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PUERTO RICO


17 - 21 January 2007


by Bill Brenner


This trip was the result of a desire to extend a several-day work-related conference in Orlando, to make it a whole week off and to include a few days vacation somewhere not too far from Florida. Puerto Rico was ideal, since it had some great endemic birds, nice butterflies, and especially, more new life hummingbird species than I could see anywhere else in the Caribbean, since I’ve already been to Jamaica and some of the Lesser Antilles. The Caribbean is a nice, if somewhat expensive, destination for a few comfortable and relaxing days away from home. We’re lucky to have these great islands not so far away.


I originally had contacted Jose Colon in Puerto Rico (787-671-2948 home, 787-299-5571 cell), on the advice of others, and probably would have hired him for a day’s birding or so if he had been available. However, the timing was not good, as he was leaving for a long trip of his own, and so he couldn’t guide us. As it turns out, we saw pretty much everything we could have hoped for anyway, and more. It was a terrific few days. Puerto Rico birding is fairly straightforward, and it turned out that no guide was really needed. Thanks to the reports of others, we had locations planned out in advance. It’s always a little tricky in a new spot to find every place you want, but we had some help along the way, and eventually located every spot we had planned on, and some others besides. We had bought the Hammond International Puerto Rico map (1:270,000). It was not really that good, considering how big it was. The tiny car rental map we were given from National had more labeled routes than this big map did.


I downloaded and took a number of trip reports with me, from Blake Maybank’s excellent repository at http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/maybank/main.htm. The following folks’ trip reports were very valuable, and I thank them all: Gail McKiernan and Barry Cooper; Joseph Brooks and Gary George, Mike Cooper, George Dremeaux, Mike Houle, Jim Hully, David Klauber, Niels Larsen, Tom Love, Thomas Marko, Mark Oberle, Robert Packard, Glen Tepke, and Walt Wilson. Especially, Steve Moore and Barbara Volkle provided lots of info about their trip in May 2005, which was very helpful for the butterflies.


Field guides: The Birds of Puerto Rico, by Herbert Rafaelle. This is an older guide, but was the only one we actually took with us. It was perfectly adequate. None of the birds we encountered in Puerto Rico were especially tricky to ID. I guess the winter-plumaged wood warblers could have potentially been the most difficult, but we know those from home.


The other bird guide that I used while planning for the trip, and once I got back home, was my hardcover first edition of A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by Rafaelle et al., 1998. This is a great guide, but a little heavy, and the binding on mine has never been the same since it got drenched in my backpack in a heavy shower on Montserrat (which was totally worth it, by the way, since we saw the Oriole then—another story.)


Finally, we took Norman Riley’s A Field Guide to the Butterflies of the West Indies. This is a pretty good book, as far as butterfly guides go. I am used to being in the tropics with no worthwhile butterfly guide at all, so this one seems good by comparison, though it isn’t perfect. It doesn’t illustrate all of the species, for one thing, and the paintings are of pinned specimens, which is sometimes difficult to translate to binocular views for some of the butterflies, skippers and hairstreaks especially.


We stayed 4 nights, and most of 5 days. The first two nights we spent at Hacienda Juanita—highly recommended (787-838-2550). Not necessarily for the food, but the grounds themselves have great birds and a great loop trail to see them, and it is also very convenient to the Maricao State Forest, an excellent birding area to spend a good two days, at least. Cost approx. $100/night for two, perhaps a little less. The other two nights we stayed at Villa del Mar in La Parguera (787-899-4265). This was a clean and quiet place as well, and we were the only ones there, we were told because of a festival in San Juan that weekend. We later heard that birders tend to stay at Mary-Lea’s-by-the-Sea in the Guanica area, and we can’t compare the two, because we never saw that place.


The Villa del Mar was a little more expensive than the Hacienda Juanita, but still about $100/night for two. It was air-conditioned—a big plus, since it is hot by the coast. Hacienda Juanita had fans only, but it was much cooler there in the mountains at night, so that was fine. The room at Villa del Mar was a little more comfortable than the room at Hacienda Juanita—though at Villa del Mar, you couldn’t roll over in bed in the morning and look at a Loggerhead Kingbird sitting outside the window…


Rental car was from National, booked through expedia.com, for 5 days. It was an economy car, completely adequate. No need for four-wheel drive or anything for the places we went. The rental cars are at the airport in San Juan, but you need to take a shuttle bus run by each company to its lot. It wasn’t a problem and didn’t take long for us, either picking up or dropping off the car.


We anticipated traffic and so forth getting back to the airport Sunday evening for our flight home, but we found everything quickly and easily. Coming across the “Flag Bridge” (Puente Teodoro Moscoso) back to the airport, we just went slowly and followed the signs for rental cars, and then found the one for our company. Just prior to that, we were able to fill up with gas at one of the exits on Rt. 17 driving east toward the airport.


Wednesday, January 17


We left Orlando on time at 9:45 am, and arrived in San Juan at 1:30pm, a little early. By the time we got our luggage and the rental car and got out of the airport, it was 2:30 pm. Warm temps, a sunny day, and a new island to visit had us excited and raring to go. We left the airport area via all of the flags on the Moscoso bridge, and on to Rt. 17 heading west toward Rt. 18. Lots of traffic here, so we got off on to Rt. 1 and then worked our way down to Rt. 18 south, which becomes 52, the main highway south and west.


Heading south on 52, we got off in Caguas, I believe at exit 19, so that we could make our way on to Rt. 156 west. We headed toward and then worked our way through the town of Aguas Buenas—which was a slow bottleneck—then further west on 156 until we got to Rt. 172. It is usually fairly obvious as you wind your way through Aquas Buenas itself which is Rt. 156, even though there weren’t always signs—it was a matter of following the main road. After Aquas Buenas, 156 is narrower and more winding, and seems to go through more upland forest.


Eventually Rt. 791 went off on the left, to the south, and perhaps a kilometer or so on 156 after that we came to Rt. 172. We made a left on to 172 south; this area is really much closer to the town of Comerio on the map, not Cidra as most of the trip reports say. Within about a mile or so on Rt. 172 South (about KM 1.5), we came to a school on the right: Escuela Superior Sabana, though I can’t remember if there is a sign that actually says that name. There is a plain yellow “Escuela” sign on the right shortly before the school. We made a right into the small school parking lot just beyond the school building, and immediately started scanning all the wires and lamp posts around the athletic field for Plain Pigeon.


