A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Jamaica at Thanksgiving 2022

November 20-26, 2022 with Jay VanderGaast & Dwayne Swaby guiding

Jamaica might just be the perfect place for a Thanksgiving holiday escape. With pleasant weather and loads of great birds, and easily accessible via a short flight from the US, the island is well-suited for a quick getaway from the increasingly colder weather impacting North America at this time of year. The only thing missing to make this the perfect Thanksgiving trip was turkey dinner, but I guess if that's important to you, you would just stay home. And jerk chicken is a perfectly acceptable, and delicious, substitute, in my view!

That this tour happened at all is largely thanks to Eric Hynes and Sharon Mackie back at Field Guides HQ, as it was in jeopardy when our usual base in Jamaica was sold a couple of months before the tour. I was actually resigned to it being cancelled when they came up with using Mockingbird Hill as an alternative venue and Eric reworked the itinerary to make this change doable. So hats off to both of them for salvaging this trip at short notice!

Of course, changing the venue meant that me, as your guide, and you as the tour participants, were essentially guinea pigs experimenting whether the logistics were truly workable. But I was happy to find that the experiment was a success, and the trip was fantastic! Much of that was thanks to the local knowledge of our awesome driver, Raymond, and superb local guide, Dwayne. But it was also thanks to the staff at Mockingbird Hill who showed us the warm and welcoming Jamaican hospitality, and took care of all our needs. And I really need to give a shout out to Keelie, the amazing chef who provided a delectable variety of mouth-watering dinners. The food alone would be worth going back there for!

And what about the endemic birds, the most important aspect of the tour? Well, in short, we crushed them; we crushed them all! In fact, only a couple of the trickier endemics gave us any problem at all, many others practically threw themselves at us. Black-billed Parrot, the scarcer of the two endemic parrots, sat atop roadside trees for several long minutes on our first stop along Ecclesdown Road. In the Blue Mountains, the scarce Jamaican Blackbird was quickly spotted creeping up a nearby tree, then rummaging in the numerous bromeliads, as they are prone to do. Dapper Arrowhead Warblers and the more muted Blue Mountain Vireo showed well numerous times foraging next to the road. And on the grounds of the hotel, we spotted a hulking Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo as we enjoyed breakfast, then got to watch as it enjoyed its own, though I daresay ours was far more appetizing! And I'm not sure there's an easier place to see Jamaican Owl!

Of course there were a few that offered a bit more of a challenge. The always difficult Crested Quail-Dove took most of the morning to track down, but we were eventually rewarded with great views of a couple. Yellow-shouldered Grassquits were fairly vocal, but very flighty, though we ultimately managed to clean up our looks at a male in the canopy at San San. Jamaican Elaenias were in short supply, but the lone bird we saw at San San gave us unbeatable eye level views! And White-eyed Thrush might have eluded us in the thick fog at the Hardwar Gap, but San San came through again with excellent looks at this handsome bird. In the end, we crushed them all!

The "easy" endemics can't be ignored either, especially as some of them were fan favorites among the group. Who doesn't love the adorable Jamaican Tody or those bold and beautiful Red-billed Streamertails? Even the ubiquitous White-chinned Thrush and Jamaican Woodpecker are worth a mention as they are both wonderful birds even if they are common.

This was such a fun trip to lead, and I just want to say thanks so much for sticking with it even with the last minute changes to the itinerary. I look forward to seeing you on another trip someday soon. For now, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!


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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) [b]

Generally the most common migrant duck to be found wintering in the Caribbean. We saw 18 of these at the Richmond sewage ponds, then 50+ the following day at the Montego Bay sewage ponds.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) [b]

The field guide claims that these ducks are "rare" in Jamaica, but that might need some updating as they were the most numerous duck present at the Montego Bay sewage ponds, with roughly 100 birds, mostly lounging on the bank.

LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) [b]

Not a very common wintering duck here, so a female among the Blue-winged Teals at the Richmond sewage ponds was a good find.

