Jump to content
Whatbird Community

guy_incognito

Members
  • Posts

    150
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

Posts posted by guy_incognito

  1. On 4/1/2019 at 7:39 AM, guy_incognito said:

    What is North America seems to vary on geopolitical bases.  As for birders, and specifically at this forum, I think we treat NA basically as the ABA area.  I am perfectly fine with this forum being anything not in the ABA. 

    I think it would be much better to place birds from Mexico and Costa Rica in this forum.  There really aren't that many of those posts, so I don't think that Costa Rica posts are swamping out the rest, at least certainly not to the same degree that the Costa Rica posts would surely be swamped out of the main identification forum.  Given that many of the US based birders are nearly as familiar with birds outside the ABA, it can take a while to get a response to a non-ABA post, and by that point the post would no longer be one the first page and may never be seen.  Whereas on this page, you'll see that the first page of this forum still goes back to mid February, so certainly CR isn't swamping out all other posts.

    correction, meant to say "are NOT nearly"

    I miss the ability to edit posts for more than 5 minutes.

  2. What is North America seems to vary on geopolitical bases.  As for birders, and specifically at this forum, I think we treat NA basically as the ABA area.  I am perfectly fine with this forum being anything not in the ABA. 

    I think it would be much better to place birds from Mexico and Costa Rica in this forum.  There really aren't that many of those posts, so I don't think that Costa Rica posts are swamping out the rest, at least certainly not to the same degree that the Costa Rica posts would surely be swamped out of the main identification forum.  Given that many of the US based birders are nearly as familiar with birds outside the ABA, it can take a while to get a response to a non-ABA post, and by that point the post would no longer be one the first page and may never be seen.  Whereas on this page, you'll see that the first page of this forum still goes back to mid February, so certainly CR isn't swamping out all other posts.

    • Like 1
  3. Blue-headed Vireo is quite rare in Costa Rica.  Also, the photos really don't look like a vireo for multiple reasons.

     

    Just a quick FYI - Paltry Tyrannulet is now known as Mistletoe Tyrannulet in Costa Rica.

    I believe both photos 1 and 3 are Yellow-olive Flycatchers.  Mistletoe Tyrannulet should show a more prominent pale lore and supercilium, and the bill is stubbier. 

    I'm not gonna hazard a guess on #2!

    • Like 1
  4. TRIP SUMMARY:

    In all, we really enjoyed the trip.  I had some concerns going in, mainly due to safety issues that non-birding friends had warned me about in Jamaica, and on the birding front about whether we could do it without a guide.  I never felt unsafe while in Jamaica.  The people were very friendly.  Sure, in the towns people are often trying to sell you goods, but we never had any that were overly pushy.  Many of the locals out in the rural areas were very friendly. 

    On the birding front we did quite well.  In reality we really didn't even need to stay so long.  We got all 27 endemics in just 2.5 days!  A guide certainly might have helped for some of those endemics, and surely we would have seen a few more non-endemics birds.  We never saw a Northern Potoo (wouldn't be a lifer), but I'm sure a local guide would know exactly where a reliable day roost is.  Perhaps we might have had better luck with Bahama Mockingbird and West Indian Whistling-Duck?  Overall, no regrets.  It often is a lot of fun to just be out birding with your friends!

    If you are out for pure numbers of birds, smaller islands will never be your best bang for the buck.  However, they offer up birds that are just not present anywhere else, and sometimes in a relatively high concentration.  Anyone who plans on doing even a moderate amount of traveling to see birds will want to hit up the Caribbean.

    Species total - 132

    Endemic species - 27 of 27

    Caribbean/Bahamas endemics - 39

    Native lifers - 40

    Introduced lifers (presumably countable) - 3

    • Like 3
  5. For our final half day in Jamaica we decided to get back to "better" Jamaican birding, looking for the endemics, rather than fruitlessly trying to find that duck.  On our first day we went to Stewart Town in the afternoon and enjoyed it, so we thought it might be worth going back there and see what it is like.  We would also have more time to explore into new areas.  There was also one target to look for.

    In all, we did rather well and saw 21 of the 27 endemics (plus the near-endemic Jamaican Oriole).  We did end up seeing distant Green-rumped Parrotlets, which are introduced to Jamaica.  Some of the highlights were great looks at a male Jamaican Becard, a ridiculously cooperative Rufous-tailed Flycatcher (earning its local name of Big Tom Fool), and a very close Jamaica Elaenia.  A Ruddy Quail-Dove flushed from right in front of us and was never seen again, which is unfortunately how we saw all of them during the trip.

