Category Archives: Nature

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. 


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Cargill and STINAPA Collaborate to Protect Corals Under Bonaire’s Salt Pier

Relocating corals under Bonaire’s Salt Pier.

Salt Pier’s temporary closing.

Late in March, the Bonaire Insider informed its readers of the then-impending closure of Bonaire’s Salt Pier dive site for a temporary period while Cargill made renovations to the pier.

Last week, STINAPA and a group of assistants dove tirelessly under Bonaire’s Salt Pier in an effort to mitigate potential damage to the corals in that location.

Old anchor chains were scheduled for removal, but were encrusted with live corals.

As part of the renovations for the major pier repairs, two huge 40-year-old anchor chains, both encrusted with living corals, were to be removed. Cargill requested STINAPA’s advice as to how to minimize damage, and they agreed to leave most of the old chains in place, but instead lay the new chains next to them.  In order to clear a path for the new chains, live corals and sponges had to be relocated to a safe area nearby.

Corals and sponges were relocated to nearby areas or to coral nurseries.

STINAPA relocates corals at Bonaire's Salt PierWith the expertise of Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire and the help of number of volunteers, the STINAPA Junior Rangers, and many private sector divers, STINAPA proceeded to relocate a large number of hard corals, soft corals, and sponges, which would otherwise have faced certain death. The live corals were moved by hand while on SCUBA to nearby safe zones. For moving the larger colonies, the marine park rangers used lift bags.

A few of the corals were transported by boat to coral restoration sites at Buddy Dive and Harbour Village. In the coming months STINAPA will be monitoring the survival rate of the corals and sponges that were relocated.

(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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


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Washington Slagbaai National Park Remains Closed After Heavy Rains

Washington Slagbaai National Park temporarily closed.

Unfortunately, Bonaire’s Washington Slagbaai National Park remains temporarily closed as the northern part of the island received torrential rains on Friday, April 14th, 2017.

Heavy rains caused flooding in Bonaire's Washington Slagbaai National ParkRainfall in the park totaled 65.3 mm/2.57 inches in three hours, causing flooding and damage to the roads.  Although the park staff has been working tirelessly to get the park ready for visitors once again, the park remains closed until another assessment can be made this weekend.  The earliest the park might be open for traffic is Monday, April 24th, 2017, but STINAPA will evaluate if that is possible this weekend.

In the meantime, the museum, Kasikunda Trail, and the Lagadishi Trail are open for visitors, and entrance to the park is free during this interim period.

For additional information, you may contact Washington Slagbaai National Park at telephone 788-9015.

Note Update April 24, 2017:  We are happy to report that Washington Slagbaai National Park is now open with normal hours.

(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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.


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Mating Seahorse Videos–A Once in a Lifetime Experience?

Is shooting video of mating seahorses a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Not so, if you are on Bonaire!

Seahorses are high on the bucket list of most Bonaire diving visitors, right along with frogfish, turtles, rays, and other elusive sea creatures. Many are happy to be shown a seahorse by their dive guides, but they are truly delighted when they stumble across one on their own, as the creatures are usually very camouflaged.

So, you can imagine the happiness when your dive takes you to an area of the reef where there are two seahorses! Eureka, you have hit pay dirt! But wait, it gets better, way better, when the two seahorses start the dance of love right before your eyes.

Coming across two mating seahorses.

mating seahorses, image by Ron WilseyThis is exactly what occurred to Ron and Nancy Wilsey back in early November, 2016, at a dive site on the southern leeward side (location has been intentionally omitted to protect the privacy of these seahorses). Nancy first located a yellow seahorse, and, while Ron set up to film it, she found a second seahorse in the area.

A few days later they returned to see if they could find the couple once again, and found the seahorses involved in extreme courtship! The female wrapped her tail around the male and appeared to open his pouch.

Just a few moments later, they met in mid-water, where they went belly-to-belly and eggs were exchanged.

An amazing experience, and one which you’d think could never be repeated again! But not so for Ron and Nancy! Later in the month, friends of theirs shared their find of seahorses at another southern dive site, so off Ron and Nancy went to see if they could find them.

