West End Pond is a 41-acre privately owned brackish water wetland that is one of Anguilla’s important bird areas (IBAs). It is split into two sections by an access road or causeway that provides excellent viewing of a variety of species as they feed, nest, and bathe close by.
The western side of the wetland is on the right side as you approach and waders are often seen in the shallow waters or mudflats close to the road. Access to the remainder of the western side is limited due to a resort development. On the eastern side, visitors may easily see species from their vehicle or by walking along the edge of the causeway. Rock walls remain from past salt production and provide breeding habitat for species such as the Black-necked Stilt. While the center of this wetland generally maintains a good amount of water and attracts waterfowl, the mudflats close to the road often dry out during periods of low rain. They provide excellent habitat for plovers and sandpipers during the spring and fall migrations.
The causeway turns into a sand road with tourism developments on the beach side at Shoal Bay West. This close proximity to the sea entices a number of tern species in the early morning and late afternoon as they roost on the rock walls for most of the year. In the summer months, gulls are also attracted to this wetland and Least Terns breed here.
Barn Swallows and Caribbean Martins often perch on the telephone lines around this wetland, while many of Anguilla’s five Lesser Antilles Restricted Range species can be found in the Buttonwood Mangrove. Keep an eye out for American Kestrels, Gray Kingbirds, and the haunting sound of the Mangrove Cuckoo.
Late afternoon is an excellent time to visit this wetland when brine flies and other insects are plentiful. Photographers will find the light perfect at this time of day.
Visiting: From the airport roundabout, take the main road heading west. Travel on the road straight to the west end of the island, approximately eight miles. The West End Apartments are on the right, and the pond will be on the left as you enter the causeway.
Additional Information: Once the site of salt production, this privately owned wetland has no protections in place. The mangrove along the edge of the road is routinely trimmed or entirely removed for tourism.