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Puerto Rico Jan/Feb 2012

From January 30 to February 04 2012 Sheridan Coffey and myself birded Puerto Rico - we rented a small car and birded without a guide, relying on trip reports found on the internet plus the recent book " A Birdwatcher's Guide to Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Caymans". I did receive some very helpful tips from a local birding guide, Gabriel Lugo (www.gabriellugo.com).

Click on the links below to see a some of the endemic, near-endemic, and otherwise interesting species species we found; NOTE - as usual I had varying success with my photography, as I was primarily birding; the pics in this section range from excellent to downright awful! I'll be compiling a trip report - email me if you want a copy.

West Indian Whistling-Duck: a record shot of this Endangered taxon - but we saw more than 42 individuals at L. Cartagena.

White-tailed Tropicbird: a highlight for both of us was watching good numbers of these elegant birds dancing around near the cliffs west of Quebradillas.

Sharp-shinned Hawk: we were lucky enough to watch this Endangered subspecies flying over the Maricao Forest HQ on a windless day.

Red-tailed Hawk: it was nice to see the nominate form.

Merlin: we weren't expecting to see this species, but apparently it is a scarce but regular winter visitor.

Caribbean Coot: we saw this Threatened taxon at Humacao and L. Cartagena.

Plain Pigeon: construction at the traditional spot near Comerio might have affected our success - we only found one feeding bird nearby.

Zenaida Dove: a common resident.

Common Ground-Dove: this near-endemic race was common throughout most of the island (a bit less-so in the southwest).

Mangrove Cuckoo: in Puerto Rico not limited to mangroves .

Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo: a species that for us was easiest to see at Maravilla Guest House north of Maricao.

Antillean Mango: a few males were found in the relatively few trees with pale pink blooms in the southwest lowlands.

Green-throated Carib: seen at all the pink-flowering trees in the east that we chose to stake out.

Antillean Crested Hummingbird: a crappy record shot - these guys proved to be extremely hard to pin down as they were found at flowering trees dominated by one or two Caribs.

Puerto Rican Emerald: a companion at our delightful cabin at Maravilla Guest House north of Maricao.

Puerto Rican Tody: Todies are just brilliant!

Puerto Rican Woodpecker: a lovely and distinctive woodpecker that was common throughout.

Lesser Antillean [Puerto Rican] Pewee: this uncommon and shy taxon is not yet split by the AOU, but has been in the latest Field Guide to the birds of the West Indies.

Puerto Rican Flycatcher: common by voice and seen fairly often.

Gray Kingbird: the trill of this species is heard everywhere.

Loggerhead Kingbird: fairly easy to find for us, and quite distinctive from Gray and Eastern Kingbirds even without looking at the tail pattern!

Puerto Rican Vireo: fairly common by voice at Maricao and Guanica.

Red-legged Thrush: at least four of these striking thrushes were ever-present around our cabin at Maravilla Guest House north of Maricao.

Elfin Woods Warbler: a terrific but frustrating bird! They seemed to never stop moving in the tangles of the mid-level cover they appeared to prefer.

Adelaide's Warbler: very common in the Guanica area - but this was one of a pair found by Sheridan in the scrub at the cliff overlook on PR-2 just west of Quebradillas on the northwest coast.

Puerto Rican Tanager: fairly common in higher parts of Maricao Forest.

Puerto Rican Spindalis: fairly common throughout.

Puerto Rican Bullfinch: perhaps the best-looking of the West Indian Bullfinches.

Yellow-shouldered Blackbird: a Critically Endangered species, it remains easy to see at the hardware store in Parguera.

Greater Antillean Grackle: an abundant species; notably smaller than the Great-tailed and Common Grackles I am used-to in Texas.

Shiny Cowbird: my best looks at this gradual invader of the southernmost U.S.

Puerto Rican Oriole: not easy to find or see well; once more the Maravilla Guest House north of Maricao delivered.