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PurplethroatedCaribDominicaMarkGreenfieldLESSER ANTILLES
10 ISLAND ENDEMIC BIRDING TOUR
January 4 - 17, 2023

Contact [email protected] to reserve!

Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Dominica,
Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat,
St. Lucia and St. Vincent

Some Highlights & Specialties of the Islands>

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The Lesser Antilles are long series of islands extending north to south between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. For birders, these islands hold some truly superlative species including more than thirty Lesser Antilles endemics and forty-five Caribbean specialties. On this "Every Endemic" birding tour, we target them all and sample the diverse nature and culture of the Lesser Antilles. Using a combination of air and sea, we'll travel to each island in search of the avian specialties to be found on these 10 magical islands: Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.

 

South Coast of BarbadosEach of the stunningly beautiful Caribbean islands of the Lesser Antilles is separated by sparkling turquoise seas and has rich wetlands, vast open grasslands, dynamic coastlines and lush tropical rainforests. These diverse and varied habitats are home to a lengthy list of highly-threatened, single-island endemics and near endemics, along with a host of indigenous regional specialities unique to the southern Caribbean.

We’ll get close (very close) to stunning and many critically endangered single-island endemics and range-restricted regional endemics such as the Whistling Warbler in St. Vincent; the majestic Imperial Amazon in Dominica; the dazzling Purple-throated Carib (Above photo: Mark Greenfield) and bemusing Grey Trembler on St. Lucia; the flame-breasted Montserrat Oriole on the “Other Emerald Isle”; the lovely endemic the lovely endemic Martinique Oriole (Photo: Beatrice Henricot)Martinique Oriole (Photo: Beatrice Henricot); and rarest of them all, the gentle, unassuming Grenada Dove, still found serenely walking the pathways in the only area of suitable habitat remaining on the “Spice Isle” of Grenada.

 

Nature abounds on the islands and we’ll enjoy butterflies, lizards, lush tropical plants and experience a range of Caribbean flora and fauna. We also have the potential for encounters with whales, dolphins, marine turtles and several pelagic trips while crossing the crystal clear waters between islands. And, we’ll do all this while traveling to some of the most sought-after holiday destinations on the planet.

 

This truly is an epic and truly unique birding adventure tailor-made for our group. It is sure to yield spectacular sightings and leave you with long-lasting memories. The fact that this region has long remained off the birding map means that there is continuing discussion about numerous species splits. Now being researched and/or proposed for future classification, the birds you see on this trip have the potential to keep on giving for years to come!

 

 

Join us for a Caribbean birding adventure in the Lesser Antilles!

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~~~ SOME LESSER ANTILLES ISLAND HIGHLIGHTS & SPECIALTIES ~~~

ANTIGUA
Caribbean Elaenia (ES)
Broad-winged Hawk
Pearly-eyed Thrasher (EC)
West Indian Whistling Duck (EC)

BARBADOS
Golden Warbler (ES)
Barbados Grackle
Barbados Bullfinch (ES)
Barbados Anole
Grey Kingbird
Ant. Crested Hummingbird (EC)
Green-throated Carib (EC)
Scaly-naped Pigeon (EC)
Green Vervet
   (Barbados "Green" Monkey)

BARBUDA
Barbuda Warbler (E)
Common Ground Dove
Eared Dove
White-winged Dove
White-crowned Pigeon
Black-faced Grassquit
Lesser Antillean Iguana
Magnificent Frigatebird colony

DOMINICA
Lesser Antillean Pewee (NE)
Zenaida Dove (EC)
Brown Trembler (ELA)
Plumbeous Warbler (NE)
Eastern Red-legged Thrush (ES)
Tropical Mockingbird
Scaly-breasted Thrasher (ELA)
Imperial Amazon (E)
Red-necked Amazon (E)
Blue-headed Hummingbird (NE)
Lesser Antillean Barn Owl (ES)

