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14 - 27 March 2002

by Barry Cooper and Gail Mackiernan


In March of 2002, we visited our last major Caribbean island, Hispaniola, nearing the end of our 9-year quest to see all the Caribbean island endemics and specialties. In 1993 we started with Grand Bahama, followed by Puerto Rico (1994), Jamaica (1995 and 1999), Cuba (1999), and three islands of the Lesser Antilles (2000). After this last trip, we estimate that we have now seen about 90% of our target birds, with only a few missed species on already-visited islands and some single-species islands still to come. It is with some sadness that we reach this point, as Caribbean travel is not inexpensive and with the law of diminishing returns, we realize that seeing 100% of the species is probably not attainable. Certainly we will now be focusing on travel to regions where far more new birds await us, and it may be some years before we re-visit the West Indies.

That having been said, it should be emphasized that the West Indies hold some unique and beautiful birds, and that (as major tourist destinations) there are many available options for birders to visit these lovely islands. Even a cruise or a casual visit with a non-birding companion can yield some of the endemic birds and start one on a quest to see them ALL! A short, four or five-day trip to some islands such as Jamaica can yield a good majority of the endemics and specialties, providing (for a seasoned USA birder) more new species than a trip of equal length in the United States.

However, some Caribbean Islands, because of their size or distance between birding sites, require more logistical support. In the Dominican Republic, we opted to hire a local birding guide, Kate Wallace (see below for contact information), to help us deal with travel arrangements and for her invaluable local knowledge of where to find many of the more elusive species. With her assistance we managed, in eight days, to see all but one of the country’s endemics as well as a number of “specialties.”

The exact number of endemic species on Hispaniola (the island of which the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern 2/3, the other third being the Republic of Haiti) is actually unknown. The most recent “official” count is 26, which includes the Gray-crowned Palm Tanager, restricted to Haiti. There are also several impending, probable splits, including the Hispaniola (White-winged) Crossbill and the Hispaniola (Greater Antillean) Nightjar. Finally, the status of one species, the Golden Swallow, is uncertain in Jamaica. If it is, as thought by some experts, extinct on the latter island then it becomes Hispaniola’s 29th endemic. (In the species list below, we have included all recent and pending splits.)


March 14: Arrival 1:48 pm at Santo Domingo International Airport, via flight from Puerto Rico. Kate picked us up at the airport in a temporary rental car, and took us to Bettye’s Guest House in the beautiful Colonial section of Santo Domingo to unload our luggage. We had a bite to eat (American Airlines no longer feeds you lunch on the plane!) then off for a visit to the Botanical Gardens, which is excellent for birds. At dusk, we visited the famous parakeet roost at the Hotel Embajador, astonished at the hundreds of birds gathered here! Next off to the car rental (Europcar), where we added Barry as a driver and picked up our 4WD Mitsubishi Montero. (I am not sure that the next few days were too good for break-in of this absolutely brand-new vehicle!) Overnight at Bettye’s. Best birds: Hispaniola Parakeet, Hispaniola Lizard-Cuckoo, Black-crowned Palm Tanager.

March 15:  Kate met us at 6:30 am with the Montero, we loaded up and drove to Puerto Escondido via Duverge. No birding en route, but we did stop just east of Duverge to enjoy close looks at a tree full of woodpeckers. We also had two Black-cowled Orioles here, one of our only sightings of this species in DR. After an excellent field lunch, we did the Rabo de Gato trail, adding a number of endemics. The most exciting time was a close vocal encounter with the elusive Bay-breasted Cuckoo, which came in to our tape, giving constant “cabrito” (goat-bleat) calls, but would not show itself. The encounter was made more confusing by an excited pair of Lizard-cuckoos also thrashing about in the dense undergrowth – every time we got our bins on a bird, it was a L-C. We stopped at a colmado for additional supplies and then drove to Barahona and checked into the Hotel Guaracuyo. This is a very nice hotel right on the beach, good restaurant, suffers somewhat from dicey plumbing (I opted for cold showers as the hot-water heater wiring appeared semi-lethal!) After a fine supper of local fish, we went out to look for Ashy-faced owl near-by. No luck with the owl, but we had good looks at a Jamaican Potoo which came in to the tape. Best birds: Broad-billed Tody, White-necked Crow, Jamaican Potoo.

March 16: An early 3:30 am departure from the hotel for the drive to Zapoten, at the top of the Sierra de Baoruco National Park, via Duverge, Puerto Escondido and a stop at “La Placa” for nightjars. Barry drove and apparently set the land-speed record for the trip. We reached La Placa at 4:30 am, and heard many Hispaniola Nightjars calling nearby. However, none were very responsive to the tape, we just had one brief fly-by. No birds on the road, it was a rather cold night; whether that made a difference is unknown. No Least Poorwills were heard calling, either. We left at about 5:30 am for Zapoten, arriving there well before first light. The road up is now very rough and we were happy to have both high clearance and four wheel drive. There is an illegal Haitian potato market now at the former site of the “rusted bulldozer” mentioned in so many trip reports. (Of the bulldozer, nothing is left but a few hunks of twisted metal). This means people are there early, there is considerable noise and shouting, trucks coming and going, despite rather futile signs posted against such things, and there is a lot of discarded vegetable waste, evidence of tree cutting and trail-blazing, and general disruption of the habitat (and peace) of the national park in its most vulnerable area. Unfortunately neither the soldiers at El Aquacate nor the park guards seem able to control this situation. It is probable that someone high up in the local government is benefitting from the trade. Moving the market down the road and out of the park would seem the obvious solution but nothing so far has happened in the years since the market was established, despite considerable complaining by conservation-minded Dominicans. We birded this area all morning, then slowly made our way down the mountain, stopping at several sites (such as “Los Naranjes”) for birds of lower, dryer habitats. That evening we drove a local road “trolling” for Ashy-faced owl, to no avail. Best birds: La Selle Thrush, Western Chat-tanager, Narrow-billed Tody, Hispaniola Trogon, White-winged Warbler.

March 17: We left the Hotel Guaracuyo at about 6.00 a.m. for a more leisurely drive today stopping for a picnic breakfast at a very attractive cliff overlook just past San Rafael. We finally arrived on the empty Alcoa Road heading up the south slop of the Sierra de Baoruco. The road passes through some excellent semi-desert habitat, then some limited broadleaf woodland and eventually climbs up to an extensive area of pine woodland. The main spot to bird here is a man-made pond “ La Charca” just off the Alcoa Rd. and just about at the highest spot on the road. (There is a sign and obvious pull-off to the right).You just sit quietly and many of the birds will visit to drink and bath. During our 2-3 hours there we saw about fifteen Hispaniolan Crossbills, a couple of Hispaniola Siskins, about fifteen Golden Swallows and many more birds. We did a small amount of birding in the pine woods which was pretty unproductive. We also went to the new Visitor’s Center at Sierra de Baoruco N.P.  which provides a spectacular view over a deep ravine, but not many birds. On our drive out towards Pedernales we birded the rapidly drying-out salt pond at Cabo Rojo. Amongst the shorebirds here we had a Snowy Plover that closely resembled the Eurasian/N.African race known as the Kentish Plover [see under species list for a discussion on this bird].We had planned to spend the night in Pedernales but after discovering there were no rooms available we decided to drive back to the Hotel Guaracuyo in Barahona, arriving just before dark. Best birds: White-winged (Hispaniola) Crossbill, Golden Swallow.

