Meads Bay Pond
Located on the northwest coast of Anguilla, Meads Bay Pond IBA is a 53-acre brackish body of water lined with Buttonwood and Acacia trees. Thanks to dredging in the 1980’s, this site is the deepest of all ponds on Anguilla. Two sand spits remain from the dredging activity—one in the middle and the other at the western end. The sandbar on the western end cuts off a small section of the pond which dries out from April to September. The remainder of the pond maintains water throughout the year.
The pond is separated from Meads Bay by a paved road and an ever-increasing number of tourism properties. Meads Bay attracts a wide variety of seabirds during the year that often visit the pond.
There are two excellent viewing spots on Meads Bay Pond IBA. The first was created with the construction of Best Buy Supermarket starting in 2012. The entrance to the company’s loading dock provides clear views of a variety of species throughout the year.
In March of 2020 restoration of the village well and construction of a public viewing platform on the eastern end of the pond was completed. This community led effort, provides access to a wide variety of terrestrial and waterbird species.
Meads Bay Pond IBA is a must visit for all birders because it provides great species variety in a relatively quiet setting!
Meads Pond IBA is an excellent place to see resident White-cheeked Pintails during the entire year. As a favored breeding site for this species, you may catch a glimpse of adorable ducklings as they glide through the water closely monitored by their parents. From time to time, you may see a shy Pied-billed Grebe, popping up onto the surface.
Great and Snowy Egrets feed on an abundance of fish throughout the pond, while Cattle Egrets roost in the Buttonwoods. Green Herons are pond residents. Look for them fishing off the low-level branches. Yellow-crowned Night Herons are more commonly seen on Meads Bay but will visit the pond periodically.
Birdwatchers who want a close look at Tricolored Herons will find this IBA a good choice, as small numbers of this species can be seen here from November to April. Great Blue Herons can be seen in the foliage from time to time during the same period.
Caribbean Martins often perch on the telephone wires on the north side of the pond. Their number and length of stay have been on the increase in recent years.
Magnificent Frigatebirds soar overhead while Brown Pelicans frequently feed across the site. They often use the western sand spit to rest and preen. This spit is a popular nesting site for resident Killdeer and is an excellent feeding area for small waders.
From September to April a variety of shorebirds use the western end of the pond including Stilt Sandpipers, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Semipalmated and Least Sand Pipers, Ruddy Turnstones and Semipalmated Plovers. Look for the elusive Wilson’s Snipe along the shallow edges.
Meads Bay Pond is a popular spot for resident Black-necked Stilts throughout the year. Keep an eye out for nesting activity and their adorable but gangly chicks starting in March.
From May to August, both IBA trigger species can be seen at this site. Least Terns nest on the center sand spit while non-breeding Royal Terns roost nearby. Laughing Gulls and other tern species are also present during this period.
The viewing platform at the eastern end of the pond, allows great views of a wide variety of terrestrial species including: Zenaida, White-winged and Common Ground Doves, White-crowned Pigeons, Gray Kingbirds and Yellow Warblers. Listen for the call of the Mangrove Cuckoo in the buttonwoods nearby.
Lesser Antilles Restricted Range Species like the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Caribbean Elaenia, Green-throated Carib and Pearly-eyed Thrasher are also seen.
Common Gallinule, egrets, yellowlegs, and ducks feed around the platform at very close range.
Rarities include the Little Blue Heron, Antillean Nighthawk and Glassy Ibis. In 2019 Anguilla’s first visit by an American White Pelican was at this site.
Head southwest on The Valley Road for 8 m. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on The Valley Road heading west for 2.4 km. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Route 1 and travel 6.3 km. Turn right onto Bedneys Road and the entrance to the eastern viewing platform will be on the left. Parking is available on either side of the well.
To visit the Best Buy Loading Dock location, head south on Bedneys Road toward Route 1 for 200 m. Turn right onto Route 1 and travel about 1.4 km. Just past the supermarket on the right is a gravel area. Please do not block the cargo loading entrance.