Key:
E = Endemic
NE = Near Endemic
ELA= Endemic to Lesser Antilles
ES = Endemic Subspecies
NES = Near Endemic Subspecies
EC = Endemic to Caribbean

GRENADA
Grenada Dove (E)
Rufous-breasted Hermit
Green-throated Carib (ES)
Lesser Antillean/Grenada Tanager (E)
Hook-billed Kite

GUADELOUPE
Bridled Quail Dove (EC)
Forest Thrush (ELA)
Guadeloupe Woodpecker (E)
Lesser Antillean Flycatcher (ELA)

MARTINIQUE
Martinique Oriole (E)
Black-whiskered Vireo
Blue-headed Hummingbird (NE)
Golden Warbler (ES)
Ruddy Quail Dove

MONSERRAT
Montserrat Oriole (E)
Pearly-eyed Thrasher (ES)
Forest Thrush (ES)
Dwarf Gecko

ST. LUCIA
Black Swift
White-breasted/St. Lucia
Thrasher (ES)
St. Lucia Blackfinch (E)
St. Lucia Warbler (E)
St. Lucia Pewee (E)
St. Lucia Oriole (E)
St. Lucia Nightjar (E)
St. Lucia Parrot (E)
Lesser Antillean Euphonia (ELA)
Lesser Antillean Flycatcher (ES)
Lesser Antillean Swift (ELA)
Lesser Antillean Saltator (ELA)
Grey Trembler (ES)
American Coot
Mangrove Cuckoo
Caribbean Elaenia
Antillean House Wren (ES)
Red-billed Tropicbird

ST. VINCENT
Whistling Warbler (E)
Grenada Flycatcher (NE)
St. Vincent Parrot (E)
St. Vincent Tanager (E)
Purple-throated Carib (ELA)
Bananaquit (ES)
Common Black Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk (ES)
Lesser Antilles Thrush (ES)
Lesser Antilles Barn Owl (ELA)
Spectacled Thrush
Smooth-billed Ani
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
St. Vincent Anole

 

For a complete checklist with species status, contact [email protected]

St. Lucia.

Marsh by the sea, Barbados by R. Chenery.
Marsh by the Sea in Barbados. Photo by Ryan Chenery.


ITINERARY

Day 1: ARRIVAL BARBADOS
Plan on arriving in Bridgetown, Barbados in the morning today at Grantley Adams International Airport (Airport code: BGI). We will be met by our local guide on his native island of Barbados and taken to your beachfront accommodation.

Golden Warbler (Photo: Beatrice Henricot)A mere 10 minutes drive from our hotel is the internationally-renowned Graeme Hall Nature Reserve. This sprawling 240-acre wetland protects the last remaining mangrove forest on Barbados. For the last 10 years, the reserve has been closed to the public; however as former chief naturalist for the reserve, our local guide has arranged exclusive access for our group to this serene setting and species-rich site.

Upon entry, we assemble on the Leaf Deck and watch in awe as Atlantic Tarpon gently (and sometimes violently) break the surface of the island’s largest lake. Around the lake, up to 14 different species of heron come in to roost. We meander along the well-maintained boardwalk surrounded by the verdant greens of mature Red as well as Green mangroves, their dense canopies the favored perches of many of the island’s unique species, including the nominate race of Golden Warbler (Photo: Beatrice Henricot), the recently split Barbados Grackle, and of course, the Barbados Bullfinch.

The long dangling aerial roots of Rhizophora mangle line the walkway and provide shelter for skulking Green Herons and are Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Photo: Keith Clarkson)the preferred runways for Barbados Anoles and armies of Fiddler Crabs. While in the wetland we will also have excellent opportunities for views of feeding Grey Kingbirds as well as up-close encounters with the endemic subspecies of Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Photo: Keith Clarkson), and spectacular Green-throated Carib (two of the four hummingbirds we target on our travels through the island chain). This is also prime habitat for troops of Green Vervets (Barbados "Green" Monkey).

