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single female birder looking for tips on St John

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single female birder looking for tips on St John

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(@birdgal)
Posts: 2
New Member
Topic starter
 

I am considering a one-day birding trip to St. John USVI.
Can anyone tell me how safe it may be to rent a jeep and explore on my own?
I'm a very savvy traveler, but consider this a little more extreme than, say, Olympic NP or SE Texas.
I have several books on good birding spots, but need to navigate the ferry, rental and map acquisitions.
Any help or advice would be appreciated!

 
Posted : February 4, 2009 5:05 pm
(@theislander)
Posts: 3881
Famed Member Admin
 

Hello birdgal,

You shouldn't have any problems doing a day trip to St. John on your own. Assuming you are starting from St. Thomas? If so ferries to St. John leave from both Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie. Their schedules differ so check them out and see which works best for your plans. You can find the schedules on this site, scroll to the top of this page and click Ferry Schedules under the Travel Info drop down menu. Ferries arrive in Cruz Bay, St. John. There are several car rental agencies in walking distance of the ferry dock. Don't know of any that take reservations for 1 day rentals, though they will rent for a day if they have something. You can contact some and double check. If no reservation, then you could just walk to the various agencies and see if they have anything available.

Check in with the National Park Visitor Center, its in Cruz Bay. They can offer suggestions on good areas, also pretty sure they have a brief flier with popular birds for the area and they have trail maps and other fliers. If you wanted to order a map; you can try: VItraders.com - Maps & USVI Atlas.

--Islander

 
Posted : February 4, 2009 6:42 pm
(@nyestreet)
Posts: 52
Trusted Member
 

The Francis Bay Trail is a good birding spot on St John. A short hike passing by a small pond, about 200 yards or so from the beach.

 
Posted : February 5, 2009 8:34 am
(@suebee)
Posts: 1
New Member
 

My husband and I enjoy birding on St. John. It is very safe, but the roads are winding and narrow so if you rent a jeep, go for a small one. Parking is a problem, too. The only place we had a problem with a car is Lameshur Bay and I'm not sure the birding is great there anyway. Francis Bay is an excellent site. Watch for Scaly naped Pigeons and Smooth billed Ani on the higher part. As you get near the beach, there are usually yellow warblers and maybe some migratory warblers now. Just before you get to the beach, check the area for Antillean crested Hummingbirds. This is the rainy season so Mary Pond may still be flooding part of the trail, it was last month. There are usually White cheeked pintail Ducks on the pond and maybe other water birds. The Park Service does a bird walk on Sunday mornings there and it is very good. Some other sites we have found are Salt Pond at Salt Bay, the trail behind the National Park Visitor Center [Lesser Antillean Bullfinch and Mangrove Cuckoo], and [as a birder you will understand this] the salt pond at the car ferry dock--good for shorebirds and White Cheek Pintails.

If you are staying on St. Thomas, you may want to rent a vehicle there and go over on the car ferry which leaves from Red Hook, East End. Watch for Brown Boobies on the ferry ride. At Red Hook there is a trail beside the salt pond marsh behind the ferry dock. You can see some good birds there.

There is an Audubon group on St. John. You can get an e mail through the National Audubon website. Happy birding and if we can give you any more info, let us know.

 
Posted : February 6, 2009 9:45 am
(@birdgal)
Posts: 2
New Member
Topic starter
 

Thank you so much for the great information! I am cruising with my mom, sister and daughter, none of whom are really into birds.
I was originally signed up for the "Eco-tour" excursion to St John, but the more I read the less excited I was about doing the typical tourist thing. I have purchased two bird books, one strictly a field guide, and the other a birding tour of the USVIs.

So I have a pretty good grasp of which birds are expected, and have a great map I was able to download from someone's web-site - very helpful! I 'm sure the only depressing thing will be the lack of time I'll be able to spend; as I have maybe 6 hours total.

So I'm really leaning towards renting a jeep and going at it alone, unless I can find someone on the cruiseship that also likes to birdwatch!

Thanks again for your help!
Dana the Birdgal

 
Posted : February 6, 2009 1:05 pm
(@theislander)
Posts: 3881
Famed Member Admin
 

Dana, here is the website for the group that Suebee mentioned, VI Audubon.

--Islander

 
Posted : February 17, 2009 1:35 pm

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