It was a little discouraging, because there were no birds on the wires whatsoever. Then, I spotted a couple of pigeons back on wires in the distance to the left over some houses, but they turned out to be two Rock Pigeons, which discouraged me even further. I assumed that if the Rock Pigeons had moved in, then maybe there weren’t any more Plain Pigeons to be found. Joe, however, wouldn’t be deterred. He wandered back up the driveway, and soon was calling for me to come look. There across the road, up to the left scattered in the bare-ish branches of a tree, were a dozen PLAIN PIGEONS. They were close enough to be able to see the rufousy patch on the wing very well, though a scope would have given us better looks. They seemed to be snoozing, and sometimes one would get up and stretch, and that gave us nice views as well.


Highly satisfied, we hightailed it out of there and retraced our steps back to 52. According to the map, we could have taken 172 south to Cidra and then perhaps 171 south to 52, and saved some map miles. But, that route would have taken us through at least a couple of little towns, as well as the bigger towns of Cidra and Cayey. After our crawl through Aguas Buenas, we didn’t want to chance getting to Hacienda Juanita too late, so we decided to stick with the devil we knew. That turned out to be a good decision. It had taken us an hour to drive from 52, west to 172 on 156, but it only took ½ an hour going back east. I think our first time through Aguas Buenas happened just as school was letting out, because the ride back through was much faster.


We returned to Rt. 52 and headed south, and then west on Rt. 2 from Ponce. The signs were obvious and helpful. We got off at the exit for Sabana Grande, and then headed north on Rt. 120 up into the mountains. Finding 120 in Sabana Grande meant stopping to ask directions. Basically, when you head into Sabana Grande after your exit from 52 west, you need to make a dogleg left in the middle of the residential town for two blocks then back right again to get to 120—at least, that’s how we ended up doing it.


The last 20 kilometers along Rt. 120 to Hacienda Juanita were kind of hair-raising. It started raining, and it got very foggy as we climbed higher. The road twists and turns, and we weren’t quite sure when to expect the left turnoff on to Rt. 105, to get to the parador. It’s just about 20 kilometers, by the way, and there are rock kilometer signposts almost every 1/10 kilometer along the way, so you’ll know where you are. Anyway, we made it to H. Juanita shortly after 7pm—plenty of time to check in and still have dinner. The food at Hacienda Juanita was only so-so, in my opinion, but it was adequate. Maybe they do better when they have larger groups. It seemed a little empty when we were there (which is a good thing). Our only real complaint about the meals was that breakfast didn’t start till 8am, and the two days we were there (a Thursday and Friday) there was no lunch served. Breakfast was served until noon, though, we found out later, so it’s worth asking when the mealtimes are for the days you are staying. Some days there is lunch, apparently. If there is no food available midday, you can try the bakery in the town of Maricao for lunch. It was good, and only 10 minutes from H. Juanita (ask for directions at the front desk.)


Thursday, January 18


Our first morning, we were greeted at dawn with a singing thrush-like bird outside the window. After comparing songs to descriptions, we decided it was a PEARLY-EYED THRASHER. We got up and made out way out to the car, though it was light enough that we got distracted by a few birds along the way through the courtyard, all BANANAQUITS. We drove downwards to KM 16.2 to the headquarters road. Along the way, we flushed a couple of RED-LEGGED THRUSHES from the road—the only ones we were to see on the trip. We pulled in the entrance road at KM 16.2, and drove up to the far end and parked next to the picnic table. We started walking uphill through the gate, but decided that we might be going the wrong direction, so we turned around and headed downhill instead, around to the right from the picnic table spot. We went on a loop trail downhill and to the right, I believe, that took us back up a steeper little hill to the start point, then we went back downhill and went to the left along the winding road/trail for a while, until we eventually turned around and came back the way we came.


The morning was windy, after last night’s rainstorm, and that was a little disappointing, since it seemed as though there were few birds around. But, we slowly started seeing things, one by one. Joe spotted a black-and-white bird, our first PUERTO RICAN TANAGER. Much more contrastingly black and white than is illustrated in the field guide—the white throat really stands out! Soft “tseeps” led us on to our first PUERTO RICAN BULLFINCHES. These birds were quite shy, very different in behavior from the Lesser Antillean Bullfinches we had seen in other places in the Caribbean. They often seemed to be back in a thicket, though they were commonly found in various habitat types. The males were very brightly marked with orange on the head and throat; very handsome birds.


Hummingbirds were one of my main goals, and we saw several, but always zipping past without stopping. Clearly some were large and some were small, meaning that we were seeing (poorly) both Puerto Rican endemics. Finally, though, a female PUERTO RICAN EMERALD arrived on a slope just next to us and spent some time flycatching and moving through the low shrubs, feeding on some orange flowers, and giving us a decent look. While we were waiting by some tubular, reddish roadside flowers, standing in the shade of tree at the back side of a hairpin turn, some soft call notes alerted us to our first PUERTO RICAN SPINDALIS pair. The soft twittery call notes seem too light and faint for such a bold-looking but fairly shy tanager. And further down the trail, a very large, long-tailed bird flew across in front of me, clearly a PUERTO-RICAN LIZARD CUCKOO. Not the best of looks, though no doubt about the ID. We headed back up to the car. A song alongside the trail sounded very much like a White-eyed Vireo. Probably it wasn’t, since they are rare on Puerto Rico, but we couldn’t be sure. (It wasn’t, but we didn’t confirm that until later.) Back just above the car, near the gates, we saw our first BLACK-FACED GRASSQUITS of the trip.


We took the car down the entrance road a short way and pulled into the headquarters compound, which by this time was open. We were hoping to run into Adrian Muniz, a ranger there who had been recommended in several different trip reports. Unfortunately, the best we could gather from the other young rangers with our broken Spanish was that Adrian was on vacation. Along the entrance road right here, though, we did find a PUERTO RICAN FLYCATCHER. Rather surprising, I thought, since I expected them to be only lower down, but hey, any life bird is very welcome! We headed back up to the picnic area for one more time up at the top. This turned out to be a worthwhile recheck.


