|On shore, but never far from water, the island has seven species of heron – known locally as Gaulins. The Green, Little Blue, and Yellow-Crowned Night Herons as well as Snowy and Cattle Egrets are all resident, while other winter visitors include the Belted Kingfisher, Ruddy Turnstone and Spotted Sandpiper.
The raptors are well-represented on island as well. Circling Red-Tailed Hawks and sitting atop the palms watching out their prey, American Kestrels, are both fairly common. The small Burrowing Owl is more often heard than seen. Migratory Ospreys as well as Peregrine Falcons and Merlins are seasonal visitors.
Hummingbirds are a common but ever-enchanting sight. Sometimes, when you’re enjoying a quiet breakfast at the Hermitage Inn, for example, these little ones will dot in and out of the restaurant’s open-air design and stick around long enough to give you a special viewing. Nevis has three varieties of hummingbird: Purple- and Green-Thoated Caribs, plus the tiny green Antillean Crested Hummingbird, often seen supping from the colourful bouganvilleas. Cheeky Bananaquits and Lesser Antillean Bullfinchs are forever zipping in and out of houses scrounging crumbs and even trying to nest.
Of the flycatchers, the Grey Kingbird and Stolid are most commonly seen, with the Pea Whistler easily recognized by its distinctive call. The cooing of the Ground Doves, an almost constant refrain, is the sound-track of Nevis rural life. After dark, the mournful ‘cooa-cu-cu’ of the Zenaida or Mountain Dove, together with the tree frogs, crickets and grasshoppers, create the authentic Nevisian lullaby.
You can visit Sunrise Tours at www.nevisnaturetours.com to book a tour or venture out on your own!