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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Barbados-bound .... (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
... end of September through beginning of October. Have guidebook for local attractions, etc., but it's not a birding book ... any input on specific areas in Barbados that would be good for birding?

(sorry, I had posted this earlier in a different forum, before I saw this one)


Well-known member
Hi Jim,
my wife and I visited Barbados in Sept 98 for our honeymoon, and I still managed to get a few days birding in !!!!
One place I can definitely recommend is the 'Graham Hall Swamp' reserve.
It wasn't officially open but has great potential.
Over three visits I saw ;-

3 Blue-winged Teal
2 Short-billed Dowitcher
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Osprey
2 Great Blue Heron
1 Snowy Egret
2 Semipalmated Plover
2 Semipalmated Sandpiper
1 Solitary Sandpiper
1 Spotted Sandpiper
2 Green Heron
1,000+ Cattle Egret (all Cattle Egrets on island roost here !!!!)
2 Ground Doves
2 Zenaida Doves
2 Belted Kingfisher
1 Grey Kingbird
2 Bananquit
- Black-faced Grassquit

I'll send this quick before my PC crashes again and will send more info in another post .


Well-known member
Hello again Jim,
sorry about the different posts but my PC likes to freeze just before I can submit my post usually.
I can't remember exactly where the Graham Hall Swamp was, I just remember it was down at the southern end somewhere, I'll try and find more info and post it.
Another good site was a place called 'Coddrington College' where there are Black-whiskered Vireo, I saw 2. Once again I have no further details at the moment.
I have another site in my notebook called 'Chancery Lane Swamp' - there I saw
1 Green-throated Carib
2 Semipalmated Plover
1 Solitary Sandpiper
1 Grassland Yellow Finch.

I've just found another visit to Graham Hall Swamp with birds noted ;-

5 Blue-winged Teal
1 Belted Kingfisher
imm Yellow-crowned Night Heron
1 Green Heron
imm Little Blue Heron
1 American Gallinule
1 Yellow Warbler

So hopefully the reserve is fully established, and being managed properly.
I'll have a look for more info and post it.



Well-known member
thanks for the info ... did a quick search for the swamp (comes up as Graeme Hall and Graham Hall, but it looks like Graeme may be the correct spelling) and it appears to be still up and running ... I'll check into the others as well.
Again, thanks, much appreciated.


Well-known member
Hi again Jim, here is some info copied off Fatbirder site - hope it helps a bit more.
I hope I'm not doing something I shouldn't ie copyright laws, I'm sure the post will be pulled my the moderators if I am !!!!!

Lesser Antillian Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis © Derrick Knight http://www.lrf.org.uk/en/1/23mar04.html
The island of Barbados is a holiday destination better known for its sun, sea, sugarcane and beautiful white sand beaches rather than its birding, but even so there is much to interest a birder accidentally stranded here. Over 230 species have been recorded - more than any other Lesser Antillean island. The island offers relaxed birding and most of its 25 or so resident breeders can be seen in just one morning`s birding, or if preferred spread leisurely over a week between swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing. Unlike most of its neighbours the island has no compelling endemics so is rarely included on a Lesser Antillean birding itinerary, but it has been argued that Barbados`s unique form of Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (where the males resemble the females) might justify separation.

Barbados is a coral island that was pushed up between 600,000-700,000 years ago. Lying 150km east of its much older volcanic neighbours; its isolation, youth and non-mountainous topography are the main reasons for its limited avifauna.

The island has been well-watched for several decades and has scored some notable firsts for the Americas e.g. Garganey, Black-headed Gull, Little Bittern, Alpine Swift, Collared Pratincole, Whiskered Tern, Common Cuckoo, Little Egret. Currently Barbados is the only place in Western Hemisphere where Little Egret is known to breed. Many vagrants turn up annually, but it is the trans-Atlantic vagrants that are of the greatest regional significance.

Most of the resident species are widespread and common and can be seen virtually anywhere e.g. Carib Grackle, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Green-throated Carib, Scaly-naped Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, Common Ground Dove, Gray Kingbird, Caribbean Elaenia, Shiny Cowbird, Bananaquit, Black-faced Grassquit and Yellow Warbler. Caribbean Martin and Black-whiskered Vireo are mainly summer visitors. Audubon`s Shearwaters breed at one locality. Other more local breeders include Eared Dove and Grassland Yellow-Finch, which was introduced from South America in about 1900.

The island has limited natural wetland habitats, but the most important site is Graeme Hall Swamp, a natural mangrove swamp that has recently become a Ramsar site. Be warned however that most of the other wetlands are small artificial swamps, created for the sole purpose of shooting migrant shorebirds from mid-July to mid-October though this fact is little known outside of Barbados. The main species shot are yellowlegs, dowitchers, plovers, pectoral, whimbrels and stilt sandpipers. This custom dates back to the time of slavery, when the plantation owners had nothing else to do after the sugarcane was cut than sit in their swamps, drink fine Barbados rum and shoot. On the plus side, some of these swamps provide good habitat for birds year-round and some owners are interested in nature, and actively discourage shooting of rare or protected species. During the shooting season when these swamps are strictly off-limits, there are still good opportunities to see shorebirds at Chancery Lane Swamp, near south point and at virtually any other grassy field after rain. A walk along the north coast can be particularly productive. Common shorebirds include White-rumped, Pectoral, Stilt and Solitary Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Yellowleg, American Golden Plover, Whimbrel, and Hudsonian Godwits that pass directly over the island, but rarely land.

top sites

Chancery Lane Swamp
This swamp on the south coast is accessible year round but conditions vary depending on rainfall. It can be a dustbowl for much of the year. In autumn this is one of the best places to study migrant shorebirds. Rarities have included: Eurasian Whimbrel, Collared Plover, Hooded Merganser

Congo Road Swamp
An artifical swamp. Inacessible during shooting season. Recent rarities in Spring have included: Little Stint, Terek Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Whiskered Tern.

