Sea Birds in Grenada

Duhkxyland – Jan-2021

We visited Duhkxyland for the first time since 2019, when this destination served as Duhkxy’s imaginary personal beach. As dogs often do, he perked up as we approached and gleefully swam ashore to re-acquaint himself. While visiting, I caught a glimpse of bright red and immediately recognized a pair of the distinctive American Oystercatchers.

We first became acquainted with this interesting seabird while traveling down the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) on the east coast of the United States on our way to the Bahamas. We have since seen them on several locations in Grenada. On the ICW we saw small groups, but in Grenada, we have only observed solitary pairs.

Their massive beaks are known to be powerful enough to open large molluscs such as clams and oysters.

Our observations of this beautiful bird led to the answer for a question we had been pondering for some time. What was eating chitons and leaving large numbers of their carcasses around the saltwater ponds on Sandy Island?

Chiton adhere to rocks in tidal zones with amazing tenacity

Their protective shell is composed of eight articulated sections that facilitates their movement and their ability to curl up like an armadillo when under threat.

Chiton carcasses
American oystercatcher caught “red-handed” with a chiton in its beak. The chiton has curled up in an effort to protect its vulnerable soft underside.

As noted previously the seabirds we are observing now (January) are quite different from those that entertained us during March though May last year. As of today, (January 25, 2021), the laughing gulls have not yet appeared and the numbers of terns and boobies are quite low. There are many more pelicans, however, and we have seen several shorebirds we did not see during our visit last year.

Pelican
Wilson’s Plover
Sanderling (Sandpiper)
Yellow-crowned night heron (this photo taken near runoff ditches in Grenada)

The rainy season is coming to an end with rarely more than a few short sprinkles a day. Air temperature has been a bit on the cooler side – may even drop below 80 degrees on occasion. We are enjoying the dryer, cooler weather, and the constant breeze – It was a hot, still, and humid summer.

On January 23rd, 8 new cases of Covid 19 were identified, bringing the total to 147, sadly, with one fatality. There have been no infections found, to date, on Carriacou, the Grenadian island that includes Sandy Island. Thorough contact tracing and quarantines have kept the spread to a minimum and few restrictions other than the requirements of wearing a mask before entering a store and a 10:00pm curfew are in effect.

We love the texts and photos we get from family members and friends – keep them coming. We will be home this spring.

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