At approximately 106 acres, Cove Pond is one of the largest salt ponds on Anguilla. It was once connected to Merrywing Pond to the east and Gull Pond to the southwest. The site currently consists of two distinct basins separated by the access road to the Belmond Cap Juluca Resort.
Over the years, hurricanes have inflicted damage to the pond, with Hurricane Irma in 2017 being the most recent. During Irma, the sea pushed through from Cove Bay leaving a large amount of sand in the pond and destroying much of the Sea Grape and Buttonwood that separated it from the beach. Although not aesthetically pleasing, Cove Pond continues to attract a diverse range of species throughout the year.
If plovers are on the must see species list, then Cove Pond IBA is the place to visit. Resident Killdeer, Wilson’s and Snowy Plovers are seen throughout the year, and nest during the Spring and Summer months.
Although nesting occurs on both sides of the pond, the eastern basin has the largest amount of activity. Both chicks and protective adults are easily spotted on the sand and on the shallow edge. When the sargassum is present on Cove Bay, these birds often forage on the beach.
In the Spring and Fall, visiting Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers congregate in reasonable numbers in the shallow waters along the edge of the eastern side.
April to August is a great time to see one of the site’s IBA trigger species, Least Terns, as they nest on the sand.
Common Terns may also be present in small numbers but do not nest on Cove Pond. During the Spring and Fall a number of migratory shorebirds visit both sides of the pond. The Cap Juluca causeway is often covered with sandpipers and plovers as they feed in the salt foam that forms like snow on the road.
Keep an eye out for Yellow-crowned Night Herons along the causeway in the early morning and late afternoon. From October to April, Osprey visit this site and are often seen flying overhead with Magnificent Frigatebirds.
The Green-throated Carib Hummingbird and Lesser Antillean Bullfinch are present at both basins. These Lesser Antilles Restricted Range birds are trigger species for this IBA. The Zenaida Dove, Anguilla’s National Bird, is also present along with Common Ground Doves.
The sweet sound of Yellow Warblers is always present, and with any luck a fledgling might just pop into view.
Great, Snowy and Cattle Egrets are regular visitors to Cove Pond along with Green Herons. A few Brown Pelicans may stop off to fish or rest as well.
Head west through the airport roundabout and travel approximately 5 miles on the main road. A few feet past the Sol Gas Station, make the left turn and follow the road to the end. Cove Bay is at the end and the pond is on the right. There is a sandy parking area on the left. It is best to proceed on foot around the edge of the pond closest to the beach.
To visit via the Cap Juluca causeway, proceed on the main road another half mile. The sign for the Cap Juluca road is on the left. There is a security guard station beyond the causeway that provides access to the Cap Juluca property.
Nature Explorers Anguilla offers tours to this site!
Belmond Cap Juluca guests can schedule a walking tour of Cove Pond with Nature Explorers Anguilla every Friday morning. Check with the hotel concierge for more information.