A walk along North Side’s Mastic Trail in January offers the opportunity to spot some of Cayman’s overwintering migratory birds, including the northern parula, American redstart, black-and-white warbler, black-throated blue warbler, ovenbird and catbird.
“The ovenbird gets its name from its nest, which it builds in North America, that looks like a clay oven,” explained National Trust field officer Stuart Mailer, who leads guided tours of the trail.
“As for the catbird, its name comes from its call, as it mews like a cat.”
According to Patricia Bradley in her book “A Photographic Guide to the Birds of the Cayman Islands,” the northern parula sports blue-grey upper plumage with a yellow throat and breast. Its range is eastern North America, and between September and April it can be found in Cayman’s mangroves, woodland and bushland, as well as urban areas. The black-throated blue warbler on the other hand, sports grey-blue upperparts but with a black forehead, face, throat and sides. The male black-and-white warbler has a black and white striped crown, face and back, as well as two white wing bars. It is noted for creeping along the branches and boles of trees, exploring under the bark for insects.
The American redstart is fun to spot, as adult males sport dramatic black plumage with brilliant orange patches on the wings, sides of the breast and the tail, according to Ms. Bradley.
Along with its attractive color, it is known as the “butterfly bird” due to its fluttering, tumbling flight.
Mr. Mailer noted that less common visitors include the worm-eating warbler, so spotting one of those would be quite a feat for any birder.