13 July 2011

Birding Puerto Rico

On our first morning in Puerto Rico, Emily and I rolled out of bed early and met with Ana, our birdingpals guide. If you haven’t used birdingpals I highly recommend it. It connects local birders with visiting birders and allows you to have a chance to not only meet new people but also have an insider’s knowledge of the land. With Ana’s help we were able to locate 18 new life birds for me and also see an additional 27 birds on the half day of birding.

Zenaida Dove

Upon arriving at our meeting location I had my lifer Zenaida Dove in the parking lot. Ana decided to take us to a local cemetery to find a few exotic species such as Pin-tailed Wydah. We found a nice male with a fairly long tail. The full tail length would be achieved during breeding season so we were a little early for that. While driving around the cemetery loop we had crippling looks at my first Caribbean Mango. The hummer perched on a road tractor for us to get nice looks. This stop also produced Black-faced Grassquit and White-crowned Pigeon.

Next we headed to Cambalache State Forest. This is a premiere birding destination in Puerto Rico and the furthest west that Emily and I would venture on this trip. Right outside the park we stopped off the road to see a nice Troupial. This is a Venezuelan species whose origin is unknown but most likely it arrived via the pet trade. Regardless, it does breed in Puerto Rico and like the Pin-tailed Wydah, is countable according to my local birder.

Once on the trails at Cambalache the lifers just starting rolling in with Puerto Rican Tody, Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Antillean Mango, Adeleide’s Warbler, and Puerto Rican Vireo. While finally catching a glimpse of the vireo (we had heard them all morning) we found a very cooperative Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo. While watching that bright red eye a Mangrove Cuckoo perched just behind the Lizard Cuckoo. Two cuckoos in my binoculars at once was almost too much! I was having a great time in Puerto Rico and the day wasn’t done.

We found a nice Puerto Rican Spindalis and Puerto Rican Flycatcher nearby but the highlight was the Puerto Rican Woodpecker. We watched the endemic woodpecker climb the nearby light pole and duck into its hole. It was a treat and such a nice looking bird to end out stop at Cambalache.

Puerto Rican Woodpecker

From here we drove home but not before my lifer Pearly-eyed Thrasher crossed the road on the way out of town. When we were almost back to the freeway I mentioned my desire to see Bridled Terns and off we went to the coast. But if you read yesterday’s post you already know how that turned out.

1 comment:

Mark Lopez said...

Looks like an amazing trip! Thank you for your tips on the best places to go.