At dusk, the West Indian Mahogany Trees that surround our hotel are filled with the calls of Scaly-naped Pigeons selecting their favored roosts and the fluttering wings of Velvety Free-tailed Bats (also called Pallas's Mastiff Bat), and the regional endemic Myotis nyctor setting out to feed. Food is also on our minds as we step down from our hotel onto the gleaming white sands that line the southern coastline of the island and enjoy a sunset stroll along the beach to Oistins fishing village - where we tuck into a delicious dinner of freshly caught grilled fish, shrimp and lobster (other meats plus vegetarian options also available).

 

 

Day 2 – ST. VINCENT
Grenada Flycatcher (Photo: Beatrice Henricot)The Lesser Antilles is comprised of a chain of largely submerged mountains running north to south in a double arc. The outer arc from Anguilla to Barbados comprises low, flat islands with limestone surfaces, while the inner arc is made up of a series of volcanic cones. The lush, heavily forested volcanic island of St. Vincent with her largely black-sand beaches and vast sprawling wilderness is the first island we explore within this inner arc.

Arriving at the recently built international airport we are collected by pre-arranged transport and head into the lush primary rainforests of towering Mt. Soufriere. Here we will bird along forest paths lined with wild Begonia to the best sites to see the critically endangered Whistling Warbler (one of four single-island endemic species of warbler in the region), along with a wonderful selection of near endemics and indigenous regional species such as Grenada Flycatcher (Photo: Beatrice Henricot), Lesser Antilles Thrush, the stunning Purple-throated Carib, and all-black Bananaquit (one of five distinct subspecies of Bananaquit found in the region).

We end our walk at a dry riverbed, above which circle Common Black as well as Broad-winged Hawk (subspecies antillarum a near endemic known only to St. Vincent and Grenada), and guard our snack of freshly picked fruit and plantain chips from inquisitive, sapphire-headed St. Vincent Anoles.

After our day in the forest we head to a local family-owned hotel on the southwestern (and only white-sand shoreline) of St. Vincent for a swim in calm, clear waters. (Do bring your snorkels and fins on this trip as there will be opportunities to snorkel on most of the islands).

We dine overlooking the swaying masts of catamarans and yachts moored off of Young Island. The vast majority of food consumed on St. Vincent is locally grown and produced, and the wide variety on the menu is testament to the plethora of vegetables, pulses and ground provisions (such as yam and dasheen) that thrive in the rich volcanic soils of the island. Try the tantalizing saltfish buljol as a starter - delicious.


Brown Booby by Yves-Jacques Rey Millet.
Brown Booby off St. Vincent. Photo by Yves-Jacques Rey Millet

 

Day 3 - ST. VINCENT / ST. LUCIA
St. Vincent Amazon by Keith Clarkson.Today we have the privilege of being one of the few groups of people on the planet to observe large numbers of St. Vincent Parrots filling the skies above us. We leave our hotel at 4:30 am (packed breakfast in our bags) to make for an area known only to select local forestry officers. Our vehicle will cross the same river SEVEN times at different locations, until we reach a secret site, deep in the heart of the densely-forested north. We strategically select our spots atop a high ridge and from there wait for the raucous parrots to emerge from their roosts in the verdant forests around us. The St. Vincent Parrot (Photo: Keith Clarkson) is a species that was long on the verge of extinction and is still listed on the IUCN most threatened species on the planet, so the opportunity to have incredibly close views of this number of wild birds in their natural habitat is one of the highlights of the trip.

After our wonderful dawn encounter with the parrots, we descend the mountain, pulling over at select sites where the seemingly ever-present mangoes and guavas prove an irresistible lure to the St. Vincent Tanager (split in 2019 from the Lesser Antillean Tanager), Spectacled Thrush, Smooth-billed Ani and even Yellow-bellied Elaenia (feasting on fruit flies drawn to the ripening fruit).

