaire has grown by leaps and bounds. One year later, Bonaire is ready to celebrate World Shorebirds Day.

World Shorebirds Day is a special day to celebrate shorebirds and the hard-working people dedicated to saving them. The Caribbean region has been a great supporter since the beginning four years ago. We hope that people from many different islands again participate in the count.”

— Gyorgy Szimuly, founder of Word Shorebirds Day

World Shorebirds Day logoEveryone can take part in World Shorebird Day.

One of the main activities of World Shorebirds Day is the Global Shorebird Count—hundreds of enthusiasts, including birdwatchers, educators, conservationists, researchers, and every-day folks just like you, will take part in this global event starting today and running through September 7th.

How to register.

Registration is open and available. For committed and returning bird counters, there is even a Loyalty Program! Everyone is encouraged to register through the form on this page and have a chance to win one of the fantastic prizes.

Log your data.

To make your submitted data visible to World Shorebirds Day, please be sure to share your checklist with worldshorebirdsday eBird username of World Shorebirds Day (WorldShorebirdsDay), to your contact list, and share all your related checklists with them (only checklists made during the World Shorebirds Day count period between 1–7 September 2017 are eligible). Guidelines for sharing checklists are here.

A green heron found at Cargill on Bonaire's southern coast.

A Green Heron found at Cargill on Bonaire’s southern coast.

Find a new or rare bird!

One never knows what exciting new birds might be observed on World Shorebirds Day. All observations are valuable. Many shorebird species are declining, and there is still very little known about shorebird migration in the Caribbean, such as where birds are stopping to rest and feed while on migration as well as the numbers of each species. So be sure to head out and find some shorebirds for World Shorebirds Day and enter your checklists for your Global Shorebird Count in eBird Caribbean. If you’re new to eBird, check out this Quick Start guide.

Your data also helps with the Caribbean Waterbird Census.

Don’t forget also that any counts carried out at a wetland or beach count as a Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC) count; enter your data as a CWC count on step 2 of data entry on eBird Caribbean. In addition, your shorebird count can be part of the International Shorebird Survey, which is just beginning to be encouraged in the Caribbean – read more here.

How does one find shorebirds on Bonaire?

Here are three ideal, easy-to-find locations on Bonaire to observe shorebirds:

  • Salinja de Vlijt, opposite the Harbour Village Marina
  • Cargill, you don’t even have to leave your car for this one!
  • Gotomeer, and there is a bench to relax upon located at the beginning of Gotomeer, just outside the gate of Bopec
Help put Bonaire on the World Shorebird Day map by logging the shorebirds you see during the coming days!

(Source:  Birds Caribbean)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


A Tail of Two Towers on Bonaire

Bonaire says ayo to Flamingo’s Airport iconic tower, Washington Park says bon bini to a new birdwatching tower.

 

It’s often said that when a door closes, another opens, and thus it was with Bonaire this week. After 42 years of service, yesterday, Bonaire International Airport began the dismantling of its iconic and historic flamingo-pink control tower. But just last week, Washington Park officially opened the new birdwatching tower at Boca Slagbaai.

Bonaire says “ayo” to Flamingo Airport’s control tower.

After 42 years of service, the iconic Flamingo Airport tower comes down.

Time marches on, and progress must continue. And so, Bonaire is saying goodbye to its beloved flamingo-pink control tower at Bonaire International Airport. Yesterday, the tower, which has been in use for the past 42 years, was decommissioned, and dismantling began. Many are sad to see this iconic part of Bonaire’s aviation history go away, but the new control tower provides more safety as it complies with the Safety Standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and will be officially inaugurated in September.

Bonaire says “bon bini” to Washington Park’s new birdwatching tower.

But Bonaire has another new tower, just officially inaugurated last week by Lt. Governor Edison Rijna located in the area of Boca Slagbaai in Washington-Slagbaai National Park.

Lt. Governor Edison Rijna opens the new birdwatching tower in Washington Park, Bonaire.The construction material for the tower was sponsored by Cargill. The watchtower design was based on the Donkey Sanctuary watchtower and built by the Dutch Army with the help of Washington Slagbaai National Park rangers.

