DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, PUERTO RICO & JAMAICA BIRDING TOUR: DETAILED ITINERARY
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 1 Our tour begins this afternoon at the airport of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic that occupies much of the island of Hispaniola. We will head westwards from Santo Domingo to Barahona for an overnight stay.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 2 We will spend much of the day birding in the region surrounding Barahona (see below for full details) and then climb into the western part of the Sierra de Bahoruco to Barrancoli Camp for a two nights stay.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 3 We will leave early this morning in order to reach the upper elevations of the rugged Sierra de Bahoruco by dawn. Here the forest is wetter than lower down and the evergreen broadleaf trees are covered with a heavy load of bromeliads, vines and other epiphytes. In this far western area of the Dominican Republic, we are close to the border with Haiti and the high mountains are often shrouded in clouds.
The ethereal song of the lovely Rufous-throated Solitaire fills the crisp morning air and resplendent endemic Hispaniolan Trogons perch quietly amidst the emerald foliage. Endemic Narrow-billed Todies replace their lowland cousins and the endemic Western Chat-Tanager, a large species that looks and behaves more like an Asian babbler than a tanager (and which is now treated as a member of a distinct bird family by some authorities), skulks in the dense undergrowth. The greatest prize here in these cool montane forests is Hispaniola’s most sought-after endemic bird, the secretive La Selle Thrush, which was unknown to science until Alexander Wetmore discovered the species in 1927 on Morne La Visite in Haiti. We stand the best chance of seeing this elusive bird at dawn (or dusk) when it tends to be less retiring and may be located by listening for its loud carolling song.
Other endemics that we will be wanting to find in these humid, high-elevation forests of the Dominican Republic include the shy and timid White-fronted (or Hispaniolan) Quail-Dove, Hispaniolan Emerald, the attractive White-winged Warbler and the unobtrusive Green-tailed Warbler. The latter two species were formerly placed in the parulid or American wood-warbler family, then considered tanagers and renamed Hispaniolan Highland Tanager and Green-tailed Ground Tanager respectively, and more recently often treated as two out of four members of their own family, Calyptophilidae.
We shall also explore the dry pine habitat on the south-facing slopes of the Sierra de Bahoruco. The most surprising and unexpected species here on this Caribbean island is surely the endemic Hispaniolan Crossbill. With a bit of luck, we should find this species cavorting in the pines or coming down to drink at a favourite pool, sometimes with the perky endemic Antillean Siskin. Handsome Golden Swallows (now extinct on Jamaica and so endemic to Hispaniola) often patrol the forested ridges while Hispaniolan Parakeets screech as they fly past and Hispaniolan Palm Crows utter their raucous calls from the treetops. Additional species in this part of the Dominican Republic may well include Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks, and Pine Warbler.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 4 After a final day in the Sierra de Bahoruco we will descend to the Barahona region of the Dominican Republic for a three nights stay (spending two nights in total at Barahona and one at Pedernales).
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Days 5-6 The dry woodland of the lower and middle altitudes of the Sierra de Bahoruco offers some exciting birding. Most of the trees are draped in black, moss-like bromeliads and the undergrowth consists of dense, thorny scrub. The stunning Broad-billed Tody, with its grass-green crown and upperparts, cherry-red throat patch, lemon belly and bubble-gum pink flanks must surely rank as one of the world’s most beautiful birds. It is one of just five members of the tody family, Todidae, which is restricted to the Greater Antilles. Other Hispaniolan endemics found here include Hispaniolan Amazon, the bizarre Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo, the rare and declining Bay-breasted Cuckoo (still used in traditional medicine by the local inhabitants), the attractive Antillean Piculet (belonging to the monotypic genus Nesoctites), the adaptable Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Hispaniolan Pewee, Flat-billed Vireo, Black-crowned Palm-Tanager and the beautiful Hispaniolan Spindalis (or Hispaniolan Stripe-headed Tanager).
We will also be on the lookout for more widespread Caribbean specialities such as Scaly-naped (or Red-necked) and White-crowned Pigeons, the smart Zenaida Dove, Antillean Mango, the tiny Vervain Hummingbird (found also in Jamaica), the smart Red-legged Thrush, Antillean Euphonia and Greater Antillean Bullfinch.