When we parked, we could hear a small flock of twittering birds behind us, along the little trail that heads back down parallel to, and to the right of, the entrance road, past the old house ruins. This was a small mixed flock that, we soon discovered, contained a pair of ELFIN-WOODS WARBLERS, another of our highly desired target birds. This first pair gave us excellent, prolonged looks, even though they are frenetic little creatures. The flock was moving along the trail, flying back and forth just over our heads, so for 15 or 20 minutes the birds stayed in view. Outstanding to see this most recently discovered Caribbean bird. Easy to say now, in 2007 with a nice field guide illustration, that they don’t look like Black-and-whites (they don’t, quite); I wonder how many things I overlook when I am out in the field…


We then headed back up the road and parked at the gate at KM 16.8. The trail splits here, and I think the uphill (right) trail is the one that others have taken most often, per trip reports. We did go that way for a short while, but on a very windy morning like we were having, it was just too windy and exposed to be any good for birding, so we backtracked and took the trail downhill and to the left. We flushed a pair of quail-doves at the first level spot, under some trees, but they flew on ahead and away and we never got good enough looks to ID them. I would have guessed Ruddy, since they seemed quite rufousy above, but having never seen either Ruddy or Key West, we had to let them go unidentified.


We did finally get a decent look PUERTO RICAN VIREO down this trail. This is a distinctive vireo with a gray head and greenish body. It was singing the same White-eyed-like song that the previously heard vireo had been singing, solving that problem. We also saw our first PUERTO RICAN TODY here. Fantastic little birds. They were common, here in the Maricao area as well as at Guanica later. We also saw several warblers, most notably female-type BLACK-THROATED BLUE, which seemed to be quite common here.


For lunch, we headed back to Hacienda Juanita. However, we arrived a few minutes after noon; for this particular day (a Thursday), that meant that we had missed breakfast by a few minutes, and there would be no more food served until dinner. So, we went up to Maricao and bought food at the bakery, and brought it back and ate on the balcony at the parador. You are overlooking a little valley or glen, and while we were there, a pair of SCALY-NAPED PIGEONS perched in a treetop for excellent looks.


After lunch, we decided to take the loop trail through the Hacienda Juanita grounds. This was a really nice little walk, and much birdier than I would have expected, especially given the time of day. We started at the end near the road entrance: you walk out the driveway as though you were leaving the parador, but then drop down to the left and on to the trail as it parallels the stone wall at first. It bends around to the left and soon comes out into slightly more open habitat. There are a lot of flowers along the trail, some perhaps native, but others like Impatiens and a strangling, rambling purple-flowered morning glory that are almost certainly introduced. In any event, the profusion of flowers meant lots of hummingbirds, and one of the first birds we saw on the trail was a male PUERTO RICAN EMERALD that fed and hovered around us, giving great looks at the glittering green and forked tail. Wonderful. Shortly after, we spotted a PUERTO RICAN LIZARD-CUCKOO with an anole that he was beating against a branch. Point-blank looks through a small window in the trailside foliage.


Later on, as we walked through banks of Impatiens, we were treated to multiple encounters with PUERTO RICAN EMERALDS. A PUERTO RICAN TODY appeared perched under a little trailside vine canopy. We stood about 3 feet away and watched him flycatch, twice returning to the same perch. There were some great butterflies along here too, including a Haitian Mimic, a white that looks like a heliconian. Farther along, the trail opened out into more open garden with more scattered trees. Here, we saw our first PUERTO RICAN PEWEE, with a very richly tawny breast. Even better, as we worked our way up around the slope, a large hummingbird flew up from the hillside aloes and perched in a lone tree—a stunning GREEN MANGO. It remained perched there for a long time, preening and resting, giving us a great show, until we eventually moved on. Finally, as we came up toward the other end of the trail, I heard a different call note, and searching around, found a GREATER ANTILLEAN ORIOLE up under the fronds of a lone (Royal?) palm, building a nest. Another life bird. As we exited, we got a chance to study GRAY and LOGGERHEAD KINGBIRDS perched almost side-by-side on the wires. The trail exit takes you out near the back end of the compound, and we meandered back along the swimming pool to the office area.


Since it was still mid-afternoon, we got back in the car and headed off to the state forest again. We spent some time exploring the roadsides, at about KM 14.3, but it was still windy and we didn’t see much here. We went back to KM 16.2 to the headquarters area and wandered around, including up and down the entrance road, and then went back to the lower trail at KM 16.8 in the evening. We had more GREEN MANGOS fly by a couple of times. New warblers seen included AMERICAN REDSTART and NORTHERN PARULA. We had more looks at PUERTO RICAN VIREOS, as well as another encounter with a pair of ELFIN-WOODS-WARBLERS at KM 16.8, just a short distance down the left trail from the road.


Back to the H. Juanita for dinner. We met a couple of other pairs of birders there and exchanged notes. We were very happy with our day, actually, and had managed to see most of the endemics in just this one day. We gave one pair of guys directions to the Plain Pigeons, then off to pack for an early start and to bed. We never did try to see any owls here at Hacienda Juanita. I’m not sure if that was just laziness, though I think I had been discouraged by negative reports from some recent trip reports.


Friday, January 19


Today we were leaving H. Juanita for La Parguera, so we packed up the car early and then decided to go back to KM 16.8, since that seemed to be a fairly birdy area and it was the first stop on our way back south. We again ended up on the lower trail, maybe partly out of habit. We never did get very far on the upper (right) trail, and so maybe we missed some good spots. Anyway, we walked a good bit further this morning than we had the day before, and saw a good assortment of species, including PUERTO RICAN BULLFINCH, PUERTO RICAN SPINDALIS, PUERTO RICAN VIREO, and PUERTO RICAN TODY. Both hummingbirds zipped past on occasion. We also heard quail-doves calling, clear and close, but without a tape to compare, we don’t know which one(s). To me, it would be impossible to differentiate them just based on field guide descriptions.


On our way back out, I finally heard one of the things we had been listening for all morning—the chattering call of a woodpecker. A pair seemed to be calling back and forth and working their way closer, so we stopped in a likely spot with a view, and were soon rewarded with great looks at PUERTO RICAN WOODPECKERS. This is a very flashy woodpecker, the males especially, with the bright red breast. At this point, we had very few new life birds possible in these forested uplands. But, it was such a pretty place that we again at the headquarters entrance road for one last look at KM 16.2. We also stopped again along the roadside near KM 14.3, but didn’t see anything different.