After the early start, we return to our hotel to relax by the pool or stroll along the spectacular beaches that line this coast. We have lunch at the beach side restaurant and gaze out across the turquoise waters at Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns and Brown Boobies, before making the short ten-minute drive to the airport.

Following a 20-minute, mid-afternoon flight, we touch down in spectacular St. Lucia. We drive slowly en route to our hotel, pausing at a reliable site for Black Swift, before visiting the quaint seaside village of Dennery. Here we have the opportunity to experience the intense bartering culture engrained in and practiced by generations of local fishermen who line the pier in anticipation of returning boat crews. From Dennery, we make for a large sedge-filled wetland and, having timed our arrival with the setting of the sun, delight in the activities of Pied-billed Grebe, the Caribaea morph of American Coot, fly-bys of Belted Kingfishers and fabulous views of a host of over-wintering waders, waterfowl and herons all bathed in a soft orange glow.

Our stay on St. Lucia is at a serene locally-run Inn, nestled among lush hillsides and gardens teeming with tropical flowers. Here we can take a swim in the pool before dinner – enjoyed on the candlelit outdoor balcony with a breathtaking view of glittering Praslin Bay.

Les Pitons, St. Lucia by Ryan Chenery.
Les Pitons, St. Lucia by Ryan Chenery

 

Day 4 – ST LUCIA
White-breasted Thrasher (Photo: Keith Clarkson)The following morning we enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making the short drive to see one of the last thriving populations of the threatened near endemic White-breasted Thrasher (Photo: Keith Clarkson).   Some research suggests this is indeed a full endemic St. Lucia Thrasher and the bird on Martinique is an entirely separate species. Other inhabitants of this dry forest include the Lesser Antillean Saltator, curious Mangrove Cuckoo and endemic St. Lucia Blackfinch.

Following our time here we make for a tiny local hillside village where we learn from local Rastafarians of the many uses and local remedies of native flora. We then continue on to a unique ecotone known to harbor many of the island's indigenous and endemic species. It is no exaggeration to state that here numerous target species of birds will join the myriad Gulf Fritillaries, Cloudless Sulphurs, and Great Southern Whites flitting all around us. Overhead, Lesser Antillean Swifts effortlessly manipulate the air currents; among the trees colorful St. Lucia Warblers peer underneath leaves in search of caterpillars; overhanging tree limbs represent perfect vantage points for Lesser Antillean Flycatchers and St. Lucia Pewees to launch attacks on winged insects; and an abundance of fruits ripening in the tropical sun prove an irresistible lure for opportunistic St. Lucia Orioles.

Before we head back to our hotel we travel to a reliable location on the island for an audience with one of the most difficult of endemics to see on the island - The St. Lucia Nightjar!

 Rufous-throated Solitaire  St. Lucia Pewee   St. Lucia Oriole.
St. Lucia specialties: Rufous-throated Solitaire, St. Lucia Pewee, St. Lucia Oriole.  Photos by Keith Clarkson.

 

Day 5 – ST. LUCIA
St. Lucia Parrot by Keith Clarkson.Today we awake to a packed breakfast and pre-arranged transport waiting to take us to the island’s showpiece natural attraction – the sprawling Des Cartiers Rainforest. Des Cartiers is dominated by numerous trees endemic to the region (including the majestic and aromatic Lansan), along with gargantuan Tree Ferns, tiny bromeliads and orchids. We spend a wonderful morning here, walking the well-maintained trails and identifying the wondrous diversity of flora all around us.

Our forest walk culminates at an observation area where we are afforded excellent views of the island’s national bird, and most colorful of all Amazonas – the magnificent St. Lucia Parrot (Photo: Keith Clarkson). At this site we are also in the presence of myriad other deep forest dwellers. The haunting ethereal song of the Rufous-throated Solitaire and the high-pitched note of the Lesser Antillean Euphonia are intermingled with appearances by near endemic Grey Tremblers and Caribbean Elaenias.