Birds of wider distribution may well include the retiring Ruddy Quail-Dove, the introduced Jamaican Parakeet, Bananaquit and an array of wintering wood-warblers including Black-and-white, Prairie, Black-throated Blue, Magnolia, Cape May and Palm Warblers, Ovenbird and American Redstart.
In the lowlands, patches of Royal Palms provide nesting sites for Hispaniola’s most interesting endemic, and sole member of its family, the strange Palmchat. These noisy and garrulous birds, which are distant relatives of the waxwings and silky flycatchers, build large communal nests of dead twigs. The strange White-necked Crow also favours areas with Royal Palms. Now extinct in Puerto Rico, and so endemic to Hispaniola, the species is easily recognizable by its loud and liquid calls, its peculiar, leisurely flight and its bright red eye. Minute Antillean Palm-Swifts nest here as well, flying in and out of their saliva-cemented nest constructions, which are attached to the undersides of the palm fronds, while the localized and retiring Plain Pigeon (endemic to the Greater Antilles) is another devotee of palm groves and Caribbean Martins often hunt for insects in the vicinity.
In a large depression west of Barahona lies the saline Lago Enriquillo, the largest lake in the entire Caribbean, not just the Dominican Republic. Once an ocean bay, but later cut off by geological events, its surface lies now over 40m below sea-level. The brackish Lago Enriquillo and nearby Laguna Rincon often hold a small flock of colourful American Flamingoes, as well as the crepuscular West Indian Whistling-Duck, White-cheeked Pintail and American Coot.
Amongst the many other waterbirds are Pied-billed and Least Grebes, Brown Pelican, Great Blue, Little Blue, Tricolored and Green Herons, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Western Cattle, Great and Snowy Egrets, White and Glossy Ibises, Roseate Spoonbill, Blue-winged Teal, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt, Grey (or Black-bellied), Semipalmated and Snowy Plovers, Killdeer, Spotted, Solitary, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Laughing Gull and Gull-billed, Caspian and Royal Terns. Additional species in this region of the Dominican Republic may well include Turkey Vulture, Western Osprey, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Belted Kingfisher and Northern Waterthrush. Visiting Magnificent Frigatebirds forage over the lagoons.
Lago Enriquillo is surrounded by desert terrain reminiscent of Arizona, and partly cultivated area. In this interesting part of the Dominican Republic, the major speciality is the endemic Hispaniolan Oriole, while other species of interest include Stolid Flycatcher, Grey Kingbird, Yellow-faced Grassquit and Greater Antillean Grackle. Northern Mockingbirds perch atop roadside bushes and White-winged and Mourning Doves, Common Ground-Doves and Smooth-billed Anis abound.
In the nearby xerophytic scrub zone, we can expect to find Smooth-billed Ani, Burrowing Owl, Loggerhead Kingbird and Black-whiskered Vireo. Small colonies of introduced Village Weavers occur near some of the small human settlements.
The area offers some exciting nightbirding as well and we shall be making a serious effort to obtain views of the inscrutable endemic Ashy-faced Owl, the diminutive endemic Least Poorwill, the very vocal endemic Hispaniolan Nightjar and the splendid Northern Potoo.
We will also follow a track into the higher reaches of the eastern part of the Sierra de Bahoruco in search of the hard-to-find endemic Eastern Chat-Tanager. It differs only subtly in plumage from Western Chat-Tanager, but has a different song. It favours evergreen shrubbery at the edge of montane forest.
