AI011
Rendezvous Bay Pond


Year of compilation: 2013

Site description
Rendezvous Bay Pond is a brackish pond located on the south western coastline of Anguilla. It consists of one main basin. The land to the north and east of the pond gradually increases in elevation with the distance. The land to the south and west is relatively flat. The pond is marl substrate on its northern side and sand substrate on its southern side. 

The western shore, within an area equalling to about half an acre, was infilled. It is separated from the pond only by a paved road which runs along western end of the pond. There is an unpaved, sandy road south of the pond along with access pathways/roads to the east and north. The Anguilla Great House Hotel and Old Caribe Restaurant are located behind the road on the western side of the pond. The abandoned Old Rendezvous Bay Hotel lined the southern road. The northern side of the pond has two villas and two residential homes. The eastern side of the pond is relatively undeveloped but its fields are used for animal grazing.

Vegetation is very sparse around the edges of the pond especially on its southern side and western end. The vegetation on the eastern end of the pond is heavily grazed by cows as well as by sheep and goats. The vegetation which is most dense on the eastern end of the pond is mainly scrub plants while buttonwood mangroves line the western end of the pond. The south side of the pond is mainly grasses as well as a few other salt tolerant plants, including the morning glory and cow bean vines.

The western end of the pond has been subject to some infilling and pollution, most recently for the provision of a parking lot for guests to the hotel and beach. This has resulted in a parking lot filled with pools of water during heavy rains. The material used to infill the pond was construction waste and pieces pieces of used steel, old fencing which is rusting and concrete has potential to affect the quality of water within the pond as well as harm those birds which particularly like this area for feeding.

Hydrological value:

This pond consists of a single shallow, brackish basin. The pond receives freshwater from rainfall and run off. Springs are also a source of freshwater for this pond. The pond has water within its basin year round. Its salt content can be attributed to the nearby bay with salt water seeping into the pond through the thin strip of sandy beach separating the pond and sea. Salinity levels, however, have not been monitored within the pond. 

There is a on rock wall which splits the pond roughly in half. The walls served to limit water movement into the salt producing part of the pond until the end of commercial salt harvesting in Anguilla in the 1970’s.

Currently, monitoring of salinity, phosphates, nitrates, phosphates, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other gasses does not occur.


Key biodiversity
Overview of bird interests:

Bird numbers on this pond remained steadily at slightly above the 20 birds between 2007- 2011 with the exception of 2009 where the number observed doubled.

During this period, an average of 21 species was observed. Of these species, the most abundant species were White-cheeked pintail, Black-necked stilt, and Killdeer.

The pond is most active during the spring and summer, coinciding with the spring and fall bird migration periods.

Overview of botanical interests:

Additional studies required.

Overview of other biodiversity interests:

The invasive Green Iguana has been seen in the vegetation surrounding the pond. The Lesser Antilleans Iguanas on the island have been mating with the Green Iguanas which result in sterile offspring. The Anguilla National Trust has completed a project in 2000 to investigate the distribution and population of the Lesser Antillean Iguana (iguana delicatisima), their threats, ecology and diet. Lesser Antillean Iguanas are listed as endangered within the IUCN’s Redlist of Threatened Species.


Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Infilling and pollution, especially for the creation and maintenance of the parking area in the south western corner of the pond has potential to affect the health and integrity of the site. Resident birds and wildlife may also be directly threatened by the garbage within the fill through entanglement or suffocation. 


Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Monthly wetland and terrestrial bird counts.

Promote the site in educational material used during wetlands education work.

Secure funds for ensuring the sustainable and wise use of Anguilla’s wetlands.

Monitor site for eligibility for national and international recognition and protection.

Encourage compliance and lobby for enforcement of wetlands related policies and provisions.


Protected areas
None

Habitat and land use
The main habitat types present in and around the pond include the open water, sandy shoreline, coralline limestone pavement, and vegetation. The vegetation is habitat to both terrestrial and wetland species of birds. The limestone pavement shore is used as a feeding ground for shorebirds, herons, and egrets. The open water of the pond contains fish which provide an important food source for the bird life. 

Current usage:

The site is outlined within the Heritage Trail - a trail which leads visitors to historical and cultural sites around the island. The pond is also included in wetlands education material used to educate individuals and groups about Anguilla’s wetlands.

Recreationally, the pond supports limited bird watching and hiking.

The pond also provides habitat for the Least tern, a species considered to be an endangered in the countries along its migration route. The pond is used for research into the population trends of this bird as well as all others observed during the Anguilla National Trust’s Monthly Bird Monitoring Programme. Results of monitoring activities are published in biennial status reports.


Land ownership
Private/State

Site access / Land-owner requests
None

Acknowledgements
Author: Clarissa Lloyd, Anguilla National Trust.

Edited by: Farah Mukhida, Anguilla National Trust.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rendezvous Bay Pond. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2022.