    46979728962_f70d16dab3_c.jpg

    Yellow-billed Parrot by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46118037225_e9d9671df4_c.jpg

    Rufous-tailed Flycatcher by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46979728822_92ef7bf868_c.jpg

    Rufous-tailed Flycatcher by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46118036885_d0f4ed0dee_c.jpg

    Jamaican Becard by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46979728672_1f266acf1a_c.jpg

    Jamaican Becard by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46118036765_c96cfcecfd_c.jpg

    Arrowhead Warbler by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46979728442_4f45745d2b_c.jpg

    Jamaican Elaenia by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    Many additional photos are in the eBird checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52301278

     

    On the drive back to Montego Bay to catch our flight we made a quick roadside stop at the beach and connected with some Ruddy Turnstones which we had somehow managed to miss up to that point.

     

    Of course the airlines weren't gonna let us get home without any delays.  Flying into Jamaica we were delayed because they put in too much fuel, well, this time we were delayed because they had not put enough in.  Luckily we had a long enough connect in Miami that we were there in time.  No matter, though, because that flight ended up getting delayed by about two hours since they needed to change a tire.  What luck, all 4 of our flight segments were delayed by mechanical issues or human error.

  6. After finding the Crake, we really only had one major, semi-realistic target left.  We spent a bunch of time checking around the southwest side of the island hoping to stumble across a West Indian Whistling-Duck, and ultimately we had no luck whatsoever.  We had thought about checking out the Fonthill Nature Reserve, but we got a bit short on time.  About a week after we got back, some reports of Ducks came in from that area.  Too bad we didn't give it a try (or that the reports hadn't come in sooner)!  Oh well, they are supposed to be easier to find on other islands, so maybe some time in the future.

    The other interesting news that recently came from Fonthill is that a Kirtland's Warbler was just found.  It is the first record for Jamaica!  This is a highly surveyed area, so it is unlikely that there is an unknown wintering population.  More likely it is an out of range wintering bird, but in any case, it is probably a good sign for this species that has shown a great comeback.

    A female Yellow-faced Grassquit outside our B&B in the morning.  I also saw a Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo fly by.

    46979728552_c19a703708_c.jpg

    Yellow-faced Grassquit by mattgrube, on Flickr

    We searched around the Parottee Pond area as it looked good for the Ducks.  A local told us that a lot of birds come in during the morning and evening, and that he has ducks there.  It was sounding promising, but then he described having like 200 Whistling-Ducks.  At that point the story started sounding a bit fishy, and we decided it wasn't worth staying there until late afternoon.

    Finally our best looks at Vervain Hummingbird.  It is said to be the second smallest bird in the world, only slightly larger than the Bee Hummingbird in Cuba.  Although, it might take the record for the smallest eggs.

    46979729232_d13c6e75d8_c.jpg

    Vervain Hummingbird by mattgrube, on Flickr

    A boat trip along the Black River was pretty slow.  They told us they knew of 1-2 locations where the Whistling-Ducks have nested.  No luck, but we may have had better luck if we had been there early in the morning.  Main highlight was spotting a Least Bittern hidden away.

    46118037785_5373f8a38e_c.jpg

    Cattle Egret by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46979729152_1fa779a109_c.jpg

    Least Bittern by mattgrube, on Flickr

    With not much better to do, we decided to look for a few species that would be new species for our Jamaica lists, so we headed to the beach to find birds like Sanderling, Willet, Semipalmated Plover, Wilson's Plover, etc.

    46118037585_b47d384715_c.jpg

    Wilson's Plover by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46979729022_553e272c96_c.jpg

    Magnificent Frigatebird by mattgrube, on Flickr

    Outside our lunch stop run by a Rastafarian (really good vegetarian food), we finally got a few decent looks at a Jamaican Mango.

    33156602408_a5145bd037_c.jpg

    Jamaican Mango by mattgrube, on Flickr

    Finally, on our way back to the Montego Bay area, we gave another try for the Whistling-Ducks that had been reported at a golf course, and again came up empty.

    46979729742_e72e384eb5_c.jpg

    White-crowned Pigeon by mattgrube, on Flickr

  7. At this point we were starting to run low on targets.  There had been a recent report of a few West Indian Whistling-Ducks from a golf course a bit west of Montego Bay.  We gave it a try but couldn't find them.  The golf course is closed to the public.  We could see pretty much all the ponds from the road.  Perhaps we missed them if they were tucked away.

