Bethesda Dam is found in the idyllic village of Bethesda on the eastern side of Antigua, neatly tucked away from view. It was built in the 1970s as a man-made water-catchment to provide water for agricultural lands around the site. The dam water levels vary across the year, but due to severe drought in the last five years, the dam’s water level has been very low.
The trail to dam is short and a manageable 3-minute walk. Visitors are guaranteed a quiet site, except for the occasional cow or farmer, offering the opportunity for excellent, undisturbed birding.
At this Important Bird Area (IBA) and Key Biodiversity Area, birders can observe many waterbirds including the Caribbean endemic and vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck. Migratory birds have also been observed at the dam, including Peregrine Falcons, Ospreys and Merlins. Landbirds abound, and a sure sight at the dam is the beautiful Yellow Warbler. If you visit the dam early or late enough, you may also observe Mangrove Cuckoo couples!
Depending on the time of the year, the dam is a cacophony of loud squawks and shrieks as visiting birds congregate and make a spectacular raucous. At other times, the dam is quiet offering the visitor a chance to observe the innumerable Yellow Warblers that perch in surrounding acacia trees, or catch a glimpse of elusive West Indian Whistling-ducks congregating in and under trees as the sun sets in the west.