An outstanding bird watching itinerary, based at luxurious Anse Chastenet Resort
St Lucia is an exciting birding destination and this is an outstanding itinerary, based at the lovely Anse Chastenet Resort, where you will have many opportunities for birdwatching all around the resort’s 600 acre estate, bordering two soft sand beaches. This is especially true in the Anse Mamin plantation part of the estate, where the guides are also trained in birdwatching. Not only do you get a World Heritage Site anchored by the twin peaks on land, the resort’s two crystal-clear bays are part of a designated marine reserve protecting miles of colourful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.
On this relaxed tour you will have plenty of opportunity to look for St Lucia’s endemic birds, St Lucia Parrot, St Lucia Oriole, St Lucia Black Finch, St Lucia Warbler and St Lucia Pewee, as well as countless other Antillean specialities and near endemics such as St. Lucia Nightjar, Antillean Bullfinch, Purple-throated Carib, Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, White-breasted Thrasher, Scaly-breasted Thrasher, Pearly-eyed Thrasher, Gray Trembler, Antillean Euphonia, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher and Lesser Antillean Saltator.
This is not a group tour and therefore can be tailor-made to exactly suit your requirements. If you would prefer to stay at another hotel, have more or less free time or combine this tour with a stay on another island – we can happily arrange this for you.
Arrive in St Lucia and transfer to Anse Chastenet Resort, located near the Pitons on St Lucia’s south west coast, where the foliage and the flowers, the perfumes and the peaks, the sea and the bird song form an integral part of your holiday experience.
A free day to relax, acclimatize and explore the beautiful surroundings. Birds are everywhere and 4 of the 5 endemic species can be found in the hotel’s grounds. You could visit nearby Anse Mamim, where Broad-winged Hawks and American Kestrels may soar overhead and the woodland is home to Spectacled Thrushes, vireos, St Lucia Warblers, and St Lucia Peewees. The stream running through the woods is a good spot to look for Spotted Sandpipers, Blue and Green Herons.
The first of three included guided tours is to the East Coast, the Quilesse Reserve and the Vieux Fort wetlands, which is a long full day tour departing before 6.00 am. The first stop is about an hour and a half drive away from the hotel at the coastal dry forest to look for the White-breasted Thrasher and other Lesser Antillean endemics and about an hour will be spent here.
You will then proceed to the Quilesse Forest, which includes the Descartiers trail, where almost all the St. Lucia endemics can be found, including the parrot and black finch and you can also find the Rufus-throated Solitaire, the Antillean Euphonia etc. in this area. The Vieux Fort Wetlands is an area of approximately 6 acres that attracts many species of ducks, herons, sandpipers, plovers, egrets, rails and other shore birds and waterfowl, several of these species being seasonal migrants.
Today you will go on the Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, which is a magical and unforgettable experience. To date, in excess of 25 varieties of these magnificent mammals have been spotted in St Lucia’s waters. The most frequently sighted of the whales are the, Sperm (45ft), the Pilot (20ft) and the Humpback (60ft). Occasionally, there are sightings of Orcas (Killer Whale 30ft) and there are large pods of Dolphin, sometimes 150 at a time. They dazzle and hypnotize with their spectacular and lively antics. The most frequently sighted are the Spotted, Common, Fraser, Striped and Spinners, which can be seen leaping playfully several yards into the air, whilst spinning up to seven times. Using hydrophone enables us to hear the Whales and Dolphins communicating by clicks, squeals, grunts and screams. Harmonious wailing sounds, which can be heard for several miles, emanate from the Humpback Whale, also known as the Singing Whale. This tour includes site-seeing along the western coastline and will allow you to experience sea birds along the way.
Your second guided birding tour will be to the Soufriere Des Bott Trail, which leads through the island’s central Rain Forest belt and is the home to a wide variety of bird species. The area is now strictly geared to conservation and is littered with cocoa and nutmeg trees, breadfruit, mangoes and a few citrus trees, from previous cultivations. The reforestation was enhanced with the fast growing Blue Mahaut, as well as Mahogany and the Flaming Immortelle tree. Other tree species include the l’Encens (Incense) and Poix Dioux – a delicacy for the St. Lucia parrot, whose numbers now stand at a healthy 800 scattered throughout the six forest ranges. This tour offers a close up view of the Pitons and there will also be an opportunity to visit the town of Soufriere, as well as the Botanical Gardens and Volcano if there is time. The Soufriere Volcano, is also famously known as the Sulphur Springs and the “world’s only drive-in volcano”. The road runs right up to and through the crater of the Soufriere Volcano, which is now dormant but scientists have predicted that the volcano could erupt again in around 100 years. A tour of its bubbly, steamy sulphur springs offers a direct and fascinating lesson in the violent geology of the Caribbean Rim.
