Sombrero, or Hat Island as it is often called, is a flat island approximately 95 acres in size and about 40 miles from the main island. Sombrero has a long history of phosphate mining (also referred to as “Guano mining”) that has left the surface marred with craters up to 10 meters deep.
Sombrero was designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) in 2008 by Birdlife International for a number of breeding seabird colonies and an endemic ground lizard. Like most of Anguilla’s offshore cays, both Masked and Brown Boobies can be seen feeding and breeding in large numbers on Sombrero. As you walk across the island, nests with eggs and young chicks in various stages of development litter the ground.
During the summer months Bridled Terns like the one in the photograph below, have also been known to nest on Sombrero, and their numbers are considered of global importance. They look very much like the Sooty Tern that is known to nest on Dog Island.
The island is also the home of a lighthouse that marks the shipping lane between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea known as the Anegada Passage. On January 1, 1868, the first light glowed from the Sombrero Lighthouse. Over the years, improvements and replacements were made to the structure to deal with advancements in technology and damage from hurricanes. The lighthouse and related buildings were manned until 2002 when the structure was replaced by an automated tower.
The endemic Sombrero Ground Lizard is found all over the island and is black in color with a long snout.