Finding a second set of amorous seahorses.

But this time, it was Ron who found the yellow seahorse. Not to be outdone, Nancy continued to look for a second seahorse, knowing that many times there are two in close proximity. Sure enough, a second, rust-colored seahorse was found. After a wonderful vacation, Ron and Nancy returned to their El Paso, Illinois (USA) home for the holidays, with many memories of wonderful dives on Bonaire.

Returning to find yet more mating seahorses.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Wilseys own a vacation home on Bonaire, which allowed them to return in early 2017 for an extended visit, getting them away from the cold and snow of winter in Illinois.

They quickly set out to check on their two sets of loving seahorses, and unfortunately, the first set had relocated and was not to be found anywhere.

However, Ron and Nancy were delighted to find their second set of seahorses was still in the same area, and, on February 19, 2017, engaged once again in some lovemaking which Ron was able to catch on video!

The chances of seeing this happen once in your lifetime are small. But Ron and Nancy seem to swim upon lots of sex in the sea; we might need to start calling them the Seahorse Whisperers.

But it still doesn’t end there. Yet again, Bonaire’s Seahorse Whisperers said a final farewell to the loving couple with this video of “almost” mating behavior, filmed a few weeks before their departure from Bonaire. At the risk of being anthropomorphic, we can only imagine their communications: “Honey, can we just cuddle today?”

With so much procreation activity happening under the sea, it’s comforting to know there will be many baby seahorses populating the reefs around Bonaire.

Ron and Nancy Wilsey, long-time repeat visitors to Bonaire.

This most recent visit was Ron and Nancy Wilsey’s 29th visit to Bonaire, and they are two-time Bonaire ambassadors. On this season’s visit, Ron and Nancy logged 120 dives together, and they completed a landmark dive, their 830th dive just here on Bonaire.

“You can be accepted and blend with nature if you are patient and approach on nature’s terms.”

— Ron Wilsey

The two work as a team–Nancy is normally scouting for critters, while Ron is filming. Ron uses a Canon G16 with a Fantasea housing. The excellent zoom capability allows Ron to keep his distance so as to not interrupt behaviors or alarm the creatures, but still provide fantastic close-up viewing. With any underwater photography or videography, excellent diving buoyancy skills are necessary.

So, are you going to find your own seahorse couple on your next Bonaire vacation? Sound in on the comment section below!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, image and videos by Ron and Nancy Wilsey, used with permission)

View other Bonaire videos

 


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.


 

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More Protection for Sharks in the Waters of the Dutch Caribbean

Major steps taken for international protection of Caribbean sharks

Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary

In September, 2015, the Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs opened the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary, creating the eleventh shark sanctuary in the world. Since that time, additional work has been done to enact further protection for sharks in the waters of the Dutch Caribbean.

Eight shark species are added to SPAW

Just this week, on March 13th, 2017, it was officially decided to protect eight shark species under the international Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol following a proposal by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in cooperation with a team of shark experts. The SPAW protocol is the only cross-border legislative instrument for nature conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region.

Political representatives of 14 Caribbean countries (the Netherlands represents the Caribbean islands Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire) came together in Cayenne, French Guiana to vote which species would officially be added to the SPAW protocol. Through the SPAW protocol, which is a United Nations initiative, the signatory countries set agreements to protect vulnerable animals and their unique habitats.  The agreements concern trade and fisheries, as well as tourism and coastal development. Until now, no sharks or rays were included in the protocol, despite being an especially threatened animal group, both on a global scale and in the Caribbean region. The main threats to shark populations are over-fishing and destruction of vital habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves.

Threatened species

More protection for sharks in the Dutch Caribbean.The Ministry of Economic Affairs proposed a shortlist of eight shark species for listing on the protocol. This included three species of Hammerhead shark, the Whale shark, the Oceanic Whitetip shark, the sawfish (of which few people know it is a shark), and two manta ray species. All of these species are Caribbean natives and threatened by human interference. Protection is needed to ensure the species are safeguarded for the future. In November 2016, the proposals of all eight species were accepted during a technical meeting in Miami. Today’s vote was the final step towards legal protection.