From the forest we make for the scenic and spectacular west coast where we lunch at what is surely the restaurant with the best view on the island of the majestic twin spires of Les Pitons, before winding our way down into historic Soufriere. Here, isolated groves of drought tolerant trees line the small secondary roads of this coastal habitat, and we target one of 6 subspecies of Antillean House Wren endemic to individual islands in the Lesser Antilles. On St. Lucia it is Troglodytes aedon mesoleucus.

We finish the day atop one of the island’s highest peaks where we are treated to the spectacular aerial acrobatics of a colony of Red-billed Tropicbirds.

 

Red-billed Tropicbird by Keith Clarkson
Red-billed Tropicbird by Keith Clarkson

 

Day 6 - GRENADA
Green-throated Carib by Sam Barone.Today sees us make the short “island-hopper” flight to the southernmost of the islands on our trip – the Spice Isle of Grenada. From the air, this small and densely populated island might seem an odd destination on a birding trip, however, by virtue of our making for one of the last remaining vestiges of suitable habitat in the south of the island, we are soon provided with the opportunity to see the rarest species of the entire trip – the Grenada Dove.

Latest counts estimate the surviving number of Grenada Doves to be as low as 140 individual birds. However by drawing on experience and knowledge amassed over numerous previous trips, our local guide will give you the best opportunity to be treated to a sight few people will have a chance to enjoy in their lifetime.

After visiting the last stronghold of this delicate unassuming dove, we explore the dry woodland that represents its natural habitats and here are treated to views of the “Spice Isle’s” other key inhabitants, including the Rufous-breasted Hermit, endemic subspecies of Green-throated Carib (Photo: Sam Barone), and the other full species recently split from the Lesser Antillean Tanager – the Grenada Tanager. We finish the day by climbing a well-positioned observation tower to scan the skies for the local race of Hook-billed Kite.

Our lodgings for the night will be a vibrantly colored and newly refurbished local resort.


Day 7 - DOMINICA
Eastern Red-legged Thrush (Photo: Mark Greenfield)This morning we take a short flight to Dominica - an island regarded by many as the "Nature Lover's Caribbean Island". With her innumerable waterfalls and a river for every day of the year coursing through her vast tracts of primary rainforest, Dominica offers a snapshot into what many of the more developed islands of the region would have resembled in years gone by.

Upon arrival, we pause at a popular roadside stand to sample a selection of homemade tamarind and golden apple juices, before our vehicle begins its climb high into the Northern Forest Reserve. We will not have been traveling far before the mellifluous calls of an array of wondrous Lesser Antillean species gives us cause to pull off the dusty track to investigate. Upon doing so we are immediately met with a veritable barrage of sightings of near endemics and birds indigenous to the region. Birds including Lesser Antillean Pewee and Zenaida Dove should offer excellent views by perching conspicuously in sparsely leafed mangoes; Brown Tremblers (one of an entire genera confined exclusively to the Lesser Antilles), arrive on the scene to without hesitation lift their wings, cock their heads and start to TREMBLE; and pairs of delicate Plumbeous Warblers, whose excited trill calls greet their every leap along the creeping vines dangling tantalizingly close to our heads.

As our van climbs ever-higher along the track, we scan the roadside for Eastern Red-legged Thrush (Photo: Mark Greenfield) – the subspecies albiventris a near endemic, as well as two members of the Mimid family - the largely common Tropical Mockingbird (subspecies antillarum endemic to the Lesser Antilles) and the less often seen Scaly-breasted Thrasher.

Later today sees us travel into the Carib territories. These eight villages represent the last remaining stronghold of a people who once traveled and eventually settled throughout the Lesser Antilles and who still follow many of the customs and practices of their ancestors. This visit gives us an incredible insight into the lives of many of the Lesser Antilles original inhabitants, allows us to delight in their culture and arts and enjoy a traditional Carib meal in one of the villages before making the short drive to our coastal accommodation.