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

A fairly common year-round resident, though I don't believe they breed on the island. We saw roughly 15 at the Montego Bay sewage ponds, including one or two males in breeding plumage.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)

Colette picked out our first ones on the Richmond sewage ponds, and we tallied at least 3 more the next day at Montego Bay.

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Just a single one on the Montego Bay sewage ponds.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Most days, though almost exclusively in cities and towns.

WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (Patagioenas leucocephala)

A commonly seen pigeon at lower elevations, with some very nice views from the viewing deck at Mockingbird Hill as well as the Mynt Resort.

PLAIN PIGEON (Patagioenas inornata exigua)

This is not a species we normally encountered on this tour in the past, but with the closure of Green Castle Estate forcing our hand and necessitating a revision to the itinerary, we were able to work in an early morning visit to the most reliable site on the island for these near Falmouth. We wound up seeing 19 of these birds, primarily in flight, though Cathy also spotted a perched bird which we were able to scope for some excellent looks.

RING-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas caribaea) [E]

Primarily a species of upland forests, and we saw all but one of ours at higher elevations along Ecclesdown Road and in the Blue Mountains. The lone outlier was a single bird at the San San Forest Reserve.

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina jamaicensis)

Small numbers were seen, mainly along the roads as we were driving, though we also had one on the track at San San and another at Stewart Town.

CRESTED QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon versicolor) [E]

The Mountain Witch is usually one of the toughest of the Jamaican endemics to get a good look at, and this trip was no exception. We'd struck out at several of the best areas in the Blue Mountains before I finally spotted one on an open perch well below the road. Fortunately it held its position long enough for everyone to see it beautifully. Immediately afterward, Raymond alerted us to another one perched almost directly over the bus, a good example of the "pickle jar effect"!

CARIBBEAN DOVE (Leptotila jamaicensis jamaicensis)

This lovely dove was seen somewhat fleetingly in the Blue Mountains, then somewhat better at San San, where we spotted three of them walking quickly back into the forest. But, as usual, our best views came at Rocklands where a trio of them were hanging out near the feeders.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

Not many overall, and mainly seen from the bus as we were driving to and from birding locations. The biggest count for the trip was on our final morning of birding from the viewing deck at the Mynt.

ZENAIDA DOVE (Zenaida aurita)

Very similar to Mourning Dove, but with a short, squared tail and white trailing edge to the secondaries. We saw these in small numbers most days.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

As most of our birding was in forest areas, we didn't really see too many of these odd cuckoos, which prefer scrubby habitat. We mainly saw these along roadsides during the drives, though there was one in a scrubby pasture along Ecclesdown Road, and a noisy group in thick cover at Llanrumney.

CHESTNUT-BELLIED CUCKOO (Coccyzus pluvialis) [E]

Incredibly sneaky and inconspicuous for such a large bird, and often one of the trickier endemics to get clean looks at. Our first along Ecclesdown Road was pretty typical, skulking through the canopy and only showing bits and pieces. Our looks were passable at best. A couple of mornings later, we improved our views when we spotted a bird from the breakfast table, and then all hurried down to the poolside to watch it whacking the guts out of a huge, colorful Tetrio Moth caterpillar! Another at San San was pretty good, then perhaps our best views of all came on our final day at Steward Town where one popped out onto an open for some incredible looks! This cuckoo is often one of the trip favorites, and it landed at #3 in the bird of the trip voting.

JAMAICAN LIZARD-CUCKOO (Coccyzus vetula) [E]

The smallest of the 4 lizard-cuckoos in the Caribbean, though still considerably larger than our North American cuckoos. We only saw 2 of these this trip, with some decent looks at our first at San San, after we lured it in with playback. Our second at Stewart Town was even better, as Cathy spotted it feeding quietly next to the track, nearly on the ground.