    We then traveled south and ended up along the Black River at a place called Elim Ponds.  Lots of waterfowl were again here.  In the past the Whistling-Ducks have been reported in the general area, but nothing recently.  Again, we didn't find any.  We did have another target.  Although not a lifer, we were happy to see a Spotted Rail.

    33136282038_53b273564d_c.jpg

    Spotted Rail by mattgrube, on Flickr

    After trying a few different spots, my friend finally noticed some grass move in response to playback.  After playing cat and mouse for a while, we finally got exceptional views of a Yellow-breasted Crake, our main target for the location!

    47011545541_63e79e3989_c.jpg

    Yellow-breasted Crake by mattgrube, on Flickr

    33136281968_5fa6cd3184_c.jpg

    Yellow-breasted Crake by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46097666705_60b99f2711_c.jpg

    Yellow-breasted Crake by mattgrube, on Flickr

    33136281848_391eb72487_c.jpg

    Yellow-breasted Crake by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46097666535_59d6948095_c.jpg

    Yellow-breasted Crake by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    We also had our only Limpkins of the trip, only Magnolia Warbler, and a calling flyover of the only Solitary Sandpiper. 

    https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52252373

  8. The next morning we went to a spot just south of Falmouth.  The original plan was to go here the very first morning, but the flight fiasco nullified that plan.  There was one main reason to go here.  Plain Pigeon is a tough bird on Jamaica, but some birders have noticed that there seems to be a roost in the area, and they can be spotted in the morning as they fly out of the roost.  So sure enough, not too long after sunrise we got the first few fly over.  Over the course of the next half an hour or so they kept on coming.  We counted at least 141 Plain Pigeons!

    47011545641_d896370191_c.jpg

    Plain Pigeon by mattgrube, on Flickr

    Right next to where we parked the car we had a Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo out in the open for a few seconds!

    46959724422_9b4a394335_c.jpg

    Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    In uncharacteristic fashion, we went back to the hotel to actually eat a real breakfast.  There were a few birds in the area such as Common Ground-Dove, Greater Antillean Grackle, Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull, Magnificent Frigatebird, etc.  However, while we sitting down and eating breakfast one of the others looked out into the bay and spotted an American Flamingo!  There are few Flamingo records in eBird for Jamaica, but I'm sure there are way more seen than get reported to eBird.  We asked the boat drivers at the dock, and they said they might see them one or twice a year.  Unfortunately, the boat drivers couldn't take us closer to get better photos.

    46959724272_0664ae4d0f_c.jpg

    Common Ground-Dove by mattgrube, on Flickr

    33136282158_774c8347fd_c.jpg

    Greater Antillean Grackle by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46959724222_8ed77cabc0_c.jpg

    American Flamingo by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52226319

     

    We then hit the road heading west back to Montego Bay.  A stop at the water treatment plant turned up a lot of waterfowl and shorebirds.  There were lots of Northern Shovelers and Blue-winged Teal, with smaller numbers of Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, and Least Grebe.  Previously the Coots had been split into Caribbean Coot and American Coot, but they were recently lumped back to just American Coot.  We saw a few of the type that were previously Caribbean Coot, which have a white shield extending further up the forehead.  A few land birds were also around, including some Scaly-breasted Munia, completing our introduced Munia trifecta for Jamaica (how exciting).

    46097666255_4d7975913b_c.jpg

    Prairie Warbler by mattgrube, on Flickr

    33136282078_217243461f_c.jpg

    American Coot (White-shielded/Caribbean) by mattgrube, on Flickr

    https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52252479

  9. Later we continued down to the Hector's River area and checked out the cliffs.  This is a popular spot to look for White-tailed Tropicbird.  We had no luck, but I'm sure looking early or late in the day would be far more productive.  Only plus was getting really nice looks at a pair of American Kestrels.  You'll notice this subspecies looks a bit different than we are used to seeing in the US.

    46097666335_99ff0d34d5_c.jpg

    American Kestrel by mattgrube, on Flickr

    47011545321_d7cf175c2f_c.jpg

    American Kestrel by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    We had quite a bit of driving to do the rest of the day as we headed back north and west along the coast.  Much of the time it was raining, too.  We decided to take a quick stop by Green Castle Estate as we had seen lots of eBird reports out of there.  However, there was a very obvious sign that said you needed prior permission to enter the grounds.  We ultimately somewhat haphazardly ended up in Falmouth and decided on a hotel called Glistening Waters.  As we were checking in they asked if we wanted to do the boat trip that night.  Why would we want to do a boat trip at night?  Well, because that bay has bioluminescence!  It turned out to be the non-birding highlight of the trip.  Swimming in the warm water at night with the ocean water glowing as you move through it was far more entertainment than I was expecting that night.  Did was still raining hard, otherwise I would have attempted to take some pictures.

    Here's a photo from the hotel's website

    image.png.1ba06ff569446a40043a1a5405592a97.png

  10. The next morning we headed straight for Ecclesdown Rd on the far east end of the island.  It is said that all 27 Jamaican endemics are possible along this road.  We did record a fair number of species, but overall we didn't really have that great of luck in seeing many species very well.  Perhaps it was just the day.  In total we had about 40 species, including about 17 of the endemics.  A few may have gotten away, too.  Pretty sure we had very brief views of a Jamaican Blackbird, but not seen well enough to confirm (this is one of the best places on the island to find them).  A Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo was heard and then briefly seen in flight.  We also heard a vireo that sounded dead on for a Black-whiskered Vireo, but they aren't supposed to be around yet.

     

    33136281698_6fa593bd7d_c.jpg

    Ring-tailed Pigeon by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    On the far east end of Jamaica the Black-billed form of Streamertail is present.  Some taxonomies treat them as different species, but eBird/Clement's treats both as subspecies of the parent species called Streamertail.  I was a bit bummed to never get any worthwhile photos of an adult male, but one female did cooperate.

    46097666455_8f3417fe8f_c.jpg

    Streamertail (Black-billed) by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46097666095_df774c415c_c.jpg

    Smooth-billed Ani by mattgrube, on Flickr

    47011545841_bdce89f0d0_c.jpg

    Smooth-billed Ani by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52225084

  11. Lots of great places in South Texas.  Estero Llano, Sabal Palm, Bentson-Rio, and Santa Ana are always good for the specialty birds.  Some species like Audobon's Oriole tend to be more reliable out at Salineno.  The Whooping Cranes are further north.  If flying from Corpus Christi, it often makes sense to look for the cranes either at the beginning or end of the trip when you are up that direction.

    I'd pay attention to where the rarities are being reported.  Currently lots of good birds like Golden-crowned Warbler, Blue Bunting, Hook-billed Kite, Roadside Hawk, and Crimson-collared Grosbeak.  I'd focus on going to those locations and picking up the specialty birds along the way.  After that you should have very few remaining targets (like perhaps Aplomado Falcon), and then use eBird to direct you to those remaining species.  If you don't care about the rarities, then I'd just tour the main WBC sites and you'll have a great time.

  12. After finding a last minute B&B and checking in, we headed back out around dusk.  We only had one Jamaican endemic left to look for.  That road to the San San police station had looked good, so we went there first.  It only took a couple minutes to hear Jamaican Owl at our very first stop.  However, it showed absolutely no interest in coming close to us, and it was deep in forest that didn't seem wise to venture into at night.  A few more stops along this road were duds, and a return at the first spot was still unsuccessful.

    From there we randomly drove into the less developed areas.  We probably heard another 3 Jamaican Owls, some even sounded very close.  Still, we had absolutely no luck finding one in the spotlight, and none seemed to have moved an inch in response to our playback.  I don't know if it was just that night, or if this species just doesn't come in to playback?

    After about 3 hours of heard only owls it was getting late, and we needed to leave to try and find any place still serving food.  We were pretty dejected, but at least we still had a few more nights ahead of us.

    However, only a few minutes after getting back on the main road I spotted an owl fly across the road through the headlights.  We immediately pulled over (perhaps only half blocking traffic) and quickly found it buried in a small tree.

    46076086765_5f2bda8d47_c.jpg

    Jamaican Owl by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46265521384_22dbd31247_c.jpg

    Jamaican Owl by mattgrube, on Flickr

    Check out the eyelids, it looks like the owl is wearing makeup!

    46937937062_857ec7f2b1_c.jpg

    Jamaican Owl by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    After a few minutes of enjoying the owl and causing some slight traffic, our spirits had taken a quick U-turn, and we moved on to find a late dinner, celebrating the fact that in just 2.5 days in Jamaica we had managed to find and photograph all 27 endemics!

  13. Working back to the Gap Cafe I spent awhile waiting for this female Black-faced Grassquit to unbury its head and finally give a decent pose.