The watchtower, situated at the Saliña Slagbaai in the Washington Slagbaai National Park, will provide excellent birdwatching opportunities. Informational signs with bird photos were placed to assist visitors with easily recognizing the most common species of birds.

During the upcoming migration season, one can find 90 different species of birds, in addition to our popular flamingos, parrots, and parakeets.  Be sure to check out Bonaire’s new tower on your next visit to Washington Park.

So, although Bonaire’s newest tower in Washington Park cannot claim to be flamingo-pink, it can claim to give an excellent view of the pink flamingo!

(Source:  Bonaire International Airport, STINAPA)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


5 Special Places to Spend Dawn in the Forests of Bonaire

How to experience dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

This morning, as I settled in behind the computer, I came across a beautiful blog post, written by Louis Shoultz. It’s all about the special awakening of the natural fauna in Bonaire’s forest areas at dawn.

Bonaire has a certain something–some intangible essence–that reaches out to all whom step foot on this island. For repeat visitors and those who make Bonaire their home, we feel it immediately upon the opening of the plane’s doorway when the trade-winds caress our faces. First time visitors may not feel it upon arrival, but during their visit, this essence insinuates itself into their hearts and souls, so that, by departure time, it has become part of them. It’s the reason why nearly everyone returns to Bonaire.

Dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

As I read Louis’ wonderful blog post, it occurred to me that her writing clearly communicated that special essence–that elusive something–that is why we love Bonaire:

Just before light chases them away, geckos chirp their farewells from tree to tree and branch to branch. As the blackness of night dissolves in to the brightness of day, the first bird begins to sing. The Northern Scrub Flycatcher without fail, is first to wake, starting the day with short, but loud tweets. At around fifteen minutes later, the Venezuelan Troupial joins in, whistling to the sun, encouraging it to rise. Then, as if the Troupial said it’s all alright, the ornithological orchestra commences.

A lizard wakes up with the dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

As the sky begins to burn with the colors of fire the cold blooded reptiles arise from their hideouts. The endemic Bonairian Anole, scampers up a sapling to flare his yellow throat. In a rather robotic fashion, he juts his head up and juts his head down, until he is quite suffice. Suddenly he darts back down, as though he’s just proudly raised the flag of his nation. The last of the nocturnal hermit crabs, late back to bed, scuttle across the floor like drunken youths out on the town.

Five locations to experience dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

Next, I started pondering on the many hidden areas of northern Bonaire where one can sit quietly in the island’s dry forests and watch the awakening of creatures getting ready for their days. These are my favorites:

Dos Pos

A Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird rests for a moment.

Blue-Tailed Emerald Hummingbird

Just outside the gate of Echo Conservation Centre, you’ll see and hear many loras (parrots) squawking as they wake up and begin to feed. But don’t just look skyward; watch carefully around you for hummingbirds as well; you’ll find Blue-tailed Emeralds and Ruby Topaz.

Hiking Trails of the Rincon Valley

For those who don’t mind walking a bit, there are two hiking trails (follow the pink markers) which are available, both starting at Dos Pos. The Montaña Hiking Trail which borders Echo’s Conservation Centre, and the Dos Pos Hiking Trail. You don’t need to hike the entire trails (1 to 1-1/2 hours), but just head down the trail a bit before you stop for dawn.

Nukove

Bonaire's lora, the Yellow-Shouldered Amazon Parrot

Bonaire’s lora, the Yellow-Shouldered Amazon Parrot

It’s a bit of a drive on dirt roads to get to the dive site, Nukove, but along the way you’ll have vegetation on both sides of the road, and you’ll be passing a wetland area which attracts many species. At Nukove, pull in and sit quietly waiting for the dawn, and you’ll be amazed at what occurs around you. You’ll find loras (parrots) in the forest area, as well as waterbirds on the shoreline and you’ll be comfortably ensconced between the two. The Crested Caracara will be active early at dawn.

Gotomeer Scenic Overlook

Often considered one of Bonaire’s most scenic locations, the Gotomeer Scenic Overlook offers the convenience of a parking area and benches on which to sit, and you’ll be surrounded by vegetation with all sorts of animals that will be very curious about you. Don’t forget to climb the concrete stairs for even a better bird’s eye view of dawn.