Together with the shark and rays, another fish, the Nassau Grouper, as well as a bird, the Painted bunting, and the Florida tree snail were also listed for protection under the SPAW Protocol.

About sharks and rays

Sharks and rays belong to the animal group of Elasmobranchs, a subclass of the cartilaginous fish. As large predators, elasmobranchs keep our largest and most important ecosystem healthy and productive. They are also key contributors to maintaining the natural balance of coral reefs, adding to their biodiversity and durable function. All available evidence points to a strong local decline in shark numbers in the Caribbean, mirroring the dramatic decline of sharks globally. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently estimates that one-quarter of all shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, mainly from over-fishing and habitat destruction.

(Source:  RCN)


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.


 

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Eat ‘Til You’re Full at Taste of Bonaire, Walk it Off on a Full Moon Hike

Taste of Bonaire and a full moon hike top the charts for weekend events.

This week has two ever-popular events, and they are timed just right!  On Saturday evening, be in Wilhelmina Park for the Bon Topa (Let’s Meet) Edition of Taste of Bonaire, from 6:30 PM until 11:00 PM.  On Sunday, get in some healthy exercise with STINAPA’s Full Moon Hike of the Lagadishi Trail.

Ban Topa (Let’s Meet) Edition of Taste of Bonaire in Wilhelmina Park.

This is a very special Taste of Bonaire because anyone attending will have the opportunity to provide Bonaire’s tourism office with their ideas and feedback on a special survey about the future of Bonaire’s tourism and the island’s tourism strategic plan.

Music, performances, arts and crafts, and food.

But of course, there will be music, dancing, arts and crafts stall to peruse, and the main event, food!  Both local and international foods can be sampled while enjoying music from
Grupo Kariño, FMK Formashon Musical Krioyo, and Projekto 2000.

Special performances and a new debut single by Jeon.

There will be performances from the Dominican Dancers, local dance artist Semi Marten–together with her dance partner from Curacao– and, direct from Aruba, we’ll be enjoying Jeon (Biggy Boy). At this special event, Jeon will also debut a new single dedicated to Bonaire.

Full moon hike of Washington Park’s Lagadishi Trail.

And, should you overindulge in all of the great variety of foods on Saturday evening, STINAPA gives you the opportunity to walk off those extra calories on their Full Moon Hike of the Lagadishi Trail in Washington Park on Sunday, March 12th, 2017 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

What you’ll see on the Lagadishi Trail.

Full moon hike on the lagadishi trail.The Lagadishi Trail takes one along the windward coast and back. You’ll see a limestone plateau that provides a complete spectrum of Bonairean windward scenery: historic sites, xerophytic vegetation (plants such as cactus, which are adapted to dry habitat), sand dunes, mangroves, a salt pan (a shallow seawater lake, which evaporates seasonally leaving a residue of salt), blowholes, and a true oceanic beach are some of the components of this trail. Flamingos are frequently seen in the salt pan. Interpretative signs are provided on this trail.

Items to bring on the trail.

Don’t forget to put on some walking shoes that are comfortable. Bring a flashlight along, because even if it is full moon you do want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you, as you don’t want to hit your toes against rocks or even cacti. Don’t forget to bring your own bottle of water and snacks if necessary.

Register your participation.

To participate, please call STINAPA at 717-8444 before 4:00 PM today. There is space for 25 people, and the entrance fee is $10 per person.  Meet at the entrance to Washington Slagbaai National Park at 5:00 PM.

 

Enjoy your weekend!

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

 

(Source:  TCB, STINAPA)

 

 

 

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Reef Collapse at Keepsake Dive Site, Klein Bonaire

Keepsake dive site at Klein Bonaire experienced an underwater collapse in January, 2017.

At Keepsake on the southern side of Klein Bonaire, a large section of the reef recently collapsed in an underwater landslide. On the morning of January 20th, 2017, STINAPA personnel investigated the site and made their assessment.

Precautions should be taken when diving and snorkeling at Keepsake.

