13 Kilometres northwest of of Anguilla, lies the small, low-lying, rocky Dog island. Its 511 acres are covered mostly with dense and prickly scrub. Steep cliffs show the scars of years of pounding by waves; the wounds are menacing – jagged points and deep crevices. In stark contrast are the white sand beaches that, from afar, look as though they are being lapped by gentle waves. But looks are often deceiving. The nearshore is often subject to heavy ground seas and swells.
For a small island, its ecology is wondrous. Small ground lizards sprint across the hot, dry rocks and dusty clay-soil. Birds such as plovers and sandpipers wade in the shallow waters of the saltponds, while others that are usually found in scrub-like vegetation – flycatchers, grassquits, and banaquits – can be heard singing their melodies from somewhere between the cacti and brush. But it is the seabirds that draw the visitor’s attention.
Dog Island is ranked as one of the top three seabird breeding areas in the entire Caribbean. Its importance exceeds even Cuba – one of the biodiversity hotspots of the region.