Little Cayman offers bountiful bird-watching, with more than 200 indigenous and migrant species on vibrant display, including red-footed boobies, frigate birds, and West Indian whistling ducks. Unspoiled wetland blankets more than 40% of the island, and elevated viewing platforms (carefully crafted from local wood to blend harmoniously with the environment) permit undisturbed observation—but then, it's hard to find an area that doesn't host flocks of warblers and waterfowl. Brochures with maps are available at the hotels for self-guided bird-watching tours.
Best Bird-Watching Sites
Several spots are noteworthy for the variety of bird life. The premier spot is the Booby Pond Nature Reserve.
The splendid wetland Grape Tree Ponds, on the North Side, is great for observing West Indian whistling ducks and has some lovely shore walks.
Jackson's Pond, off the north coast near Jackson's Point, is a vast mangrove-fringed body of water offering excellent viewing of herons, ducks, rails, stilt, plovers, and sandpipers.
There's more than just fishing at Tarpon Lake, off Guy Banks Road. A long deck extends into the writhing tangle of red mangrove roots, where white herons, ospreys, and whistling ducks dive-bomb for fiddler crabs and mosquito fish skittering through the brackish water alongside sun-silvered pirouetting tarpon.
The West End Lighthouse at West End Point, off Mahogany Bay, offers magnificent sunset views and serves as arrivals check-in for migratory shorebirds.
The Westerly Ponds, shallow wading pools in the ironshore by Preston Bay, are lined by low buttonwood trees and herbaceous vegetation where killdeer, willet, black-necked stilt, and American coot perform an aerial ballet.
National Trust. The National Trust for the Cayman Islands was established in 1987 with the purpose of preserving natural environments and places of historic significance for present and future generations of the Cayman Islands. Little Cayman. www.itsyourstoexplore.com, www.nationaltrust.org.ky.
Booby Pond Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to 20,000 red-footed boobies (the Western Hemisphere's largest colony) and Cayman's only breeding colony of magnificent frigate (man-of-war) birds. Other sightings include the near-threatened West Indian whistling duck and vitelline warbler. The RAMSAR Convention, an international treaty for wetland conservation, designated the reserve a wetland of global significance. Near the airport, the sanctuary also has a gift shop and reading library. Next to National Trust, Blossom Village, Little Cayman.