Places to Birdwatch

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Click for a key listing of the locations from west to east.

Places to Birdwatch

Listed below are some of the best birding locations on the island, moving from West to East:

Once home to the Western Atlantic Fleet (1811-1951), Dockyard is now a flourishing tourist centre. The breakwaters provide the best birding sites, particularly the southern one.  In the winter months, gulls, terns, turnstones and plovers may be seen here.

These two Audubon reserves both contain mangrove-fringed ponds. Pied-billed Grebes are common as well as a variety of wildfowl, herons and visiting Belted Kingfisher. The greatest variety of birds is during the winter months. The eastern reserve has an interpretive trail and bird hide. The western reserve has visual access only.

This public park can be one of the best birding sites in Bermuda with spectacular views of Ely’s Harbour and the Great Sound. Higher ground attracts waves of migrants following bad weather in the fall.   Warblers are often found in the casuarina and olive trees at this time.  They favor the cedars in the spring.   Resident bluebirds abound. Regular visitors include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole and American Robin.

This national park has 38 acres of rural countryside with mixed woodland, arable farmland and windswept coastal slopes. In the fall the overgrown fields are a good place to look for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole.  Bobolink may arrive in the hundreds.  Woodlands may hold a variety of warbler species. Osprey, Merlin and American Kestrel may be seen flying over the coastal hillsides.

This coastal hillside reserve jointly owned by Audubon and the Bermuda National Trust has an interpretive trail and an observation platform with stunning views over the Little Sound.  An ideal place to see some of Bermuda’s local birds and native flora.

Visual access along Port Royal Golf Course Road and Pompano Road

A stunning public golf course, this area has become a birding hotspot with an impressive array of migrants in the fall. The ponds contain a large variety of waterfowl from the common Blue-winged Teal to the very uncommon Black-bellied Whistling Duck.  You never know what you will find here. The area also supports a huge array of warblers in the fall. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have left their mark on many of the trees.

A small public park with a spectacular coastal vista that is good to check for fall migrants in September and October. Warblers dominate but you may also find a cuckoo, flycatcher or tanager. Walk to the top of the hill and visit the 19th century Whale Bay Fort.

This lovely Audubon nature reserve is a good place for birdwatching. The slightly brackish pond is a magnet for wildfowl, never a great many but a variety of species, including teal, ducks, herons and egrets. Moorhens, American Coot and Pied-billed Grebes have all been known to breed here. Northern Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat are found around the pond while the woodland nearly always hosts an Ovenbird and the less common warbler species from time to time.  A woodland trail, interpretive signage and bird hide is planned for 2015.

This National Trust reserve contains a large brackish pond surrounded by allspice woodland, a cattail marsh and arable fields.  The pond is a haven for resident and migratory waterfowl and can be an excellent spot for early fall shorebirds, particularly Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers.  Herons, egrets and Belted Kingfisher are often seen here.  The fields may be home to Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Kingbird and migrant sparrows.

South Shore National Park, one of the most scenic stretches of coastline in Bermuda, extends from Warwick Long Bay to Horseshoe Bay.   Although the variety of birds is not great, on the beaches you may find Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling and maybe a Piping Plover.  Longtails fly along the cliffs during the summer months.   Warwick Long Bay is a good spot to look for migrating pelagic birds with a spotting scope. In the dunes, check the thickets of tamarisk and tassel plants for warblers.

Paget Marsh is the least disturbed of Bermuda’s original peat marshes. Totalling over 20 acres, it is jointly owned by Audubon and the Bermuda National Trust.  A boardwalk with an interpretive trail makes this an easily accessible reserve for visitors. The small ponds should be approached slowly to check for roosting herons and bitterns. It is one of the best places to see Sora as well as the regular American Coot and Common Gallinule. The boardwalk leads through a variety of habitats including red mangrove and original Bermuda Cedar/Palmetto ‘hammock’ forest.

Seabirds are attracted to Hamilton Harbour and Albuoy’s Point Park offers a comfortable vantage point with benches. Consider a ferry ride around the harbour or to Dockyard to view a greater area.  Gulls are seen from fall to spring and common species include Ringed-billed, Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great  Black-backed.  Ruddy Turnstones are also common on the bulkhead shoreline.  In the summer Longtails can be seen flying along the opposite hilly shore.  In the park you may find Mallards, but pay attention as Wood Ducks commonly join them in the winter.

This public park containing a collection of endemic, native and introduced trees offers a nice central location for birding. Fall migrant warblers are common in the trees of the open areas.  Look for the bluebirds, which are also quite common in the park, and you will find warblers nearby.  Thrushes may be found along the paths through the wooded slopes and thickets.  Other species you may see include Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Cedar Waxwings and Baltimore Oriole.

This public park consists of gardens, woodland, agricultural buildings, greenhouses and horticultural collections.  It is also home to the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art and Homer’s Café.  A good location to see the local landbirds including Mourning Dove and Common Ground-Dove, White-eyed Vireo, Grey Catbird, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal and European Goldfinch.  Check the Olive trees for wintering warblers and the West Indian Almonds for Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.