Spotting the Imperial ParrotDay 8 - DOMINICA
Imperial Amazon (Photo by Terry Anderson)This morning we wake to the smell of rich Dominican coffee as we set off before dawn in order to give ourselves the best opportunity to see one of the rarest species, not only in the region but on the entire planet – the majestic Imperial Amazon
(Photo by Terry Anderson). Perched overlooking deep verdant valleys and with the distant sound of thunderous rivers coursing far below us, we scan the canopies of towering emergents for the undoubted monarch of this land. It’s more gregarious “cousin” the Red-necked Amazon provides more frequent entertainment as small flocks awaken to flutter from one fruiting tree to another, while behind us, the trapline habits of the near-endemic Blue-headed Hummingbird ensure that we regularly turn our attention to small groves of Costus spictatus. Fifty-five species of butterfly including regional endemics such as Dominican Hairstreak, Godman’s Hairstreak, Godman's Leaf and St. Lucia Mestra have been recorded on Dominica, and these, along with the more wide-ranging Caribbean Buckeye and Cassius Blue ensure that our eyes are drawn to every sunlit area during our exhilarating day in the forest.

Dinner is enjoyed tonight from the balcony of our coastal cliff top hotel.


Day 9 - GUADELOPE
Bridled Quail Doves (Photo: Beatrice Hendricot)We follow our time on Dominica with a boat journey across to the first of two French Overseas Territories in the island chain. Guadeloupe is a remarkable island, for its forests not only provide glimpses of some of the more secretive species rarely seen on other islands as evidenced by the Bridled Quail Doves (Photo: Beatrice Henricot) walking at our feet and nominate race of the regional endemic Forest Thrush hopping along select roadsides! Hopefully, we get very close to a most curious endemic indeed. The movements of the Guadeloupe Woodpecker are somewhat unconventional, with birds often seen dangling upside down directly overhead while clinging to slender swinging branches and plucking ants from clusters of berries! Odd? Yes. But it certainly allows for fabulous views!

The lush forests of Guadeloupe also represent a favored over-wintering site for a variety of North American warblers, and with the timing of our tour, we are almost certain to encounter such species as American Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler and others during our birding here.

Our cottages surrounded by swaying palms and flowering bougainvillea offer the perfect post-birding relaxation spot. Dinner tonight is a wonderful blend of French cuisine and Carib-Creole influence.

 

Forest Thrush by Beatrice Henricot
Forest Thrush by Beatrice Henricot

Day 10 - MONTSERRAT
Montserrat Oriole (Photo: Beatrice Henricot)Widely known as the Second Emerald Isle, one can circumnavigate Montserrat by foot and never once step outside of the lush expanse of dense primary forest that dominates this magical island. This is a largely unspoiled land with the volcanic eruption of 1995 rendering half of the island uninhabitable, covered in magma, and causing a significant proportion of the population to emigrate. But what remains is quite simply stunning. The volcano itself still smolders, but is constantly monitored by volcanologists who have declared the other half of this sparsely populated island completely safe for residents and visitors alike. Thankfully this is also the half of the island where we find our target bird species! The striking Montserrat Oriole
(Photo: Beatrice Henricot) is our number one target, and we walk the paths of this ancient forest, dominated by huge emergents and long swinging lianas, until we come to reliable stands of giant heliconias...for it is these that represent our best site for seeing orioles. As we have ensured we are on the island during nesting season, it is highly likely that such stands will reveal both the olive-green female and fiery-breasted male!

Pearly-eyed Thrashers (Photo: Ryan Chenery)Although Montserrat is home to this single-island endemic, it is also the best island for honing in on a species of thrasher that can prove difficult on other islands. Pearly-eyed Thrashers (Photo: Ryan Chenery) are abundant on Montserrat and can be approached relatively closely both within, and on the outskirts of the forest. Another target and one which will require far more patience is the island’s endemic subspecies of Forest Thrush.