Some seawatching along the south coast of the Dominican Republic may produce sightings of the elegant White-tailed Tropicbird and distant Black-capped Petrels and Audubon’s Shearwaters. Cave Swallow may also be seen.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 7 After a final morning in the Barahona region we will drive via Santo Domingo to Los Haitises National Park in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic for a two nights stay. Sea cliffs near Santo Domingo, which we will visit en route, hold colonies of Cave Swallow and sometimes a few elegant White-tailed Tropicbirds.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 8 Ridgway’s Hawk used to be a widespread raptor on Hispaniola, but habitat loss through large-scale clearance for livestock farming and coffee plantations, together with direct persecution, led to a disastrous decline. This once-common endemic is now virtually confined to Los Haitises National Park, which is situated at the head of Samana bay, due north of the Dominican Republic’s capital. We stand a very good chance of encountering this interesting species, which is now considered to be the rarest Buteo on earth, with a surviving population of only 200-250 individuals. It favours the subcanopy and only relatively rarely takes to the sky and rides the thermals as so many other Buteo species do. While we track down this enigmatic species, we will also encounter many other Dominican/Hispaniolan specialities in the process. We also have another good chance for Ashy-faced Owl here.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 9 This morning we will return to Santo Domingo airport and say farewell to the Dominican Republic and the bird-rich island of Hispaniola.
We will catch a late morning flight to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. After arrival, we will transfer to our hotel in Luquillo, situated at the northeastern end of the island for a two nights stay. We should arrive in time for some initial exploration.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 10 The Caribbean National Forest covers about 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) in the Luquillo Mountains. This area receives more rainfall than any other locality in Puerto Rico, resulting in the occurrence of a dense rainforest on the lower slopes of El Yunque, a peak which rises to 1065m (3494ft). At higher altitude palm forest takes over and stunted, moss-draped dwarf forest huddles on the highest peaks and ridges. Giant ferns, bamboo thickets and tiny wild orchids are a feature of this reserve, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and again by Hurricane George in 1998.
The highly endangered Puerto Rican Amazon is now restricted to small and largely inaccessible parts of the eastern Luquillo Mountains and the Rio Abajo State Forest in north-central Puerto Rico. At the moment, there are only about 60 individuals surviving in the wild, as the population was almost wiped out by Hurricane Hugo (in 2000 and 2001 about 25 captive individuals were released in order to augment the surviving population). From our carefully-chosen viewpoint, we will have our first chance of observing this rarest of all the Puerto Rican endemics as the birds move between their roost sites and the fruiting trees in which they will spend much of the day.
Berry-bearing trees surrounding the open area at the viewpoint are often raided by families of smart endemic Puerto Rican Woodpeckers and drably-garbed endemic Puerto Rican Tanagers. The Green Mango is a large but rather unobtrusive endemic hummingbird which habitually resides near one of the waterfalls. We should also find such other endemics as Puerto Rican Emerald, Puerto Rican Tody (the third tody of the tour), Puerto Rican Spindalis (or Puerto Rican Stripe-headed Tanager) and Puerto Rican Bullfinch.
We also plan to track down the near-endemic Puerto Rican Screech-Owl (which also occurs on some small islets near Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands). Tremulous trills and fear-inspiring maniacal laughs usually betray the whereabouts of this atypical, ear-tuftless member of the genus Megascops.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 11 After another visit to the Caribbean National Forest if need be, we shall explore some dry coastal scrub and the adjacent shoreline. Flowering bushes in the northeast of Puerto Rico are often visited by Antillean Crested Hummingbird (of the green-crested race) and Green-throated Carib, two smart hummingbirds that are otherwise restricted to the Lesser Antilles. Other species we could see here include the mean-looking Pearly-eyed Thrasher and Antillean Mango. Brown Boobies sometimes fish in the shallow bays.
Afterwards, we will travel to San German in the far southwest of the island for a two nights stay.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 12 Not far from San German is the Maricao State Forest, where we will explore the lush montane environment. This reserve offers us the best chance to observe the rare Elfin Woods Warbler, a species that was only discovered in 1971 in elfin forest in the Luquillo Mountains. It resembles a Black-and-white Warbler, but has a rather different head pattern and favours the sub-canopy of the montane forest.
From dense thickets, the emphatic and nasal call of the weird-looking endemic Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo emanates through the forest, and we will try to lure this lethargic and fearless bird into view. Mixed feeding flocks containing such endemics as Puerto Rican Pewee, Puerto Rican Vireo and Puerto Rican Oriole (part of the Greater Antillean Oriole complex) will provide additional entertainment.
