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What a tremendous bird! We got our morning on Ecclesdown Road off to a great start when this endemic Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo posed in clear view. Photo by participant Holger Teichmann.
Thanks so much for choosing Field Guides Inc. for your Jamaica birding adventure. I hope you enjoyed our time together as much as I did.
Our first day as a whole group was primarily a travel day across the northern part of the island, from Montego Bay to Green Castle Estate (GCE) in St. Marys Parish. We picked up a few coastal species en route but unquestionably, the highlight of the day one was watching the Northern Potoo after sunset. We even managed to observe it sortie out and capture a big moth.
The birding got off to a great start when we met my dear friend and outstanding local guide, Dwayne Swaby, and hit the trails at GCE at sunrise. Rain was a factor at times during the day but we managed to tally a number of the endemics despite the weather. Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo, Jamaican Mango, Streamertail, Jamaican Tody, Jamaican Woodpecker, Sad Flycatcher, Jamaican Vireo, White-chinned Thrush, Jamaican Spindalis, Orangequit, and Yellow-shouldered Grassquit all made appearances on day two.
Tuesday morning we ventured just east of Ocho Rios to a site new to me near Dunns River Falls. We explored some lovely forested trails and picked up endemics such as Arrowhead Warbler, Jamaican Becard and Jamaican Elaenia, while "cleaning up" Jamaican Crow and Yellow-shouldered Grassquit. A noisy Louisiana Waterthrush at the site might have been saying his goodbyes as its northbound migration to the U.S. was eminent.
On February 26, we traveled to the northeast corner of Jamaica and spent the morning birding the foothills of the John Crow Mountains on Ecclesdown Road. This area is the only place in Jamaica where the "black-billed" subspecies of Streamertail occurs and we saw it well. Other highlights were Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Parrot, White-eyed Thrush, and Ring-tailed Pigeon. We tasted some original Jamaican Jerk for lunch in Boston Bay, then picked up a few more species in Port Antonio before checking the Swift River and Spanish River bridges on our way back to GCE. After dinner, we headed out for some owling. We had little trouble hearing the endemic Jamaican Owl but seeing one proved challenging. I was rehearsing my "better luck tomorrow night" spiel when a bird called close by. Thankfully, we all ended up with good looks.
Day five had us headed up into the Blue Mountains to the Hardwar Gap area. We got another early start since our primary target was Crested Quail-Dove and we hoped to catch one on or near the road before traffic pushed them deep into the shadows. Our strategy proved fruitful as the "Mountain Witch" was one of the first birds we scored. A remarkably cooperative Blue Mountain Vireo foraging low was another memorable endemic. We scoured the coast back down in Annotto Bay in the afternoon.
Friday morning it was time to say thanks and goodbye to the wonderful staff at GCE. We set our sights on Cockpit Country and had a pleasant walk in Stewart Town and added the endemic Black-billed Parrot. Another lunch at Father Bull and then it was through Montego Bay to Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. Seeing so many birds up close, I mean really up close, is always a major highlight of the tour. We added a few more notches on the checklist at the Montego Bay waste water treatment facility, then it was off to Mynt Retreat and our farewell dinner.
Take care and stay safe out there everyone. I hope our birding paths cross again someday.
Eric a.k.a. Eagle
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
The evening light on this gorgeous Barn Owl was truly sublime. Typically, Barn Owls stick to nocturnal activity but this adult likely had some hungry kids nearby so it was compelled to get an early start on this night's hunt. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (Patagioenas leucocephala)
RING-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas caribaea) [E]
COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina jamaicensis)
Crested Quail-Dove is one of the most challenging endemics to see. We were all thrilled when our driver Raymond finally spotted this singing bird way up in the canopy. Photo by participant Holger Teichmann.
CRESTED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon versicolor) [E]
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana)
CARIBBEAN DOVE (Leptotila jamaicensis jamaicensis)
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
ZENAIDA DOVE (Zenaida aurita)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED CUCKOO (Coccyzus pluvialis) [E]
JAMAICAN LIZARD-CUCKOO (Coccyzus vetula) [E]
Participant Judi Manning shared this image of a roosting Northern Potoo. Check out those massive eyes and the notched eyelid.