Apodidae (Swifts)

ANTILLEAN PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis phoenicobia phoenicobia)

Most often seen as small dark objects hurtling overhead, but a few birds performed much better as they swooped in for a drink at the Richmond sewage ponds, offering up a rare view from above!

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

JAMAICAN MANGO (Anthracothorax mango) [E]

This bulky hummingbird often looks pretty dark overall, but when you get a view of one with the light angle just right, wow, they just light up! Most numerous at the many flowering trees at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, but a couple at the feeders at Rocklands gave us an even closer, more personal experience!

VERVAIN HUMMINGBIRD (Mellisuga minima minima)

This tiny hummer, one of the world's smallest birds, is restricted to Jamaica and Hispaniola. We didn't see many of these, but we had some good views of several at the Errol Flynn Marina and along the track at Stewart Town, with a few folks also seeing on at flowering bushes during our stop at the Blue Mountains coffee farm.

STREAMERTAIL (RED-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus polytmus) [E]

I think it's fitting that the bird of the trip honors go to this species, the national bird of Jamaica, with 5/6 of you picking it as your favorite bird (that's Cathy, Jan, Karen, Linda, and Colette)! Honestly, though, I think if we'd done the voting prior to visiting Rocklands on our final day, the results would have been quite different. Up to that point, our views of these were good, but that up close and personal experience with the feeder birds there catapulted this one right to the top.

STREAMERTAIL (BLACK-BILLED) (Trochilus polytmus scitulus) [E]

Note that the recent taxonomic updates have now split the two species of streamertail, so this is now a full species, and gives Jamaica another endemic (28 of them now). On all pour previous tours, it was Red-billed that was the common streamertail, with the trip to Ecclesdown Road being critical for seeing this species in its small range at the eastern end of the island. Now that we're based at Mockingbird Hill it is this species that is the common garden bird we see most days.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

A trio at the Richmond sewage ponds, then 15-20 at Montego Bay.

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

Only at the Montego Bay sewage ponds, where there were 5 birds.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Seen only at the two sewage works visited, with three birds at Richmond, and 18 at Montego Bay.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

A lone bird on the bank at Montego Bay's sewage ponds.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) [b]

This was one of a handful of pre-tour birds, seen on the hotel grounds by the folks that came a day early and overnighted near the Kingston airport.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]

A couple of birds at the sewage ponds.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) [b]

One at Richmond, and two at Montego Bay.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

Seen in coastal areas several times during the drives.

ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)

The common tern here, with a few birds noted during drives along the coast.

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

A few of these were seen offshore from the hotel grounds near Kingston prior to the official meeting time for the tour.

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


A fairly common sight along the coast, mostly in the air, though we also saw one perched on a roadside power pole, looking like a scrawny vulture from a distance.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

BROWN PELICAN (SOUTHERN) (Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis)

Only tallied on our last couple of days near Montego Bay, though those that overnighted in Kingston prior to the trip also saw plenty offshore from the hotel.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

One at the Errol Flynn Marina, and a couple along the coast during the bus rides.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Recorded daily, primarily during the drives.

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

Also mostly along the drives, with most being seen around Montego Bay.

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

Small numbers seen mostly from the bus.

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

Dwayne pointed one out along the shore as we were driving through Montego Bay and at least a couple of the group spotted it before it was out of view.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

The most numerous heron seen, with records daily, and some good-sized flocks going to roost in the late afternoon near the Montego Bay sewage ponds.

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

A couple were seen along the northern coast as we approached Port Antonio on our first afternoon, with others seen at the Errol Flynn Marina and the Falmouth overpass.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

A group of 10 birds fed in the short grass on the verge of a large intersection near Annotto Bay, then a few more were noted in and around Montego Bay.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Seen daily, though we had just one bird on our Blue Mountains day. Known locally as "John Crow", though striking leucistic individuals, one of which we saw along Ecclesdown Road, are given the name "Pastor".

