The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Bahamas Tours

BAHAMAS ISLANDS – where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean

Saturday 2nd April – Friday 8th April 2022

Leader: Pete Morris

7 Days Group Size Limit 7

BAHAMAS ISLANDS: OVERVIEW

Birdquest’s Bahamas birding tours are a wonderful combination of some of the least-visited islands for endemic birds in the Caribbean region. As we explore some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean region, we will enjoy some excellent birdwatching, including a good number of endemics and Caribbean specialities, as well as migrant species from North America.

A far-flung scattering of low-lying islands in the tropical Atlantic make up the Bahamas, which we will visit during the second part of this far-flung itinerary. If ever a group of islands typified the popular view of the ‘desert island’ then the Bahamas fit the bill – endless miles of white sand beaches, swaying palms, turquoise blue waters, coral reefs and the sun shining down from a blue, blue sky almost every day of the year!

Our Bahamas birding tour needs to visit the attractive island of Abaco and the island of North Andros in the northern Bahamas, and Great Inagua island in the southern Bahamas, in order to see all six Bahamian endemics: Bahama Woodstar, Great Inagua Woodstar, Bahama Swallow, Bahama Warbler, Bahama Yellowthroat and Bahama Oriole.

Whilst searching for these six major specialities we will also be able to enjoy a series of predominantly Caribbean birds, including the Bahamas form of the Cuban Amazon, the rare and threatened Caribbean Osprey, Zenaida Dove, the beautiful Key West Quail-Dove, Great Lizard Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, Cuban Emerald, West Indian Woodpecker, Cuban Pewee, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Loggerhead Kingbird, Red-legged Thrush, Bahama Mockingbird, Olive-capped Warbler, Western Spindalis (or Western Stripe-headed Tanager), Greater Antillean Bullfinch and perhaps West Indian Whistling-Duck. Interesting seabirds include White-tailed Tropicbird and perhaps Audubon’s Shearwater.

The Bahamas are a very attractive destination for anyone with an interest in the avifauna of this beautiful part of the world. Good standards of accommodation and food, and mostly easy travelling and birding conditions, make for a relaxing but highly rewarding journey. After exploring these idyllic islands, and after so much sun and sea, never mind such relaxing and enjoyable birding, it is going to be hard to drag ourselves away!

Birdquest has operated Bahamas birding tours since 2004.

In years when both are offered, this tour can be taken together with: CUBA

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good standard almost throughout Jamaica and the Bahamas. Transport is by minibus/passenger van and roads are mostly good or reasonable.

Walking: The walking effort during our Bahamas birding tour is easy throughout.

Climate: Mostly warm or hot, dry and sunny, but it is sometimes cool and overcast (especially at higher altitudes). It may rain at times.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Bahamas birding tour are quite good.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • These will follow

OUTLINE ITINERARY

  • Day 1: The tour starts this afternopon at Nassau on New Providence Island.
  • Day 2: Morning flight to Marsh Harbour on Abaco Island.
  • Day 3: Abaco Island.
  • Day 4: Fly to Andros Town on North Andros Island, via Nassau.
  • Day 5: North Andros.
  • Day 6: Fly to Great Inagua Island, via Nassau.
  • Day 7: Return to Nassau where the tour ends around midday.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.

PRICE INFORMATION

Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers and accommodation/restaurant staff.

We also include these flights: Nassau-Marsh Harbour-Nassau, Nassau-Andros-Nassau and Nassau-Great Inagua-Nassau.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)


2022: provisional £2320, $3250, €2660, AUD4190. Nassau/Nassau.

Single Supplement: 2022: £330, $470, €380, AUD600.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

BAHAMAS ISLANDS BIRDING TOUR: DETAILED ITINERARY

Bahamas: Day 1  Our Bahamas birding tour starts this afternoon at Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, where we will overnight.

Bahamas: Day 2  We will take a short morning flight to Marsh Harbour on the island of Abaco in the northern Bahamas, where we will stay for two nights. we will have most of the day to explore the island.

