Jamaica Mar 21—28, 2018
Posted by Ann Haynes-Sutton
Jamaica is a very large island for its size—not just because of its 28 endemic species, but also for the outstanding variety of landscapes, climate, food, and culture. From the dry coastal plains, where cacti grow in close proximity to mangroves, to the moist karst limestone hills of the Cockpit Country, and the rain forests of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and World Heritage Site, we got great views of wonderful birds and experienced Jamaican hospitality, culture, and landscapes.
After an overnight in Kingston, our first day of birding started in the mangroves at the Portland Bight Discovery Centre, in the Portland Bight Protected Area. Brandon Hay, one of the two Jamaican leaders for this trip, works for a local NGO that is developing the PBDC as a focus for wetland and climate change awareness and eco-tourism development for the area. A crocodile basking on a little island in front of the bird hide was an unexpected bonus view.
From there we ventured to the southernmost peninsula of Jamaica to find the spectacular Bahama Mockingbird, singing its heart out in the dry scrub woodland. Stolid Flycatcher, Jamaican Vireos, and several species of warblers were seen well, and great views of a Clapper Rail completed our morning. After lunch at a small restaurant in nearby Lionel Town, we left the heat of the coastal plains for the cool of Marshall’s Pen in Mandeville in the central mountains where our other guide, Ann Sutton, welcomed us in the triple role of guide, host, and author of the Jamaica field guide, A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica, published by Princeton University Press. Marshall’s Pen is her home and private nature reserve, as well as a designated National Heritage Site. Also there to welcome us were a bevy of Red-billed Streamertail hummingbirds, Jamaica’s national bird and one of the most beautiful hummingbirds in the world.
Read Ann’s full report in her Field Report.