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

RED-TAILED HAWK (JAMAICENSIS) (Buteo jamaicensis jamaicensis) [N]

Small numbers were noted daily, except on our travel day to Montego Bay. One bird seen from the deck at the Mynt was carrying nesting material.

Strigidae (Owls)

JAMAICAN OWL (Asio grammicus) [E]

We probably could have seen these nightly at Mockingbird Hill, but rain and fatigue limited us to a single attempt, but it was all we needed, as we easily found a female perched low on a palm frond near the hotel, and were able to enjoy long looks as she really didn't seem bothered by our presence, or inclined to change perches.

Todidae (Todies)

JAMAICAN TODY (Todus todus) [E]

One of a small family of just 5 species, each restricted to a single island in the Greater Antilles, this is always one of the most-wanted species on this trip, and for good reason, as they are simply adorable. Mike chose this as his favorite bird of the trip, which was enough to put it into 2nd place overall. He also spotted our very first one along Ecclesdown Road.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) [b]

A handful of birds along the coast, with the most memorable being the rather macabre sighting of one perched on the end of a long pole that had a doll dangling on a noose just below it at the Errol Flynn Marina.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

JAMAICAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes radiolatus) [EN]

These handsome woodpeckers were one of the more commonly encountered of the endemics, with sightings most days, including a bird that was seen from the Mynt viewing deck, carrying food to a probable nest site.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (HISPANIOLAN) (Falco sparverius dominicensis)

There seems to be some discrepancy as to which race is the resident one here. Our database (which follows Cornell) shows this race as occurring in Jamaica and Hispaniola, while Ebird only shows records of the Cuban race (sparverioides) on the island. An older version of the field guide claims that kestrels have colonized Jamaica from Cuba and the Bahamas, so perhaps sparverioides is the correct subspecies here. In any case, I'm leaving it as is for the time being. We saw these every day, including a copulating pair on our final morning from the Mynt viewing deck.

MERLIN (Falco columbarius) [b]

A lone bird hurtled overhead in the pre-dawn gloom as we awaited the Plain Pigeon passage at Falmouth.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

BLACK-BILLED PARROT (Amazona agilis) [E]

Though this parrot is generally considered the trickier of the two endemic species, and some tours (primarily in Feb-Mar) seem to have some trouble locating them, we had no trouble at all. In fact, overall we probably had more satisfying views of this one than the next, with some very cooperative birds hanging around in the nearby treetops along Ecclesdown Road, then again as we ate our picnic breakfast at Stewart Town.

YELLOW-BILLED PARROT (Amazona collaria) [E]

That's not to say we didn't see this species well, as we did have some great scope views of these along Ecclesdown Road and at Stewart Town. It's just that these ones didn't hang around as long as the Black-billed Parrots did.

GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) [I]

Introduced to Jamaica from Northern South America. Though these tiny parrots showed up on several day's checklists, it was always as either a heard only species, or, at best, some small green (or black, depending on the light) shapes hurtling rapidly overhead.


Given that the other subspecies of this bird are all from Central America, and they naturally occur on no other Caribbean island besides Jamaica, I think it might just be a matter of time before this gets split off as yet another Jamaican endemic. We saw these in small numbers most days, with some especially nice views from the viewing decks at both Mockingbird Hill and the Mynt.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

JAMAICAN BECARD (Pachyramphus niger) [E]

The only becard in all of the Caribbean, this one is closely related to Rose-throated Becard, and the similarities were pretty obvious. We had great views of a responsive male along Ecclesdown Road on our first day, then a couple of excited females in Cockpit Country on our last. In between we saw only a couple of enormous old nests in the Blue Mountains.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

JAMAICAN ELAENIA (Myiopagis cotta) [E]

Scarce this trip, and the only one we saw was in the San San Forest Reserve, thanks to Mike's sharp eyes. Luckily, that one was very cooperative, and was feeding quite low next to the track, so we were treated to some eye level views of this bird, which often stays much higher up in the canopy.