Graeme Hall Nature Reserve
This is easily the top birdwatching site in Barbados and the western half is a privately owned nature sanctuary. This is the best place to see the nominate race of the Yellow (Golden) Warbler, Little Egrets (breeding); and a variety of herons and shorebirds. The main pond is a reliable place to find the uncommon Caribbean Coot. In winter waterthrushes, Prothonotary Warbler and belted Kingfisher, Recent rarities have included: Grey Heron, Little Bittern, Western-Reef Egret, Purple Heron, White-winged Black Tern, European Black Tern. It is easily accessed on the south coast road.

Inch Marlowe
Located near Chancery Lane this stretch of rocky shoreline can be a good viewpoint out to sea, though sea-watching in Barbados is usually only productive during adverse conditions. Roseate Terns visit the shoreline in summer and one or two pairs of Grassland Yellow Finches are usually present.

Other Sites
Melvin`s Hill Lookout, St. Joseph: The only reliable site for Black Swift in summer.

Flower Forest: A good site for observing humingbirds.

Bayfield Pond, St. Philip: A roadside pond which often allows very close views of Masked Duck.

North Coast: Good for shorebirds and migrants. Recent Rarities include Kelp Gull, Northern Wheatear.

Turner`s Hall Woods, St Andrew
A small woodland site good for Black-whiskered Vireos and occasional wintering warblers. Recent Rarities have included Worm-eating Warbler and Kentucky Warbler.


Edward Massiah
[email protected]


Number of bird species: 203

useful reading

A Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies
(Peterson Field Guides) James Bond, Don R. Eckelberry (Illustrator); Arthur B. Singer (Illustrator) Paperback (September 1999) Houghton Mifflin Company
ISBN: 0618002103
Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk

The Birds of the West Indies
By Herbert Raffaele, James Wiley, Orlando Garrido, Allan Keith & Janis Raffaele
Helm Field Guides Sept 2003 Paperback RRP £16.99p
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 0713654198
Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk

useful information

Coordinator: none (why not apply?) see http://www.proact-campaigns.net/coordinators
Members: None yet!
Join us at http://www.proact-campaigns.net/team


Barbados Birds
Some brief notes...


Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Once you enter through the gates of the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, you are in the Animals World. Most animals (except ones like parrots & pythons) are compatible and free to travel where they please. You may find them anywhere as they go about their daily lives, so, as you walk along... take your time... look up... look down... look carefully amongst the bushes and the trees in the mahogany woods. In this tropical haven, exotic animals, reptiles and birds, some threatened with extinction and some disabled, thrive.

Graeme Hall Swamp & Nature Sanctuary
There are more than 40 bird species resident in the swamp ranging from the small Sandpiper to the graceful white Cattle Egrets...

trip reports

1991 [June] - John Raby
Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands towards the southern end of the Windward Isles in the Lesser Antilles. It lies at 13 degrees North, 60 degrees West, due east of St. Vincent. Barbados is in the hurricane belt. It is a member of the British Commonwealth. The island is accustomed to tourism and the people were generally friendly...

1999 [March] - Mark Oberle & Giff Beaton
There were lots of yellowlegs and Black-bellied Plovers, but no Ruffs and no more time. Our heron list stood at 11 species for the two hours of birding, not too bad anywhere!

2003 [January] - Neil Money - Antigua, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Barbados
The destination was also something of a compromise dictated by self-imposed factors such as limiting the length of international flights, being in a non-malaria area and a suitably warm climate to escape from the northern winter. The Lesser Antilles met all our criteria and offered the challenge of finding single island endemics and regional endemics...

local guides

Barbados Birdwatching Holidays
Birdwatching and travel make a perfect combination and an excellent way to visit exciting destinations. Barbados is no exception to the rule. Birding holidays generally allocate the mornings to birding and the afternoon to other activities. We understand that some partners are not twitchers and that there are some folks whose primary objective is observing birds, but are interested in other natural and cultural history and photography as well.

Birding Pal
Local birders willing to show foreign visiting birders around their country - if you are prepared to return the favour to visitors to your country...

Glory Tours
We will show you the sights and share with you the many stories behind them and by the end of your tour you will not only see why we love this little Island Barbados so much but you will love it to. So come along and join us on a tour of Beautiful Barbados...
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Well-known member
You've gone above and beyond ... hugely appreciated ... we'll try to get to these areas as well as the list of places I have already compiled. Plan to do travel articles on Barbados when we get back ... I had my eye on one of the books you cited ...
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
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