March 18: Another very early morning start to beyond Puerto Escondido for nightjars. Very similar results with two Hispaniola Nightjars and one Least Poorwill flushed from the road and about ten singing Nightjars but again we were unable to tape any in. Most of the morning was spent in the dry forest around Puerto Escondido including the Rabo de Gato trail. Our primary goal was to get better views of the Bay-breasted Cuckoo. We did get three different birds to respond to the tape but unfortunately none were seen. In the afternoon we decided to visit Puerto Allejandro, a coastal shorebird location about ten miles east of Barahona. This  very impressive wetland site has  extensive salt flats, tidal pools and mangroves. Overnight at the Hotel Guaracuyo. Best birds: Hispaniola Nightjar, Least Poorwill, Roseate Spoonbill, White-cheeked Pintail.

March 19: We left  Barahona heading east and decided to take the small road over the Cordillera Central [driving through the Valle Nuevo Scientific Reserve]. The road became narrower and narrower, but never impassible for our SUV. There were good patches of native habitat, principally pine forests with smaller amounts of broadleafed woodland. Interesting birds seen included Golden Swallows and Black Swifts, as well as an old friend from South America, Rufous-collared Sparrow. We finally arrived at the Ebano Verde Nature Reserve (lower entrance) in time for some late afternoon birding, but didn’t see much. Our overnight accomodations was the very nice Hotel Jacaranda on highway Rte.1 near Bonao which is a “reststop” hotel but very upscale and well-appointed with café and rather posh restaurant. Best birds: Golden Swallow, Black Swift.

March 20: We had arranged to have the gate opened at 7.00 a.m. to the Ebano Verde Reserve. This was as early as Kate felt she could reasonably request of this privately-run reserve. The target bird here is the Eastern Chat Tanager which inhabits the principally secondary growth forest at the highest point on the ridge. The guard arrived at the dot of 7 at the gate and let us in. We drove up the (very rough, high-clearance needed) road and parked at the communications tower and immediately heard about three Chat Tanagers singing loudly close-by. Unfortunately the birds only sang for a few minutes and then fell silent. It is apparently very important at this time of year for birders to be at both Chat Tanagers’ breeding locations at dawn. We spent about three hours and did not hear any additional song and had just one a brief flight view.

This forested ridge held a good selection of native birds including the Narrow-billed Tody, Hispaniolan Trogan and Green-tailed Ground Warbler. During the afternoon we drove to the small, attractive town of Monte Plata and checked into the comfortable El Toro Hotel. Kate had arranged a late evening visit to a private ranch to look for owls. One of the supervisors, Kiko, met us at the hotel and rode with us in our car. We started owling at about 7.30 p.m. by driving slowly around some extensive plantations of largely dead [from hurricane damage] oil palm trees. The next two hours were quite mind-blowing with about twenty Tyto owl sightings. Most were Barn but at least four Ashy-faced Owls were seen well including one bird flying over us, angrily snapping its bill. Altogether a very memorable experience. Best  bird: Ashy-faced Owl!

March 21: Willy, a young ranch employee, met us at 9 am at the El Toro and we followed his motor-bike to sites on the ranch in search of Double-striped Thick-knee.  We scored on the second field we searched with excellent views of a pair. After a little birding on this ranch we headed back to our hotel to pick-up our bags. As this largely agricultural region is almost totally unbirded we decided to do some exploration, so drove back roads through the isolated villages of Anton Sanchez and Sabana de los Javeies, almost to the western borders of Los Haitises National Park. In fact, the karst hills of the park were well in view at one point, and we stopped to do some scope-scanning for Ridgway’s Hawk as a number of raptors were soaring about. Unfortunately, they were Turkey Vultures and Kestrels but it was worth a try! After some more birding (but not seeing much) we returned via a fast road to Santo Domingo, staying overnight at Bettye’s. That evening we did some shopping and had a beer with Kate at her lovely home in the Colonial section of the city. Best bird: Double-striped Thick-knee.

March 22:  Kate met us at 7 am to visit the Villa Isabella Lagoon, a large reed-fringed lake not far from the Botanical Gardens and for a last excursion to the Botanical Gardens. This time we were lucky and had brilliant views of a West Indian Whistling Duck along La Grande Cañada trail. We also enjoyed (and videoed) a number of the other native birds which can be found in the extensive gardens. But soon it was time to return to our guesthouse, to shower and pack for the flight to Puerto Rico. Kate drove us to the airport, where we bid her a fond farewell, and then struggled through an overly-intensive security check onto our plane. Best bird: West Indian Whistling Duck

We arrived in San Juan in late afternoon, and caught the shuttle to the L&M car rental ofice just outside the airport, and picked up our new Toyota Echo. We then fought rush-hour traffic all the way to Luquillo, where we stayed overnight in the rather basic Parador Martorell. The parador was quiet and adequate and convenient to El Yunque.
March 23: We started early but not pre-dawn at the Luquillo National Forest (El Yunque), targeting the Elfin Woods Warbler, our last P.R. endemic. Initially, we did the Mt. Britton Trail, but this is actually not a trail through elfin forest (despite what some trip reports have said). What you want is the Mt. Britton SPUR trail, or (alternatively) the one to the stone tower. Both of these go through excellent elfin woods habitat. Alas, no warbler but we did add many endemics such as Puerto Rican Tanager, Emerald and Tody.

We left at about 11 am for the drive to La Paquera. This time we stayed up the hill at the Parador Villa Del Mar, very adequate and quiet, as our “digs” in 1994 -- the Parador Prolomar --  had been transformed from a cosy and inexpensive parador to a huge (and very expensive) hotel. We made a quick visit to a near-by supermarket for supplies, and then hit the main drag to scope out the blackbirds at the Villa La Paquera. They performed as expected, and we left to eat a quick supper at a Chinese restaurant, and then off to Guanica State Forest for a date with the Nightjars. Again we drove to the entrance gate (locked), parked, and walked in. We eventually scored with the nightjars (at the same place as in 1994) and returned to La Paquera and our beds! Best Birds: Yellow-Shouldered Blackbird, P.R. Nightjar.

March 24:    Morning was spent at the Guanica Forest, where we walked several trails – the most productive being the Ojos des Aquas trail. We also went to visitor’s center – the information booth has an excellent little brochure on the trails as well as on the commoner birds and plants. As it got hot, we tried the Rt. 333 “Ravine Oasis” but the road in has deteriorated so badly that we barely got the car in (and out). There were a number of birds about, as expected, and we added some new species to our list.

One problem in both the D.R. and P. R. was drought. Pools that held water and shorebirds in 1994 were dry, including the salt ponds at the end of Rt. 333. We then opted to try for some spots near Boqueron, but arrived to find these areas dried out or inaccessible. Cartagena Lagoon seems to have finally vanished entirely. The fields near Lajas were in poor condition, we found no interesting “exotic” grassland species as other birders have reported. The salt ponds along Rt. 324, east of La Paquera, were also bone dry. Disappointed, we returned to La Paquera, had a nice seafood dinner in town, and hit the sack! Best Birds: Adelaide’s Warbler, P.R. Lizard-Cuckoo, P.R. Flycatcher, P.R. Vireo.