Seru Largu

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Closer to Kralendijk, but still with easy access, is Seru Largu with panoramic views of both coastlines of Bonaire–eastern and western, choose your view! Even with sweeping vistas, you’re still positioned in forest, and, in fact, this location is one of Echo Conservation Centre’s reforestation projects. Keep your eyes peeled for the Pearly-Eyed Thrasher!

Do you have a special place in Bonaire’s dry forests where you experience dawn?

(Source: Wildlife Articles)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


STINAPA Connecting People with Nature Events for June, 2017

STINAPA’s June events include hiking to the top of Bonaire and enjoying Bonaire’s summer birds.

 

See sunrise from Brandaris, the highest point of Bonaire during the next hosted hike in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Guided hikes in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

The only way to view sunrise from Brandaris is to join STINAPA on one of their sunrise hikes of Bonaire’s highest point.  The next event will be on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18th, 2017, so grab the father in your life and get climbing.

The experience of sunrise (or sunset) on Brandaris is a singular experience, and one which most visitors never get to enjoy.  The hike will begin before sunrise, so participants must be at the entrance to the park before 5:00 AM.

Hiking Brandaris, the highest point of Bonaire.Space is limited and registration is necessary.

There is space for twenty participants, and pre-registration is necessary by calling STINAPA at 717-8444; the entry fee is $10.00 per person.  Participants must arrange their own transportation to and within the park.

What to bring; fitness is important.

A good physical condition is important and children 10 years and up may participate only if accompanied by an adult. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring your own water and a snack and don’t forget to bring a flashlight, since the climb will begin in darkness.  Plans call for everyone to be back at the park entrance about 8:30 AM.

Toward the top of Brandaris, there is a part which can be a bit of a strain, but once you reach the summit, the views of Bonaire are unforgettable.

Birdwatching with STINAPA at LVV on June 24th from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.

Bonaire has an amazing diversity of birds, but many visitors do not realize it.  On June 24th, there is an excellent opportunity to go birding with STINAPA at Bonaire’s LVV facility on Kaminda Lagoen.

Rare species of birds can be spotted.

This area has a constant supply of fresh water which attracts an abundance of bird species. Very rare species of birds for the ABC islands have been spotted in this area, such as the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Southern Lapwing, and the Glossy Ibis. This event provides an excellent opportunity for bird photography as well.

What to bring, make a reservation.

Bring binoculars (if don’t have any, STINAPA can loan you some) and drinking water, and be sure to wear good walking shoes. Reservations are needed, so be sure to call STINAPA at 717-8444 to insure your place. There are no costs involved to participate, but donations are always welcome. Meet at the office building next to the wastewater tanks.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Bonaire’s Royals Get Ready for Babies

Springtime heralds the breeding season for Bonaire’s terns.

Love is in the air, but no, we are not discussing whether Bonaire’s Royals, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, are expecting!  Instead, we are referring to Bonaire’s Royal Terns, as well as other species of terns found on Bonaire.

Springtime on Bonaire, as in many other locations around the world, signals the breeding season for many animals.  Bonaire’s population of terns, usually made up of Royal Terns, Caspian Terns, Least Terns, or Common Terns, and occasionally other species of terns, are also feeling the urge to propagate their species.

On a recent birding excursion to Bonaire’s south leeward coast, I was surprised to see a large number of terns and laughing gulls on a very small piece of dry real estate, just off the side of the road.  There were so many seabirds on such a small islet,  I had to stop to take a longer look.

Tern courtship includes offerings of fish, dancing, and posturing.

Much to my surprise, I found some real courtship behavior in full swing.  The first behavior which caught my attention was the offerings of very fine fish dinners.

Courtship feeding is frequently seen in terns. For instance, in an effort to lure females to their territories in the nesting area, a male tern may carry a fish around the breeding colony and display it to prospective mates. After a pair bond is formed, during the “honeymoon period” the male tern can actually feed the female, and soon thereafter they begin to copulate.

As I watched, I saw many examples of fish being offered, always proffered with the fish crosswise in the mouth, but the females seemed to be playing hard to get, with all offerings ignored.  In some cases, the male would fly off to another female on the islet to see if he could find a more willing prospective mate.

