Monday, February 13, 2012

Puerto Rico, Day 6, February 4, 2012. Winding up.

When we got up and went outside on our final morning, we realized just how beautiful the setting of the Ceiba Country Inn was. On one side lush hills rose up, becoming almost mountains. On the other, the sea lay in view, just beyond lower hills. When we arrived it had been rainy and very misty, so we hadn't appreciated it. A Loggerhead Kingbird perched on the utility wires. We could hear birds all around. I regretted that we couldn't stay longer.

We had no more target birds left. It was kind of a weird feeling. We decided it would be a good idea to try to get some decent photos of Antillean Crested Hummingbird. We were well in range, so we took off looking for flowering trees. We drove up the coast, towards the far NE corner. Both the carib and the crested had been reported from a bed and breakfast called the Passion Fruit B&B. Martin had mapped it. We found it with very little trouble. Unfortunately, the trees around the B&B were not blooming. Luckily, we did find a couple more of the pink trees where we had seen hummers before. Sure enough, I spotted an Antillean Crested, but like the others, it took off before we could even try to get a photo. The Green-throated Caribs were a lot easier here. We saw several and I was able to get a few photos.  One of the coolest things we saw here was a gigantic colorful caterpillar.

We decided to visit El Yunque, the national forest. This is the only tropical rain forest in the United States. It is touted as a good place to get most of the endemic birds. You probably have the best chance of seeing the incredibly rare and endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. There is a captive bred release program going on here, so the birds are not countable. We had made a decision to not make a serious attempt to see them. We drove up the road to the gates of the forest.

There was a tent along the road with signs for food and pina coladas. A very nice woman had everything fried you could think of. We choose a variety of empanadas, including conch, shrimp and crab. She also had some corn dog shaped things of beef and plantain. We got a couple of pina coladas (non-alcoholic, unfortunately) I probably gained 5 lbs just at this stand!

Since we had seen all of our target birds, we decided to concentrate on butterflies. Unfortunately, it started to rain and was rather cold, so the butterflies were almost non-existent. The park was packed with cruise ship excursions, so the birding wasn't that great either. It was a little disappointing, but it was very nice to see the great habitat.

I wanted to see a bit of old San Juan, so we headed down and did a drive through. It really was beautiful. The traffic was brutal, which gave me more time to look. We went to the airport a bit early for our flight back. I won't tell the story here, because I want to end on a positive note, but it was a bit of a debacle, which ended with me sleeping on the floor of the Miami airport and Martin getting no sleep at all.

Anyway, to wind things up, Puerto Rico is a fabulous place! The birding was relatively easy. The countryside was very different than I expected. If you want American food you can get it. If you want amazing Puerto Rican food, you can get that and it is not terribly expensive. (Choose Puerto Rican! Choose Puerto Rican!) The road system is mostly great. You can get all over the island easily and quickly. If you haven't birded the tropics, this could be a good introduction. If you have birded the tropics, you will love it. Now, you won't get a huge list, but the birds are beautiful, and to me, were high value. If you are interested in going, please feel free to contact me at I will be more than happy to share any information we have.  Thanks for sharing our trip with me, through this blog.

Photos of the day-

Bird list fot the day-

Brown Pelican
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Royal Tern
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Zenaida Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Mangrove Cuckoo
Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo
Smooth-billed Ani
Green-throated Carib
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Puerto Rican Tody
Puerto Rican Woodpecker
Puerto Rican Flycatcher
Gray Kingbird
Loggerhead Kingbird
Puerto Rican Vireo
Black-whiskered Vireo
Cave Swallow
Red-legged Thrush
Northern Mockingbird
Pearly-eyed Thrasher
Black-faced Grassquit
Greater Antillean Grackle
House Sparrow

No comments: