Dominica is not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. It lies between the French Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique and though the main language is English, the locals speak a variety of French. The island is known for being “green,” lush forests, towering peaks, and 365 rivers and streams that meander through ravines and gush over waterfalls. Tree ferns, orchids, heliconia and anthurium lilies embellish the island while 175 species of birds, green iguanas, geckoes, tree lizards, agouti, manicou, magnificent butterflies and a vast array of picturesque flora can be enjoyed throughout an island where nature trails are abundant.
One of them is the Syndicate Nature Trail in Morne Diablotin National Park, on the northern stretch of the island in the foothills of Dominica’s tallest mountain. The park contains one of the better strands of remaining mature rainforest in the eastern Caribbean. The Syndicate Nature Trail is a popular area for birding because of the presence of endemic such as Red-necked Parrot and Imperial Parrot, Dominica’s national bird.
Other unique birds include Blue-headed Hummingbird, Plumbeous Warbler, Forest Thrush, Purple-throated Carib, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Antillean Euphonia, and Lesser Antillean Saltator.
On the west coast, be sure to visit Layou River Estuary on Dominica’s largest river. This lovely area is excellent for viewing many waterbirds, particularly during migration.
Moving south on the island, stop at Points des Fou to enjoy the rocky sea cliffs of the Atlantic coast, with littoral woodlands on the fringe. It is one of Dominica’s Important Bird Areas and is fast becoming the site for viewing seabirds including Brown Booby, Brown Noddy, Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, and White-tailed Tropicbird.