We headed down through Sabana Grande and then headed eastward, deciding to head toward Guanica, since it was still early in the day. We headed south on Rt. 116, and stopped at McDonald’s to get a quick lunch. Then we headed east on Rt. 334—which just goes east through a small town and then enters a gate and winds up into the Guanica Forest Reserve. We sat in the parking lot and ate our lunch, accompanied by a begging PEARLY-EYED THRASHER. By then, we were able to talk to the folks at the visitor’s station there, who had returned from lunch, and get a map. We had received advice from our dinner companions the night before to head for the Ojo de Agua trail, so that’s what we did. It meant driving most of the way back down the hill, to the last gate on the left (first on the right coming up from the bottom). There is a sign, but it had fallen and was propped up next to the gate on the ground.


The Guanica Forest is dry and fragrant, a hot-sun-on-sandalwood sort of fragrance. Very pleasant place, though with a somewhat confusing criss-cross of trails. We were certainly there at the wrong time of day to see much in the way of birds. But, the PUERTO RICAN FLYCATCHERS were calling still, as were the PUERTO RICAN TODIES, and we saw several of each. There had been some showers here earlier in the day—not such a common occurrence, I don’t think—and that may have kept bird activity up a little. We also saw several different kinds of new butterflies. A good way along the trail, we heard an emphatic chip. A bit of pishing and cajoling soon called in our life ADELAIDE’S WARBLER. We have seen one of its sister species before, the Barbuda Warbler. This Adelaide’s was in the same sort of dry, scrubby habitat, with the same habit of remaining active even in the mid-day heat. It’s a very pretty warbler, very cleanly marked with clear gray, black, and white, highlighted with bright yellow.


We eventually worked our way back to the car, and then headed back out on 334 to Rt. 116, and then west to the turn-off south to La Parguera. We found our hotel without much trouble, and spent a little time there talking to some Canadian folks who were “stuck” on Puerto Rico for 2 weeks after a sailing trip had fallen through. We unloaded our bags, then took off for the Hotel La Parguera to look for blackbirds. We parked just before we got down to the hotel, at a parking lot on the left at a little shopping center, then walked down the rest of the way to the hotel. Our birding acquaintances from dinner the night before had told us that the hotel was no longer the best place to see the blackbirds, and that we should follow the road to the right past the hotel as it parallels the shoreline. You can’t really see the shore, because of the hotel, etc., between the road and the shoreline.


We followed the road as it continued west, at some points with mangroves and sand directly to our left. At one spot near a few houses there were some flowering shrubs along the left (north) side, and we saw a good-sized hummingbird come to them and then zoom back up into a nearby tree to perch. It turned out to be our life ANTILLEAN MANGO, a female. We were able to watch her for a good, long time, with views as close and as satisfying as we could wish. Only two Anthracothorax mangos now remain on the wish list: Veraguan and Jamaican.


While we were walking up the road, a very nice woman stopped and asked us if we were looking for the blackbirds. When we said yes, she directed us to look under the tree at the general store further up the road. Sure enough, when we came to the store on the right, there was a large crowd of blackbirds at a feeding station under the big tree alongside the store. Many of them were GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLES, and there was at least one female SHINY COWBIRD, but there were also quite a few YELLOW-SHOULDERED BLACKBIRDS in with them. I think that every blackbird we saw was banded. They are beautifully sleek blackbirds with purest yellow shoulders, smaller than the grackles. All of them seemed to fly in from the mangroves across the road, and we estimated 35 or 40 altogether in the time we spent watching there. We also saw a few flying along over the mangroves on our way back


When we got back to the car, we decided to go into the grocery store there at the parking lot, and bought some bread and a hunk of cheese and a couple of small fruit pies, and along with some water, decided that would be dinner. We then drove back to the Rt. 334 entrance to Guanica Forest. By the time we got there, it was still light out, but getting closer to dusk. We ate our dinner, and then walked around the gate and started walking up the road. The road climbs steadily, and unfortunately the loud music and noise from the town (it was Friday night, though maybe it’s always like that) seemed to follow us upward. But the road also switchbacks up the hill somewhat, and by the time we went around a couple of curves, the noise was a lot less bothersome.


We got to some magical point of deep twilight, and suddenly the hillsides around us started to come alive with the “whiiIPP whiiIPP whiiIPP whiiIPP” of nightjars. It was a fairly regular and easy call to imitate, I thought, so I gave it a try. Almost immediately we had a nightjar come swooping around over us, back and forth along the road. It was just barely light enough to see that it seemed to have stopped just up the road. I aimed the flashlight at where I thought it had stopped, turned it on, and there looking at us not more than 20 feet away on a stub sticking out over the road was a PUERTO RICAN NIGHTJAR! We could hardly believe our luck! This was one of the Puerto Rican endemics that I had hoped to hear, but without a tape had pretty much no expectation of actually seeing. The bird stayed put for a minute or two, a male with a white throat, then took off. By this time the darkness had become complete enough that we could no longer see anything at eye level; only silhouettes against the sky would have been visible.


After this great good fortune, I decided to try my luck with the screech-owl. I didn’t really know what Puerto Rican Screech-owl was supposed to sound like, but I can imitate Eastern, so I gave that a try. After a short time, we had a screech-owl answer, and I was able to fine-tune my calls to match it. Soon there were two PUERTO RICAN SCREECH-OWLS calling back and forth and flying around us. Unfortunately, they decided to land and stay put together in a tree that was back a ways off the road. I continued to imitate them, and they kept calling, one of them even doing its maniacal laughing call over and over. But, they were in a place that we just couldn’t see them, and they didn’t want to move. After a good long time of this, we decided to try to move a little closer to them, but they then became suddenly silent. Presumably they flew off, and that was that. So, heard-only, but still a thrilling encounter, to have them clearly interacting with us.


After that we headed back down to the car and off to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Another superb day of birding!


Saturday, January 20


We got up very early the next morning and decided to try again for a look at owls, since we were planning on spending the morning at Guanica anyway. We went and parked at the Rt. 334 gate again in the dark, and worked our way up the hill. This time, although we heard nightjars calling, we had no response from any owls at all. Still, no complaints, not after our great nightjar experience.


