Located on the CuisinArt Golf Course, the Merrywing Pond System consists of 5 water basins. Two basins are artificial wetlands containing fresh water for irrigation from their reverse osmosis system. The other three, are natural wetlands. As is evident from the course map, the pond basins are distributed throughout the property.
A paved road runs through the middle of the course providing access to the hotel properties. The Club House and restaurant are the centerpiece of the premises, providing stunning views of the greens and water features.
Prior to construction, a number of native plants including Thatch Palms, were saved for replanting. Further, some of the basins contain Wigeon Grass that attracts waterfowl and provides excellent cover for fish. This combination of native and ornamental plantings across the landscape, provide excellent bird habitat.
During the summer months a number of species of birds are known to nest on the greens and in the sand traps. Golf course staff rope off these areas in an attempt to allow the birds to raise their families with minimal interruption.
Of note, the invasive Green Iguana has taken up residence on some of the greens along the basins. Many guests marvel at the “Galapagos-like” experience. However, it is important to remember that these iguanas have an adverse impact on the resident Lesser Antillean Iguana.
With 45 species reported on this site, Merrywing Pond System is one of the most diverse on the island. The IBA triggers for this pond system include 3 of the Lesser Antilles Restricted Range Species: Green-throated Carib, Caribbean Elaenia and the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch. Although not listed, a fourth species is usually present: the Pearly-eyed Thrasher.
Look for other terrestrial species in the stately Mahogany Trees that line the ponds including: Yellow Warblers, Common Ground Doves, Gray Kingbirds, and Black-faced Grassquits. Zenaida Doves, Anguilla’s National Bird, are abundant.
At dusk and dawn from April to October, Antillean Nighthawks are present as they are a breeding visitor. Their distinctive call will alert you to their presence.
The basin closest to the 8th and 9th holes is a great spot to see waterfowl like Common Gallinule and White-cheeked Pintail.
It is also the best spot to experience nesting Pied-billed Grebes as they use the cover of a stand of Umbrella Papyrus on the far shore.
Look for adorable chicks calling for their parents as they return from beneath the surface with food.
Great Blue and Green Herons feed on the edge of this pond along with Great Egrets. Look for Cattle Egrets to feed on the greens in this area in large numbers.
Scan the skies for Magnificent Frigatebirds as they regularly feed in the basin on the eastern side of the main access road close to hole number 4.
Osprey and Peregrine Falcons are frequent flyers over the property from October to April.
The basin bordered by holes 12 and 18 is frequented by a large number of pelicans, Green Herons, White-cheeked Pintails & a variety of shorebirds.
Look here for rarities such as Snow Geese and Hooded Mergansers. Ruddy Turnstones and Black-necked Stilts are often seen feeding on the greens.
A visit to the 13th hole basin might get you a sighting of a Tri-colored or Little Blue Heron along with a variety of Egrets and shorebirds.
Smaller shorebirds such as Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers can be found foraging on the basin closest to the 10th hole. In the fall, look on this green for American Golden Plovers.
During the summer months a variety of seabirds including Royal, Sandwich and Least Terns can be seen. Least Terns often nest here in small numbers along with Black-necked Stilts. Laughing Gulls are a regular visitor to the course during the summer months too.
If golf is not your thing, there is enough birdwatching to keep you busy at this location!
Head west through the airport roundabout and travel approximately 4 miles. On the left side of the road, signs for CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa are present. Visitors must pass through a security gate to gain access to the property.