Anguilla Trip Report March 2005

Published by Tim Male (tmale AT

Participants: Tim Male, Winnie Roberts


This is a brief summary of a one week trip to Anguilla between March 12 to 19, 2005. We were also in Anguilla between February 14 and 19, 2004 and observations from 2004 are noted. /Features/anguil2.html . Totals reported are for the highest total count on any visit.

We noted that fountain grass – an invasive grass and is fire-promoting other places it has been introduced was present at Upper Shoal Bay, Road Salt Pond and spreading from our villa into adjacent scrub at Barnes Bay.

General description: The largest pond on the island is ENE of The Valley. We reached the north shores of the pond by taking Deep Waters Road past Bad Cox Pond (on the left) and turning on the first dirt track on the right (just across from a cement plant). After passing a few houses, the easy to navigate road takes you to the edge of the pond. Dense scrub surrounds the pond, while mangroves and reeds fringe the eastern and southern shores, as well as forming islands in the western half of the pond. This provides a great deal of overhanging riparian habitat, which is absent from many of the island’s ponds.

great blue heron 2
cattle egret 2
green heron 1
white-cheeked pintail 16
spotted sandpiper 2
killdeer 1
black-bellied plover 1
Caribbean elaenia ~ numerous, singing and calling throughout scrub
gray kingbird 3 (near houses)
bananaquit present throughout area
black-faced grassquit 4 feeding on midges (?) right at the edge of the water; 3 near houses
lesser Antillean bullfinch 1
yellow warbler ~ numerous, singing throughout scrub
bananaquit ~ numerous
prairie warbler 1

General description: Mead’s Bay Pond is one of the deepest ponds (c 1 metre) on the island, dredged to produce construction sand for export during the 1980s. The dredging operations were responsible for the creation of a bund at the southern end (behind which the sand was washed). We spent very little time at this pond (two short evening viewings and one early morning stop) – all from the west end of the pond – but observed few birds here. There may have been more pintail present but only three were visible along the shoreline vegetation from which we viewed the pond.

white cheeked pintail 3
American kestrel 1
grey kingbird 2
bananaquit ~numerous
mangrove cuckoo 1 (on hill above south shore of pond)
yellow warbler > numerous in scrub across road

General description: The hydrology between Cove Pond and the neighbouring Gull Pond is a single unit divided by causeways along Fire Fly Lane that provide access to service areas of Cap Juluca hotel and are a good location from which to bird. We visited this site in 2004 and 2005, a single evening visit each time. In 2005, we observed two American avocet roosting with a flock of 12 black-necked stilt. All birds were observed on Cove Pond with no birds seen on Gull Pond.

black-necked stilt 14 (numerous in 2004)
white-cheeked pintail 11
American avocet 2
stilt sandpiper 4
lesser yellowlegs 7
yellow warbler ~ numerous in scrub around pond
Caribbean elaenia ~ numerous in scrub around pond and along Fire Fly Lane

General description: Road Salt Pond is a large wetland on the north coast of the island near behind Sandy Ground. The reeds on the eastern shore provide diverse habitat and we observed 2 families of white-cheeked pintail with young ducklings. The dykes from salt production (which only ceased here during the 1980s) remain mostly intact and are used for roosting by shorebirds. We observed three black-necked stilts which were apparently sitting on eggs along the dykes.

On the East side there is tall scrubby forest right up to the edge of the water and extending back approximately 300 meters to a hydroponic lettuce farm. Over two morning visits we found fairly significant numbers of migratory North American warblers here as well as a gray catbird. On both mornings we were able to pish in prairie and yellow warblers and Caribbean elaenia; on March 16th most other migrants were observed all in very low numbers and all in this east side forest with long views of all species.
Two kestrels were observed going in and out of a tall tree near a sand pit/construction area on the west side of the Pond and road and copulated three times on a telephone pole nearby. A peregrine falcon was observed over the pond both days, and caught a Zenaida dove on the second day.

Fountain grass – an invasive, fire-promoting species – was flowering in scattered tussocks along the west shore and road.

great egret 1
white cheeked pintail 38 (plus 10 ducklings)
moorhen 3
black necked stilt 45 (nesting)
lesser yellowlegs >40
stilt sandpiper 15
ruddy turnstone 3
killdeer 6
sanderling 9
least sandpiper 11
zenaida dove ~ numerous (one eaten by peregrine falcon)
common ground dove 4 (east side of pond along dirt road)
peregrine falcon 1 (seen on two days)
American kestrel 2 (breeding)
mangrove cuckoo 2
pearly-eyed thrasher 2
gray catbird 1
green-throated carib 1
prairie warbler 3
yellow warbler ~ numerous
Cape May warbler 2 (male and female)
black-and-white warbler
Nashville warbler 1
parula warbler 2 (male and female)
Lesser Antillean bullfinch 3
black-faced grassquit ~ numerous
blue grosbeak 1 (female)
Caribbean elaenia ~ numerous
gray kingbird ~ numerous
bananaquit ~ numerous

