Following our visit to Puerto Rico (see following post) we flew to Kingston via Fort Lauderdale in the U.S. for a 7-day tour of Jamaica. At the airport we were met by Wayne Murdoch of Attractions Link, our guide and driver whose services we highly recommend (see here). We arrived after dark at our accommodation for the first 3 nights – the Starlight Chalet in the Blue Mountains, a nicely positioned spot with birdy gardens.
Early in the first morning the first of many specialties and endemics showed. A pair of Orangequits were feeding at one of the hummer feeders along with numerous Red-billed Streamertails – a stunner of a hummer.
|Birding with Wayne Murdoch - Blue Mountains|
Also in the garden was a Sad Flycatcher and plenty of American warblers such as Black-throated Blue and Cape May. After breakfast we headed uphill through Hardwar Gap and Blue Mountains National Park, birding the road to 1500m to a few hundred metres beyond the Gap Cafe.
|Black-throated Blue Warbler|
We found a Jamaican Blackbird (one of the more difficult endemics to find) probing epiphytes about 500 metres beyond the Gap, behaving like no other blackbird. A Jamaican Oriole was similarly probing the moss-laden vegetation.
We saw a Ring-tailed Pigeon perched and several others flying over. Jamaican Becard and Jamaican Peewee were seen along with the two endemic thrushes – White-eyed Thrush and White-chinned, the latter much more common.\
Jamaican Vireos were plentiful and we found a couple of Blue
Mountain Vireos without much trouble.
Arrowhead Warbler was seen a few times along with Jamaican Euphonia and
Jamaican Spindalis. Yellow-shouldered Grassquits were seen in close proximity
to Yellow-faced and Black-faced Grassquits.
Other birds seen during a busy morning session in delightful
surroundings included plenty of Loggerhead Kingbirds, Rufous-throated Solitaire, Jamaican Woodpecker and Greater Antillean Elaenia.