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PRICKLY PEAR EAST

Prickly Pear Beach View

Prickly Pear cay is a privately owned island and one of Anguilla's Important Bird Areas (IBA).  Located just 5 miles north of the main island, it is best known as the site of two fun beach restaurants.  Both private and charter boats frequent this spot daily to play on its beautiful beach and snorkel the reefs and many a famous person has graced its pure white sand.

The largest interaction with birds is often through the tame Bananaquits and Yellow Warblers that are happy to eat sugar out of your hand.  These birds have been conditioned by the restaurant owners who feed them sugar and rice every day.  Many a photograph has been taken with these gregarious birds delighting guests while they await a scrumptious meal.

 

Yellow Warbler                                                                             Bananaquit

If you explore beyond the beach you will find the nesting habitat of a number of seabirds.  Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies, Bridled Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Red-billed Tropicbirds all nest on this 5 acre scrub island.

Brown Booby Chick

There is also a small pond right behind the beach restaurant area with small groups of shorebirds like Black-necked Stilts

 

Red-billed Tropicbird in Flight

 

Red-billed Tropicbird Nesting Under Rock

Immature Brown Booby

Immature and Adult Brown Boobies on Coastal Ledge

 

 

Most species like this Bridled Tern show above, lay their eggs on the ground without protection, leaving them vulnerable to invasive species like rats.  As a visitor to the island, it is important to keep a safe distance from the colonies to limit the stress on the birds and their developing young.

 

 

Brown Noddies like the one shown to the left, often place their nests in a platform on trees just above the ground.

Laughing Gulls are present during the summer months when they are in their peak breeding periods.