The size of the proffered fish might be a determining factor as to whether the female accepts the food or not.  In an older study of Royal Terns in another location than Bonaire, on 23 occasions in which the female accepted the food, the proffered fish was 7 cm. in length or longer.  In seven refusals of food, the fish was only 5 cm in length or smaller and very slender. This leads to speculation that the function of courtship feeding may give the females the opportunity to assess potential mates as future providers for chicks.

Males were busy with other courtship displays, including some high-stepping “Happy Feet” dancing in front of females, as well as unmistakable posturing of the male, with his neck extended and slightly back, and with the bends of the wings out like a skirt.

I was enthralled by the show these seabirds were putting on for me, and several other cars with visitors pulled off to the side of road and joined me in watching.  It should be said that any time you are observing nesting birds on Bonaire, it is best to keep your distance and use a spotting scope or binoculars.  This is for the safety of the future chicks, as, should your motions scare the nesting female off the nest, the egg could be preyed upon, or even over heat and cook under Bonaire’s sun.

However, after about an hour, in which I did not see one female accept an offer of food, I continued on my way.

New chicks are on the way.

Terns on Bonaire (Dutch Caribbean) exhibiting courtship behavior (copulation)

But I was curious to see what the outcome would be, so I visited the islet again the next day.  Although about 30% less populated, those remaining were very busy with some real courtship!  It seems the females’ defenses came down within those 24 hours, and copulation was repeatedly occurring.  When looking closer through binoculars, I could already see some eggs laid in the nesting colony, so we should expect to see some tern chicks in coming days.Terns on Bonaire (Dutch Caribbean) exhibiting courtship behavior (nesting)

So what is the moral of this story?  I would normally encourage everyone to stop and smell the roses, but since roses are not common on Bonaire, I will instead encourage everyone to stop and watch the terns courting!  Keep your eyes open whenever you are driving around Bonaire as you never know what royal experience you may encounter in Bonaire’s nature.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, Stanford University, Searchable Ornithological Research Archive – UNM)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Upcoming STINAPA Events, including Birding on Global Big Day

Upcoming STINAPA events include bird-watching on Global Big Day and a sunrise climb of Brandaris, Bonaire’s highest point.

This Saturday, May 13th, 2017, is Global Big Day, one of the biggest birding events of all year. The event includes 150 countries. 17,000 birders. 60% of the world’s bird species. Are you ready to have fun on Global Big Day? Every bird counts. Be a part of it by joining STINAPA for a fabulous birding opportunity, as many migrating birds are on Bonaire right now and are decked out in fabulous breeding plumage.

The mission of Global Big Day.

The goal of Global Big Day is to find as many species as possible in one day. If you like birds, this is a fun event for the whole family and it doesn’t matter if you are a beginning birder or an expert birder, a kid or adult.

Reserve your spot; where to meet.

If you’re interesting in joining, meet at the Toeloei Domacasse public park on the waterfront boulevard. STINAPA will have multiple staff members leading groups to different areas around Bonaire in search of as many birds as possible.  If you would like to join, reserve your spot by telephoning 717-8444, as space is limited. There is no charge for participation but donations are always welcome.

What to bring.

You may need to drive your own vehicle (if the STINAPA vehicles are full). Bring your own binoculars if you have them. STINAPA will submit the joint birding lists to eBird and see how Bonaire did compared to the rest of the world. If you can’t join but still wish to contribute, make a list of any birds you see on Saturday May 13th and submit it to eBirds.

Hike to Bonaire’s highest point, Brandaris, on Sunday, May 14th, 2017.

Most people never have the opportunity to see Washington Slagbaai National Park at sunrise but this Sunday there is the perfect opportunity, as STINAPA will host another climb of Brandaris on Sunday, May 14th, 2017.

Pre-registration is necessary, entry fee, meeting spot.

There is space for 20 participants. Secure your spot and register by calling 717-8444 (registration is required for participation); the entry fee is $10.00. Participants must Arrange their own transport to and within the park. Be at the entrance the park before 5:30 AM, as the hike will begin on time.

What to wear, what to bring, good fitness is important.

