Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust


A wonderful exercise in contradiction, this picturesque bird sanctuary covers 29 hectares of lake and forest within the incongruous setting of PetroTrin oil refinery (which ceased operations in 2018). It's home to some 109 bird species, including endangered waterfowl, colorful songbirds, herons and other wading birds, as well as a breeding colony of scarlet ibis. Ringed by a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk, the main lake is dappled with lotus plants and overhung by trees; guided tours help identify all the inhabitants.

A nonprofit organization, the trust is an environmental education center that rehabilitates and breeds endangered birds, which are then released into the wild where they bolster natural populations. The main visitor center has small exhibits on its work. You don't have to take a guided tour when you visit: you can birdwatch independently, there's plenty of space for hanging out and picnicking, and if you fancy a workout, you can walk the self-guided 45-minute Forest Trail, lined with 40 indigenous tree species and with a hilltop gazebo to rest in at its highest point.

It's best to book your visit in advance so that the guards at the refinery gates know you’re coming. Several entrances lead into the surrounding PetroTrin refinery, and gate access to the sanctuary occasionally changes, so get directions when you call to book. Once into the refinery, it's a rather surreal drive past fuel silos and slowly decaying homes of former PetroTrin staff before your reach the Trust's flower-wreathed headquarters.

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