We arrived at the Ojo de Agua trail, with a bright day around us. We ate our breakfast here—pastries bought from the grocery store in La Parguera the night before. A PUERTO RICAN FLYCATCHER kept us company in a tree next to the gatepost. The trees seem to be all fairly short here (20-30 feet), and the forest was dry, despite the occasional rain showers lately. There were a good number of butterflies around, more than I would have expected for such a dry place. Giant Whites were especially notable, and according to our butterfly field guide, this was the place to find them on Puerto Rico. There were also a great number of smaller pierids in some of the openings, flying around low in the grasses. Barred Sulphur was one species that we were able to ID for sure. We headed up the trail in a direction that we hoped would take us in to intersect with the Fuerte Trail, where we could then make a left and eventually wind up near the parking lot at the top. Mostly, this plan worked OK, though there were more trails to wander along than seemed to be on the map.


It soon became clear that one species that was extremely common here was ADELAIDE’S WARBLER. We saw many, and heard dozens. I never got tired of looking at them, admiring their clear, bright colors, knowing they were such a special part of this place. PRAIRIE WARBLERS were also seen here at Guanica, and nowhere else on the island. This low, shrubby forest seemed like good Prairie Warbler habitat. Other birds seen well and multiple times here at Guanica included PUERTO RICAN VIREO, PUERTO RICAN TODY, and PUERTO RICAN BULLFINCH, although the latter seemed slightly less common here than at Maricao. PUERTO RICAN WOODPECKERS appeared several times, now that they had decided that it was OK for us to see them. We saw a couple of AMERICAN KESTRELS, very pale. MANGROVE CUCKOO was seen multiple times, but no lizard-cuckoos appeared at all.


One of the main targets here were quail-doves, since we had had no luck yet with these birds, except for a frustrating unidentified encounter when they took off away from us in Maricao. So, we were peering around each corner of the trails, hoping to catch a glimpse of a one on the trail before we flushed it. This was not to be, but we did encounter several other dove species, including both ZENAIDA and WHITE-WINGED DOVES. Most abundant, though, were the COMMON GROUND-DOVES, which are one of the most abundant birds at Guanica.


Along the Fuerte trail, I heard some whistles and clucks that sounded different than anything I could remember hearing before. We stopped to scan the trees around us, wondering what could be making these jay-like noises. Soon, out popped a small troop of VENEZUELAN TROUPIALS, the first we had ever seen. Beautiful, big, boldly colored birds! It was one of the highlights of the morning.


The other highlight came shortly afterward. We had determined, with about 90% certainty, that we were actually on the Fuerte trail that would lead us up toward the parking lot (we were). It was really more of a dirt road than a trail at this point. We came around a corner and suddenly had a small group of people in front of us, with a tent set up, etc. They had binoculars, and were looking up at the trees. The gentleman who greeted us asked if we were birders—“Yes”—and had we ever seen Antillean Euphonia? Antillean Euphonia!!! You mean, the other target bird that we’ve been searching the treetops for all morning??!! No, we hadn’t, but we were happy to look up into the trees with the other folks and get quick but good looks at our life ANTILLEAN EUPHONIAS, two males apparently, very bright and beeeeeautiful.


This was one of those great birding encounters, one we will always enjoy remembering. After the euphonias moved on, we got to spend a very pleasant time with the group there at the little field station. It turned out to be a banding station, with a great group of banders, led by Dr. Wayne Arendt from a Puerto Rico wildlife agency. We watched them catch and band several species, including two big PEARLY-EYED THRASHERS, BANANAQUIT, and a beautiful PUERTO RICAN BULLFINCH. When they found out that we are veterinarians, they also showed us photos of a thrasher (I believe) that they had caught and banded the day before, with a large ulcerated mass in the area of the uropygial gland—neoplasia, quite possibly, and not a good prognosis.


We said our goodbyes to those nice folks and moved on the rest of the way up the trail to the parking lot, then mosied our way back down the entrance road. By this time it was late morning and HOT, and bird activity had fallen off quite a bit, though the Adelaide’s Warblers continued to vocalize. We ran into another pair of birders, from Long Island, with whom we exchanged some tips and cell phone numbers. Most helpfully, they gave us some detailed directions to an additional birding site at Humacao on the east coast. We had not originally planned to spend any time in the eastern part of the island, but having seen so much of what we wanted to see in the southwest, we decided to leave early the next morning and drive eastward. We also had some helpful advice to share, specifically directions for them to find Plain Pigeon, as well as more immediate directions to the Troupials we had just seen.


We made our way back to the car, and then went and bought lunch at Burger King. We decided to take our food with us and check out the Rt. 333 drive along the south coast. We stopped first at a flowering Flamboyant tree, where we were treated to great views of a territorial male ANTILLEAN MANGO for as long as cared to look (which was a long time). We stopped at one coastal overlook and had nice views of both MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD and ROYAL TERN our over the water below us. We drove out to the parking lot at the end and hung around for a half hour or so just looking out at the water and finishing lunch. One remarkable sight there was an introduced Milkweed that grows to the size of a small tree—a fascinating Giant Milkweed, Calotropis procera.


We now had a day and a half “extra”, so to speak, having seen all of the endemics I had hoped for, and then some. We looked over the trip reports and decided to head west to Cabo Rojas and Laguna Cartegena, if we could find them. First, we tried to stop at Laguna Boqueron, but it was apparently “under construction”, and closed. So, armed with the trip reports and directions, we headed first toward Cabo Rojo. We took Rt. 116 to Rt. 303, left on 303 and followed that to Rt. 301, then left on 301 toward Cabo Rojo. As we started heading past the salt pans on to the cape, we came to a tower on the left with a headquarters building on the right. We parked here and climbed the tower, where we got distant views of the salt pans that would have been better with a scope. The young man at the headquarters building was very nice and helpful, and we almost stayed to walk the trail behind the building. Instead, though, we decided to continue the rest of the way down the cape.


As you head southward, the road eventually becomes a dirt road full of holes. It is still navigable, and there were plenty of folks on it while we were there, but we didn’t even try to go all the way to the end. On the east (left) side, you start passing pans and shallow ponds and openings of water. We started seeing birds in here right away. We found both GREAT BLUE HERON and SNOWY EGRETS, as well as a dozen or so WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAILS. The best birds here were the shorebirds, some of which we saw nowhere else: BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER; KILLDEER; both GREATER and, especially, LESSER YELLOWLEGS; RUDDY TURNSTONE; SPOTTED SANDPIPER; and one tight group of actively feeding STILT SANDPIPERS. BLACK-NECKED STILTS were common and vocal. We also ran into another pair of birders, a local pair of women, who were very helpful with directions and advice.


