Lesser Antilles: St.Martin, St Marteen, St.Barthelemy, St. Christopher, Nevis, St. Eustatius - March 15th - 25th 2004

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT surfbirds.com)


by Ed Hall

I birded the above islands and surrounding waters while on a non-birding sailing trip, March 15th - 25th, 2004. Given time available, my focus was on species new to me and endemic to the area - during which I observed a considerable number of others as well. Following is a listing of all species sighted with notes as to locations and abundance. General notes follow that.

Locations (numbers)

St. Martin/Marteen 1
Generally 2
Grand Case 3
Oyster Pond 4
Tintamarre Island 5

St. Barts, Anse de Flamandes 6
Hills behind Gustavia 7

St. Kitts, 8
Basseterre 9
Romney Manor/Caribelle Batik factory 10

Nevis, Botanical Garden 11

Statia, Generally 12

Species Notes

Tropicbird, White-tailed - Steady stream flying by at sea visible from Site 7 south of town. Also, presumably part of a mixed flock colony on Statia. (When standing in the fort overlooking the harbor on Statia, look north to the distant, steep hillside for this colony.)

Tropicbird, Red-tailed - See above. Also, three birds at Site 5, one on nest 3/24/04. .

Booby, Brown - Common. Seen many places

Pelican, Brown - Common. Seen many places

Frigatebird, Magnificent - Common. Seen many Places

Heron, Great Blue - One at Whitehouse Bay, St. Kitts and one at Site 3

Egret, Great - St. Martin only. Many Great and Snowy Egrets at the Site 3 salt ponds and flying in a steady stream to and from there - at least 20 and probably 40 individuals each. At least six were flying overwater from Anguilla to this location. Also, at the salt ponds in Philipsburg, there is a vegetated island in the center that was saturated in egrets - apparently a rookery. I was unable to stop and ID species.

Egret, Snowy - See above

Egret, Cattle - Common. Many Places, especially St. Kitts and Nevis

Heron, Green - One, inland on St. Marteen

Pintail, White-cheeked - Five on Site 3 salt ponds 3/23/04

Kestrel - Many locations in small numbers

Peregrine - One over hills near Site 6

Moorhen, Common - Three on Site 3 salt ponds

Killdeer - One at Site 4

Yellowlegs, Greater - Four at Site 3 salt ponds

Turnstone, Ruddy - Three at Site 4

Gull, Laughing - Several at Site 4 and Simpson Bay, St. Martin

Gull, Great Black-backed - One first winter bird at a roost from which it flew and returned several times, at Simpson Bay, St. Martin 3/22-23/04

Gull, Lesser Black-backed -Two sub-adults at the Site 9 harbor 3/18/04

Tern, Royal - Common. Many places

Dove, Rock - A few seen in St. Martin and St. Kitts

Pigeon, Scaly-naped - Many at Site 10

Collared-dove, Eurasian - Common at Sites 4 and 12. Not seen elsewhere. Appears to have displaced Zenaida Dove at Site 4.

Zenaida Dove - Common everywhere except Site 4.

Ground-Dove, Common - Common everywhere.

Carib, Purple-throated - Two nest building at Site 6. One at Site 11. One at Site 12, harbor area.

Carib, Green-throated - A few at Sites 6, 7, and 10. A pair feeding a fledging at Site 4.

Hummingbird, Antillean Crested - Observed at most sites

Elaenia, Caribbean - Obvious pair at Site 6. Several at Site 7 and 10 and on Nevis here and there.

Flycatcher, Lesser Antillean - Two at Site 10

Kingbird, Gray - Common. Everywhere.

Martin, Caribbean - Theoretically common but seen only twice despite constant looking - five at Site 9 harbor area and one flyover at Site 12.

Thrasher, Scaly-breasted - Two singing in the open at Site 10 and one at 11.

Thrasher, Pearly-eyed - One at Site 6. Common at Site 10. A few heard at 11.

Trembler, Brown - Three at Site 10 near the bridge over the stream on the road to the Batik Factory.

Warbler, Yellow - One singing at most locations.

Vireo, Black-whiskered - A pair at Site 10.

Bananaquit - Abundant. Everywhere.

Grassquit, Black-faced - Common everywhere.

Bullfinch, Lesser Antillean - Abundant everywhere

Grackle, Caribbean - A few at Site 11 and at the Juliana Int'l. Airport, Simpson Bay, St. Martin.

General Notes

I missed one target bird, Bridled Quail-Dove. There is good access to trails into the lower rain forest at Site 10. When exiting after a short walk in the rain into that area, I ran into Greg of Greg's Safaris who was leading a group. He informed me that the Quail-Doves are fairly common in the area. Greg is an apparently knowledgeable, young Englishman who leads individual and group nature tours on St. Kitts, should you be interested in his services. He has his own website and can also be accessed via the official St. Kitts/Nevis website.

I suggest that you supplement this report with that of Roy Hargreaves covering Roy's trips to St. Kitts of 2/00 and 3/01 (see Blake Maybank's website, <maybank.tripopd.com/Caribbean> for this invaluable report), with 'The Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands' by Chris Doyle and by 'Where to Watch Bird in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean' by Wheatley and Brewer. I found all three of these publications to be essential.

Please feel free to contact me for any further information I might be able to provide at ecjmhallatyahoo.com.

I had contact with Jim Johnson, a guide on Nevis, who was most helpful in providing a checklist of local birds and info as to good locations. I suggest that you contact him if you are considering the use of guide services on that island (walknevisatcaribsurf.com).

For taxi and transportation and for somebody who knows everybody and everything on Nevis, I cannot recommend too strongly Reuel (Sarge) Sargent. Everyone at the dock knows him, just ask.

If on Statia, you do not want to miss the tour given by Josser Daniel, historian of the island, who is regularly called upon to conduct tours of the island for royalty and other high-ranking visitors. It's quite an experience. Again, ask at the dock.

Ed Hall
San Diego, CA