We will also search the arid scrubland and mangrove areas of the southwest of the island for the localized and declining endemic Yellow-shouldered Blackbird. This once-common species has been plagued by the arrival of the Shiny Cowbird, a fairly recent colonizer from South America. This nest parasite has chosen the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird as its principal host and now the total population numbers only about 650, in spite of continuous efforts to control the Shiny Cowbird population.
In addition, we will spend some time in the International Biosphere Reserve of Guanica, which is situated on the hilly south coast of the island and protects an extensive area of subtropical dry, near-xerophytic forest. Many of the Puerto Rican endemics and Caribbean specialities are found here, but the handsome endemic Adelaide’s Warbler will certainly steal the show. Other species here should include the rather dull Caribbean Elaenia and the endemic Puerto Rican Flycatcher. Mangrove-fringed pools often harbour Clapper Rails as well as a variety of egrets, herons and migrant waders. At dusk, we will hope to hear the whistled ‘whip’ notes of the Puerto Rican Nightjar, a species that, until 1961, when a surviving population was discovered in Guanica forest, was only known from a skin collected in 1888! By carefully using the spotlight, we should be able to study this remarkable bird.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 13 After some final birding in the southwest of the island we will head for the north coast and the town of Arecibo where we will overnight.
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico: Day 14 Early this morning we will visit the Rio Abajo State Forest where Puerto Rican Amazons have been re-introduced after being exterminated by Hurricane Hugo. We have an excellent chance of seeing this critically endangered species here.
Afterwards, we shall return to San Juan airport, where our tour ends in the early afternoon.
JAMAICA PRE-TOUR EXTENSION
Jamaica: Day 1 Our tour commences this afternoon at Kingston on the island of Jamaica, from where we will drive to Mandeville for a three nights stay.
Jamaica: Days 2-3 Situated at 2000ft (600m) on a high plateau of the Don Figuerero Mountains overlooking the south coast, Mandeville is a small hill town in the central area of Jamaica. Grand old mahogany trees and flowering yellow ‘poui’ and mango decorate the country lanes that lead us to a 300-acre (120-hectare) working cattle farm owned by the Sutton family at Marshall’s Pen. The centrepiece of the property is the Great White House, which must have been carved out of the wilderness in the early 1700s. It has amazingly survived at least four horrendous hurricanes and still maintains its old grandeur.
The spacious, colourful gardens and belts of pastureland, interrupted by thickly wooded copses, provide ideal nest sites for many of Jamaica’s common bird species and in fact well over half of the island’s endemics breed here. The following are all easily found: Jamaican Parakeet (sometimes split from the Olive-throated Parakeet of Central America), Jamaican Tody (an exquisite little critter, belonging to a family which is endemic to the Greater Antilles), Jamaican Woodpecker (which has become a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ filling several ecological niches), Sad Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Jamaican Becard (easily located by its enormous nest high up in mature fruiting trees), Jamaican Vireo, Jamaican Euphonia, Jamaican Oriole (a virtual endemic, also occurring on the island of San Andres), Jamaican Spindalis (or Jamaican Stripe-headed Tanager) and the handsome Orangequit.
One of the major highlights at Marshall’s Pen is watching the endemic Red-billed Streamertails at the feeders. This amazing hummingbird shines emerald green in shafts of sunlight as it fiercely defends its sugar solution from duller and more normal-tailed females and from the larger endemic Jamaican Mangoes. Its tail streamers are elongated to three times its body length and are scalloped and fluted on the inside. Its wings create a high whining hum as the bird flies. Nicknamed ‘Doctorbird’ by local people, it is actually a status symbol for a family to attract streamertails to flowers in their garden. The name ‘Doctorbird’ comes from its practice of puncturing the base or sides of flowers with its bill to draw out the nectar, an act which resembles the 17th-century doctor poking around with his lancet.