March 25:  We left very early for the Maricao Forest, this time driving via Rt. 16 and 2, much shorter than struggling through San Germain as we did in 1994. Once on Rt. 120, it was short trip to the first area of interest, essentially km 16.2 (the forestry offices) and nearby arriving here at 7.00 a.m. Our main goal in Puerto Rico was to see the Elfin Wood Warbler and, over the next couple days, we visited a number of good trails and stop-off points along Rt. 120 to explore the Maricao Forest. These are listed below:

Km. 16.2 There is a short hard-top road that first leads to the entrance to the forestry offices and ends about 200 yards further at a picnic overlook site. From the picnic area you can follow a rocky trail up the ridge which eventually joins Rte 120 after about a mile. You first have to squeeze around the gate at the end of the road and shortly after pass an abandoned stone house on the left. This trail offers some nice views over the forest and was quite birdy. Birds seen included several North American warblers and a good variery of P.R. endemics including at least two Elfin Wood Warblers. There is also a trail that leads down from the picnic area which we did not bird on this visit. [We had visited this trail our our last trip and found it quite birdy, but as it drops rapidly in elevation it is not as good for the Elfin Wood Warbler]. The other area we birded was along the road leading from Rte. 120 to the forestry offices. This is a good spot for the Black-cowled Oriole and we also saw 2-3 Elfin Wood Warblers here in the late afternoon and heard a Key West Quail Dove.

Km. 16.8 There are actually two long trails here. One leads down through very nice habitat which we did not have time to explore. The second trail leads up quite steeply following a ridge. To get on to this trail we had a very tight squeeze around the gate. This is a great walk providing superb views of the forest and coastline and leads through some excellent habitat.  On our two visits to this trail we saw three Key West Quail Doves [including brilliant views of one] and heard three others calling. We found this trail to be the best site for P.R. Pewee and Tody and had a nice adult Elfin Wood Warbler.

Km. 14.1 This is one of the highest points on Rte 120. No real trails but several communications towers and related buildings. This allows birding some open areas adjacent to the towers that are bordered by forest at high elevaton. We did not find it necessary to go into any of the fenced– off areas surrounding the towers. We had a nice family party of two adult and two immature Elfin Wood Warblers here and another two immatures in a mixed bird flock near the green concrete building on the right-hand spur.

Km. 13.1 About 1/2 mile on Rte 120 beyond the stone tower overlook there is a gate on the left. Go through the gate and there is an old picnic area [presently not in use] and many trails that lead through an area of secondary growth. This area is at a lower elevation than the previous sites but we still managed to see an adult and two immature Elfin Wood Warblers.

In summary, we found Elfin Wood Warblers at all of the sites we visited and our observations suggest that it is a fairly common and widespread bird in suitable habitat and altitude in this area. We estimated that in a total of about 8-10 hours of birding we saw fifteen different birds.

March 25-26:  We had arranged to stay at Hacienda Juanita which is very close to Rte. 120, has its own forest trail, and, from previous trip reports, a resident pair of P.R. Screech- Owls. We followed a similar pattern on these two days birding the sites discussed above during the morning. Both afternoons we birded the forest trail at Hacienda Juanita. On both days it started to rain hard during the mid to late afternoon which curtailed our birding. We tried quite hard to tape-in the owls in the evening after it had stopped raining without success. Unfortunately the Hacienda was quite busy and rather noisy as people were on Easter break. Whether it was disturbance or the rain, we dipped on the owls. In the late afternoon of March 26, we re-visited the forestry office area (Km. 16.2) and were happy to meet up with the manager, Adrian Muniz. He told us quite a bit about the Elfin Woods Warbler biology and behavior,and also took us in his jeep to some locations nearby that were not readily accessible on foot.

March 27:  We started our final day with one last walk along the trail at Km 15.8 to give Gail a chance to video some endemics. We then drove cross-country to Lares and eventually to the north coast just east of Arecibo. We hoped to do some birding  in the vicinity of the Tibornes Wetlands. However we could not find any good entry to this area, and, with time running-out, we headed to the rental car offices and then to the airport for our flight home.



3/14, 3/21 - Bettye’s Guest House in Santo Domingo. – Phone # 809 688 7649. Good restaurant on site. Be sure to check out Bettye’s Toledo Gallery next door, which has a great selection of paintings and other artworks, including lovely paintings of native birds by Haitian and Dominican artists.

3/15 – 3/17 -Hotel Guaracuyo in Barahona – Phone # 809 233 0748 (no English spoken). Good restaurant on site.

3/18 - Hotel Jacaranda near Bonao. Phone #809 525 3090. Café and more upscale restaurant on site.

3/19 – 3/20 Hotel El Toro in Monte Plata. (no English spoken) #809-551-6558. Good food and drink on site.

3/22 - Parador Martorell in Luquillo.    Phone # 787 889 2710.

3/23 - 3/24 Parador Villa Del Mar  in La Parguera.    Phone # 787 899 4265

3/25-3/26 Hacienda Juanita near Maricao.    Phone # 787 838 2550. Good restaurant on site.

Car Rental:

Dominican Republic: Europcar Agency Kate arranged this, went very smoothly, good car (Mitsubishi Montero, we got the small version of this SUV, which was just big enough for three people, plus luggage and cooler).

Puerto Rico: L&M Car Rental - Has counter at airport baggage claim  Ph: 1-800 –666-0807. $159.79 for five days unlimited mileage. Compact car (Toyota Echo).


Book:  “A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies”, 1998, Herbert Raffaele et al., Princeton University Press.

Tape: “Songs of Birds of the Dominican Republic,” recorded by George Reynaud, available from Cornell Laboratory.  We also had tapes from various sources of PR Screech Owl, Nightjar and Lizard-cuckoo.

Guides and Site Access:

We hired Kate Wallace, who lives in Santo Domingo (she originally came as a Peace Corps volunteer eight years ago). She arranged the rental vehicle, all accomodations, site access, and also provided us with great picnic breakfasts and lunches in the field, as well as excellent company! She can be contacted at (809)686-0882 or

Access to the Monte Plata sites for the Ashy-Faced Owl and Thick-knee can be arranged through Kate or through Eladio Fernandez, whose brother-in-law runs the ranch. Eladio also guides visiting birders. He can be contacted at or via his web site at Some of the ranch property could be birded from public roads bordering the oil palm plantations, and the owl is possible, but we also drove a number of private roads and had the assistance of a ranch employee. The Thick-knees were strictly on private property.

Visitors to the Maricao State Forest in Puerto Rico should look up the manager, Adrian Muniz, at the office at Km 16.2. Adrian knows many of the best birding sites and took us in his jeep to a couple of places which were not readily accessed by foot.

Species List:

Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
DR Recorded on three dates including a family party of an adult and two juveniles at the Villa Isabella lagoon in Santo Domingo.

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
DR Two birds seen at the lagoon at Villa Isabella in Santo Domingo.

