Migratory Shorebirds and Other Feathered Friends

I’ve already posted tons of photos of the shorebirds visiting St. Martin during their fall migrations, but I still have loads that I haven’t posted, so I’m going to unload a bunch of them now. To be fair, some of the birds featured here are not shorebirds and some are residents, but this post should give some idea of how amazing the birds are on St. Martin during this time of year. Most of the photos are from September, when the number of shorebirds peaked on the island.

This first set of photos is from Salines d’Orient, a salt pond that features what I think are the most extensive mud flats on the island. A variety of birds come here to fish in the shallows and extract mollusks and crustaceans from the mud flats. There are a few interesting things to see in this photo set, including a couple first-year laughing gulls, the least tern and the magnificent frigatebird doing what it does best, intimidating other birds. This is a great place to see a variety of birds year-round.

For a little change of pace, here are some photos from the beach at Grandes Cayes and the Eastern Point area. In addition to the beautiful landscape, it’s perhaps the best place to see my two favorite local birds, the American oystercatcher and American kestrel. If there are any birds on the island that are more beautiful than these two, I have yet to see them. There are also a few shots here showing how semipalmated plovers forage on floating mats of sargassum.

In the photos below from Baie de l’Embouchure, you can see the black-bellied plover wearing its non-breeding plumage in which it, of course, does not have a black belly. For this reason, some prefer to use the European common name of grey plover. There are also a few photos of the sargassum accumulations on the beach, and some examples of the mixed flocks of shorebirds that pretty much cover the area during the peak times of the migratory stopover. The flocks are largely made up of semipalmated sandpipers, short-billed dowitchers, semipalmated plovers and ruddy turnstones. A few other species, including the least sandpiper and sanderling can also be seen regularly.

Just inland at Salines d’Orient, the mix of species is a bit different. In the photos below, the number of birds is smaller, but the diversity is greater, including sandpipers, plovers, herons, terns and ducks.

Etang Chevrise, at least for the last few months, has been very popular with pelicans, who have been congregating there in the dozens. In the photos below you can also see a family of black-necked stilts, and a few iguanas that happened to be there.

The last set of photos is from the end of September in the Le Galion area, including Baie de l’Embouchure and Salines d’Orient. It features some of the same shorebirds as the other sets, as well as a couple of doves and the Lesser Antillean bullfinch. As you can see, even once the migration has passed completely, there will be plenty of birds to see on the island.

Comments are closed.