    46265521324_712d3d90db_c.jpg

    Black-faced Grassquit by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    Back at the Cafe we had a female Yellow-faced Grassquit.  More importantly, I heard a Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo call in the distance.  It sounded like it was quite a ways down the mountain slope, so chasing it would be impossible.  Much to my surprise, after a bit of playback, it and another Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo came in.  They like to stay hidden, but over time we were able to get several excellent looks at this Jamaican endemic.

    46990032371_04be0149b0_c.jpg

    Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46076087575_8937008375_c.jpg

    Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990032201_bf6694be13_c.jpg

    Yellow-faced Grassquit by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52191604

     

    We next continued further north along the road through the mountains taking a few random stops here and there.  One of the more productive random stops resulted in our only White-eyed Thrush of the trip.  These guys were supposed to be common, but we struggled to find them, whereas as had no problem finding many White-chinned Thrushes.  A Vervain Hummingbird sang from the top of the tree, but our views of this diminutive hummingbird left us wanting more.

    46076087375_e158d317fd_c.jpg

    White-eyed Thrush by mattgrube, on Flickr

    Walking further down the road we got some great looks at a cooperative Jamaican Pewee.

    46990032101_744dbd52eb_c.jpg

    Jamaican Pewee by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46076087285_4a07d80ebc_c.jpg

    Jamaican Pewee by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990031861_c395a10a27_c.jpg

    Jamaican Pewee by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    A bit further down the road another Jamaican Today consumed large quantities of storage space on our cameras.

    46076087125_e0abf686fd_c.jpg

    Jamaican Tody by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990031711_ab558ab1d4_c.jpg

    Jamaican Tody by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46937937532_5822e16a8f_c.jpg

    Jamaican Tody by mattgrube, on Flickr

     

    Still with road to travel, we mostly kept moving as we headed north and eventually hit the north end of the island, and turning eastward to head towards the Port Antonio area.  We checked a few rivers that emptied into the ocean and picked up a few new trip birds, but nothing too exciting.  I had what I swore looked like a White-tailed Tropicbird, but we were unable to locate it once we could fully stop to look for it.  Later in the afternoon we made a quick stop along the road to the San San police station.  It was fairly dead, but we got our best looks at a male Yellow-shouldered Grassquit.

    46937937282_b6acf65442_c.jpg

    Yellow-shouldered Grassquit by mattgrube, on Flickr

    • Like 1
  14. We took a slightly casual start to the day, eating breakfast at the lodge, and getting distracted by a few birds just after sunrise.  We had fairly nice looks at a Louisiana Waterthrush, White-collared Swifts sped by overhead, a few Ring-tailed Pigeons fly high in the canopy over the hills, we saw our first Cape May Warblers of the trip, and two of us finally saw our first Jamaican Pewee (the other saw it the day before).

    After pulling ourselves away from the birds around the lodge and once again navigating the dirt road from the lodge (at one point one of the wheels was fully off the ground by a solid 12 inches), we worked our way back up into the Blue Mountains.  A quick stop along the road in the same stretch as the day before pulled in a handful of nice birds like another Crested Quail-Dove, Jamaican Euphonia, Tody, Oriole, Orangequits, and Ring-tailed Dove.

    Much of our birding would be along the road at and just below the Gap Cafe.  Here we were able to pull in nearly all our own remaining target endemics and Caribbean endemic targets.  One of the tougher Jamaican endemics to find is the Jamaican Blackbird.  It is a rather unique blackbird that acts a bit more like a woodpecker or a woodcreeper, as it is know to be found in humid forest often probing at bromeliads and epiphytes.  We had a few other glimpses or heard only suspects during the trip, but this was our only well seen bird.  We were also very happy to connect with Greater Antillean Bullfinch, and get some very nice looks at the always enjoyable Jamaican Spindalis.

    32048417607_d976da48a4_c.jpg

    Jamaican Euphonia by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990032651_f3e5b55f46_c.jpg

    Jamaican Blackbird by mattgrube, on Flickr

    32048417477_f20db23053_c.jpg

    Jamaican Spindalis by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990032551_8f6e31d3c5_c.jpg

    Greater Antillean Bullfinch by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990032481_28c12573c4_c.jpg

    Greater Antillean Bullfinch by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46076086605_d68aebbd0e_c.jpg

    Jamaican Spindalis by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46076087865_86140cdc2a_c.jpg

    Bananaquit by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46990032451_cbd2bd6969_c.jpg

    Arrowhead Warbler by mattgrube, on Flickr

    46076087735_f36daa6913_c.jpg

    Rufous-throated Solitaire by mattgrube, on Flickr

    • Like 1
×
×
  • Create New...