The site is unstable and STINAPA advises that divers and snorkelers stay away from the area both to protect people as well as prevent further collapse of the reef.

underwater avalanche at Keepsake, Klein Bonaire dive siteDetails of the underwater landslide.

The collapsed area is approximately 65″/20m southwest of the mooring buoy, starting at a depth of 40″/12m. The collapsed zone extends to a depth of at least 130″/40m. The total length of the collapsed zone is at least 100″/30m, if not longer. The width of the collapse is approximately 52″/16m near the top, and 92″/28m wide at a depth of 75″/23m, widening further at deeper depths.

Unfortunately, there were very few living corals left within the affected area. STINAPA personnel attempted to right a few toppled corals that remained, but deemed that the area was too unstable to work safely, as there is a risk of further reef collapse.

Reasons why reefs may collapse.

These types of reef collapses on steep slopes are a natural occurrence on such sloping reefs as at Keepsake, and they are most likely caused by reef bio-erosion. Living organisms such as sponges, worms, urchins and fish break down coral structures by boring, drilling, rasping and scraping the reef. There is speculation that sound waves from large passing ships may exacerbate this reef instability and trigger the collapse. However, there is no evidence to support this claim at the moment. Another attributing factor could be a 4.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred east of the ABCs on December 28th, 2016 at a depth of .27 mile/440m, which may have played a role in destabilizing the reef shelf. At the moment there is no singular, clear cause of this collapse.

Specific measurements of collapsed area.

The collapse begins at depths ranging from 40-43″/12 to 13m, and extends beyond 131″/40m. There is an outcrop of coral that divides the start of the collapsed zone; the northwest side is 20″/6m wide, the dividing coral ledge is 13″/4m wide, and the southeast side is also 20″/6m wide (these measurements were taken at a depth of between 42-46″/13 and 14m). STINAPA personnel measured the width of the collapsed area at 60″/18m where the collapsed zone was 85″/26m wide, and at 92″/28m where the collapsed zone was 75″/23m wide.

Once again, the reef at Keepsake dive site at Klein Bonaire is not considered stable at this time due to the collapse.  For their own safety, as well as the reef area, it is recommended that divers and snorkelers avoid this dive site for the time-being.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 

 

 

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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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Please Help Nolly, a Stranded Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Sea turtle strandings on Bonaire are rare.

 

An Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was found stranded at Bonaire’s southern point.

Please help save Nolly, a stranded sea turtleOn the morning of February 8, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) staff received a call on the hotline. Nolly, a local divemaster, had found a stranded Olive Ridley turtle on the east coast of Bonaire, close to the Willemstoren Lighthouse.

After a first assessment, it became clear that the turtle, which was immediately named after its rescuer by STCB volunteers, is missing her front left flipper and has a deep wound on her left side – possibly caused by the stranding.

Rehabilitation facilities for stranded sea turtles are limited.

As Bonaire is a small island and fortunately strandings are rare, there are no permanent rehabilitation facilities. Therefore, STCB needs to raise money to help with the costs of setting up an assessment tank for “Nolly,” and for all the associated costs, such as x-rays, medication and nutrition.

Sadly, in quite a large percentage of the time, a stranded sea turtle cannot be saved, even with much more specialized services than STCB can offer.

Donations are needed to help defray costs.

Your donation will be used for:

  • Setting up an assessment tank with pump,
  • X-rays,
  • Veterinary costs,
  • Medication,
  • Nutrition.

If STCB raises more than what’s needed to help “Nolly,” the extra donations will also go towards saving Bonaire’s endangered sea turtles.

How you can help.

Visit STCB’s crowdfunding page.  On this site, you can donate whatever amount you are able. No amount is too small.  “Nolly” thanks you, along with everyone at STCB and those of us here on Bonaire.

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire is a non-governmental research and conservation organization that has been protecting Bonaire’s sea turtles since 1991.

(Source:  Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire)

 

Note Update February 14, 2017:

Sadly, STCB reports that Nolly, the Olive Ridley sea turtle that stranded on Bonaire last Wednesday, died suddenly on Monday. Thanks to your amazing support, STCB staff and volunteers were able to do everything possible to give her a chance of survival; but Nolly didn’t make it back to the sea.

