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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
St Lucia, 22nd Nov– 2nd Dec 2012,
This trip was intended to see the St Lucia endemics, Lesser Antillean regional endemics and relaxing on the beach.
We booked an All Inclusive deal at St James Club, Morgan Bay with British Airways holidays flying from Gatwick.
The hotel has just been refurbished and can be recommended. The rooms were large and comfortable. There are four restaurants serving excellent food and the staff are very efficient and friendly.
We booked private transfers before we left the UK. We used Garry’s Taxis and paid US$70 for 4 people each way. Well recommended. The journey takes approximately 1hr 30 mins. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cloudy sunshine and 30’C all week with some humidity. A few heavy showers on one day. Insects were not a problem.
We used US dollars throughout the trip with no problems. We did not change any money to EC dollars.
We met Adams Toussaint at the British Bird Fair and decided to book him as he was recommended in other trip reports. Adams was friendly and knowledgeable regarding birds and all aspects of St Lucian life. Adams charged US$90 per person for birding from 05.30 – 15.00 and US$50 for birding 05.45 – 13.30. He provided the transport, a 4WD land cruiser type vehicle. Adams knows all the birds, their calls and the best places to find them. email@example.com
Arranged with Garry’s Taxis. An interesting 3 hour trip to the factory where rum can be purchased at US$9 a bottle. Trip cost US$35 each – same trip with hotel is US$60.
Union Forestry Zoo and Trails.
A morning trip with Sherman Taxis @ US$28 for 4 people. Really friendly driver in a minibus so plenty of room and comfortable. (758)488-2101 or 715-8102
We booked him through our hotel but he is available on the above numbers.
Soufriere, Sulphur Springs, Toraille Waterfall and Coastal Village tour.
Again booked with Sherman. US$160 for 4 people. A very interesting and relaxing trip.
A few birds were seen on this trip. An American Kestrel at Anse la Raye viewpoint. Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby and Red Billed Tropicbird near the beach at Canaries, and a Common Ground Dove at Marigot Bay viewpoint.
Common Ground Dove
The following were seen every day virtually everywhere:- Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Mocking Bird, Zenaida Dove, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Green throated Carib, Carib Grackle, Cattle Egret, Bananaquit, Collared Dove and Black faced Grassquit.
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Hotel grounds and Beach.
Purple throated Carib, Scaly-breasted Thrasher, Gray Trembler, American Kestrel, Roseate Tern, Lesser Antillean Saltator and Shiny Cowbird.
These are found by turning right out of the hotel and walking about 300metres towards the roundabout, checking the river just before it. Follow the road to the right towards the beach for about 200metres. There is a chain link across an obvious track between the trees. Enter here and the area opens up to scrub and small pools.
Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Common Ground Dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, Moorhen and Golden Warbler.
Yellow crowned Night Heron
Union Forest Trails.
Black whiskered Vireo, Scaly -naped Pigeon, St Lucia Warbler.
First trip with Adams.
Went to Dennery and parked by the main road where some trees had been cut back. Adams “pished” out seven White breasted Thrashers within a minute! Excellent views for 10 minutes. Also a Lesser Antillean Saltator there. Moved on to Des Cartier Trail. As soon as we parked St Lucia Parrots were flying overhead and 3 landed in the tree near us. A short drive and walk and Adams called 2 Rufous Throated Solitaires. Further short walks produced St Lucia Peewee, Caribbean Elaenia, St Lucia Warbler, Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Euphonia, Pearly eyed Thrasher, Gray Trembler, St Lucia Oriole and Broad winged Hawk
Broad winged Hawk
We then moved to the coast at Cape Moule a Chique and the lighthouse which overlooks Maria Island. Surprisingly no Red billed Tropicbirds were seen. An American Kestrel flew by and a group of Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia)and Barn Swallows were seen.
Adams took us to a brackish lake on a private farm to which he has access. This held Osprey, Snowy Egret, Blue-winged Teal, American WIgeon, Caribbean Coot, Moorhen, Tri-colour Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Great White Egret and Pied-billed Grebe. By the beach we saw Turnstone, Sanderling and Royal Tern.
A good days birding, only dipping on Lesser Antillean Swift.
2nd Days trip with Adams.
This was to the Turtle Beach at Grand Anse. A 4WD is essential here as the track is very rutted and wet. There have been reports of robberies in this area.
A short way down the track Adams stopped and we soon had a pair of St Lucia Black Finches. Moving on to a muddy pond and stream that crosses the road we took short walks into the forest. Birds seen : Louisiana Waterthrush, St Lucia Warbler, Gray Trembler, White breasted Thrasher,(not as good views as at Dennery), Caribbean Elaenia, St Lucia Wren, Bare eyed Thrush and Black crowned Night Heron. Lesser Antillean Flycatcher was heard and vaguely seen high in the canopy but not tickable.
Scaly breasted Thrasher
We moved on towards the beach where trees opened onto a grassy area with a small pond. In previous years this held Masked Duck but this was absent and has not been seen for 2 years now. The area is also good for Rufous Nightjar in March/April. On the slow drive back we stopped to photograph a Mangrove Cuckoo when Adams spotted a Bridled Quail Dove sitting on a low branch 10 metres from the road. It stayed for 5 minutes before moving off.
Another good days birding. We were glad Adams was driving!.
A nice relaxing trip. 62 species seen with all but one of the island specialities easily seen. Adams can be recommended as a guide – we would not have found many of the birds without him. His knowledge of the area - in particular the location of the Fer de Lance snakes - was invaluable.