Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary Expands

The Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary (referred to locally as “Governor’s Pond”), situated in Spots-Newlands, about three miles east of George Town in the Cayman Islands, is home to more than 60 species of land and water birds. Around twenty-five percent of the birds native to the Caymans are found in this small, but vital, fresh water wetland. In recognition of the value of the sanctuary, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands has recently extended its boundaries to incorporate an additional acre.

Frank Roulstone of the National Trust pointed out that, although the sanctuary is relatively small in size, it has enormous value as a fresh water wetlands area. This was confirmed by the discovery of a rare Grand Cayman Water Snake in the sanctuary pond. This seldom seen species preys on fish in fresh-water habitats. Visitors may get to see the Hickaee, a local fresh water turtle. Birders can look out for Moorhens, Herons, Grebes, Egrets, Ducks, Rails, Sandpipers, Plovers, Terns, Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Flycatchers, Warblers and Grassquits, as well as a few rare species such as the Least Bittern and Purple Gallinule. At different times of the year, clouds of colorful butterflies are found in the sanctuary.

The National Trust for the Cayman Islands is planning to undertake the replacement of fencing in the sanctuary, as well as building a boardwalk and planting indigenous trees throughout the property. Funds need to be raised to obtain the necessary materials for the project, and the work will be done with the help of community organizations and corporate groups. Nature-loving members of the community are encouraged to get involved.

The bird sanctuary is open all day and as bird watching enthusiasts are no doubt aware, the best times to observe the feathered inhabitants of the sanctuary are at dusk and dawn, when they are most active. The sanctuary has an observation blind, which allows visitors a superb view of the pond and its inhabitants and criss-crossing walkways allow for easy access to the entire park. The plant life in the sanctuary is particularly beautiful during the months of April through to June, and this is also when there is the most bird activity; however, visiting at any time of the year is worthwhile.

The bird sanctuary is named in honor of Michael J. Gore, who served as governor of the Cayman Islands from 1992 to 1995. Throughout this period Governor Gore showed consistent commitment to the conservation of key natural habitat areas and supported the National Trust for the Cayman Islands by becoming the trust’s first patron.

Birders and nature-lovers who take the time to explore the Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary will soon agree that it really is a little piece of paradise.