As we continue our walk through this picturesque habitat, it is clear that the forest floor can be just as alive as the trees above. Leaves rustle everywhere - Montserrat’s Anolis lizards scuttle across the ground and clamber up tree trunks, the non-venomous and exceptionally rare Montserrat Racer warms itself in patches of sunlight, and unbelievably, tiny Dwarf Geckos no bigger than the tip of your thumb study us with big googly eyes as they peak out from beneath the “giant” fallen leaves on the path before us.

Back at our local lunch spot, we sit back relax and celebrate the day’s birding with a hearty meal and wash it down with a local specialty – Bush Rum! No sugar cane used in this one – only select local herbs and plants gathered from the forest!

 

Day 11 - MARTINIQUE
Blue-headed Hummingbird (Photo: Beatrice Henricot)With our packed breakfast on board with us, we make for the stunning and heavily forested other French Territory in the region - Martinique. By this stage in our travels along the island chain, any prior belief that a visit to one Lesser Antillean island is akin to visiting another will have vanished. The stark differences in topography, geology, and the ethnic and cultural differences to be found among the populations ensure that a visit to the islands of the Lesser Antilles is very much an exploration of ten very individual and unique islands.

Here on Martinique, the small bistros and cafes that line the main courtyard of the thriving capital city of Fort-de-France and the feverish games of boules played on well-manicured pitches is unlike anything we’ve seen on previous islands and is testimony to an unquestionable Franco-influence.

This remarkable and heavily forested island is the oldest in the Lesser Antilles, and it therefore makes sense that it is here that we come across the nominate of three of those species that have over millennia filtered out to other islands. But the island also boasts a stunning single-island endemic in Icterus bonana (the Martinique Oriole). While birding in some truly spectacular primary forest, we will also be looking for Black-whiskered Vireo and Blue-headed Hummingbird (Photo: Beatrice Henricot) in case this delightful near endemic hummer proved elusive in Dominica, as well as targeting the striking rufous-hooded endemic subspecies of Golden Warbler and Ruddy Quail Dove.

 

West Indian Whistling Duck (Photo: Yves-Jacques Rey Millet).Day 12 - ANTIGUA
Today, we take a flight to sun-kissed Antigua – the island with a beach for every day of the year. Upon arrival in the early afternoon, we are collected by pre-arranged transport and driven to our historic Inn on the outskirts of the capital of St. Johns. The extensive and heavily treed grounds of the Inn provide the perfect setting for an introduction to Antigua’s specialties including the endemic subspecies of Caribbean Elaenia and Broad-winged Hawk as well as nominate of Pearly-eyed Thrasher. As the sun gets lower in the sky we take a drive to a nearby thriving wetland where we do some leisurely birding, focusing on a number of overwintering waders, waterfowl and herons. As dusk approaches there is even the chance of an encounter with small flocks of West Indian Whistling Duck
(Photo: Yves-Jacques Rey Millet).

After returning to the hotel we enjoy a swim in the large pool before tucking into a Caribbean-themed dinner. We are later treated to live entertainment featuring steel pans and cultural dance enjoyed with a wide selection of cocktails.

The following morning we make for Antigua’s sister island of Barbuda. 


Day 13 - BARBUDA
barbuda warbler by Beatrice HenricotAfter breakfast enjoyed with views of White-crowned Pigeons feeding in the crowns of swaying palm trees, we head to Antigua’s Main Port, where we embark on a day trip to the smaller sister of this twin-island state. We board our vessel and are soon jetting across some of the most beautiful waters in the Caribbean Sea.