General description: From the end of the most westerly track, the final three-quarters of a mile of Anguilla is dense scrub, with access possible along the north and south shores and on dirt tracks and goat trails in the center of the scrub. The north shore is steep, sandstone and limestone cliffs, which are subject to erosion and slippage into the sea. The scrub on the cliff-top is dead, presumably from sea-spray. The south shore is gentler and there is a trail along the top of the beach and cliffs that is easily accessible (watch out for cactus). There were multiple quartz veins in some rock shelves here and fossil sand dollars in multiple sites. In 2004 we visited the offshore islet of Anguillita by sea kayak and in 2004 and 2005 we sea kayaked along the north shore cliffs on three mornings each year. There was no evidence of seabirds breeding on Anguillita despite intensive searches for nests and burrows.

red-billed tropicbird 5 (apparent nesting in 2 areas along north cliffs)
brown booby ~ numerous everywhere offshore
brown pelican ~ numerous along north shore, fishing and roosting on cliffs
magnificent frigatebird 3
royal tern 5
Zenaida dove ~ numerous
merlin 1 (One female seen in scrub at West End Point; present over two days.

General description: This former salt pond is the most westerly in the chain that runs along the southwestern shore of Anguilla. We birded in 2004 and 2005 only along West Pond Road (on the north and west sides of the pond). The few shorebirds observed in 2005 were along the dykes on the west/southwest side of the pond (on the east side of the road). The riparian vegetation on the narrow pond area west of West Pond Road is thick mangroves. We observed no shorebirds here but did see 2 mangrove cuckoo.

black necked stilt 5
sanderling 7
cattle egret 3
mangrove cuckoo 2
banaquit ~ numerous
black-faced grassquit 3

General description: A natural drainage area for the surrounding hills, supplemented by eight springs along the southwest shoreline. Visible from Deep Waters Road and the east end is accessible along a dirt track that goes to some new houses. The pond is up to a metre deep, though almost completely dries out during dry weather. It is surrounded on all sides by tall dense scrub on weathered limestone. The southern shore was shallow and muddy, providing feeding areas for waders, but the northern and western shores were rocky and steeper. We observed a dog running into the water after a mother white-cheeked pintail and her ducklings; the mother duck led the dog away with a broken wing display/beating her wings against the water.

white-cheeked pintail 26 (5 ducklings in one brood)
common ground dove 2 (along road)
pearly-eyed thrasher 1
yellow warbler ~ numerous
Caribbean elaenia ~ numerous
bananaquit ~ numerous

Species not covered at Wetlands

Red-billed tropicbird Phaethon aethereus
Three pairs likely nesting along cliffs at west end. Multiple breeding pairs present on cliffs above marine reserve at Blackgarden Bay/Limestone Bay.

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Extremely common along Meads and Barnes Bay with >10 often visible near each other; foraging near shore. Also observed around Prickly Pear Cay (on snorkeling trip).

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Extremely common along Meads and Barnes Bay with 5-10 typically present in front of our villa at the west end of Barnes Bay.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Seen regularly with cattle, a donkey and once with goats in scrubby pasture on the western end of the island. Three roosting in trees along West End Ponds.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
Adult foraging on the beach over 3-day period on Barnes Bay.

American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Seen frequently, including on right in towns and housing areas. Pair copulating on telephone pole (3 times) along west side of Road Salt Pond, and appeared to be nesting in a large tree adjacent to a nearby gravel pit/construction area.

Merlin Falco columbarius
One female seen in scrub at West End Point; present over two days. We also observed a merlin in late February 2004 at the same location.
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
Present in small numbers foraging along Meads Bay and Barnes Bay.

Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita
Common throughout Anguilla, especially around human settlements.

Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Frequently flushed along goat trails and dirt tracks on western end of island and along dirt roads elsewhere; also observed at cement plant near Cauls Pond.

Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor
Seen infrequently in forest near salt ponds.

Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus
Resident male and female observed in gardens at west end of Barnes Bay. Also seen at Road Salt Pond

Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
Present on three days at point between Barnes and Meads Bay; also observed on cliffs ENE of Meads Point.

Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica
Singing and calling throughout island – heard in almost every area of scrub we visited between Cauls Pond and the western end of the island.

Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis
Seen frequently around Anguilla, usually perched on telegraph wires. Observed singles or pairs and up to five birds at three locations. Four birds were usually present near our villa at Barnes Bay.

Caribbean Martin Progne dominicensis
None observed in 2005, but three observed overhead along central part of the island in February 2004

Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus
Locally common throughout Anguilla, in scrub and trees around human settlements. Visited outdoor breakfast table at our villa every morning to eat available fruit scraps. Also seen along road to Upper Shoal Bay.

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Very common and seen or heard in almost every patch of scrub we visited although never > 3 were observed at a time. Seen on the western end of the island, near many ponds, along the main road, and along roads into and adjacent to golf course/resort under construction.

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
The commonest passerine on the island found everywhere we visited except Anguillita

Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor
Less common than elaenia and yellow warbler but seen in groups (2-7 birds) on all parts of the island.

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis
Only observed twice – in scrubby forest behind Road Salt Pond and in scrub along road to Blowing Point.