Whilst creeping along the wide trails we will be listening for the raucous accelerating tones of a cuckoo. Both the elegant, endemic, yellow-bellied Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo and the larger endemic Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo inhabit the shady thick understorey of this dense woodland. In the forest glades, endemic Jamaican Elaenias and Jamaican Pewees sit motionless on their perches and occasionally explode into action to pick insects off leaves or twigs or to acrobatically catch them in mid-air. The easiest birding is in the gardens where an endemic White-chinned Thrush may hop on the lawns or an endemic Yellow-shouldered Grassquit may be seen unsuccessfully looking for a camouflaged background amongst the multi-coloured array of flowers. Biologists have opted out of making a decision as to whether this delightful black and yellow, berry- and seed-eating bird is a grassquit or a finch and have pronounced it to be another endemic genus. Greater Antillean Bullfinch and the local race of Bananaquit also flit around the gardens.
As dusk approaches we will listen for the hoarse throaty ‘whow’ that signals the waking up of a Jamaican Owl and human ‘wows’ may be heard as we find him hiding under a bromeliad or amongst the tangled vines that envelop most of the trees here! Another nocturnal delight is the Northern Potoo.
Other interesting species that we should find here include such Caribbean specialities as White-crowned Pigeon, the smart Caribbean Dove (normally a shy forest floor species, but not here), the gorgeous Zenaida Dove, Antillean Palm Swift, Grey and Loggerhead Kingbirds, Black-whiskered Vireo, Black-faced Grassquit and Greater Antillean Grackle.
More widespread species include Turkey Vulture, American Kestrel, White-winged Dove, Common Ground Dove, Ruddy Quail-Dove, the introduced Green-rumped Parrotlet, Mangrove Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Cave Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue and Prairie Warblers, American Redstart and Yellow-faced Grassquit.
During our sojourn at Marshall’s Pen, we will also visit the Black River Morass, the most extensive wetland in Jamaica. Here we will explore slow-moving, mangrove-fringed channels, enjoying the variety of waterbirds and raptors. Purple Gallinules and Northern Jacanas seem to be everywhere, and we will hope to find the diminutive Least Bittern crouched along a reedy edge. The uncommon West Indian Whistling Duck is mainly a nocturnal feeder, but small parties are regularly found here in the quieter stretches of marsh. Western Ospreys and Red-tailed Hawks perch on exposed boughs, while American Coots lurk near cover. As dusk approaches, Antillean Nighthawks float high over the open expanses.
Amongst the many other species, we may well see amongst the channels or at some saline lagoons are Least and Pied-billed Grebes, Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Black-crowned and perhaps Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Green, Tricolored, Little Blue and Great Blue Herons, Great, Snowy, Reddish and Western Cattle Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Blue-winged Teal (and possibly other lingering ducks), the dashing Merlin, Sora, Common Gallinule (now treated as distinct from Common Moorhen), Black-necked Stilt, Grey (or Black-bellied), Snowy, Semipalmated and Wilson’s Plovers, Killdeer, Solitary, Spotted, Semipalmated, Least and Stilt Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Laughing Gull, Royal and Cabot’s Terns, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Caribbean Martin, Barn Swallow (and perhaps other swallow species), Mangrove Warbler, Northern Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat.
Jamaica: Day 4 This morning we will explore the only wilderness area left on Jamaica, the Cockpit Country. A karst limestone region of caves, sinkholes and ‘haystack’ terrain, the ‘Cockpit’ is basically a plateau that, over the aeons, has been eroded by rainfall whose carbonic acid content has gradually dissolved the rock and left behind a jumble of steep conical hills separated by deep depressions or ‘cockpits’. The tops and vertical hillsides have little or no soil to support vegetation, but the cockpits, in which the eroded minerals have been deposited, usually have very fertile soil and when undisturbed support thick vegetation and enormous trees. No fewer than a hundred plant species are endemic to the area.
Ramsgoat Cave in the heart of the Cockpit Country is the roosting haunt of Jamaica’s two endangered endemic parrots. In the early morning, small squawking flocks of both Yellow-billed and Black-billed Amazons noisily transfer from their roosting sites, situated on dead emergent branches of the highest trees, to the fruiting trees where they will gorge themselves all day. We will also be listening out for the jabbering and squabbling of endemic Jamaican Crows, which are still quite easily found in this area, and we will likely encounter the aptly-named Stolid Flycatcher. We should hear the soft cooing of the rare endemic Ring-tailed Pigeon which, although officially fully protected, is still shot by hungry locals and so one of Jamaica’s harder birds to see. With persistence, we have a good chance of locating one.
