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Mamiku Gardens

Flowers, birds, butterflies, lizards. And chocolate ice cream.

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Mamiku Gardens

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After finding Millet Reserve closed yesterday, I was concerned about whether Mamiku would be open or not today, but thankfully it is. We are today's first visitors and the guy in the entrance booth comments on the size of my lens. When he hears I am interested in bird watching, he points out the endemic St Lucia Warbler in a tree right inside gate. One more ticked off the list.

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The gardens are nicely laid out on a hillside with well defined paths and a self-guide to all the trees, bushes and herbs from a pamphlet which ties up numbers on the plants with explanations and facts in the leaflet.

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One of the gardeners proudly approaches us to show off their hummingbird nest – hummingbirds are not exactly big birds, and their babies are so unbelievably tiny!

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I am seriously impressed by perfectly formed nest and the amount of accurate and detailed work that has gone in to create it. Clever little things those tiny hummers.

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Mum is hanging around keeping a close eye on her babies.

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On the veranda of the little restaurant, we share a snack with a bullfinch. I had no idea birds enjoyed chocolate ice cream too!

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The lizard is less impressed with the offerings.

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More birds flit around the tables and trees surrounding the café, with special mention to the Red Eyed Vireo which is a new one to us, making the ninth new bird for our “Life List” on this trip. Not a massive amount but still quite exciting.

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Red Eyed Vireo

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Carib Grackle

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Lesser Antillean Bullfinch (female)

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lesser Antillean Bullfinch (male)

We wander up and down the shaded paths which meander around the grounds, admiring the orchids, bougainvillea and other pretty flowers.

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Later we come across a group of mixed nationality cruise tourists. One guest looks at my camera equipment – I am rather laden with not only the 100-400mm on my EOS5DIII around my neck, but also the EOS6D with a Tokina 18-28mm – and quips “You could have traded all that in and got an iPhone, you know.” I grab my mobile from my pocket and hold it up, replying: “like this you mean?” We all chuckle.

We come across a pile of stones representing “Grandpa's House” according to a sign nearby. The house belonged to Henry Shingleton Smith (affectionately known as Grandpa) and was supposedly built in the 1700s. Henry spent most of his life farming this land, mostly coconuts. Henry died in 1948 from pneumonia/malaria, and his son Michael (the current owner of the estate) continued to live in the house until 1952. The last paragraph on the sign amuses me: “Since then, the house has been left relatively uninhabited” Hmm, really?

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I could easily spend all day wandering around the grounds, sitting on one of the many benches dotted around the gardens or in the café with a cool drink watching the birds, but we have a relatively long drive right across the island to get back for our last night in St Lucia.

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Posted by Grete Howard 13:41 Archived in Saint Lucia

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