Virgin Islands National Park: Wildlife at Concordia

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Greater Antillean Bullfinch, photographed from our eco-tent’s deck.

One of the most delightful aspects of staying in an eco-tent on a hillside in the middle of a dry tropical forest was the opportunity to be surrounded by wildlife. Nearly everything on the property except the roads and the main buildings is raised on boardwalks and platforms, allowing wildlife to move freely underneath or overhead. The fact that the southern part of the property, which abuts the National Park, is kept wild only enhances the connection with nature.

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Green Iguana, photographed resting on a branch parallel to the walkway to our tent.

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Pearly-eyed Thrasher, perched on our deck.

Sometimes the wildlife at Concordia was interactive. A bullfinch like the one pictured at top stole a grape nut from Adam’s breakfast one morning. And a bananaquit flew up and took a sip out of Phil’s rum drink one evening.

We also saw and heard, but didn’t photograph, Greater Antillean Grackles and Mourning Doves, whose calling and cooing started just before sunrise.

By far the most interactive experience, though, was the crab composting. The welcome book in the tent encouraged us to throw scraps of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and breadcrumbs over the railing to the hermit crabs on the hillside. Even banana peels would be gone in a matter of hours. We began to carry a garbage bag with us wherever we went to save our apple cores and crusts of bread for the crabs.

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Many residents of St. John welcome little anole lizards like the one pictured below into their homes to eat insects. The only unpleasant experience with wildlife we had in the tent was the five-inch-long black millipede Sean found in his suitcase. His first thought was, “Why is there licorice in my bag? I don’t eat licorice.” We quickly moved it outside.

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The property, like many places on the island, also had bush cats.

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Sean says hello to his favorite Concordia bush cat.

The nature trail to Salt Pond Bay also provided opportunity to see wildlife, particularly at dawn or twilight.

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Bananaquit, photographed along the Concordia nature trail.

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The freshwater pond, in particular, was a good site to see wildlife coming to drink.

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Great Egrets at the pond at sunrise.

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White-tailed Deer and White-cheeked Pintails at dusk.

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