This is a free day to relax and enjoy the lovely beach and surroundings. The hotel is situated in the heart of the St. Lucia marine reserves and virtually surrounded by most of the island’s coral reefs, excellent not only for scuba diving but also for snorkelling, which can be enjoyed right off the Anse Chastanet beach. The reef starts just 10 yards beyond the water’s edge and its remarkable ecosystem offers an amazing profusion of unusual tropical marine life in shallow, calm and clear water. Anse Chastanet Reef is home to more than 150 different species of fish and guests can obtain snorkel equipment on complimentary basis from the scuba centre at the south end of the beach. Snorkelling can be enjoyed unsupervised at the south and north end of the bay and guided boat snorkel trips are offered to other nearby reefs at a small charge. The Anse Chastanet watersports center located at the north end of Anse Chastanet beach also offers guests on a complimentary basis windsurfs,sunfish sailing boats and kayaks.
Today there will be a choice of two possible tours to the North East Coast.
The first option is an early morning start at 6.00 am, which does not include searching for the nightjar. This tour will return to your hotel at about 3:00 pm.
Both tours to the North East coast will give the opportunity to visit a small wetland to see the roosting and nesting egrets and herons including the black crown and yellow crown night heron within very close distance at Seraphine Point near the cruise ship terminal and the Castries Harbour.
From Seraphine the tour moves to the NE via the beautiful community of Babonneau, an agrarian community which is gradually incorporating tourism and other sectors in the economic development of the community. Then from the Des Barras Ridge you will get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Anse beach, the longest and most pristine beach on the island. This is a nesting ground for turtles, including the Leatherback Turtles. We gradually make our way down the very bumpy road, picking up many endemic and speciality birds, including and not limited to the House Wren (Saint Lucia Race), Bridal Quail Dove, White-breasted Thrasher etc. We also have the opportunity to mop up other endemics, such as the Oriole, Black Finch and other near endemics missed on other tours. We finally end the NE tour with a visit to this wetlands area to look for the Mask Duck. It would be a shame to visit Grand Anse and not to walk on this beautiful, remote and pristine beach and for this reason, we will walk the beach, where we will also have the opportunity to pick up some pelagic and coastal birds.
The tour will then continue on to Pigeon Island, driving through many communities in the North of the island including Caye Manje where the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground and the water treatment ponds are located, where there will be a brief stop to check for waders and other visitors. We drive through the Town of Gros Islet and along the beach where fishermen pull in their daily catch, looking to spot Royal, Sandwich and other Terns along the way. The Pigeon Island Cross-way is our final stop, to look for the Brown, Mask and Red-footed Booby and other sea birds roosting on a perch at about 300 metres on the Atlantic Ocean side of Pigeon island. Here the tour ends and we will drive back to your hotel.
The second option is an afternoon tour that is designed to facilitate the search for the Rufus Nightjar. This tour is only available from March to June, during the active period of this species. This tour starts at a pick-up time of around 12:30 pm and you will then return to your hotel at about 10:00 pm. You will either take a pack dinner with you or in some cases, we can try to get you back to your hotel at about 9:00 pm, so that you can have dinner at your hotel. An early lunch can be taken at the hotel before departure. This option will remain in the Grand Anse area until sundown, when we will start searching for the illusive nightjar once the bird begins calling.
Your last day in St Lucia may be spent relaxing on the beach or doing some private birding, watching the numerous hummingbirds and other species in your hotel’s lovely tropical gardens, before departing for the airport in the after-noon for your flight on to another island or back to the UK.
Arrive back to the UK.
Please note that this itinerary is just a suggestion and may change without prior notice due to circumstances such as weather, alterations in habitat or other conditions.