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St Lucia Feb 2018

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Old Sunday 11th February 2018, 13:33   #1
neilh
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: lancashire
Posts: 39
St Lucia Feb 2018

We stayed at Sandals Halcyon Beach resort for the last week of Jan and first week of Feb, not a birding holiday, but I kept my bins at hand and noticed what was about. We only had 2 trips out, one shopping (!!!) to Castries and one to the Millet Rainforest Trail (brilliant !), The weather was a bit mixed, hot sunshine most of the time, but then the occasional very heavy downpour, you needed to keep an umbrella handy.

First bird off the plane was the Carib Grackle, ever present after that, then Collared Dove !!

A walk round the hotel when we arrived had loads more Grackles and doves, some of them Zeneida. Hummingbirds (called Caribs in St Lucia) where about but so fast they were hard to pin down, however I eventually id'd Lesser Antillean Crested (tiny with a straight beak) and Green Throated, bigger with a down curved beak). I never found the Purple Throated but apparently they were about.

Over the sea, Frigatebirds, Brown Boobies, Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls, Ospey, and strangely a Peregrine (apparently predating the fruit bats)
Every tree that had flowers had Bannaquit.
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch and Gray Kingbird were present around the swimming pool. I also had Scaly Breasted Thrasher and Gray Trembler here but only once each.

A Tropical Mockingbird came to feed on the same tree every morning.
I found Cattle Egret, Little Blue Heron, Shiny Cowbird, American Kestrel and Black Faced Grassquit in the hotel plant nursery just by the carpark.

The best birding was on the Millet Rainforest Trek escorted by the lovely ranger Pamela, who was a brilliant birder. We had 3 of the 5 endemics in the first few metres, S.L. Warbler, S.L.Oriole, and S.L.Black Finch, Pamela also heard S.L.Parrot but couldn't locate it for a view in the canopy.
The trail has coconut feeders placed along it at intervals and these attracted other birds, Pearly Eyed and Scaly Breasted Thrasher, Bare Eyed Robin, and Grey Trembler. We had glimpses of Mangrove Cuckoo, as well as hearing it, and Broad Winged Hawk over the canopy.
If you go to St Lucia and only do one trip, do the Millet Trail, its a bit strenuous but worth it.
32 species in the fortnight, half of those lifers for me, could easily be doubled on a dedicated birding trip.
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