Birding sites US Virgin Islands

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St. John

St. John has one of the highest concentrations of migratory birds in the West Indies, showing the importance of its relatively intact forests. Unlike most Caribbean islands, St. John still has large expanses of moist tropical forest and dry woodland, with these two habitat types covering 86% of the island (compared to 36% on St. Thomas, in relativelty small,disconnected patches). Data from the annual Christmas bird counts indicate that St.John has a greater diversity of winter-resident warblers than St. Thomas or St. Croix.

Mary Point Pond - Nestled behind Mary Point, the northernmost point of St John is one of the islans's most productive birding spots. This pond, the nearby forest and the Francis Bay shoreline provide the observer with a great variety of birdlife at any time of the year. The brackish pond is rimmed by mangroves and other salt tolerant vegetation, which harbor migrants and local specialties such as the Mangrove Cuckoo, Scaly-naped Pigeon, White cheeked Pintail and Smooth-billed Ani. There are also opportunities for good views of a variety of waterfowl, herons, shorebirds and warblers. Along the rocky shoreline, Brown Booby, Brown pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird and various terns can be seen offshore.

Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

This is a revised edition of a widely praised guide to the birds of the largest of the Caribbean islands and the neighboring Virgin Islands. It includes detailed accounts of all 284 well-documented species known to occur in the region, 273 being illustrated. The book also contains specific sections entitled "Biogeography" and "Conservation" to foster an appreciation of the uniqueness of the region's wildlife and to develop an awareness of local conservation issues. The section "Places to Bird" will help make the stay of short-term visitors more productive. The book also substantially updates the data on avian distribution and abundance in the region covering records through November 1988. From reviews of the first edition: "This well-illustrated volume is a must for any student of birds visiting Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands."--Chandler S. Robbins, The Quarterly Review of Biology "A valuable and informative guide."--James A. Dick, The Wilson Bulletin "This well-written book is the first comprehensive guide to the birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. All species, including winter visitors (which comprise 47 percent of the avifauna) are described and illustrated, making a second volume for identification of North American migrants unnecessary. . . . Aside from being a fine field guide, the book contains useful summaries of the biogeography of the region and the ecology of avian populations. . . . A major contribution is Raffaele's presentation of a wealth of hitherto unpublished information on the natural history of the region's birds."--James W. Wiley, Ibis
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Frank Bay Pond

Frank Bay Pond is an urban salt pond located one half mile southwest of the Cruz Bay Ferry Dock. It is easily reached by following the paved road keeping the ocean on your right.

The pond was damaged and neglected after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The VI Audubon Society, the Community Foundation of St John, as well as other community groups are working on revitalizing the Pond. We intend to establish a permanent wild life refuge and park where students, residents and visitors can observe and become educated in the variety of trees, plants and wildlife native to the island. Trash removal and native plant restoration have been accomplished.

After significant effort on the part of the VI Audubon Society, the area was designated as a Virgin Islands Wildlife Refuge in March 2000 by Governor Turnbull.

A wide variety of birds have already returned to the area; warblers, sandpipers, Black necked stilts, Lesser Yellowlegs, herons, egrets and Bahama Ducks are readily observed.
The Audubon Society also has regularly scheduled workdays at Frank Bay Pond.
The next scheduled workday is in January, 2001.

For more information, please contact:
Virgin islands Audubon Society
PO Box 1233
St John, VI 00831-1233

Cas Cay/Mangrove Lagoon

Located on the southeast coast of St.Thomas, among a bewildering assortment of human developments, is the largest and most diverse habitat for resident and migratory avifauna on St. Thomas. The mangrove lagoon in Jersey Bay offers an opportunity to study shorebirds, ducks, herons, the White-crowned Pigeon and a variety of other land birds.
After scanning the mudflats for shorebirds, a panoramic view of the lagoon, Jersey and Benner Bays will provide an overall sense of the ecology of the area. A visit to Long Point can also prove exciting during late summer to fall when several species of otherwise pelagic terns can be seen and the opportunity of a visiting Peregrine Falcon is not to be discounted. (Information from Robert Norton quoted in Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands )

From Charlotte Amalie head east to the Bolonga Bay Beach Hotel. About 0.7 miles beyond the hotel is a gas station on the left and a drag strip directly opposite on the right. Take this right turn and follow the strip turning left at the end. Negotiate your way to the flats located off to the left of the paved road. Do not be discouraged by the sight of a land fill and car dump. After walking the solid ground of the mudflats, continue on the paved road past the land fill and car dump to Long Point where the view will improve.

Compass Point Pond

Compass Point Pond -Salt ponds are very important wildlife feeding and roosting habitats. They are also important in protecting water quality by allowing sediment to settle out of runoff from the land. Compass Point Pond was cut off from the sea a number of years ago by construction of a road. Many of the mangroves died and wildlife was forced to go elsewhere. In 1992, the Government of the Virgin Islands designated the pond as a Marine reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. It was reopened to the sea and natural water levels were restored in the pond. Almost immediately fish and crabs populated the pond and shortly afterwards, many shorebirds were observed feeding and residing around the pond. With the return to natural water levels, conditions are now suitable for reestablishment of mangroves in the pond. (Information from The Department of Planning and Natural Resources, US Virgin Islands.)

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