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
DR & PR Recorded from both islands with a daily maximum of fifteen birds, however, we did very little coastal birding and this and other coastal/ shorebird species are no doubt underecorded.

Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
DR & PR Recorded from both islands with daily maximum of ten birds.

Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis
DR & PR Common on both islands particularly on DR where we must have seen hundreds on most days.

Green Heron Butorides virescens
DR Fairly common in suitable habitat with a daily maximum of fifteen birds recorded between the Botanical Gardens and the Villa Isabella lagoon.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nyticorax nyticorax
PR Three birds recorded on two dates.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyticorax violacea
PR A single bird seen on the final morning’s drive from Hacienda Juanita to the AP.

Little Blue Heron Hydranassa caerulea
DR & PR Recorded on single dates on both islands with five birds on the saltflats at Puerto Allejandro {DR} being the maximum seen.

Reddish Egret Hydranassa rufuscens
DR & PR Single bird records from both islands with white phase at Puerto Allejandro {DR} and dark phase flying by the Rte 333 Gully {PR}.

Tricolored Heron Hydranassa tricolor
DR Up to ten birds seen during our brief stop at the very productive salt flats at Puerto Allejandro.

Great Egret Egretta alba
DR & PR This species appeared to be quite common in the limited suitable habitat we visited on DR & PR with daily maximum of twenty-six birds.

Snowy Egret Egretta thula
DR Decidedly less numerous than the previous species being seen only on two dates with a maximum of six birds. Not recorded from PR.

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
DR & PR Single birds recorded on six dates from both islands.

Roseate Spoonbill Ajaja ajaja
DR A very attractive party of seven birds recorded at the salt flats at Puerto Allejandro. We saw a good variety of shorebird species at this extensive wetland area during our one hour visit. Clearly this very productive site is worthy of a much more extensive search than we could give.

Caribbean Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
DR Recorded from two sites with at least seventeen birds at Lago Enriquillo and fifteen birds at Puerto Allejandro.

West Indian Whistling-Duck Dendrcygna arboreal
DR A single bird of this very attractive and rare species was well seen along the stream at the Botanical Gardens.

White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis
 DR GB flushed a party of six birds of this attractive duck at Puerto Allejandro.

Northern Shoveller Anas dypeata
DR A party of twenty birds seen at Puerto Allejandro.

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
DR & PR This species has an interesting distribution on both islands. In DR, it is common only in the eastern side of the island with up to twenty birds recorded in the general vicinity of Monte Plata. It was completely unrecorded in the south-west. In PR this species is abundant in the dry south west where we estimated a daily maximum of 100 birds, and it is virtually absent elsewhere on the island.

Osprey Pandion hailaetus
DR & PR Two records of single birds from the DR and three birds seen on PR.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
PR A single bird flew past the picknick area at K16.2 on Rte 120 in Guanica Forest.

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
DR & PR A single bird recorded from the “Alcoa Rd.” { DR} and up to two birds on two dates seen in the Guanica Forest {PR}.

Merlin Falco columbarius
PR A single bird at Hacienda Juanita.

American Kestrel Falco sparverius
DR & PR A common species on both islands being recorded daily with a maximum daily count of twelve birds on DR and six birds on PR.

Northern Bobwhite Colinus cristatus
PR GB was very suprised to see a single bird from the car in the vicinity of Lajas, it was in a dry pasture.

Limpkin Aramus guarana
DR Single birds seen along the stream at the Botanical Gardens and at the lagoon at Villa Isabella.

Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris
DR Two birds recorded at the Puerto Allejandro salt flats.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
DR Up to six birds recorded on three dates.

Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica
Two birds seen on the Villa Isabella lagoon in Santo Domingo.

Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
DR An unexpected treat as we had not anticipated seeing this species. However, Kate managed to gain access to private ranch-land near Monte Plata where we had superb views of a pair. The birds were on a ploughed field containing fairly short rough grass. Without doubt a trip highlight. This species is an eastern specialty, and is usually not seen on the usual DR birding trips, which focus on the SW of the country. This is an endemic subspecies, dominicensis.

Black-neck Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
DR Common at the two shorebird habitats visited with twenty-five birds recorded at the salt pond Cabo Rojo and fifty birds seen the following day at Puerto Allejandro.

Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatorola
DR Just three birds recorded on two dates were our only sightings.

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
DR Again very poor showing with only three birds seen on DR and none at all on PR.

Snowy Plover  Charadrius alexandrinus
DR An interesting idividual seen at the salt pond at Cabo Rojo. This bird showed a conspicious reddish hind crown and nape and had darker grey-brown upperparts than the Snowy Plover of the Caribbean and USA [race nivosus]. The bird closely resembled the nominate race alexandrinus  [Kentish Plover] of N.Africa, Europe and Asia. We obtained some video of this bird.

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
DR Just four birds recorded on two dates.

Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia
DR just single birds recorded at both Cabo Rojo and Puerto Allejandro.

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
DR Recorded on two dates with the maximum count of twenty-five birds at Puerto Allejandro.

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
DR Again extremely poor showing with just a single bird seen.

Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
DR Seen on both of our visits to the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens with a maximum of three birds.

Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
DR Recorded at both Cabo Rojo and Puerto Allejandro with five and ten birds respectively.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
DR Just two birds recorded was our sole record.

Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
DR Five birds seen at Cabo Rojo was our only record.

Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
DR Ten birds on the salt pond at Cabo Rojo.

Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
DR A party of twenty birds seen at Cabo Rojo.

Royal Tern Sterna maxima
DR & PR A widespread and common coastal species being seen on most dates with a daily maximum of fifteen birds.

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
PR Three birds recorded on two dates at coastal locations.

Rock Dove Columbus livia
Common and widespread on both islands.

Plain Pigeon Columba inorta
PR We rather suprisingly missed this species in DR where it is more numerous but saw one perched on wires in the vicinity of  Cidra in PR.

Scaly-naped Pigeon Columba squamosa
DR & PR This large attractive pigeon was a common forest species on both islands. Daily maximum on DR was twelve birds in the Sierra Baoruco NP and fair numbers also recorded on the drive through the Cordillera Central and at the Ebano Verde Reserve. In PR common in the Maricao Forest with a daily maximum of at least thirty birds.

Eurasian Collared Dove Stretopelia decaocta
PR Four birds recorded on two dates in the SW in the vicinity of La Paguera. They appeared typical Collared Doves and not Turtle Doves or hybrids (which have been reported by others).

White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
DR & PR More numerous on PR where we saw this species each day with daily maximum of eight birds. Up to three birds recorded on two dates in DR.

Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita
DR & PR Fairly widespread on both islands being seen on most days in a variety of habitats. Daily maximum were seven birds on DR and six on PR.

Mourning Dove Zeneida macroura
DR & PR A common & widespread species in DR but substantially less numerous on PR.

Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
DR & PR A fairly common & widespread open country species on both islands with daily maximum counts of twenty birds on DR and twelve birds on PR.

