Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the Cayman Islands, around 50 of which are resident species, the remainder being breeding migrants. Across the three islands there are also five seabird colonies and there are seven bird sanctuaries on Grand Cayman. Birdwatchers will find opportunities to observe many species of birds on all three islands, particularly around any fresh water or brackish ponds. The best times for bird watching are early morning and late afternoon. Some species to look out for include the Grand Cayman parrot, the Cayman Brac parrot, the West Indian Whistling Duck, the Magnificent Frigate bird, Brown Boobies and Red Footed Boobies.
Particularly good areas for sighting indigenous and migratory birds are the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park and the Mastic Trail. Tours of the Mastic Trail are provided by the National Trust. Also worth visiting is Governor Gore’s Bird Sanctuary where the pond attracts a number of birds during dry season. Butterflies also congregate in this area, and the native freshwater turtle, the Hickatee has often been spotted among the reeds. Turn into Spotts Newlands Rd off Shamrock Road. Take the first right to Pennsylvania Ave.
Ann Stafford of CaymANNature is a fully licensed and knowledgeable Nature Tour Guide. She provides excellent tours covering the flora and fauna of the Cayman Islands.
Bird watching is particularly good from October to April when migrating birds pass through in search of fresh water and warmer weather. With some 200 species of full and part time resident birds, the Island is an ornithologist’s paradise. Land birds you may see include the rare Cayman Brac parrot, the red–legged thrush and the West Indian whistling duck. There are also five seabird colonies. The 310 acre Brac Parrot Reserve was established in 1990 to protect the Brac’s endemic parrot and various other species of bird. A two mile trail through the reserve offers the chance to see some rare species. Visit www.itsyourstoexplore.com for more information.
Thousands of migratory birds pass over Little Cayman and many make this Island their home, due to the many ponds and numerous wetland areas. The National Trust’s Booby Pond Nature Reserve, home to the largest breeding colony of Red-footed Boobies in the Western Hemisphere, is a 200-acre site of international importance. 20,000 Boobies breed here, as does a large colony of magnificent frigates. Take advantage of the Trust’s viewing deck that is equipped with telescopes, to watch the herons, ducks, warblers, plovers, sandpipers and other birds dip and dive. Call the National Trust on (345) 948 1077 for more information or visit www.itsyourstoexplore.com