A good physical condition is important and children 10 years and up may participate only if accompanied by an adult. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes, and bring your own water and a snack and don’t forget to bring a flashlight. Part of the ascent will be before sunrise, and in the dark, so make sure you have a working light.

Part of the hike is quite a clamber toward the top, but once your reach it the views are spectacular! Everyone will be back at the park entrance around 8:30 AM.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


Weekend Events Include Birding at Lac and the Annual Jong Bonaire Fun Walk

Weekend events include birdwatching at Lac and the Jong Bonaire Fun Walk.

There are so many weekend events on Bonaire these days, that one can stay constantly busy. This weekend, enjoy a birding event at Lac Bay, hosted by STINAPA, as well as the annual Jong Bonaire Fun Walk.

Birding at Lac.

On Saturday, March 25th from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, STINAPA is offering a guided birdwatching activity at Sorobon at Lac Bay.

It’s seasonal migration time for birding on Bonaire.

reddish egret hunting in the shallows on BonaireMarch and April are exciting months for birders on Bonaire, because many birds are stopping over during their seasonal migrations. This weekend’s excursion will depart from fishermen’s pier at Sorobon, and this event is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Bonaire’s birds. STINAPA staff will meet you there with binoculars and bird id guides (if you have your own binoculars, please bring them). This activity is free-of-charge, but donations are always welcome. Group size is limited 15 people, so you must register by Friday afternoon by calling STINAPA at 717-8444.

Jong Bonaire’s annual Fun Walk gives some quality fitness time as well as fun.

2017 is the ninth consecutive year that Jong Bonaire hosts its fundraising Fun Walk (and Bike) event, and it’s this Sunday, March 26th, 2017.

When, where and how to join?

routes of the 2017 Jong Bonaire fun walkStarting time is an early 6:00 AM, but it’s much cooler than later in the day.  There are two routes, both starting and finishing at Jong Bonaire, the shorter route is 20 km, the longer route is 37 km.  Tickets are available at Jong Bonaire, and the entry fee of $10.00 per person ($6.00 for kids under 12) includes an event t-shirt, water bottle, drinks, lunch, and fruit.  What a deal!

The planned routes:

Jong Bonaire, Kaya Simon Bolivar, Abraham Boulevard, Kaya International (to Belnem), Kaya Statius van Eps, Kaminda Sorobon, Kaya Nikiboko Zuid, Kaya Betico Croes, Kaya Simon Bolivar, Jong Bonaire.

Bikes can follow the long southern route and join in at Sorobon.

 

Enjoy your weekend on Bonaire, no matter what you do!

(Sources:  STINAPA, Jong Bonaire)

 


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer.  She also enjoys writing on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.


 

Upcoming Nature Events with Washington Park Hike and Reef Fish Identification

Washington Park Hike and Reef Fish Identification Course offer fun and education.

Hiking in Washington Park on Sunday, February 26th, 2017.

Join STINAPA on Sunday February 26th at 7:00 AM for a Mondi Sùit Hike in Washington Slagbaai National Park. Participants will meet at the park entrance at 7:00 AM.

What will I see?

Hiking in Washington Park, Bonaire

Hiking in Washington Park

This will be a hike of approximately 6 km/3.75 mile, and is rated as an easy hike. It’s also a hotspot for bird-watching. During the hike, participants will have a view of Boka Chikitu and Seru Grandi. You will also pass alongside Saliña Matijs, which many times provides views of Bonaire’s flamingos.

How do I register?

If you would like to participate, please call STINAPA at 717-8444 to reserve your spot. There is space for only 25 people and the participation fee is $10.00 per person. Remember to wear good hiking shoes and a hat, wear sunscreen, and bring your water bottle.


Reef Fish Identification at CIEE on March 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, 2017.

Each year, CIEE offers a fun and educational lecture series on Reef Fish Identification, and it is especially suited for divers and snorkelers who want to gain a better knowledge of all those fish they see while enjoying Bonaire’s reefs.

Reef Fish Identification Course

Slender File Fish

This is a four-part lecture series taking place at 6:30 PM on March 6th, 13th, 20th, and March 27, 2017. CIEE lectures are held at their headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26. All presentations are free, and many fill up quickly, so be sure to arrive with plenty of time.

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

(Source:  STINAPA and CIEE)

 

 

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