Key West Quail Dove Geotrygon chrysia
PR Prolonged, brilliant views around midday of a single bird walking towards us along the Km 16.8 trail on Rt. 120 in Maricao Forest. Eventually this stunning individual came too close to focus with our Zeiss binoculars, providing Gail with great video opportunities. Absolutely brilliant [although we were disappointed that this was not a Bridled Quail Dove!] On the same day a calling bird heard at the Forestry Headquarters at Km 16.2. The following  early morning along the K 16.8 trail two birds were flushed and about three more heard. The first bird flushed was perched about 10-12 feet up on a tree limb overhanging the trail.The bird seen on the first day was about 200 yards along the trail just after the trail started to descend. The birds on the following day were about one mile down the trail in excellent habitat and just before the trail opens into a partially cut-over Caribbean Pine.

Ruddy Quail Dove Geotrgon montana
DR A single bird seen along the Alcoa Rd and another heard near Porto Escondido.

Hispaniolan Parakeet Aratinga chloroptera Endemic
DR An early highlight and unforgettable experience was watching about three hundred parakeets noisily flying around and perching at their evening roost in the garden of the Embajador Hotel in downtown Santo Domingo. Aside from this we recorded this species on only two other dates totaling only six birds. Additionally a number of fly-by parakeets were not seen well enough to identify between this and the following species. A single aberrant individual at the roost site was very heavily blotched with red and showed much more yellow on the closed wing and appeared somewhat smaller.

Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana
DR This small, attractive parakeet was seen on three dates in the Sierra Baoruco NP with a maximum count of ten birds. The impression gained was that it was the more numerous parakeet in this park. The origin of this species is uncertain, even whether it is the Jamaican race (species?) or the Central American race.

Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus
A single, no doubt escaped cage bird, was mixed-in with the roosting Hispaniolan Parakeets in Santo Domingo.

Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor
DR & PR Single birds recorded in four widely separated areas in DR including the Botanical Gardens. On PR a single bird seen in the Rte 333 gully.

Bay-breasted Cuckoo Hyetornis rufigularis  Endemic
DR We searched long and hard for this elusive species in the dry forest around Puerto Escondido and were finally rewarded with one bird appearing briefly, skulking in a thick evergreen tree, in response to our tape near Los Naranjes. Not the best of views but clearly identifiable. A day earlier we had had good response to the tape along Rabo de Gato trail, including constant “cabrito” (goat bleating) calls, but failed to make a visual connection. Additionally, at least four other birds were heard calling briefly along the main road. The drought conditions may have delayed breeding and making the species generally unresponsive to the tape.  

Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo Saurothera longirostris  Endemic
DR Quite common in the dry forest around Puerto Escondido and seen also at the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens. This species was quite responsive to the tape and even called and came in at times to the taped call of the previous species. This very charismatic species was recorded daily with our maximum daily count being five seen and five others heard in the forest around Porto Escondido. We found the Rabo de Gato trail to be particularly good site for the bird.

Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo Saurothera vielotti Endemic
PR Appeared quite common in the Guanica Forest with four birds seen and six heard in several hours birding. This dry forest habitat is very similar to the habitat frequented by the previous species. We were also quite surprised to find the P.R. Lizard Cuckoo in the high damp Maricao Forest with four birds heard calling along the trail at Km. 16.8.  While both Lizard Cuckoos look very similar, we found that the former species was somewhat more colorful particularly on the underparts, and the bare red skin surrounding the eye was brighter and more obvious.  

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
DR A fairly common and widespread species in open-country and disturbed woodlands with a maximum daily count of fifteen birds. Interestingly we did not see any in PR.

Barn Owl Tyto alba
DR In two hours driving around huge plantations of dead and damaged [by a recent hurricane] oil palm groves at dusk we had an amazing owl bonanza with at least eleven sightings of this species as well as four unidentified Tyto owls and four Ashy-faced Owls. All of the Barn Owls seen were typical pale breasted birds looking very similar to those seen in N.America.

Ashy-faced Owl Tyto glaucops  Endemic
We had no luck finding this owl in some traditional sites around Barahona. However, Kate Wallace obtained permission for us to check for owls at dusk in private ranchland and oil palm groves near Monte Plata about 1 1/2 hours northeast of Santo Domingo. We initially discovered a pair quite close to the road, perched in the top of a dead palm tree. Upon playing the tape one bird flew over us angrily clicking its bill. The birds were quite noisy, flying about making their distinctive “cricketing” calls. Two additional birds were seen during our two hour drive through the palm groves. After several frustrating evenings in the south-west playing the tape to no avail, it was wonderful to hear the real thing! Quite distinctive [compared with the nearby Barn Owls] with their grey facial disk and mottled warm buffy brown underparts. Also this species was somewhat smaller and flew with noticeably faster wing-beats than the Barn Owl. The facial disk also appears rounder, and less “heart-shaped” than that of Barn Owl. Without doubt this two-hour experience with about twenty owl sightings including four different Ashy-faced Owls was one of the trip highlights.

[Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus]
PR A single dead bird found hanging from a wire fence surrounding large grassland. No doubt an unfortunate accident as the owl hunted over this good habitat near Lajas.

Least Poorwill Siphonorphis brewsteri  Endemic
DR Suprisingly none heard calling despite two pre-dawn trips searching for this and the following species around Puerto Escondido. However, two birds were seen briefly flying across the road in the car headlights. The typical nightjar shape, generally greyish tone to the plumage and, in particularly, the noticeably tiny size were seen.

Hispaniola Nightjar Caprimulgus ekmani  Endemic
DR Common in the vicinity of Puerto Escondido. On our two pre-dawn trips to the area we heard approximately eight and ten birds calling. As none were close to the road, we had very limited success in taping them in. However, two birds were flushed off the road on the drive. Obviously a larger bird than the prior species.

Puerto Rican Nightjar Caprimulgus noctitherus  Endemic
PR Using the same successful tactics as on our last visit to Puerto Rico, we parked at the main entrance to the Guanica State Forest at dusk and walked along the main road for about 2/3 mile. The Nightjars were heard immediately calling all around us. We eventually managed to tape in two birds at almost exactly the same location as we did about five years ago. This was at about 2/3 mile from the entrance where a dirt road joins the main road on the left. We had quite nice views of one of the birds perched for several seconds. Both birds were males and showed large white tail spots in flight. In all, we estimated fifteen birds heard and two seen.

Jamaican Potoo Nyctibius jamaicansensis
A single bird seen and heard near Barahona. Kate knew of a roost site and the bird was taped into view providing nice views. Its large eyes really glowed bright orange in the flashlight.

Black Swift Nephoecetes niger
DR Gail and Kate had good views of two birds seen while we were driving over the Cordillera Central.
Antillean Palm Swift Tachornis phoenicobia
DR Fairly common and widespread in DR but not seen in PR. We recorded this species every day in DR with a daily maximum of thirty birds.

Antillean Mango Anthracothorax dominicus
DR & PR Common around  “La Charca” at the top end of the Alcoa Road in Sierra Baoruco NP [DR]. where several birds were watched flycatching.  We estimated in all about ten birds seen on the south slope of the park. Otherwise, up to two birds seen on most other days in DR. In PR two birds seen along Rte. 333 near Guanica, which appears to be a reliable location for this species in PR.

Green Mango Anthracothorax viridis  Endemic
PR This handsome large hummer was fairly common in the Maricao Forest with a daily maximum of up to five birds.