NORTHERN POTOO (CARIBBEAN) (Nyctibius jamaicensis jamaicensis)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris pallidifrons)
ANTILLEAN PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis phoenicobia phoenicobia)
JAMAICAN MANGO (Anthracothorax mango) [E]
VERVAIN HUMMINGBIRD (Mellisuga minima minima)
STREAMERTAIL (RED-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus polytmus) [E]
STREAMERTAIL (BLACK-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus scitulus) [E]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa violacea)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
The Streamertail or "Doctorbird" is the national bird of Jamaica. Participant Holger Teichmann shared this image of a male of the widespread "red-billed" subspecies.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens)
BROWN PELICAN (SOUTHERN) (Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
Jamaican Mango is the other endemic hummingbird in Jamaica. Guide Eric Hynes captured this image at Rocklands Bird Sanctuary where some of you had the pleasure of feeding them in hand.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
RED-TAILED HAWK (JAMAICENSIS) (Buteo jamaicensis jamaicensis)
BARN OWL (AMERICAN) (Tyto alba furcata)
JAMAICAN OWL (Pseudoscops grammicus) [E]
One afternoon walk, this Jamaican Tody just sat and sat for us to soak it in. Photo by participant Holger Teichmann.
JAMAICAN TODY (Todus todus) [E]
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
JAMAICAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes radiolatus) [E]
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (HISPANIOLAN) (Falco sparverius dominicensis)
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BLACK-BILLED PARROT (Amazona agilis) [E]
YELLOW-BILLED PARROT (Amazona collaria) [E]
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (JAMAICAN) (Eupsittula nana nana)
This Jamaican Owl taught us a lesson in patience but what a view in the end. Photo by participant Holger Teichmann.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
JAMAICAN BECARD (Pachyramphus niger) [E]
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
JAMAICAN ELAENIA (Myiopagis cotta) [E]
JAMAICAN PEWEE (Contopus pallidus) [E]
SAD FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus barbirostris) [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus validus) [E]
STOLID FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus stolidus stolidus)
LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRD (LOGGERHEAD) (Tyrannus caudifasciatus jamaicensis)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLUE MOUNTAIN VIREO (Vireo osburni) [E]
JAMAICAN VIREO (Vireo modestus) [E]
BLACK-WHISKERED VIREO (Vireo altiloquus altiloquus)
Ruddy Quail-Dove encounters are usually just a rusty flash across the road that less than half the group gets on. All of us seeing one walking around at Rocklands was a very pleasant surprise. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
JAMAICAN CROW (Corvus jamaicensis) [E]
CAVE SWALLOW (CARIBBEAN) (Petrochelidon fulva poeciloma)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
RUFOUS-THROATED SOLITAIRE (RUFOUS-THROATED) (Myadestes genibarbis solitarius) [*]
WHITE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus jamaicensis) [E]
WHITE-CHINNED THRUSH (Turdus aurantius) [E]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
JAMAICAN EUPHONIA (Euphonia jamaica) [E]
Jamaican Spindalis might be the most beautiful endemic in Jamaica. Photo by participant Holger Teichmann.
JAMAICAN SPINDALIS (Spindalis nigricephala) [E]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
JAMAICAN ORIOLE (Icterus leucopteryx leucopteryx)
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus niger crassirostris)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [*]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia)
The endemic White-chinned Thrush is common and widespread but still a thrill to see. Photo by participant Holger Teichmann.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
ARROWHEAD WARBLER (Setophaga pharetra) [E]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)
CAPE MAY WARBLER (Setophaga tigrina)
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana)
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens)
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica)
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)
BANANAQUIT (GREATER ANTILLEAN) (Coereba flaveola flaveola)
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus olivaceus)
ORANGEQUIT (Euneornis campestris) [E]
GREATER ANTILLEAN BULLFINCH (Melopyrrha violacea ruficollis)
YELLOW-SHOULDERED GRASSQUIT (Loxipasser anoxanthus) [E]
Raymond Condappa, our excellent driver, snapped this image of us pausing in Port Antonio. Masterful local guide, Dwayne Swaby, capped the right side.
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Melanospiza bicolor marchii)
SMALL INDIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes auropunctatus) [I]
Totals for the tour: 107 bird taxa and 1 mammal taxa