JAMAICAN PEWEE (Contopus pallidus) [E]

The Caribbean islands have several endemic pewees; Jamaica's is one of the drabbest, but it's still an endearing little bird, and we had numerous nice encounters with them at most of the forested sites we visited.

SAD FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus barbirostris) [E]

The more numerous of the two endemic Myiarchus flycatchers, and we saw this one pretty much daily in small numbers. Much smaller and with more muted plumage than the more brightly colored Rufous-tailed.

RUFOUS-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus validus) [E]

Fleeting views our first day along Ecclesdown Road were more than made up for on subsequent outings as we had several excellent looks at this handsome Myiarchus at San San Forest and in the Blue Mountains.

LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRD (LOGGERHEAD) (Tyrannus caudifasciatus jamaicensis)

Ubiquitous, and usually conspicuous.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BLUE MOUNTAIN VIREO (Vireo osburni) [E]

As one would expect, the majority of our sightings of this upland bird were in the Blue Mountains, where we had about 5 of them, including a couple that gave excellent views as they few low along the road. More surprising was hearing one at the low-elevation San San Forest Reserve, where Dwayne claimed it was a first record for the site. Rounding out our sightings was a single bird that showed well along the track at Stewart Town.

JAMAICAN VIREO (Vireo modestus) [E]

Generally the more common and widespread of the endemic vireos here, though not usually all that conspicuous, and we probably heard more than we saw, though we did have several good views of these.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

JAMAICAN CROW (Corvus jamaicensis) [E]

I bet no one was expecting this bird to be the final endemic we were trying to track down, because I sure wasn't! We finally picked up a couple of crows during our stop at Llanrumney, though they were pretty distant. The next morning at Stewart Town we had a couple of birds foraging across the road while we ate breakfast, then regular sightings throughout the morning.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

CAVE SWALLOW (CARIBBEAN) (Petrochelidon fulva poeciloma)

Flocks of them were seen a couple of times along the coast, but never well enough to get good looks at plumage detail.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Not many of these show up in our Ebird trip report as the majority of these were tallied in towns and along roadways while we were transiting between sites.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

RUFOUS-THROATED SOLITAIRE (RUFOUS-THROATED) (Myadestes genibarbis solitarius) [*]

Heard a couple of times in the Blue Mountains and the San San forest, but our best opportunity to try and see one was thwarted by dense fog. This species has a disjunct Caribbean distribution, occurring on Jamaica and Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, and Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent in the Lesser Antilles.

WHITE-EYED THRUSH (Turdus jamaicensis) [E]

The harder to find of the two endemic thrushes, this species is most often seen in upland forests, and I've got to admit I was a bit concerned when most of us missed this bird in the Blue Mountains. I shouldn't have worried, though, as Dwayne had a back up spot in the San San Forest where we all enjoyed excellent looks at several of these handsome birds as they repeatedly fed at a fruiting palm tree near the track.

WHITE-CHINNED THRUSH (Turdus aurantius) [E]

The "Hopping Dick" was commonly seen throughout the tour, and is one of the more conspicuous of Jamaica's endemic birds.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) [I]

A flock of 7 birds flew across the road near one of the river crossings, and were seen by a few folks near the front of the bus.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

JAMAICAN EUPHONIA (Euphonia jamaica) [E]

Most numerous along Ecclesdown Road and in the Blue Mountains, though we recorded these birds daily, often by their distinctive vocalizations which sound a lot like a car that won't start!

Spindalidae (Spindalises)

JAMAICAN SPINDALIS (Spindalis nigricephala) [E]

Once included within the tanagers (and known as Stripe-headed Tanager) the now four species of spindalis, which are restricted to the Greater Antilles, are now placed in their own family. We saw these striking birds daily, with especially good numbers in the uplands along Ecclesdown Road and in the Blue Mountains.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

JAMAICAN ORIOLE (Icterus leucopteryx leucopteryx)

A near-endemic, occurring only here and on San Andres Island (formerly on Grand Cayman as well). Quite common, and we saw them in small numbers daily, with perhaps our best views coming at Rocklands with a very showy adult posed beautifully near the feeders.

