We’ve just found our newest favourite thing to do LOL!
So recently we had the pleasure of joining the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) for a bird watching workshop and tour. As I was preparing for my first bird watching adventure I came across the expression “bird watching is a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature” and that is exactly what the experience proved to be.
Although relaxing it was also very exciting and challenging as it involves a significant auditory component as most birds are often identified by sound and then by sight. It was an eye opener to sit silently and watch the beauty of the birds as they communicate with each other through their whistles, chirps, flight or perch. You hear sounds and notice colours, textures and movements you’ve never seen before. Because you are one with nature you find yourself being more observant of your surroundings and all your senses are magnified seeing flowers and other animals that you normally don’t pay attention to.
Bird watching or avi-tourism as it is called is an under-recognized and an unexplored niche market in Antigua & Barbuda. But of late it has been gaining a lot of attention thanks to the efforts of the Environmental Awareness Group who have been monitoring the birds on the off-shore islands for over a decade and are now doing so on the mainland. The Codrington Lagoon Park in Barbuda the home of Antigua’s National Bird the “Magnificent Frigate” has always been a popular bird watching site for locals and visitors alike. However, last January with the help of the EAG the Christian Valley Bird Trail was opened and since areas like Wallings Dams, McKinnons Salt Pond and Fitches Creek are fast becoming popular bird watching spots. At least 10 more sites are currently under assessment and protocols being defined.
In a report commissioned by the EAG from Ted Eubanks of Fermata Incorporated one of the main presenters of the workshop it revealed that Antigua & Barbuda has at least 182 species of birds of which 65% are migratory. Popular bird species to Antigua & Barbuda are: The West Indian Whistling Duck, Frigate Bird, Brown Pelican, White Cheek Pintail, Greater Yellow Legs, Spotted Sandpiper, Red-billed Tropic Bird, Mangrove Cuckoo and the Antillean Crested Hummingbird which is popular around our hotel and restaurant.
We invite you to experience the richness and bio-diversity of Antigua & Barbuda and spend some time exploring our bird trails. Bring your camera and start your day by having breakfast with the Banana Quits (Sugar Birds) which you can find feeding from our feeders throughout the property. Then take a leisurely 10-minute walk to McKinnons Salt Pond; feel free to ask Chef to prepare a light snack for your expedition. The offshore islands of North Sound where numerous species such as the West Indian Tree Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck and White Crowned Pigeon live and nest can easily be reached with daily excursions leaving from Dickenson Bay. On your return enjoy happy hour cocktails as our hummingbirds serenade the sunset in.
The beach is indeed just the beginning…BOOK NOW!
(All photos credit: Ted Lee Eubanks)