Visual access from Jubilee Road and Vesey Street

Much of Devonshire Marsh is owned by the Audubon Society and Bermuda National Trust, and includes Watlington Reserve, Winifred Gibbons Nature Reserve, Freer Cox Nature Reserve and Firefly Reserve. The western side of the marsh basin can be viewed from Jubilee Road and includes extensive wet grazing pasture, providing ideal habitat for a diversity of bird species, especially when the land floods during fall and winter. Barn Owls and bat species may be seen here at dusk in the fall months. The eastern part of the marsh is best viewed from Vesey Street, with some access possible along drainage ditches.  Egrets, herons, bitterns and teals may all be seen. Yellow-rumped warblers are common in the myrtle bushes.

Perhaps the best birdwatching location in Bermuda, Spittal Pond combines a large National Park with a Bermuda National Trust nature reserve. The variety of habitats makes the area attractive to many species of birds:  cliff coastline, brackish and fresh water ponds, seasonal mudflat, woodland and dairy farm.  Species resident on the pond include Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Mallard and Common Moorhen.  In the woodlands, resident species include Mourning Dove, Common Ground Dove, Great Kiskadee, Grey Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, Northern Cardinal and European Goldfinch.

Visual access along Judkin Lane off Somersall Road

This Bermuda National Trust nature reserve provides woodland habitat to fall migrant thrushes and warblers.  The mangroves around the lake are a good place to look for Northern Waterthrush.   On the lake you might find waterfowl such as Pied-billed Grebes, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser.

This fascinating area, of which part is National Park and the rest is owned by the Walsingham Trust and Bermuda National Trust, is locally known as “Tom Moore’s jungle”.  It includes extensive red mangroves, drowned sinkholes, caves, coastland and mixed woodland.  This varied habitat can be home to many species of warbler, shorebirds, and common landbirds.

Visual access from Kindley Field Road

Extensive scrubland, grassland and shoreline provide attractive habitat for a variety of birds.  Scan through the fence across the grass and tarmac.  Some birds are very close but for others a spotting scope or telescope would be necessary.  The most common winter shorebirds include Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Whimbrel and Ruddy Turnstone.  Common fall shorebirds include Sandpipers - Buff-breasted, Upland, Least, Pectoral; Plovers -American Golden, Semipalmated; Yellowlegs –Greater, Lesser; Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitcher.

Visual access from Kindley Fields

Scan through the fence at the end of the road by the ball fields for birds found at Point #1.  Check the mangroves in front of aircraft hangar for Palm Warbler, Northern Waterthrush and Savannah Sparrow.

Visual access along Southside Road

Eastern Bluebirds perch on the fence and are often joined by Palm Warblers and Savannah Sparrow.  Look across the runways and in the grassy areas for American Golden Plover, Killdeer, Horned Lark or Snow Buntings.  Scan up the runways for birds of prey:  American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harrier and Osprey.    Watch the runways when planes arrive or depart as they will often flush birds that are hidden from view on the ground.

The closure of the U.S. Air Force base and NASA tracking station here in the 1990s returned this land to the Bermuda Government.  Woodland trails that begin opposite Clearwater beach and follow the shoreline allow you to find migrant warblers and resident land birds.   A small boardwalk overlooks a tidal pond that can attract shorebirds and herons. Go through the gate to the southern part of the reserve, which boasts some of the finest beaches in Bermuda where you can check for Piping Plover, Sanderling and other shorebirds.

Follow the path from the information centre/observation tower to the very end of the point (in a sheltered cove). This is the best location in Bermuda to see Cahows (Bermuda Petrel) especially in November in the late afternoon when birds are gathering off-shore. From February to June there is also the opportunity to look for shearwater, storm-petrels, jaegers and terns. A telescope is recommended.

This Audubon reserve was restored from a former garbage dump. The mangrove- fringed Bartram’s Pond attracts wildfowl and provides a roost for heron species. Don’t be surprised if you see an eel from the Sargasso Sea. The woodland trails often provide the opportunity to see warbler species.

This public park is one of the best birding locations in Bermuda especially during fall migration when you can find expected migrant species, especially warblers, and sometimes rarities along the wooded trails and coastline. Walk along the railway trail northeast to the mangrove-fringed Lover’s Lake and checked the adjacent woodland for birds.

Although there are plans to restore this golf course, it currently provides a large open area for birdlife. As the most northerly point of Bermuda, it regularly witnesses a fall-out of migrants especially warbler species but also cuckoos, tanagers, orioles and buntings, not to mention rarities. The thickets bordering the large cemetery are worth investigating. Just to the east of the golf course it is well worth checking the muddy fields of East End Dairy for shorebirds in the fall months.

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Acknowledgements:

Photos courtesy of Andrew Dobson, Paul Watson, Chris Burville, Ras Mykkal, Jennifer Gray, Rosalind Wingate, Rick Slaughter and others.

Get in Touch!

Telephone: (441) 238-8628

Email: info@audubon.bm

Website: www.audubon.bm


The Bermuda Audubon Society
P.O. Box HM 1328
Hamilton HM FX
Bermuda