St Lucia - 23rd December - 6th January 2009

Published by Kit Britten (kitbritten AT


The trip represented a family holiday and therefore opportunities for extensive birding were limited . Indeed no trip was made for the White-breasted Thrasher in the north of the Island. However all of the endemics were recorded with varying degrees of difficulty and significant records of Spoonbill, Green-winged Teal and Pomarine Skua were made.


Des Cartiers Rainforest Trail.

Well signposted off the road north of Micoud some 10km inland. A number of earlier reports describe access as being difficult due to the poor roads in the area. However I found the signed road tarmaced and in good condition. Only the last 200m is in poor condition through the last of the banana plantations and the route should be passable in 2 wheel drive.

At the first junction follow the road as it bears left. The right hand fork is indeed an extremely poor road which quickly becomes a track.

This site is apparently one of the premier rainforest sites and 3 trips were made to this area all for dawn. Whilst permits are not available before 08.30 I paid the $10USD fee upon leaving with no problems. Obviously if alone on this trail without a permit it is sensible to tell someone where you are going.

The trail itself is well maintained about 4.5km long and a loop. At the first junction I took the right fork up the hill towards the parrot lookout. This was a mistake as this lookout serves no purpose with no views over the rainforest also trekking up the hill is far more arduous in the humidity than taking the left fork. The left fork is more level and more importantly seemed to have more bird activity without the need to complete the entire loop.

Moule a Chique

This site is easily accessed by “following your nose” uphill from Vieux Fort. The attraction of this site is the breeding Tropicbirds viewed from the parking area at the end of the road. Access was arranged to the lighthouse before 4pm however viewing from the cliff edge here is not for the faint hearted and better although more distant (and safer) viewing is from the radar station.

Species notes

Red-billed Tropicbird

A minimum of 11 were seen at Moule a Chique.

Brown Booby
Seen daily

Great Frigatebird
A few seen regularly over all coastal locations

Eurasian Spoonbill: 1st for St Lucia
1 - 4th January 2009 just south of Castries on the lagoon viewable from the main road.
The bird was feeding actively but was at some distance I was therefore unable to age the bird based on black-tips to the primaries for juveniles. I understand that 2 or 3 were seen in December in Barbados in December and these represent the first record for the Americas, it was presumably one of these birds in St Lucia. No sign on 5th

Green-winged Teal
A single bird with a flock of c40 Blue winged teal also south of Castries 4.1.2009

Blue-winged Teal
as above 40 seen . The only flock of ducks seen.

Pomarine Skua
1 on a whale watching trip 29.12.2008. The BOU guide to St Lucia (Keith) lists only 3 previous records for this species until 1995.
[Sperm whale, Frasers Dolphin, Spotted Dolphin & Short finned Pilot Whale seen on this trip.]

Carribean Coot
One of this form south of Castries on 4/1/09

Spotted Sandpiper
One recorded the only wader of the trip

Royal Tern
Regular in small numbers especially off Vieux Fort

Broad-winged Hawk

American Kestrel

Scaly-naped Pigeon
Seen regularly on the Forest trail

Zenaida Dove
Common & widespread

Eared Dove
Only 3 seen in the grounds of the Coconut Bay. This species seems far from common.

Common Ground Dove

St Lucia Parrot
Noisy endemic seen on every visit to the Des Cartiers trail. However getting good views is more difficult but one eventually perched above the trail and could be throroughly enjoyed.

Lesser Antillean Palm Swift
One flock only seen near Soufriere

Purple-throated Carib
Seen only on the forest trail, a fantastic looking hummer with much more of a sickle bill than the green throated.

Green-throated Carib

Antillean Crested Hummingbird

Caribbean Elania
Regularly seen in all habitats

St Lucia Pewee
2 seen on the forest trail. A very dark pewee

Grey Trembler
Seen at des Cartiers trail

Scaly-breasted Thrasher
Seen at des Cartiers trail

Pearly-eyed Thrasher
Seen at des Cartiers trail

Rufous-throated Solitaire
Heard only at des Cartiers trail

Bare-eyed Robin

St Lucia Warbler
seen in the rainforest and around the volcano

Black-faced Grassquit

Lesser Antillean Saltator
Two seen at low altitude by the coast were the only ones seen

St Lucia Black Finch
Seen at des Cartiers trail on only one occasion. Difficult

Carib Grackle

Shiny Cowbird

St Lucia Oriole.
This species proved highly elusive and only one was eventually seen.