Arriving into Barbuda one can immediately see the stark contrast between the heavily developed and well-established tourist destination of Antigua and this little visited island, where vast stretches of undisturbed beaches, sheltered coves and dry coastal forests support a very different cast of characters to those previously encountered on our trip. Our main target here is the diminutive Barbuda Warbler (Photo: Beatrice Henricot). This charming warbler is perfectly at home in the dry scrublands of one of the Lesser Antilles driest islands and shares the habitat with species such as Common Ground Dove, Eared Dove, White-winged Dove, Black-faced Grassquit, Lesser Antillean Iguanas, and bizarrely... herds of feral donkeys!

Barbuda is also home to the largest Magnificent Frigatebird (Photos: Ryan Chenery) colony in the entire Caribbean. These giants are most commonly seen soaring high above the waves, carefully scanning the waters for food floating on or close to the surface. So it is a wonderful treat to board a dinghy that takes us across a shallow lagoon absolutely teeming with marine life (as evidenced by the hundreds of jellyfish of every shape and size floating beneath us and clearly visible from our bough) and moors us literally within touching distance of thousands of nests, chicks and adults. We spend half an hour in the presence of these incredible birds, observing their behavior and watching as squadrons of adults manipulate their impressive 6-foot wingspan to return with food to perch beside their young.

 

 

Driving around the island one cannot help but be struck by the spectacular and unspoiled natural beauty of Barbuda. This is “postcard perfect”. The water is a glistening turquoise blue and the colors of the sands effortlessly blend between brilliant whites and varying shades of pink. With some of the most untouched beaches in the Caribbean literally on either side of us, what better way to spend the rest of the day than to head to a charming “Robinson Crusoe-esque” beach bar to enjoy an absolutely delicious meal of mahi mahi, chicken or lobster, and follow it up with a relaxing swim or snorkel in shallow waters and a stroll along an idyllic white sand beach known to be frequented by Royal as well as Least Tern. This truly is a case of Birding in Paradise!

Grey Trembler. Photo by Jane Hartline.On our return leg across the sun-kissed seas to Antigua, we may have the opportunity for dolphin and whale encounters.

Back at base, standing on the veranda after yet another delicious Creole dinner, we go over the extensive and varied trip-list while casting our eyes out at the moonlit Caribbean Sea that for two weeks we have journeyed across. What better way to reflect on our travels and draw to a close our adventures in the magical islands of the Lesser Antilles.

 

Grey Trembler. Photo by Jane Hartline.

 

Day 14 – DEPARTURES FROM ANTIGUA
Buffet breakfast and homeward journey. Departures are from V. C. Bird International Airport in Antigua (Airport code: ANU)

 

PLEASE NOTE: Our exact route through the islands may vary, as we identify the most practical and time efficient order in which to go through the 10 islands (based on the most recent flight schedules and boat operators timetables). Rest assured we will cover everything in the itinerary and we will alert you to any changes ahead of the tour.


Barbados

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LESSER ANTILLES
10 ISLAND ENDEMIC BIRDING TOUR
January 4 - 17, 2023

Registration Form>

TOUR PRICE: US$ TBA per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 7 clients.  Note this tour begins in Barbados at Grantley Adams International Airport (Airport code: BGI) and ends in V. C. Bird International Airport in Antigua (Airport code: ANU).

Single supplement: US$TBA per person. Subject to availability.

Deposit: $1000.00 per person. Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal. 
Use this link
to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 


Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms, all meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 14, group airport transfers, ground transport throughout, park entrance fees, water and snacks and services of leader(s).

Not included: International flight, passport fees, departure tax, insurance, drinks, laundry, tips, and items of a personal nature.  Note: The tour price is based on a minimum of 7 passengers.  If there are less than 7, a small group supplement may be charged.

 

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour, complete the Registration & Release Form and mail it with your deposit of $1000.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC.  Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form

 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due September 4, 2022.

**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.


There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Insurance: Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Cancel for Any Reason plans are advised for the most complete coverage.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

 

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected].com 
Phone: 203.453.6724