JAMAICAN BLACKBIRD (Nesopsar nigerrimus) [E]

Generally considered one of the rarest and most difficult to find of Jamaica's endemic species, though that didn't prove to be the case this trip. We actually found our first right next to the road as we searched for quail-doves prior to breakfast in the Blue Mountains. We would have been satisfied with just that one, but a couple of miles further up the road, we encountered another also feeding near the road, and it also offered up incredible close views as it foraged in typical blackbird fashion, creeping up tree trunks and scrabbling around inside of bromeliads. Okay, maybe not typical of blackbirds in general, but certainly typical of this species!

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

A flock of roughly 20 was seen in flight over a pasture at Llanrumney, and a pair was near the feeders at Rocklands.

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

A pre-tour bird, seen on the Kingston-area hotel grounds by those that stayed over prior to the tour. This species is not native to the island, and the first record was in 2005 at the Kingston airport, though it's not clear how they arrived here. I wonder what this might mean for the native Greater Antillean Grackle if they continue to increase here?

GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus niger crassirostris)

A common bird, though perhaps not as numerous as one might expect. Our largest count came early in the morning during the Plain Pigeon vigil when we tallied 35-40. Generally, though they were seen in larger numbers in areas where we weren't keeping an Ebird list, ie along roads and in towns and cities.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) [b]

We recorded 5 birds in total, but the first four eluded many of the group, and it was only the 5th one at Stewart Town that allowed us to clean up the views for everyone.

WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) [b]

This migrant also managed to elude most people over the bulk of the tour, but again, it was the 5th one that showed well for everyone as it came to bathe in the trays of water set out for the birds at Rocklands.

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) [b]

Our only one showed very well along the track at San San Forest.

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [b*]

We heard one chipping in the mangroves at the Errol Flynn marina, but I was the only one to actually lay eyes on it.

BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) [b]

One of the more regularly seen migrant warblers, with a few pretty much daily, the initial ones getting a few hearts racing as the similarly streaky Arrowhead Warbler was on everyone's minds!

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) [b]

After a couple of sightings along Ecclesdown Road, we didn't encounter this species again until our final full day when we spotted a male from the bridge at the Falmouth overpass.

ARROWHEAD WARBLER (Setophaga pharetra) [E]

Though superficially like Black-and-white Warbler, to me this species always brings to mind one of the streaky antwrens from South America (Google Pacific Antwren, as an example). We tallied these at each of the forested sites we visited, but a pair up in the Blue Mountains was especially memorable, as they gave us incredible eye level views as they foraged low along the roadside!

HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina) [b]

Apparently a pretty scarce migrant here, and Ebird shows just one other sighting on Jamaica in 2022. There certainly was no mistaking this one though, as it was a handsome male that popped in for a quick bath at Rocklands!

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) [b]

By quite a wide margin, this was the most numerous of the migrant warblers we encountered, with sightings daily, and pretty much everywhere we birded.

CAPE MAY WARBLER (Setophaga tigrina) [b]

Recorded along Ecclesdown Road, and on the hotel grounds at both Mockingbird Hill and the Mynt. Many of the birds were in various drab female/winter/immature plumages, but at least one handsome adult male was seen at Ecclesdown.

NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) [b]

Not quite as numerous as the redstarts, but certainly a contender (along with the next species) as runner-up for most numerous migrant warbler. We saw them in small numbers daily, except in the Blue Mountains.

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens)

A few most days, with the memorable sighting of a handsome male foraging on the floor inside the police station at Stewart Town!

