Alfred Blackburn Smith Nature Reserve
This wonderful nature reserve is located in Paget parish of Bermuda covering 8.7 acres of land area along the south shore coastline. Also known as ABS Nature Reserve, it has its boundaries with the South Road in the north, Coral Beach Club in the east and Surfside Beach Club in the west.
This is one of the rare nature reserves in Bermuda where you can not see any houses as you walk along the trail in the reserve. The reserve is owned and managed by Audubon Society.
The Alfred Blackburn Smith Nature Reserve is however not open to general public. The members of the Audubon Society can visit the reserve with their families and guests with special appointments. Also, all guests of the Coral Beach Club of Bermuda have access to the reserve during the day time. Once this reserve used to be a private property and was given as a gift to the Audubon Society.
Alfred Blackburn Smith Nature Reserve
The tourism and other recreational activities have been kept to minimum in order to conserve the original flora of the reserve. The visitors need to follow the established trail and can enjoy bird watching, photography and also hump back whale watching from the coastline during the spring migration. Activities like camping, fishing and biking are not allowed inside the reserve.
There is a 30 meter high ridge along the coastline that runs for about half a mile. This was formed naturally some 80,000 years back from coastal dunes as sea waves piled up sand due to strong wind. This ridge is known as the "Southampton Formation". It has now become almost like a rock. From the trail over this ridge, you can see two boiler reefs out into the sea near the coast appearing like mushrooms.
There are entrances from the South Road as well as as from the Coral Beach Club. The South road entrance requires one to climb up the inland trail through the forest. As you walk along, you will see plantation like Allspice, Fiddlewood and Chinese Fan Palms. While there are not much native plants here, you can see Bermudiana and Darrellianus.
The Coral Beach Club entrance leads through more open coastal line along the ridge top trail. You can see more vegetation and native plantations this side as the shades are less. Among small trees and bushes, you can see Sea Grape, Bermuda cedars
, Bermuda Snowberry, common sage bush, Brazil Pepper etc. As you walk along, among the grass covers you can see West Indian Grass, Sea Shore Rushy Grass and many other types of weeds.
Birds and Wildlife
You won't see too many birds along the coastal line due to heavy winds. However birds like the native Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, and Ground Dove can usually be seen. The society has also introduced Great Kiskadee and European Goldfinch.
As you get inside the forest, you can see many varieties of resident and migratory birds along the inland slope of the reserve. There are at least 20 species of wood warblers. Indigo Buntings can be seen during the spring and fall migrations (March-May and August-October). If you are lucky, you can see even the Yellow-crowned Night Herons.
Since the nature reserve is secluded and mostly undisturbed, you can also see some shy species of birds here like the Long-eared Owl. The Bermuda Longtails
nest in the cavities of the coastal cliffs and can also be spotted here. The longtails are usually quite noisy as they fly over the sea coast. They perform a courtship ritual of touching the tip of each other's elongated tails on the fly.
The society has introduced West Indian Lizards in the forest. You can sometimes see the rare Bermuda Rock Lizard as well. The reserve is also a great vantage point from where you can see the passing hump back whales during their spring migration time in April.
Alfred Blackburn Smith Nature Reserve is located in Paget parish and on the west of Coral Beach & Tennis Club and to the south of South Road.
Bermuda Audubon Society
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