Ponds of the Southeast Peninsula

Site description (2006 baseline):

Site location and context
The southeast peninsula is composed of low hills, eight salt ponds, coastal cliffs, and beaches. It is approximately 15 kilometers long and a road runs its length. The peninsula widens towards the southeastern tip to approximately 4 kilometers wide, although the narrowest northern section is less than one kilometer wide. Tourism is concentrated in the northern section of the peninsula, which is dominated by resorts, a golf course, and restaurants. Similar developments are expected to expand southward. Ponds of importance to birds on the peninsula include Greatheeds Pond and beach, Half Moon, Friar's Bay, Great Salt, Major's Bay, Mosquito Bay, Little Salt, and Frigate Bay Ponds. The boundaries would be limited by an area thirty meters from the high water line of each pond.

Key biodiversity
Least Terns nest at three sites on the Southeast Peninsula. A survey in 2004 revealed that Mosquito Bay Pond has 20 Least Tern pairs, Great Salt Pond has 27 pairs, and Greatheeds Beach (which is just north of the peninsula) has 18 pairs. Although St. Kitts' population of 65 pairs meets the Important Bird Area requirements, there is no one site where concentrations are sufficient to classify as an IBA. Because Least Tern colonies have previously been recorded at other nearby sites, indicating possible movement between breeding sites, the entire Southeast Peninsula is proposed as an IBA. Further study is needed to determine the importance of these sites to migrant waterbirds

Non-bird biodiversity: Not applicable.

Habitat and land use
Vegetation is primarily thorn woodland, dominated by Acacia, and grassland

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The South-east Peninsula Ponds IBA is unprotected. Tourism is currently concentrated in the northern section of the peninsula, which is dominated by resorts, a golf course, and restaurants. Existing developments on the peninsula are limited to snack bars and restaurants on the relatively isolated beaches. It is unknown if hunting is a threat to the breeding seabirds, but grazing is a serious threat to the nesting Least Terns. Colonies are marked with a high density of cattle tracks and it is likely nests are frequently trampled. A mega resort (Christophe Harbour), which will impact the entire peninsula, is already in the planning stages. It plans to include a golf course, multiple hotels and villas, and will have to dredge an unidentified pond for a mega-yacht marina.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
There is no ongoing research or conservation work on the Southeast Peninsula. In the past, banding surveys were conducted. Most recently, Environmental Protection In the Caribbean has done periodic avian surveys. The St. Kitts Historical Society has conducted sea turtle conservation activities

Protected areas
The area is not protected, although building is prohibited on steep slopes.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Ponds of the Southeast Peninsula. Downloaded from on 02/10/2023.