Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Anguilla (to UK)
63o 4.16' West 18o 12.42' North
Year of IBA assessment
Physical features of the site:
Katouche Valley is one of the only remaining forested areas in Anguilla. Natural features within the Valley include one small pond and two limestone caves. The Valley previously served as a plantation area, remnants of which are still visible. The entire Valley is undeveloped.
A road that provides access to Katouche Bay runs along the northern side of the Valley. There is a foot path that runs along Katouche Valley, continues alongside a small pond, and then opens at Katouche Bay. The Valley’s vegetation consists of a spectrum from short dry scrub plants at the top of the surrounding hills to tall dry forest trees nearing the base.
Katouche Bay Pond is a seasonal, brackish lagoon. The pond receives fresh water through runoff provided as water moves from hills surrounding the Valley to the bottom. The pond and Valley collect water mainly from rainfall. The pond can dry out completely during periods of low or no rainfall. Its salt content is derived from its close proximity to the sea as waves tend to break over the beach and into the pond during rough seas. During heavy rains, water may overflow from the pond and into the bay.
Currently, monitoring of salinity, phosphates, nitrates, phosphates, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other gasses does not occur.
Overview of bird interests:
In 2007, average bird numbers are moderate and doubled in 2008. From 2009 to 2011, however, bird numbers had declined by 75%. The high number of birds in 2008 could be attributed to two larger flocks of Lesser yellowleg that visited the pond for a relatively short period.
Numbers at Katouche Bay Pond are consistently low. No birds are often seen during monitoring activities. Most frequent visitors to the Pond, however, include Lesser yellowleg and White-cheeked pintail. Rarer species (flying over) include Brown boobies and White-tailed tropicbirds.
Four restricted-range species (Caribbean Eleania, Antillean-crested hummingbird, Pearly-eyed thrasher and Lesser Antillean bullfinch) can be found within the Valley. Other terrestrial species of bird that can be found within the Valley include Mangrove cuckoo, Grey kingbird, Ground dove, Bananaquit, Turtle dove, Black-poll warbler, and the rare Oven bird.
Overview of biodiversity interests:
Large tree species include Fig (Ficus citrifolia), Turpentine (Bursera simaruba), Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella), Seaside mahoe (Thespesia populnea), Sea grape (Cocoloba uvifera), and White cedar (Tabebuia pallida). Thorn species present include Doodle doo (Pilosocereus royeni) and Hollow wood (Comocladia dodondaea).
The locally-uncommon ground orchid (Tetremiccra canaliculata) can be found here also.
Scrub plants including Nanny Bunch (Croton betulinus), Balsam (Croton flavens), Corberry (Solanum racemosum) have cultural significance to Anguillians as plants that were used both practically and as natural remedies particularly among earlier generations of Anguillians.
Remnants of the plantation operation, including an old mill round, provide habitat while some trees (for example, orange) that were once part of a small orchard, still bear fruit.
Overview of other biodiversity interests:
The marl shorelines on the northern, eastern and southern side of the pond are home to the at least three species of crustacean, (fiddler crabs Uca and the blue land crab Cardsoma guanhumi) are remain while Hermit crabs (superfamily: Paguroidea) can be found throughout the Valley.
Fruit bats inhabit the two limestone caves within the Valley.
Red-footed tortoises can be found wandering though the vegetation.