Later in the day, we will make a stop on the Portland peninsula to try and locate the shy Bahama Mockingbird. With a bit of luck we will see one displaying from a favourite bush. Migrant wood-warblers are usually about and may include Black-and-white, Palm, Magnolia and Black-throated Green Warblers, and Ovenbird, and possibly one or two of the scarcer species such as Worm-eating, Yellow-throated and Cape May Warblers. In the nearby mangroves, we may come across the skulking Clapper Rail or even a Prothonotary Warbler.
Afterwards, we will travel to Port Antonio for an overnight stay.
Jamaica: Day 5 This morning we will explore the ornithologically and touristically neglected John Crow Mountains at the eastern end of the island in search of the endemic Black-billed Streamertail. This isolated range, situated in the extreme northeast of the island, receives more rain than the rest of Jamaica and is covered in fertile plantations at the base and the lower slopes, while the upper reaches are clothed in virtually inaccessible lush forest. The two streamertails used to be treated as conspecific as earlier scientific investigations suggested that there was an overlap zone where some individuals had red and black bills, but these biologists failed to realize that it is the immature Red-billed Streamertails which show this two-tone bill colour! Black-billed Streamertails are, in fact, more blue-green in colour, have completely black bills and are only found in the humid eastern section of Jamaica. An excellent selection of other Jamaican endemics occur in the area.
Afterwards, we will head for the Blue Mountains above Kingston, where we will stay for two nights at Silver Hill Gap.
Jamaica: Day 6 Today we will explore the slopes of the lofty Blue Mountains, overlooking the city of Kingston. These scenic mountains frame Jamaica’s capital and dominate the eastern third of the island, rising up to around 2200m (roughly 7200ft). They are covered with forests and dotted with plantations of Caribbean Pine and the famous Blue Mountain Coffee, the most expensive in the world. Alas, its fame and price have reached such heights that precious soil-conserving woodlands are being cleared for plantations at an alarming rate. However, on the cool, steep and often cloudy slopes, some good evergreen montane forest remains. The highest point that we will reach is about 1220m (around 4000ft) at Hardwar Gap, a thickly wooded mountain pass, where clouds move through the forest daily, creating a cool and damp environment which will be a welcome change from the hot humid lowlands.
The woods are dense with tree ferns, mahogany and Blue Mahoe and luxuriant with huge bromeliads and epiphytes, whose flowers attract the tiny Vervain Hummingbird (endemic to Jamaica and Hispaniola). Blue Mahoe is Jamaica’s national tree and the blossoms gradually change colour from yellow to orange to red. Mixed feeding flocks forage tirelessly through the dark montane evergreen forest, and include specialities like Greater Antillean Elaenia, the endemic Blue-Mountain Vireo and the endemic Arrowhead (or Arrow-headed) Warbler, joined by migrant parulids. The retiring endemic White-eyed Thrush feeds unobtrusively under shady shrubs. Experienced Neotropical birders will recognize the flutelike whistles and trills emanating from the canopy as coming from a solitaire, but few will be prepared for the shock of seeing a positively gaudy Rufous-throated Solitaire in its grey, chestnut, rufous and white plumage. The bird is usually easy to find as it sings from leafless branches instead of from inside thick canopy. More time, however, will have to be spent on locating two much less conspicuous endemics. The scarce endemic Jamaican Blackbird is, unlike most other New World blackbirds, arboreal and does not flock. It forages silently for insects in bromeliads and moss or at the base of tree-fern fronds where it tosses out dead leaves. The most difficult Jamaican endemic, however, is the Crested Quail-Dove, which is no easier to see than any other quail-dove. Our best chance will be to spot one turning over the leaf litter at the side of the road soon after dawn, before the sun makes it retreat into the shady parts of the forest. We may also see White-collared Swift here and perhaps American Black Swift.
Jamaica: Day 7 Early this morning, we will have another chance to look for the sometimes tricky Crested Quail-Dove or anything else we still need.
Afterwards, we return to Kingston airport and take a flight to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, situated on the large island of Hispaniola, where we will meet up with those arriving for the main tour.