We decided to take their advice and head for Laguna Cartagena, which we had previously decided to ignore, based on trip reports. For us, it was also both better and worse than I had expected—better because it was not a bad place to wander around in, worse because once we did so I realized that we probably weren’t really in the right place, exactly.


We got there by heading west on Rt. 305 and eventually parking by a gate with a sign in the pasture just inside the gate, on the right hand side. We were in a town, sort of, where we parked. Still, this looked pretty promising. We wandered in and along the tracks both northward and westward, through open areas and scattered groves of trees. There were horses pasturing here, though they ignored us. We didn’t see a huge number of birds here, but we did see another VENEZUELAN TROUPIAL, and, with a large flock of BLACK-FACED GRASSQUITS, I found one YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT, the only one of the trip.


We stayed here until dusk, then headed back to the hotel in La Parguera. There were scattered rain showers by this time, and we decided to go the Hotel La Parguera for a nice dinner. The food there was good, and it was a pleasant dining room. Then, off to early bed.


Sunday, January 21


We had decided to get up early and head to Humacao, so that’s what we did. We drove east on Rt. 2 to Rt. 52, and continued east and then north on Rt. 52 all the way to Rt. 30, near San Juan. Then, we took Rt. 30 east/south. Near the town of Humacao, it “splits”, and to get to the refuge you need to take 60. You pass under Rt. 53, then continue to the entrance to the refuge, 3.1 miles on the right.


When we got there, it was about 8:30am or so, and we were just about the first ones there, but the gate was open. As the day wore on, it got VERY crowded around the parking lot and the fishing holes near the parking lot. Crabbing seems to be the main reason for the crowds; as Borat would say, “Birdwatching, not so much.” But this was a great birding spot. You need to follow the road, which crosses two bridges. After the second bridge you turn right, and follow the road which will lead you past two ponds on your left. These ponds were good for birds, but actually the whole refuge was good. Walking in, we found a very nice MANGROVE CUCKOO at eye level right next to one of the bridges. There is a lot of water at Humacao, and hanging around in the trees above it at various sites were good numbers of smaller land birds. Our only YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were seen here. A stunning male PUERTO RICAN WOODPECKER provided excellent, prolonged close looks. CAVE SWALLOWS circled around overhead. GREEN HERON and YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON were the only ones of the trip.


The exotics here were also great. We encountered several small groups of ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILLS, feeding in the seeding grasses along the road and pond sides. These were very pretty little birds. Even more striking, though, was the flock of BRONZE MANNIKINS we encountered, bigger and more boldly patterned. We saw our only PEREGRINE FALCON of the trip overhead here. This is a great place for Green Iguanas also. Several very large lizards were basking in trees in several sites.


We walked in along the near edge of the far pond, making a left and going in at right angles to the road on a trail there that tended to hug the water’s edge. Part-way in, we came across a couple of blazingly blooming Flamboyant trees, loaded with hummingbirds. This gave us the opportunity to watch some more hummingbirds to my heart’s content, and gave us our fourth and fifth Puerto Rican hummingbird species: ANTILLEAN CRESTED HUMMINGBIRD and GREEN-THROATED CARIB. The Carib is interestingly similar to the Antillean Mango, though the greens are different, and the Carib has a very beautiful shading from green to turquoise blue on its throat and breast that the Mango lacks. The little Antillean Crested was definitely a pilferer here, making a living by sneaking in and out and getting some nectar before being chased off by the bigger Caribs. All of the hummingbirds seemed to use holes poked into the base of each flower by BANANAQUITS, which were abundant here.


The water birds were also terrific at Humacao. This far pond had large number of RUDDY DUCKS, though unfortunately no Masked that we could pick out. CARIBBEAN COOTS were also common here, and seemed to greatly outnumber AMERICAN COOT. When we started walking back, we came back to the far end of the first pond and spotted a WEST INDIAN WHISTLING-DUCK sitting on a rock near the close shoreline, and we were able to get excellent looks. Not a life bird, but a special bird—very uncommon and difficult to see well. This one gave us great looks until it suddenly realized it was doing so and quickly took off.


We made our way back to the car, ate lunch (cheese etc. that we had brought with us), and then decided to try the other part of Humacao refuge that we had been told about by our new New York birding acquaintances from the day before, and that was also discussed in Jim Hully‘s trip report (http://maybank.tripod.com/Caribbean/PuertoRico-05-2004.htm). We turned left out of the parking lot back on to Rt. 3 west, then drove for 0.6 kilometers to Rt. 925 north, on the right. We turned here, and drove for 1.2 kilometers and parked in front of the gate on the right side. There is a sign at the gate, welcoming you to the refuge. I believe the sign also names the place Unidad Mandri. We went through the turnstile here, and headed along the road through the fields to the ponds up ahead of us. This is wide-open country, and it was a really great birding spot. Lots of open sky, warm sunshine, and birds!


One of the first things to greet us when we actually arrived at the first pond was a trio of WHISTLING-DUCKS resting under a shrub up in the far left corner. We assumed they were West Indian, and they probably were, but they were in the shade, and we didn’t have a scope, so I can’t say for sure they weren’t Fulvous. Still nice, anyway. There were lots of great water birds out here: PIED-BILLED GREBES; TRICOLORED and LITTLE BLUE HERONS in good numbers; BLUE-WINGED TEAL, and four SCAUP, which I would have called Greater, thanks to their greenish heads, if I hadn’t seen in the field guide that LESSER SCAUP is what we can expect in Puerto Rico.


Along the shoreline of the ponds, especially after the first pond, there are extensive areas of very short vegetation, presumably some sort of sedge. This was great rail habitat, and also good habitat for actually seeing rails, since it was so short. We saw not one but two SORAS, the second one giving us very prolonged looks as it worked its way away from shore out over and through the “lawn” of vegetation. But most memorable, indeed one of the best bird sightings we have ever had, came when a tiny, pale-bellied YELLOW-BREASTED CRAKE flew up out of the grass just a few yards away from us, took a brief flight with its legs dangling in that weak, pathetic-looking way that rails do, and then dropped back down into the short stuff. We were dumbfounded—we knew they were here, and that this was a good place to try to see them, but we never expected to have one fly out in front of us in the middle of the day, without using tapes, and just when we both happened to be looking in the right direction. Amazing luck!