PALM WARBLER (WESTERN) (Setophaga palmarum palmarum) [b]

It seems there was a bit of an influx of Palm Warblers on Jamaica this year (Dwayne commented that they were everywhere). Our 8 most recent tours have tallied a grand total of 1 of these birds; on this trip we had at least 8!

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata) [b]

Another rather uncommon migrant here, and one we usually don't see on this tour. Our lone sighting was of a bird foraging on the ground with a couple of Palm Warblers next to the parking area at Llanrumney.

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica) [b]

Another uncommon migrant that we miss most tours, and almost did this trip, too, but we spotted one from the Mynt's viewing deck just before heading into breakfast and getting ready to fly home. I showed Dwayne his lifer of this species on my previous visit in 2018!

PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) [b]

Not numerous, but we had one per day through the tour, including one on the grounds at Mockingbird Hill.


You may have noted a recurring theme here in regards to uncommon wintering warblers that we usually don't get on this tour, and here is yet another one. We had fine views of a dapper male just up the road from the Blue Mountains coffee shop.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

BANANAQUIT (GREATER ANTILLEAN) (Coereba flaveola flaveola)

Whenever I find myself tiring of Bananaquits, I think back to when I first saw this bird depicted in the "Florida specialties" plate in Petersen's eastern field guide, and remember how much I wanted to see one. It helps me appreciate them a little more.

YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus olivaceus)

A male was seen by some on the edge of the mangroves at the Errol Flynn marina, but for most folks the first sighting was at the feeders at Rocklands.

ORANGEQUIT (Euneornis campestris) [E]

Common and seen regularly, but as they are often in the canopy, in the shade, and/or backlit, I don't think anyone really appreciated these lovely little birds until we saw them in the open, in good light, at Rocklands. They really are quite colorful and attractive, well, the males anyway!

GREATER ANTILLEAN BULLFINCH (Melopyrrha violacea ruficollis)

Our lone one as a group was a very cooperative male that perched in the open for several minutes at San San Forest, though I had a couple of brief, unsharable ones at Ecclesdown and Stewart Town as well.

YELLOW-SHOULDERED GRASSQUIT (Loxipasser anoxanthus) [E]

Of all the endemics, I feel like it was this one that gave us the hardest time. Not that we couldn't find them, but just that they played so hard to get. Some folks got good, but brief, looks at a male in the Blue Mountains, and we eventually got everyone on a responsive, but very flighty male in San San, but this one had your guides sweating a bit!

BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Melanospiza bicolor marchii)

A few birds in the Blue Mountains added to the challenge of spotting a singing male Yellow-shouldered Grassquit in the same area. There were also a fair number of these at the feeders in Rocklands.


NORWAY (BROWN) RAT (Rattus norvegicus) [I]

A couple of folks spotted on from the bus as we drove through Montego Bay.

SMALL INDIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes auropunctatus) [I]

We only recorded a couple of these introduced pests, though I don't think everyone saw one. Dwayne commented that Jamaicans refer to them as "Jamaican Roadrunners".


Since I spent a portion of our time photographing dragonflies, I felt I should include some of the sightings here, as best as I can provide, anyway.

Phantom Darner (Triacanthagyna trifida): This was the beautiful blue-eyed, green-spotted large dragonfly that flew into the bus as we came down from the Blue Mountains.

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens): We saw a number of these large yellow dragonflies flying along roadways over ditches, etc.

Band-winged Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrata): The one with the black wing bands, seen in big numbers at Llanrumney. The brownish ones we perched saw all over the pastures may have been females.

Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea): The lovely pink dragonfly we saw at the muddy puddle along Ecclesdown Road was most likely this species.

"Antillean Red" Skimmer(Orthemis undescribed species): Apparently those brilliant red skimmers at the Errol Flynn Marina most likely belong to a yet undescribed taxon, though there are apparently 2 undescribed species of red skimmers here, so this is the best I can do at this time!

Totals for the tour: 100 bird taxa and 2 mammal taxa