Welcome to Birdquest

THE LESSER ANTILLES

Friday 5th June - Thursday 25th June 2015

Pete Morris

'Lesser Antillean' Barn Owls once again showed superbly (Pete Morris)

'Lesser Antillean' Barn Owls once again showed superbly (Pete Morris)

It was a good few years since our last tour to the Lesser Antilles, but demand had built and we set off this summer with a full group, full of anticipation. But this was no ordinary Caribbean holiday! During the first couple of weeks we visited no fewer than ten islands (Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada and Barbados), a logistical feat of some magnitude. Especially so when one considers that this was with the help of the local airline LIAT. We soon found out why the islanders refer to LIAT as ‘Leave Island Any Time’ and ‘Luggage in Another Terminal’ to name but two of the many funny phrases coined from LIAT. And we didn’t escape either! The most memorable experience was some of the group being taken from Antigua, north to St Martin in the Netherlands Antilles, before being flown back the same way and on to Dominica to meet the rest of us!! But having said that, we did make it round and saw all of the endemics and potential splits. It’s always strange birding on islands with so few targets, but with so much to pack-in, we were never really short of things to do. All of the endemics showed well and there were some cracking highlights, including the four smart endemic amazons, the rare Grenada Dove, the superb Lesser Antillean Barn Owl and the unique tremblers and White-breasted Thrashers to name just a few. A pelagic off Dominica was also of note for the amazing encounter we had with Pygmy Killer Whales. At the end of the Lesser Antilles adventure we enjoyed a few days on Trinidad. Once again the specialities obliged. We enjoyed great views of Trinidad Piping-Guan and Trinidad Motmot, and other goodies included amazing Oilbirds, stunning Tufted Coquettes, displaying White-bearded and Golden-headed Manakins, incredible Bearded Bellbirds and a wonderful cruise around the Caroni Swamp where Green-throated Mango and American Pygmy Kingfisher were bonuses before the sunset spectacle where we watched unbelievably red Scarlet Ibises coming to roost as we sipped rum punch! The brilliant Leatherback Turtles and displaying Pinnated Bitterns are also worthy of a mention!

Trinidad Piping Guan was one of the stars on Trinidad (Pete Morris)

Trinidad Piping Guan was one of the stars on Trinidad (Pete Morris)