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THE LESSER ANTILLES

Friday 2nd June - Thursday 22nd June 2017

Mark Van Beirs

Bridled Quail-Dove (Mark Van Beirs)

Bridled Quail-Dove (Mark Van Beirs)

Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Barbados and Grenada were the ten islands we visited on our recent Lesser Antilles tour. Some are independent countries in their own right, while others are Overseas Territories. All these islands exude a quite different flavour, as some are rich and well developed and some are obviously quite poor with pothole-riddled roads and limited infrastructure. We all expected a sunny Caribbean Islands holiday, but the weather was definitely not on our side this time. It was usually overcast and windy, and we lost quite a bit of birding time due to excessive rain, especially on Dominica, Santa Lucia and Saint Vincent. The many internal flights all went smoothly thanks to the local airline LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport, but often transcribed as ‘Leave Island Any Time’) doing a very good job. We had to be a bit patient at one or two car rental offices, but the Caribbean has its own notion of time… We recorded all of the endemics, but sadly, the Whistling Warbler of Saint Vincent refused to show in the short time we had between squalls there. Bridled Quail-Dove, Blue-headed Hummingbird, Guadeloupe Woodpecker, Red-necked and Saint Vincent Amazons, Brown and Grey Tremblers, Forest Thrush and Plumbeous Warbler were some of the more memorable highlights as they performed so very well. Our fantastic experience with three outstanding Great Sperm Whales at close range and a playful pod of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins on a boat trip off Dominica was truly breath-taking.

Ruby Topaz (Mark Van Beirs)

Ruby Topaz (Mark Van Beirs)