Birding in the Bahamas
The Bahamian island of Abaco is a birder’s paradise. With hundreds of miles of coastline, thousands of acres of mangrove wetland, vast swathes of pine forest and a wide variety of hardwood coppice, it is host to many dozens of resident and migrant bird species, including several that are unique to the Bahamas.
The Delphi Club is a small, luxury hotel set in the wilds of south Abaco, with almost no neighbors for many miles around. Surrounded on three sides by dense coppice and located more than a mile from the nearest paved road, it overlooks a beautiful and completely unspoilt Atlantic beach. Nearby are light canopy pine forests and pristine mangrove swamps sustained by the rich limestone geology.
The 8-bedroom hotel attracts an international clientele of fly-fishermen and nature lovers. Many are enthusiastic birders and the list of species seen in and around the hotel or within a few miles distance has reached well over 100 in just three years. The Club has built up a top-quality photographic database of many of the species, an enterprise in which guests have participated with great enthusiasm and talent. Some examples are shown on this page.
Among the species or sub-species unique to the islands are the Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird, the Bahama Swallow, the Bahama Parrot, the Bahama Mockingbird, the White-cheeked Pintail, and the Bahama Yellowthroat. The National Park where, uniquely, the Bahama parrots nest underground is only a few miles to the south of the Club and the gardens around the hotel are very bird-friendly, with many feeding stations.
The pine forests of Abaco are also a winter home of the very rare Kirtland’s Warbler.
The Club is now offering luxury birding packages for 4 or 7 nights, led by expert guides. Based on groups of four people, these bird-watching vacations are run in the spring and fall in order to maximize sightings of migrant species. The daily tours take in all the main avian habitats while also allowing time for relaxation and exploration of the many other charms of Abaco.
4-night packages $2,595
7-night packages $3,795 (with one day of rest)
The prices, which are per person sharing a bedroom, include luxury bedrooms, all meals (the hotel is noted for its excellent food), government hotel taxes, local airport transfers and daily guided birding tours. The only extras are beverages and discretionary gratuities. Single occupancy of rooms is available for an extra $200 per night.
The hotel, although built in the style of an old colonial plantation house, has all modern amenities including a heated swimming pool, tropical gardens, air conditioning, free wi-fi and computer facilities, an excellent wine cellar, an well-stocked honesty bar, an eclectic library and a beautiful Great Room where guests relax and dine. There are elevated viewing verandahs on all sides of the hotel which readily lend themselves to good bird-watching and photography.
For a comprehensive list of birds seen on Abaco (courtesy of Avibase) click HERE.
Photography by Craig Nash from Northern Ireland www.peregrinesbirdblog.blogspot.com.