After that, we spent the next hour or two strolling along, with that feeling that it’s already been such a good day that everything else is just gravy. We did see some more very good birds. PURPLE GALLINULE appeared just when I was wondering why we hadn’t seen any. We flushed a couple of WILSON’S SNIPE along the edges of the ponds. CAVE SWALLOWS circled overhead. And Joe spotted a BLACK TERN, the only one of the trip. Finally, on our way out, we ran into a small flock of brown-and-tawny-striped finches that turned out to be ORANGE BISHOPS, all in female plumage at this time of year.


When we returned to the car, we still had some time before heading to the airport. We decided to go back to the main Humacao refuge. Unlike earlier in the day, it was now packed with cars in the parking lot, and we found a place to park only because someone was leaving as we were pulling in. This time, we headed straight after we crossed the two bridges, instead of turning right toward the ponds. This brought us out to the ocean and the beach, eventually. As you near the water, you go through a forest of Coconut Palms—very tropical looking. We didn’t see much in the way of birds, but it was a nice ending to a nice long weekend. We headed back to the airport, stopping for gas on the way.


Puerto Rico was one of the most enjoyable places we’ve been. It is easy to bird on your own, there are enough interesting and endemic species to keep you busy for at least a few days, and the people were unfailingly friendly and helpful.


BIRD LIST:


Life birds are CAPITALIZED; endemics have a *. Some of the birds that weren’t Puerto Rican endemics were still regional (West Indian) endemics. Heard-only birds are in parentheses.



Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 8 Humacao


Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis seen along the coasts at La Parguera, Guanica, Humacao


Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens coasts, Guanica and Humacao


Great Blue Heron Ardea herodia 1 at Cabo Rojo, 5 at Humacao


Great Egret Ardea alba common, max 25 at Humacao


Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 15+ at Humacao


Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 9 at Humacao


Snowy Egret Egretta thula 4 at Cabo Rojo and 13 at Humacao


Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Abundant; 100+ near Laguna Cartegena


Green Heron Butorides virescens 2 Humacao


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea 3 Humacao


West Indian Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna arborea 4


Whistling-Duck sp. Almost certainly, the 3 birds we saw resting in the shade under a shrub in the northwest corner of the first pond on the left at Unidad Mandri were West Indian. However, Fulvous is also listed in the field guide, and our looks were just not quite good enough (no scope) to rule out that species completely.


White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis 12+ Cabo Rojo, also a couple at Humacao


Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 7 Humacao


Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 4 Humacao


Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 100+ at Humacao. Try as we might, we couldn’t make one into a life Masked Duck. Maybe a scope would have helped.


Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Common throughout


Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1 at Laguna Cartagena area, 6 at Humacao


Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Seen daily throughout


Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus One seen at Humacao.


American Kestrel Falco sparverius Small numbers seen in Guanica and Humacao areas on wires. As others have said, the kestrels here are very pale.


Sora Porzana carolina 2 Amazingly, not one but two different individuals walking through the marsh at Unidad Mandri area of Humacao. One of them gave us good, prolonged looks from no more than 10 feet away.


YELLOW-BREASTED CRAKE Porzana flaviventer 1 Even more amazingly, one of these incredibly tiny, pale-breasted rails popped up out of the grass about 15 feet away from us, flew a dozen feet or so across from right to left in front of us, legs dangling, then dropped back in and disappeared in the grass. Fantastic that we both happened to be looking at the right direction at the right time. Even more unbelievable that it appeared at all! One of the best sightings of the trip, without a doubt.


Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica 2 Humacao. Appeared just as I said that I was surprised we hadn’t seen one yet. Then we tried saying the same thing about Masked Duck, but it didn’t work.


Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Abundant at Humacao


American Coot Fulica americana 10 Humacao (see next)


Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea 30 Humacao (ditto)


Coot sp. 100+ Joe thinks I should call most of the coots we saw at Humacao Caribbean, and I agree that, for the ones we got good looks at, most were Caribbean. But, we didn’t have a scope with us, and many, many coots were too far away for me to be sure of their identity. In any case, both were seen, though it wouldn’t be a good place to go to try to find your life American Coot.


Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 90+ at Cabo Rojo, and 1 lone individual at Humacao.


Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola 2 Cabo Rojo, 9 Humacao


Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus 7 Humacao


Killdeer Charadrius vociferous 2 Cabo Rojo


Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata 2 Humacao, flushed from the grassy edges as we walked past on the road.


Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca a few at both Cabo Rojo and Humacao


Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 3 in a small puddle in La Parguera, and 50+ at Cabo Rojo


Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia a couple at Cabo Rojo and Humacao


Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 2 at Cabo Rojo


Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus 60+ in one tight group at Cabo Rojo


Royal Tern Sterna maxima 4 at Guanica along Rt 333 out over the bay, and 5 at Humacao


Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1 at Humacao


Rock Pigeon Columba livia throughout, though not in really large numbers


Scaly-naped Pigeon Patagioenas squamosa great looks at a pair perched in a treetop below us from Hacienda Juanita’s dining area balcony; also seen or heard several times in the Maricao forest


PLAIN PIGEON Patagioenas inornata 12 across the road from Escuela Superior Sabana, Comeria/Cidra area


Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita 2 at Guanica; others elsewhere, perhaps, but not seen well


White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica seen multiple times in the lowlands, Guanica and La Parguera


Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina many at Guanica


Quail-dove sp. We flushed a pair of quail-doves that flew ahead of us on the lower (left) trail at Km. 16.8 in Maricao forest, at the bottom of that first hill under the trees there. They looked like Ruddy, based on color, but we haven’t ever seen Ruddy or Key West, so definitely not countable. We also heard quail-doves calling several times in Maricao, but can’t tell from the book descriptions of calls which ones we were hearing. Everyone seem to report Key West Quail-Doves from Maricao, but the books say Ruddy likes higher elevations, and the banders at Guanica said Key West is more likely at lower elevations, so I don’t know how you can be sure unless you get a good look and/or have a tape, which we didn’t.


Ringed Turtle-Dove Streptopelia risoria 8; an escape, seen in the town of La Parguera


Parrot sp. We heard one or more squawking while we were driving along narrow, winding Rt. 156 west of Aguas Buenas, but never saw it/them.


Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor 5+ seen at Guanica, where we didn’t see any of the following species.


* PUERTO RICAN LIZARD-CUCKOO Saurothera vieilloti 4 Maricao and Hacienda Juanita; at the latter spot we watched one eat a lizard!


Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Several along roadsides; Laguna Cartegena; Humacao


* (PUERTO RICAN SCREECH-OWL Megascops nudipes A pair along the entrance road past Rt. 334, Guanica. Heard only.)


* PUERTO RICAN NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus noctitherus Many heard, and one very happily seen, along the entrance road beyond Rt. 334 , Guanica


ANTILLEAN MANGO Anthracothorax dominicus La Parguera and Rt. 333, Guanica


* GREEN MANGO Anthracothorax viridis Maricao and Hacienda Juanita


Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus Humacao


Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhynchus cristatus Humacao


* PUERTO RICAN EMERALD Chlorostilbon maugaeus Mostly seen at Maricao Forest and, especially, Hacienda Juanita; one at Guanica


Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon 1 at Cabo Rojo, 2 at Humacao


* PUERTO RICAN TODY Todus mexicanus Common at Maricao, Hacienda Juanita, and Guanica. For us, absent at Humacao.


* PUERTO RICAN WOODPECKER Melanerpes portoricensis Missed our first day at Maricao, then a few seen every day after that at Maricao (Km. 16.8), Guanica, and Humacao


Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica a couple seen at Guanica, and surprisingly one seen near the headquarters at Maricao


* PUERTO RICAN PEWEE Contopus latirostris Seen well at Hacienda Juanita along the loop trail.


* PUERTO RICAN FLYCATCHER Myiarchus antillarum Very common at Guanica and Humacao


Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis Throughout, though more commonly seen in the lowlands


Loggerhead Kingbird Tyrannus caudifasciatus One or two seen daily; best observed on the wires at Hacienda Juanita


Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva 4 at Humacao; probably seen in other spots, but too high and not identified


Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos Seen by Joe in a couple of spots.


Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus Several at Maricao, Hacienda Juanita,


Red-legged Thrush Turdus plumbeus Several seen flying up off the road early in the mornings at Maricao. Not seen the rest of the day there; seems surprisingly timid, vs. the very tame robin-like ones I saw on Grand Bahama island.


House Sparrow Passer domesticus 1 or 2 seen in the lowlands around gas stations, etc.


ORANGE BISHOP Euplectes franciscanus 6 female-plumaged birds at Unidad Mandri.


ORANGE-CHEEKED WAXBILL Estrilda melpoda A couple of small flocks totaling about 15 birds at Humacao and Unidad Mandri.


BRONZE MANNIKIN Spermestes cucullatus A flock of 12 at Humacao. Very handsome birds. There were good numbers of seeding grasses along the waters; edges.


* PUERTO RICAN VIREO Vireo latimeri Several seen daily at Maricao and Guanica


Northern Parula Parula americana A couple, at Maricao, Laguna Cartagena, and Humacao


Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia 1 in La Parguera near the blackbirds


Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens The commonest wood warbler; seen especially at Maricao


Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata 2 at Humacao


* ADELAIDE WARBLER Dendroica adelaidae 2 seen our first evening at Guanica, then 50+ seen or heard there the next morning.


Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor A couple seen at Guanica.


*ELFIN-WOODS WARBLER Dendroica angelae First seen near the picnic area at the end of the entrance road into the headquarters for Maricao forest at Km 16.2; later seen in a couple of other spots in Maricao as well.


American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla 2 Maricao


Northern Waterthrush Seirus noveboracensis 2 Humacao


Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1 Humacao


Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Abundant throughout


* PUERTO RICAN TANAGER Nesospingus speculiferus 15+ each day at Maricao


* PUERTO RICAN SPINDALIS Spindalis portoricensis 7 or 8 each day at Maricao


ANTILLEAN EUPHONIA Euphonia musica 2 at Guanica—great luck!


Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea 1 at Laguna Cartegena


Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor Common throughout, especially in the lowlands


* PUERTO RICAN BULLFINCH Loxigilla portoricensis Multiple encounters in Maricao and, slightly less commonly, Guanica.


* YELLOW-SHOULDERED BLACKBIRD Agelaius xanthomus 40+ at La Parguera


Greater Antillean Grackle Quiscalus niger Abundant throughout


Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonairensis At least one female-type in with the blackbirds and grackles at the feeders at the blackbird store in La Parguera—sadly.


VENEZUELAN TROUPIAL Icterus icterus 3 at Guanica, 1 at Laguna Cartegena


GREATER ANTILLEAN ORIOLE Icterus dominicensis 1 building a nest at Hacienda Juanita


= 94 bird species, 23 of which were life birds, + 1 heard life species.


Butterfly list:

Giant White Ascia josephina Guanica very common here

Haitian Mimic Dismorphia spio Hacienda Juanita: Beautiful; a white that looks like a heliconian

Cloudless Sulphur Phoebis senna Hacienda Juanita, Humacao

Puerto Rican Sulphur Eurema portoricensis

Barred Sulphur Eurema daira Guanica

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon columella Cabo Rojo

Hanno Blue Hemiargus hanno La Parguera

Mexican Fritillary Euptoieta hegesia Guanica

Julia Dryas iulia Hacienda Juanita

Gulf Fritillary Dione vanillae Guanica

Orion Historis odius Maricao

Haitian Admiral Adelpha gelania arecosa

Puerto Rican Troglodyte Anaea borinquenalis Guanica

Dingy Purplewing Eunica monima Guanica

Red Rim Biblis hyperia Humacao, Guanica

Haitian Cracker Hamadryas februa Guanica

Tropical Buckeye Junonia genoveva Humacao,

Mangrove Buckeye Junonia evarete Humacao

Puerto Rican Ringlet Calisto nubile Maricao A very beautiful dusky satyr.

Monarch Danaus plexippus La Parguera, Guanica, Humacao

Long-tailed Skipper Urbanus proteus Hacienda Juanita

Tropical Checkered-Skipper Pyrgus oileus Maricao

Jung’s Duskywing (=Sickle-winged Skipper?) Achlyodes thraso Guanica


= 23 identified butterfly species.


Bill Benner

Whately, Franklin Co., MA

billb55@aol.com





Jennifer Rycenga and Peggy Macres

Half Moon Bay, California

gyrrlfalcon@earthlink.net



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