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Holiday in Sint Maarten/Saba possibly? (1 Viewer)

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Hello all,

I have a week off in late December/early January 2008/2009. I still haven't decided where to go, but thought of somewhere in the Antilles as a possibility; I was wondering if anybody has any experience with the 'northern' Netherlands Antilles, i.e. not the ABCs.

I have already had a look through other threads about the Antilles, and that lead my to some useful links about bird-related organizations in the area (thanks to Niels). But I while I did find a helpful online bird list through one of these links, what they don't give me is any information about seasonality. For example, are tropicbirds resident, or do they only come near shore while nesting?

If anybody out there has stayed on the islands, I would love to hear about how that went, too.

One of the chief draws about these islands, paradoxically, is that a great many Canadians fly there to "get away from it all" |^| - which means cheap charter airfares that even I can afford. I am thinking of getting away from all of them by hopping over to Saba, which has no beaches. I know it doesn't have a great many species, but it's a fantastic-looking place!

Thanks in advance,
Peter C.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Hi Peter,
Raffaele in the field guide states that White-tailed T-birds nest from March and Red-tails earlier, and red-tailed Ts may stay around their nesting area all year. I have in Dominica seen and heard that White-tails here arrive November-December. Wauer described seeing red-tails at Saba, but did not give a date for his visit.

Isurus probably has a better knowledge of the northern Lesser Antilles birdlife, but as you probably read elsewhere, there is a chance of some wintering NA warblers in St Martin, and some ducks and shorebirds should be possible around the salt ponds at the same place.

Niels
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Thanks Niels,

Since I wrote that first post, I found (with some difficulty) a checklist, with status information, by Martha Walsh-McGehee. This is very good, since it separates residents/visiting breeders/migrants/vagrants. Doesn't give dates, though, so I'll see about finding Wauer's book, if possible.

However, if you've got your tropicbirds showing up in December, that's a good sign for me; you're very close (I'm using Canadian standards of distance, remember!) to the area I'm talking about.

As for NA warblers, well, don't get me wrong, they're wonderful; but I have no shortage of those every May (in all their considerable glory) - garden birds, or at least, across-the-street-in-the-local-park birds :t:. For this trip, I'd trade 20 spp. of those for one Bridled Quail-dove - a species that's in some difficulty, I am given to understand.

Cheers,
Peter C.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Luck always play a role I suspect, but just to illustrate: I visited Grand Etang in Guadeloupe a couple of years back. I had one certain Bridled Quail-Dove and 4-5 other birds that most likely also was this species. I suspect that if I went back I might not see a single one ;)

As I understand it, there is only a single record of this one for St Martin, so Saba is where you have to hope for your luck. In St Martin, the saltponds still should have a couple of species you dont get in Canada.

Niels
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Luck always play a role I suspect, but just to illustrate: I visited Grand Etang in Guadeloupe a couple of years back. I had one certain Bridled Quail-Dove and 4-5 other birds that most likely also was this species. I suspect that if I went back I might not see a single one ;)

As I understand it, there is only a single record of this one for St Martin, so Saba is where you have to hope for your luck.
Oh, yes, luck - or the lack thereof - is a big part of the birding experience. However, Saba, with its relative lack of development, is a refuge for this species, from what I've been able to pick up. So, more likely there than most places.

In St Martin, the saltponds still should have a couple of species you don't get in Canada. Niels
No doubt, that's a good tip - I'm looking forward to that! Maybe I'll finally get that *bleeping* pintail!

Peter C.
 

UtahnBirder

Well-known member
I have been to the ABCs before, and I saw quite a few new birds. Most are easy to ID. There are some very friendly Brown Pelicans (got to touch one!), and there is a parrot in Bonaire that can be seen nowhere else in the world. (Yellow-Shouldered Parrot)
 

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