Hispaniolan Emerald Chlorostilbon swainsonii  Endemic
DR Recorded on three dates and fairly common in the Sierra Baoruco [especially the north slope] with up to ten birds on a day. Also seen at the Ebano Verde Reserve.

Puerto Rican Emerald Chlorostilbon maugeus  Endemic
PR Two birds seen high up at El Yunque forest and common in Maricao Forest with up to twelve birds seen daily. This bird looked essentially similar to the prior species particularly as the dark breast spot on the Hispaniolan Emerald was quite difficult to see.

Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhynchus cristatus
PR We had not expected to see this species as we were not spending much time in the north east corner of the island. However, we were surprised to see a single female collecting nesting material from spider-webs in El Yunque Forest.

Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima
DR Fairly common particularly in the Botanical Gardens in Santo Domingo. These tiny birds would habitually perch on the topmost twig of medium to large trees and sing their high, squeaky song .Seen in small numbers in the Sierra Baorrucco NP [daily maximum three birds] and up to twelve birds in the Botanical Gardens.

Hispaniolan Trogan Temnotrogen roseigaster  Endemic
DR Great views of a single bird high perched and hawking for insects in the Sierra Baoruco NP near Zapoten. While this was our sole sighting, an additional five birds were heard calling in the NP that day and two additional birds heard calling on the north slope of the Sierra Baoruco NP on a subsequent day. Finally, two other calling birds heard at Ebano Verde Reserve. This stunning bird was the highlight of the trip for Barry.

Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
DR The sole record was of a single bird at Puerto Allejandro.

Narrow-billedTody Todus angustirostris  Endemic
DR We saw relatively few of this Tody species with six high up on the Sierra Baoruco NP and a pair at Ebano Verde Reserve. A lot more active and difficult to see than the following species.

Broad-billed Tody Todus subulatus  Endemic
DR This very endearing and tame species was extremely abundant and one of the more common endemic species. It was particularly common in the dry forest on the north slope of the Sierra Baoruco NP. On one morning birding there we estimated thirty-five birds were seen &/or heard. This included a pair excavating a nest hole in a dirt bank. Given the vast amount of similar habitat in that area, the species must have a very large population. This Tody was also seen in the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens.

Puerto Rican Tody Todus mexicanus   Endemic
PR Perhaps the most endearing one of this highly charismatic family. This species was quite widespread and common being seen both in the rainforest at El Yunque, the dry forest of Guanica and, in particular, the high forest of Maricao. In the latter forest fifteen-twenty birds were seen daily.  Altogether a superb three-some made all the more rewarding  for us with the knowledge that we have now seen [and videoed] all the world’s Todies.

Antillean Piculet Nesoctites micromegas  Endemic
DR It is much easier to hear this species’ loud trilling call than to see the bird. We saw only one individual along the Rabo de Gato trail near Puerto Escondido, although we heard four other individuals calling in the Sierra Baorrucco NP . Luckily we had very good views as the (male) bird foraged in low trees.

Hispaniolan Woodpecker Melanerpes striatus  Endemic
DR A common and widespread species, probably the second most numerous endemic. This noisy but attractive woodpecker was seen in a wide variety of habitats and our daily maximum count twenty birds doesn’t begin to illustrate the true abundance of this species.

Puerto Rican Woodpecker Melanerpes potoricensis  Endemic
PR After our recollection of the abundance of this species from our previous trip to PR eight years ago, we were surprised and disappointed on its apparent scarcity and lack of  really satisfying views. Certainly not nearly as numerous as the previous species. Seen in both the Guanica and Maricao Forests and probably most numerous on the grounds of the Hacienda Juanita. Daily maximum was six birds.

Caribbean Eleania Eleania martinica
PR Quite numerous in the Guanica Forest with at least five birds seen and another seven calling birds.

Greater Antillean Eleania Eleania fallax
DR Fairly common high up in the Sierra Baoruco NP with about six birds seen near Zapoten. Also single bird at the Ebano Verde Reserve.

Hispaniolan Pewee Contopus hispaniolensis  Endemic
DR Fairly common on the north slope of the Sierra Baoruco NP where we saw it on all three days with a maximum daily count of eight birds. A drabber duller bird than its counterpart on PR.

Puerto Rican Pewee Contopus portorecenis  Endemic  
This very attractive Pewee was only seen in two locations in the Maricao Forest with up to four birds along the Km.15.8 trail and a single individual on the grounds of Hacienda Juanita.

Stolid Flycatcher Myiarchus stolidus
DR About six birds seen in the dry forest on the north slope of the Sierra Baoruco NP in the general vicinity of Puerto Escondido. Also a single seen along the Alcoa Road.
Puerto Rican Flycatcher Myiarchus antillarum  Endemic
PR Just two sightings of single birds on Puerto Rico with one individual in the forestry headquarters parking lot of the Guanica Forest and the other bird in the Maricao Forest at Km. 14.1 (Stone Tower).

Loggerhead Kingbird Tyrannus caudifasciatus
DR & PR Three birds seen along the road above Puerto Escondido in DR and single bird seen on two dates at Km. 16.2 on in the Maricao Forest in PR. Unlike the following species, we saw this bird only in unspoiled forested areas.

Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis
DR & PR A widespread and common species on both islands. This species avoided forested areas [except where there were man-made breaks] and was present in wide variety of open country and suburban habitats including downtown Santo Domingo. Its noisy call was frequently heard before dawn and after dusk. Recorded every day with maximum count of twenty birds.

Golden Swallow Kalochelidon euchrysea  Endemic? (see note)
DR Two birds seen above Zapoten in the Sierra Baorucco NP and three birds seen while driving over the Cordillera Central. However, the main concentration was at the “La Charcha” at the top end of the Alcoa Road with twelve birds watched for a couple of hours as they came to drink and feed low over the water. We had a great time admiring these very beautiful swallows with their incredible shimmering metallic green and gold upperparts. – A superb species and one of the trip highlights. (Note: The status of Golden Swallow in Jamaica is currently unknown, thus this species may now be an Hispaniola endemic.)

Caribbean Martin Progne dominicensis
DR A party of six including some handsome males were loosely consorting with the Golden Swallows at “La Charca” on the Alcoa Road, coming in at eye level to drink. Surprisingly absent in Puerto Rico, where we saw good numbers at the exact same time of year in 1994.

Purple Martin Progne subsis
PR An all dark male martin seen briefly over the Km. 15.8 Trail in the Maricao Forest was assumed to be this species. [Given the close similarities between the Purple and Cuban Martins, specific identification of this individual was not possible, however the Cuban Martin has not been recorded in PR.]

Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva
DR & PR Around twenty-five birds seen in the vicinity of the “La Charca”. These were presumed to be on migration as the species does not breed at this location. About twenty plus birds seen on PR on the drive from Hacienda Juanita to the north coast were very likely associated with breeding colonies at highway bridges.

White-necked Crow Corvus leucognaphalus  Endemic
We had nice fly-by views of a noisy party of ten birds all making very distinctive clucking and gurgling calls along the Rabo de Gato Trail. The birds were large, long-winged and tailed corvids appearing distinctly larger than the following species.