Bahamas: Day 3  The pleasant island of Abaco is the second largest of the Bahamas (after Andros), stretching about 180 kilometres (120 miles) from north to south. A series of coral cays dot the waters off the east coast, whilst to the west are the many mangrove islands and tidal flats of The Marls. Although Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay have been developed as tourist resorts, there are not yet the large-scale developments of Nassau or Freeport, and much of Abaco is still very quiet, with large expanses of native pinewoods.

Abaco offers the best birding in the entire Bahamas, with more specialities than any other island, including four of the Bahamian endemics (although the Bahamas Woodstar is easier to see on North Andros).

We shall be concentrating much of our time on the southern part of Great Abaco, as far as Abaco National Park and the quaintly-named Hole-in-the-Wall. The large expanses of pine woodland in this area are the headquarters of Abaco’s remaining Cuban Amazon (here of the endemic Bahamian subspecies, which may be split in future as Bahama Amazon) and we should obtain good views of these noisy birds as they head for their roosts. The endemic Bahama Warbler and the endemic Bahama Yellowthroat can be found fairly easily in this fine area. Endemic Bahama Swallows nest in dead trees and feed over pastures and ponds. We may also find the endemic Bahamas Woodstar on Abaco, although it is uncommon.

Other likely specialities include White-crowned Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, Cuban Emerald, West Indian Woodpecker, Cuban Pewee, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Grey and Loggerhead Kingbirds, Red-legged Thrush, Bahama Mockingbird, Thick-billed and Black-whiskered Vireos, Golden and Olive-capped Warblers, Bananaquit, Western Spindalis (or Western Stripe-headed Tanager), Black-faced Grassquit, Greater Antillean Bullfinch and perhaps also the attractive but uncommon and rather furtive Key West Quail-Dove. At dusk Antillean Nighthawks hunt overhead.

More widespread species found amongst the pine woods or in more open habitats include Western Cattle Egret, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground Dove, Smooth-billed Ani, Hairy Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird, Pine, Palm, Cape May and Blackpoll Warblers, American Redstart and Red-winged Blackbird.

Beaches, headlands, small wetlands, mangroves and tidal flats can be checked for Least Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great and Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, White-cheeked (or Bahama) Pintail, Clapper Rail, Killdeer, Solitary and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Laughing Gull, Royal and Least Terns, and, with luck, the endangered Piping Plover.

Bahamas: Day 4  After some final birding on Abaco we shall take a short flight to Nassau and then a short onward flight to Andros Town on the island of North Andros for a two nights stay. We should arrive in time for some initial exploration.

Bahamas: Day 5  Several specialities that are absent from Abaco can be found on North Andros and in particular we will be concentrating on the endemic Bahama Oriole (now treated as a distinct species, rather than lumped in Black-cowled), as well as West Indian Whistling-Duck, Caribbean Osprey (now treated as a distinct species) and Great Lizard Cuckoo. We can also expect to catch up on the attractive but diminutive endemic Bahama Woodstar if we missed it on Abaco. Other species we may well find here include Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue, Little Blue and Green Herons, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-necked Stilt, American Oystercatcher, Wilson’s and Semipalmated Plovers, and Spotted Sandpiper.

Bahamas: Day 6  This morning we will return to Nassau and catch an onward connection to the island of Great Inagua, where we will overnight. Great Inagua is home to the Bahamas’ latest endemic, the tiny Great Inagua Woodstar, which we should have little difficulty finding. This beautiful ‘desert’ island is a fitting spot for our final, celebratory dinner together.

This evening we will have a celebratory dinner in our little corner of paradise.

Bahamas: Day 7  After some final birding at Great Inagua we will be able to wash and change at our hotel before our return flight to Nassau. Our tour will end at Nassau airport by early afternoon.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, PUERTO RICO, JAMAICA & BAHAMAS TOUR REPORT 2019

by Mark Van Beirs

View Report

HISPANIOLA, PUERTO RICO, JAMAICA & BAHAMAS TOUR REPORT 2017

by Mark Van Beirs

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HISPANIOLA, PUERTO RICO, JAMAICA & BAHAMAS TOUR REPORT 2015

by Eustace Barnes

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Other Caribbean Islands birding tours by Birdquest include: