Fauna at the Gully
From millipedes, tiny snakes to the world’s most intelligent bird, there is plenty of fauna at the Gully.
Butterflies and Birds
As a direct result of prorogating and returning native plants to Welchman Hall Gully, there has been an increase of butterflies and birds.
One butterfly that has made it home at Welchman Hall Gully has been the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Indian Root (Asclepias curassavica) was planted at Welchman Hall Gully over a year ago, shortly after that Monarchs started arriving.
They can only eat two types of plants. Both plants are considered weeds and not much attention has been has been paid to them.
But, it is the destruction of the monarch’s natural habitat as well as the use of modern day herbicides that has had such a devastating impact. Despite this, much of the wildlife and plants once abundant in Barbados is still here despite the loss of habitat. And the great thing is that encouraging them to come back is not that difficult.
With the increase of flowering plants at Welchman Hall Gully, the staff has noticed an increase in birds, especially humming birds...
Green Backed Herons
Welchman Hall Gully is also home to a pair of green backed herons. They can often be seen around the area of nutmeg grove, about halfway down the gully path, or near the pond, looking for fish. It has a very disctinctive call – a bit like an agitated chicken!
It is known locally as a gaulin and is thought to be one of the most intelligent of animals – it’s been seen using bait to catch fish!
Hummingbirds, the Gray Kingbird and the ubiquitous black bird are also regularly seen around the gully.
Leptotyphlops bilineata is the smallest snake in the world. It is blind, worm like and secretive.
It grows to no more than 3 ½ inches (9 cm). It eats insect larvae and terminates. It is harmless. The blind snakes are hard to find but not uncommon. When we get a lot of rain, they are washed out from under cover and seen more often.
There were two other small grass snakes recorded here, but sadly they were wiped out with the introduction of the mongoose.
Two species of hummingbirds are found here. The Green Throated Carib Sericotes holosericus, which is larger than the Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus. Both species and fly backwards and hover.
The green throated humming bird is mainly green in colour with a curved bill.
The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is also green but its bill is straight and the male’s head is distinctly crested. When the Pomerac (Syzygium malaccensis) number six in the booklet is in flower, check the canopy and you will see lots of hummingbirds filtering about collecting nector.