Hispaniolan Palm Crow Corvus palmarum  Endemic
DR A party of six birds seen in a dry brushy area adjacent to the shore of Lago Enriquillo. A smaller, less powerful corvid than the White-necked Crow. Call a distinctive repetitive single note, much less nasal than that of the Cuban Palm Crow with which it was once lumped as “Antillean Palm Crow.”

Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
DR & PR A common and widespread species in DR.  Less numerous in PR.

Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus
PR Recorded in small numbers in Guanica Forest with daily maximum of six birds, plus single bird seen in the Maricao Forest and heard singing in El Yunque Forest.

Rufous-throated Solitaire Myadestes genibarbis
DR Obviously common in  the Sierra Baorucco NP above Zapoten as this species’ beautiful flute-like song was constantly being heard. Unfortunately we did not see any of the songsters although we estimated at least fifteen singing birds in less than a one mile walk above Zapoten. (Since we have seen this species well elsewhere in the Caribbean, we concentrated on the endemics while at Zapoten as searching out a singing Solitaire in thick forest can be very time-consuming!) Also, we had birds calling lower down the mountain just above Puerto Escondido and on the Alcoa Rd. Finally, several singing birds were heard at the Ebano Verde Reserve.

Red-legged Thrush Turdus plubeus
DR & PR This largely forest thrush was recorded from both islands being most numerous in PR. In the DR we recorded it from the Botanical Gardens, Sierra Baoruco NP, Cordillera Central and Ebano Verde Reserve with a daily maximum of  six birds. In PR, it was most numerous in the Maricao Forest with a daily maximum of twenty birds.

La Selle Thrush Turdus swalesi  Endemic
We recorded three birds seen and two others singing along a one mile stretch of the road just above Zapoten in the Sierra Baoruco NP. We arrived just prior to dawn and the birds were most active one to three hours after dawn. Gail and Kate had superb close views of a perched singing bird; the bird constantly flicked its wings and tail as it sang from a low branch. Another (presumably male) bird suddenly made a close pass at the songster, and both birds flew off squabbling. Barry had to be satisfied with the close but brief flight views. Clearly a large, heavy-looking thrush, noticeably larger and heavier than nearby Red-legged Thrush. For Gail this was the birding highlight of the trip.

Palmchat Dulus dominicus  Endemic
DR This intriguing species was the most numerous and widespread endemic,  being seen in good numbers virtually daily. This highly social bird builds large communial twig nests high up in trees and there was  constant activity of  coming and going to the nest-site. Probably the highest density was in the Botanical Gardens where on our final two hour walk we estimated we saw about thirty-five birds. The Palmchat is in an endemic family but is thought to be distantly related to Waxwings. In that vein, a small group of this species was videoed feeding on fruit and passing fruits to one another, much as do their waxwing relatives!

Puerto Rican Vireo Vireo latimeri  Endemic
PR Common in both the low dry Guanica Forest and the high damp Maricao Forest. While we saw a good number of birds, with its distinctive song, many more birds were heard. We estimated about twenty birds heard and/or seen in three hours of birding in Guanica and twenty-five birds a day at Maricao. This species appeared much more abundant than during our first (1994) visit to PR.

Black-whiskered Vireo Vireo altiloquus
DR & PR Common and widespread on both islands occurring in a wide variety of habitats. One of  the most abundant forest species. Seen daily with maximum daily estimate of forty birds.

Flat-billed Vireo Vireo nanus  Endemic
DR Up to two birds recorded on three dates in the dry forest around Puerto Escondido. We taped-in and had very nice views of a pair along the main road below Los Naranjes. The birds’ loud distinctive song was not particularly vireo-like. This species does not appear to be very common, at least not in areas we birded, and it took a fair amount of searching to get a sighting.

Black-and-White Warbler Mniotilta varia
DR & PR Recorded in small numbers on both islands although slightly more numerous on PR. Daily maximum were two birds in DR and five birds in PR.

Northern Parula Parula americana
DR & PR Again this species was a somewhat more numerous winter visitor to PR with maximum daily counts of four birds versus two on DR.

Elfin Wood Warbler Dendroica angelae  Endemic
PR This was the one endemic missed on our 1994 PR trip and, therefore, was the main target species on this island. We were very pleasantly surprised  to find how widespread and fairly common the bird was at the various road stops along Rte 120 in the Maricao Forest as follows: In all, we must have seen about fifteen birds in about eight hours of birding, far different than our first experience. A number of these were immatures. Forest Manager Adrian Muniz says that the species appears to be being seen more regularly than in former years.  The immature birds rather resemble Plumbeous Warbler, with which this species (and the Arrowheaded Warbler of Jamaica) form a superspecies.

Adelaide’s Warbler Dendroica adelaide  Endemic
PR Abundant in the dry Guanica Forest and uncommon in the upland Maricao Forest. In about three hours in the early morning at Guanica we saw about ten birds and heard about thirty more. Daily maximum of up to six birds seen or heard at Maricao. We found this species to be a lot more active than the prior species, although it readily responded to “pishing”. This species has been recently elevated to Puerto Rico’s 15th endemic, following the recent AOU split of the PR, St. Lucian and Barbuda races into three species.

Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens
DR & PR Fairly common in the forests on both islands with daily maximum of ten on DR and four on PR.

Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
DR Our only record was of fifteen birds seen during the drive through the Cordillera Central.

Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
DR Our sole record was of a single bird in the Maricao Forest.

Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor
DR & PR Five birds recorded over three dates in the Sierra Baorucco NP plus a single bird seen in the Maricao Forest in PR.

Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
DR & PR Two birds seen in the Sierra Baorucco NP and a single bird in the Maricao Forest.

Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
DR Common at “La Charca” at the top end of the Alcoa Rd with an estimated eight birds seen. Elsewhere quite scarce with just two single birds seen.

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
DR Recorded only in mangrove swamps with two birds at Cabo Rojo and three at Puerto Allejandro.

Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus
DR Birds singing in the Sierra Baorucco NP nar Zapoten and at the top end of the Alcoa Road. Also birds seen and heard singing during our drive through the Cordillera Central.

Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina
DR Fairly common at the Botanical Gardens with at least four birds recorded on our first visit and along the Alcoa Road with eight birds feeding on agave blossoms.

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
DR & PR Recorded from both islands with a daily maximum of eight birds on DR and two birds on PR.

Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus
DR. Four birds recorded over two dates in the Sierra Baorucco NP

Louisiana Waterthrush Seirus motacilla
DR 1-2 birds recorded from the Botanical Gardens.

Northern Waterthrush Seirus noveboracensis
DR Single birds recorded on two dates in mangrove swamps.

Common Yellowthroat Geothylpis trichas
DR Two males at Ebano Verde Reserve were the only sightings.

Green-tailed Ground-Warbler Microligea palustris Endemic
DR A much more attractive bird than as depicted in “The Birds of the West Indies”. More widespread than the following species being fairly common high up the Sierra Baoruco NP where we had good views of at least five birds during a one mile walk along the road above Zapoten. We also saw three individuals during two hikes along the Rabo de Gato trail. Finally, three birds were observed at the Ebano Verde Reserve.