Due to the generousity of many of Bonaire’s visitors, an incredible $1,605 was donated for Nolly.  Approximately fifty-five percent of the money raised was used to care for Nolly: donations were spent on veterinary costs, medication, the assessment tank, nutrition, and manpower.

With the remaining donations, STCB will design an exhibit at their office so that visitors can learn more about sea turtle strandings on Bonaire, and Nolly’s situation can help educate about stranded sea turtles.

 

 

 

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Upcoming Bonaire Birding Events in February, 2017

Bonaire Birding Events for February.

This month there are a number of great birding events on Bonaire.  If you’ve never considered birdwatching while visiting Bonaire, this month’s events might just convince you to try it out.

The Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-20.

Birding locations from around the world from the Great Backyard Bird Count 2016.

Birding locations from around the world from the Great Backyard Bird Count 2016. Image copyright GBBC, used with permission.

Each year in February, birders, along with those who want to give it a try, join in together from locations around the world to spend some time in their backyards, a resort’s garden, or really anywhere, to see just how many birds they can count and identify.  This year’s census will run from February 17th through 20th and will create a real-time snapshot of where birds are.

Visitors to Bonaire, and residents alike, are all invited to join in, as Bonaire enjoys an enviable amount of bird species, especially during the winter, when migratory species can be found as well.

Tallying your birds is easy with eBird.

Tallying your birds is very easy with eBird, an application by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology.  Here’s all you have to do:

1. Register for the count or use your existing login name and password. If you have never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count or any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you’ll need to create a new account. If you already created an account for last year’s GBBC, or if you’re already registered with eBird or another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login information.

2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

3. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device. If you already participate in the eBird citizen-science project, please use eBird to submit your sightings during the GBBC. Your checklists will count toward the GBBC.

There’s even a photo contest for the photographers visiting Bonaire.  Lots of tools and additional information for identifying birds can be found at the GBBC website.

Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird, commonly seen on Bonaire.

Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird, commonly seen in backyards on Bonaire.

Get a starter course with STINAPA biologist, Caren Eckrich.

To make it even easier to participate, join STINAPA biologist, Caren Eckrich, for a short presentation on how to participate in the count.  This lecture will also help you improve your backyard birding skills.  Caren is an engaging speaker, and you won’t even realize how much you are learning, just because you will be having so much fun! Join Caren at CIEE headquarters at Kaya Gobernator N. Debrot #26 on February 14th, 2017 at 7:00 PM.

Count on your own, or count with STINAPA.

If you are not too sure of your birding skills, but would still like to participate, join STINAPA on February 17th in a Backyard Bird Count event at The Cadushi Distillery in Rincon. Everyone is welcome to participate in this try-out garden bird count from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Participants will help count the birds, can ask questions about Bonaire’s birds, and even photograph them (remember the photo contest!).  Yellow orioles, a variety of doves, vireo, and bananaquits are commonly seen at this location in Rincon. Everyone is welcome and it’s free of charge.

Birdwatching Event with STINAPA on February 18.

Groove-billed Ani, seen at LVV.

Groove-billed Ani, seen at LVV.

If you find yourself smitten with Bonaire’s feathered friends, there will be a second event sponsored by STINAPA on Saturday, February 18th, at LVV to learn more about Bonaire’s birds. LVV has a fresh water pond that is great for bird watching. This is the best site for watching a variety of birds, both resident and migratory. Some very rare species have been seen on these birding trips, and the rare Greater Ani, the Smooth-billed Ani from South America, and the Grooved-billed Ani have been recently seen and are breeding in this location.

Bring your binoculars and good shoes. If you don’t have binoculars, STINAPA has some that you may use. The event will take place from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM.  This activity is free of charge, but donations are always appreciated. Space is limited so please reserve your spot by telephoning STINAPA at 717-8444. LVV is located on Kaminda Lagun next to the wastewater treatment facility.

(Source:  STINAPA, eBird, GBBC Website, CIEE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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