Yet another long, thin island, Long Island sports one road running the length of the 113 km island. Again, the shallow water lies on the west side and the ocean is to the east.
Endemics: Bahama Woodstar
Bahamian specialties: White-cheeked Pintail, Zenaida Dove, Bahama Mockingbird, Thick-billed Vireo, Bananaquit, Western Spindalis, Black-faced Grassquit, West Indian Whistling-Duck, and Greater Antillean Bullfinch
Starting at the north end, Hog Cay is a private island near Stella Maris where the owners feed the West Indian Whistling-Ducks daily. Try to find a good vantage point near dusk to watch these birds flying over to the island. Here is a healthy breeding population even though they are artificially fed. West Indian Whistling-Ducks inhabit remote mangrove wetlands areas, and are difficult to see due to the fact that they are nocturnal, virtually silent, and naturally secretive.
Explore the island checking side roads and ponds and also both shores for shorebirds. Near Deadman’s Cay is Salt Pond lagoon, a popular anchorage for visiting and resident boats. Take a side trip to Clarence Town to find Dean’s Blue Hole, the most spectacular blue hole in the Bahamas, some over 180m deep and often used to attempt to break free diving records. Take your swimming gear with you.
Further south is the old Diamond Crystal Salt Works, worth spending time here to look for shorebirds. Near the south end at Mortimer’s is another good pond where there might even be flamingos feeding.
This is a very safe island to explore so take your time and check the many different habitats on your way. Key West Quail Doves have been seen flying across the road if you are on the look-out and driving slowly. Don’t forget to listen as you go. Winter warblers will be everywhere and you might even find a Kirtland’s Warbler in low second-growth scrub, they like to live close to the ground.
Five species of bats can be found in Hamilton’s Cave. Daily tours are offered by appointment.