White-winged Warbler Xenoligea montana Endemic
We saw this attractive species only high up in the Sierra Baoruco NP with a party of six birds being seen just above Zapoten. Superficially it looked quite like a small version of the Black-crowned Palm Tanager with similar dark greyish head, conspicous white eye-mark and bright green upperparts.

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
DR & PR Common and widespread on both islands. Probably more numerous on PR where we simply ticked this species on the daily log. The daily maximum on DR was fifteen birds.

Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica
DR We recorded this species only in the dry forest of the north slope of the Sierra Baoruco NP. In all we saw ten birds [including several pairs] in three visits to the general area around Puerto Escondido. Rather suprisingly we did not see or hear any in PR and have heard that this species was badly hit by the most recent hurricane to strike this island.

Hispaniolan Spindalis Spindlis dominicensis Endemic
DR This attractive tanager was common above Zapoten in the Sierra Baorucco NP with about twelve birds recorded in a one mile walk. Somewhat less numerous lower down the mountain with five birds noted in the general vicinity of Puerto Escondido [including the Rabo de Gato trail]. Also quite common at Ebano Verde Reserve with five birds seen in three hours. Compared with the following species, this was a brighter more attractive bird.

Puerto Rican Spindalis Spindalis portoricensis Endemic
PR Fairly common in the Maricao Forest with at least eight birds recorded each day [including birds seen on the grounds of Hacienda Juanita]. Also seen at El Yunque and the Guanica Forest.

Black-crowned Palm Tanager Phaenicophilis palmarum Endemic
DR A fairly widespread and common endemic. Up to six birds recorded daily being seen at the Botanical Gardens and in the Sierra Baorucco NP [both high up in the vicinity of Zapoten and on the lower north slope]. It should be noted that young birds of this species have a gray crown, and could possibly be confused with the (Haitian) Gray-crowned P-T (which has a gray throat, not a white throat as does the Dominican species). Kate Wallace feels that there have been very few actual sightings of the Gray-crowned species in the DR, most reports being actually of young Black-crowns.

Western Chat Tanager Calyptophilus tertius Endemic
DR. Several birds heard singing loudly just after dawn along the road above Zapoten in the Sierra Baorucco NP. We managed to see at least two birds including one on the ground just at the edge of the trail. In all we estimated five birds seen &/or heard. The birds did not respond to our tapes and virtually all song ended within 1-2 hours after dawn. The song of this species and the following are similar in tonal quality, but that of the Western species is stronger and less variable in phrasing. It is rather reminiscent of a very loud Cetti’s Warbler.

Eastern Chat Tanager Calyptophilus frugivorus. Endemic
DR Three birds were heard singing close to the communications tower at the Ebano Verde Reserve as soon as we arrived [about 7.15 a.m.]. Unfortunately they stopped singing within a few minutes of our arrival! We repeatedly played the tape and searched for this species over the next 3-4 hours with virtually no success except for one bird. This bird flew in quietly low into the underbrush and remained hidden for a couple of minutes presumably listening to the tape. It then departed and BEC briefly noted its blackish upperparts and long tail vaguely reminiscent of a Catbird. We would strongly recommend birders visit this site at as close to dawn as possible. Also, the lack of response to our taping of both Chat Tanagers [unlike some other observers experience] suggests that later in the breeding cycle [e.g. April-May] may be more productive for seeing this species.

Puerto Rican Tanager Nesopingus speculiferus Endemic
PR. Although smaller and shorter tailed, this species looked superficially similar to the Chat Tanagers with dark upperparts and whitish underparts. Fortunately, a much easier bird to see which readily came in to pishing. Also a common species particularly in the Maricao Forest with up to twenty birds on a day.

Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor
PR Fairly common on grassy edges in the Maricao Forest with up to six birds a day. Not seen in the DR.

Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
DR & PR Recorded from both islands although more numerous on DR. Daily maximum were six birds on DR and two birds on PR. As we did virtually no open country birding both grassquits are likely to be significantly underecorded.

Greater Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla violacea
Fairly common in the in the Sierra Baorucco NP with up to four birds daily both high up near Zapoten and in the dry forest in the vicinity of Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Rican Bullfinch Loxigilla portorecenis Endemic
A larger, more handsome and vocal species than its DR counterpart. Also more numerous, particularly in the Maricao Forest where our daily maximum of birds seen &/or heard was twenty-three birds. Quite numerous on the trails at the Hacienda Juanita and common also in the Guanica Forest. The first part of its song is remarkably Cardinal-like.

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capansis
Fairly common on the drive over the Central Cordillera and at the Ebano Verde Reserve with a maximum daily total of ten birds. This is of course a very common Central and South American species; its occurrence in the DR is much more localized, and oddly disjunct from the rest of its range.

Greater Antillean Oriole Icterus dominicensis
DR This attractive oriole was recorded in small numbers in DR & PR with four birds seen over three days in DR and six birds in three days in PR. Probably the best location in PR was in the vicinity of the Forestry HQ at Km. 16.2 on Rte. 120 in the Maricao Forest.

Troupial Icterus icterus
PR. Great looks of a pair of this truly stunning oriole along Rte 333 near the Hotel Copamarina, one of the most reliable locations for this species. (It favors palm trees and the hotel grounds are planted with dozens of palms.)

Yellow-shouldered Blackbird Agelaius xanthomus Endemic
PR As with our previous trip to PR we spent some time at the Parador Villa Paquera in La Paquera waiting for the evening flight activity. We did not have to wait long and in about one hour had great views of about twenty-five birds. Several birds landed and commenced displaying in the small trees by the swimming pool. At about 5.30 p.m. we decided to leave [to look for Nightjars]. No doubt had we stayed we would have logged quite impressive numbers as the birds flew by the Parador on their way to roost in the coastal mangroves.

Greater Antillean Grackle Quiscalus niger
DR & PR Seen in suprisingly low numbers on DR with the daily maximum being only five birds. Noticeably more numerous on PR with daily maximum estimated at about fifty birds.

Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
PR We were surprised [but delighted] to record only one individual of this species on PR and none at all from DR.

Antillean Siskin Carduelis dominicensis Endemic
DR Recorded only from the Sierra Baoruco NP with a pair seen along the Rabo de Gato trail and a pair at La Charca at the top of the Alcoa Road (the male seen especially well as he flew in to perch right over our heads as we sat on the embankment). The male with his bright yellow plumage and black head strongly resembles the Central and S.Am. siskins rather than the N.Am. species.

Hispaniolan Crossbill Loxia megaplaga Endemic
DR Twelve birds watched for some while coming down to drink at La Charca at the top end of the Alcoa Road. Several heavily streaked juveniles, two adult females and one-two immature males were noted in the flock.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
DR Recorded in small numbers on three dates in DR and not at all in PR.

Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatos
DR This attractive exotic was quite common in the vicinity of the Villa Isabella Lagoon in Santo Domingo with about ten birds seen. A single bird was also seen at the Thick-knee site.

Bronze Mannikin Lonchura cucullata
DR Two birds seen while we were driving by agricultural fields near Monte Plata. Also several small parties of unidentified mannikins were noted while  driving in the DR.

Gail Mackiernan

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