Lesser Antilles of East Caribbean March 2024

Published by Greg Roberts (friarbird.roberts AT gmail.com)

Participants: Greg Roberts


We boarded our chip, the Enchanted Princess, in Fort Lauderdale for an 11-day cruise through the Lesser Antilles/East Caribbean. The schedule gave options for the highest number of potential bird specialties and endemics in that time-frame to be seen ashore during full day port calls, as well as seabirds. I’d previously birded the Greater Antilles so was focused on East Caribbean targets. The itinerary included the independent states of Antigua & Barbuda, St Lucia and Dominica; and the island territories of Martinique (France), St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Grand Turk (the UK’s Turks and Caicos).

March 17 – Depart Fort Lauderdale 3pm

March 18 & March 19 – At sea

March 20 – Arrive port of St John’s, Antigua at 9am. Limited birding around the town and a small wetland behind the cruise terminal. Depart 6pm

March 21 – Arrive port of Fort-de-France, Martinique at 8am. Hired taxi for the half-hour drive to the island’s botanic gardens, Jardin de Balata, returning to the ship at lunchtime. Depart 6pm

March 22 – Arrive port of Castries, St Lucia at 8am. Met by prearranged guide Vision for a full day’s birding. Morning visit to dry forest in the Preslin area of north-east St Lucia to target White-breasted Thrasher. Then rainforest birding late morning-afternoon the Des Cartiers Rainforest Trail and along the road to the forest. Depart 6pm

March 23 – Arrive port of Roseau, Dominica, at 7am. Met by prearranged guide Ricardo for a full day’s birding. Rainforest in Syndicate Nature Trail in Morne Diablotin National Park and along access roads. Depart 4pm

March 24 – Arrive port of Charlotte Amelie on St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) at 8am. Visited Botanic Gardens, mostly sight-seeing. Depart 4pm

March 25 – Arrive port of Grand Turk at 1.30pm. Limited birding around cruise terminal. Depart 7pm

March 26 – At sea

March 27 – Return Fort Lauderdale

Species Lists

SPECIES * = lifer
The only mammal species seen was a pod of Pygmy Killer Whales seen between St Thomas and Grand Turk.
*Audubon’s Shearwater (4 at sea 40nm NW of Dominica; occasional individuals thereafter),
*Black-capped Petrel (1 seen well between St Thomas & Grand Turk: 21.34836N, 70.47093W),
Magnificent Frigatebird (widespread, common in places),
White-tailed Tropicbird (total 12 at sea), Red-billed Tropicbird (total 4 at sea),
Brown Booby (common), Great Black-backed Gull (1 Antigua), Laughing Gull,
Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern,
Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Reddish Egret, Tricoloured Heron,
Great Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (1 Antigua),
Green (Striated) Heron, Lesser Yellowlegs, Grey Plover, Common Moorhen,
American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon (1 Dominica),
Broad-winged Hawk (several individuals of different subsp Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia),
White-crowned Pigeon (common Antigua), Zenaida Dove (common and widespread),
White-winged Dove (a few St Thomas), Rock Dove,
Eurasian Collared-Dove (locally common), Scaly-naped Pigeon (locally common),
Brown-throated Parakeet (common St Thomas),
*St Lucia Parrot (small numbers St Lucia along road and walking trail),
*Imperial Parrot (1 heard & 3 seen from Dominica rainforest lookouts),
*Red-necked Parrot (quite common – about 25 Dominica along road and forest trails),
Antillean Crested Hummingbird (common and widespread – seen previously Peurto Rico),
Green-throated Carib (uncommon and widespread – seen previously Puerto Rico),
*Purple-throated Carib (locally common upland rainforest Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia),
*Blue-headed Hummingbird (1 Martinique; 2 Dominica),
*Lesser Antillean Swift (small numbers Dominica roadside and forest lookouts),
Mangrove Cuckoo (1 Dominica), Smooth-billed Ani (small numbers Dominica),
*Caribbean Martin (2 Antigua about cruise terminal; 4-5 Dominica en route to rainforest),
Yellow Warbler (2 Antigua), Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-whiskered Vireo (widespread),
*St Lucia Warbler (small numbers St Lucia dry scrub & rainforest),
*Plumbeous Warbler (a few Dominica rainforest),
House Wren (distinctive subsp individuals Dominica, St Lucia), White-eyed Vireo (1 Grand Turk),
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (common Grand Turk),
Bananaquit (birds of various island subspecies common and ubiquitous),
*Lesser Antillean Euphonia (1 seen St Lucia rainforest, others heard),
Grey Kingbird (common and widespread),
*Lesser Antillean Flycatcher (small numbers Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia),
Caribbean Elaenia (a few of different subsp Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia – seen previously),
Lesser Antillean Pewee (see previously Peurto Rico; small numbers of different subsp Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia),
*Grey Trembler (a few Martinique, St Lucia dry forest),
*Brown Trembler (2 Dominica rainforest),
Rufous-throated Solitaire (individuals of Dominica & St Lucia subsp seen, others heard),
*Scaly-breasted Thrasher (small numbers Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia),
Pearly-eyed Thrasher (common and widespread),
*White-breasted Thrasher (2 in Preslin area scrub a trip highlight),
Spectacled (Bare-eyed) Thrush (2 Martinique),
*Martinique Oriole (1 Martinique),
*St Lucia Oriole (2 St Lucia rainforest, 1 heard dry forest),
Carib Crackle (common and widespread),
Black-faced Grassquit (common and widespread),
*Lesser Antillean Saltator (1 each on Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia),
*Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (common all islands except St Thomas and Grand Turk where absent),
*St Lucia Black Finch (1 St Lucia rainforest).
76 species – 22 lifers