Bubali Bird Sanctuary
One of our favorite birding areas, and one of the easiest to find.
Description: A very
large wetland originally supplied with treated water from the island's
sewage treatment facility. A canal now connects the area to the sea.
How to Get
There: To reach Bubali from Orenjestad, follow L.G.
Smith Boulevard west, then curving north for 2.3 miles until
you reach an intersection. Turn left (west) towards the beach and follow this unnamed
road for 0.3 mile where you will see the entrance to a dirt
road on your right about 20 yards from the intersection with
J. E. Irausquin Boulevard. This will take you into the thorn-scrub
habitat bordering on the mangroves along the west side of Bubali.
You can park here to explore the area on foot.
To reach the tower on the north side of Bubali, take J. E. Irausquin
Boulevard heading north and travel 1 mile to the rather busy
intersection near the Wyndham Beach Resort. Turn right (east)
heading towards the big, red windmill and watch for the entrance
to a small dirt road on your right within 200 yards. This is
the road to the observation tower, which itself should be visible
a few hundred yards farther along.
On the north side of the site, across from the big,
red Dutch Windmill (a local landmark) is an observation tower
that affords excellent views of this expansive wetland. From
there you can see Pied-billed Grebe, Least Grebe, Neotropic
Cormorant, Caribbean Coot, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinule,
Blue-winged Teal, Groove-billed Ani, various herons and egrets.
Along the west side
(ocean side) of Bubali, there is good habitat to explore across from the Divi Phoenix and behind the new development project being constructed (let's hope some habitat still remains). There are sometimes Aruban Brown-throated (Caribbean)
Parakeets, Bare-eyed Pigeons,
Blue-tailed Emeralds, “Mangrove”
Yellow Warblers, and Black-faced
Grassquits in this area. If you're lucky, you'll find Scrub
Flycatchers. Look for wintering warblers by pishing for a while
under a bush along in here. Northern Waterthrushes are common;
you’ll immediately hear their hard “chink”
call amid the sound of mangrove limbs rubbing together in the
constant wind. We’ve had a variety of other migrant warbler
species here, with the species varying greatly from year to
year. If you bird at the main pool or along this western edge,
we would appreciate it if you would keep notes on the numbers
of each species that you count and send them to us.
Magnolia Warbler at Bubali,
2002. Photo Jeff Wells.
Jan., 2003. Photo Jeff Wells
The tower is a good place to bring kids and family members
who are not (yet!) active birders, since it doesn't take much
patience to find, the birds are easy to see here, and are relatively
tame. Just watch out for hornets nesting in and around the stairs
of the observation tower—if you leave them alone, they'll
leave you alone, but be careful.
To see a video we filmed from the top of the tower in November 2011 click here.