As a long term fan of Amazon Parrots, I had always wanted to visit the tiny island of Dominica in the SE Caribbean. Dominica has two endemic Amazons including the mighty Imperial – the largest of the genus and a spectacular bird.
Flying direct to Dominica is very expensive (initial research produced prices of £1000-1500 each!) but much cheaper if you buy a ticket to a larger island and then hop across. In addition, as a small island, birding is limited in diversity, so combining a trip with one or more other islands is a good idea. We plumped for Puerto Rico which has a range of its own endemics, along with other desirable species such as West Indian Whistling Duck. Initially I had planned to island hop to Guadeloupe and / or Martinique as day trips, but the timing of flights and ferries did not allow this.
Dominica is one of the most undeveloped of the islands with large areas of untouched rainforest in the rugged mountains. Even the coast is unspoiled compared to neighbouring countries such as St Lucia. The atmosphere is very friendly and informal.
Puerto Rico is a strange hybrid of Latin flavour with American infrastructure. The cities are full of fast food outlets, the roads are full of traffic and the obesity index is several degrees higher than anywhere I have been in Latin America before. I found the country fascinating and loved the mix of Western and Latin food, music and culture.
We hired cars in both places. Without exception, roads were excellent and well signed; navigation was easy and driving was hassle free. The roads were vastly superior to those in St Lucia or St Vincent, for example. In Dominica, driving is on the left but in Puerto Rico on the right. In Puerto Rico, overtaking seemed fine on any side and you do have to watch out for cars weaving between lanes on busy interstates around San Juan.
The currency in Puerto Rico is obviously the US Dollar. In Dominica, 2.6 East Caribbean Dollars = 1 US at the time of our visit but we used US almost everywhere.
In Puerto Rico, some knowledge of Spanish is almost essential once you get away from the main towns. Perversely, those who can speak any English insist on doing so no matter how much you battle. I was frustrated on many occasions when delivering (as I thought) a perfect Spanish request to get an answer in English.
Food in Puerto Rico was excellent. In Dominica, things are much more restricted but I would thoroughly recommend The Tomato Café in Portsmouth which does fantastic food and great sandwiches to take on day trips. www.thetomatocafe.com
We only used one: the famous Bertrand Jno Baptiste who was good company and very useful for identifying the important fruiting trees and best sites for the parrots on Dominica. We hired him for a whole day around Syndicate for $110. Email him directly on firstname.lastname@example.org as older emails are obsolete.
One warning: I initially planned to book accommodation through Colin Lees of Nature Island (http://www.natureisland.com/introduction.html ). There was some confusion over the booking of Bertrand who I had contacted independently following searches on the web. Colin then became aggressive and abusive sending angry emails. Luckily, I had only sent the first half of my credit card number so pulled out and booked independently. On arriving in Dominica, I learnt that he had put pressure on Bertrand not to guide us. Since this incident, I have heard similar stories from other people and would strongly advise against using his services.
Hacienda Juanita: http://www.haciendajuanita.com
A lovely parador in the mountains, surrounded by excellent habitat. Many of the endemics can be found in the ‘gardens’ (2ry forest) or nearby. In addition, the best area by far for Elfin-woods Warbler.
Guanica 1929: http://www.guanica1929.com/
A good base for the SW of the island. The hotel was previously used by rich sugar barons visiting the plantations and has a real colonial feel. Rooms were spacious and clean and there is a nice pool.
Fajardo Inn: http://www.fajardoinn.com/
On our return to Puerto Rico from Dominica, we needed a base in the East. The Fajardo Inn is a luxurious hotel with a great pool and excellent food. It is within easy reach of El Yunque; the only place with any chance of the Puerto Rican Amazon.
Picard Beach Cottages: http://www.avirtualdominica.com/picard.htm
A bit of an unnecessary expense as we were originally booked at the much cheaper Portsmouth Beach Hotel, owned by the same people. The room there proved to be a bit basic for our wishes, so we switched to the cottages which sit at the back of the beach. Accommodation is sparse in Dominica but Portsmouth is superbly placed for the Syndicate Estate where the parrots are easiest.
The main targets were as follows:
1. Endemics: 18 or so (depending on taxonomy) on Puerto Rico including the recently split Pewee and Oriole; 2 on Dominica. With the exception of PR Amazon, most are easy.
2. Lesser Antillean specialties not seen on previous trips to St Lucia and St Vincent: Blue-headed Hummingbird, Plumbeous Warbler etc.
3. West Indian Specialties: WI Whistling-Duck, Caribbean Coot, Red-legged Thrush, Key West Quail-Dove, Antillean Nighthawk.
4. Widespread species new to me: Clapper Rail, Yellow-breasted Crake.
5. Introduced species: Venezuelan Troupial, Hispaniolan Amazon etc.
In the end, we scored well with all targets with the exception of introduced psittacines and seedeaters which were not a priority anyway. We did have good luck with harder species such as Whistling-Duck and Yellow-breasted Crake and, of course, Puerto Rican Amazon.
Extensive enquiries on the web produced many good reports for Puerto Rico from the usual sites, but relatively little on Dominica. Many people on Birdchat responded to requests for information, however, and I am grateful to them all.
Mark Oberle’s book ‘Puerto Rico’s Birds in Photographs’ is essential and also contains a CD-Rom with an extensive library of calls and songs. Having a small avifauna (my last trip was in Manu!), it is easy to learn the vocalisations and this proved invaluable in the field. The site guide is also excellent and formed the basis of my plans.
Day 1 , 24/3/06 Heathrow to Puerto Rico
Not the best of starts to the trip. I was struck down with flu the day before flying, and had to be virtually helped into the hotel at Heathrow we were staying in. Check in was at 6am for a 2h 20m flight to Madrid and then a connection to San Juan with Iberia. The flight seemed to last forever (head winds meant a flight time of 9h 30m), the food was some of the worse I’ve ever experienced and even the films were poor! Needless to say, we arrived in fairly poor condition and then had to pick up our hire car from Alamo. By this time, I’d lost my voice completely and so Mike had to go through the forms, despite speaking relatively little Spanish. We then drove to Hacienda Juanita on good roads, but in heavy rain and in the dark; the drive taking almost 3h. We arrived at 10.30pm. Despite this, I did have a very half-hearted attempt at owling, but gave up after 10 mins or so!
Day 2, 25/3/06 Hacienda Juanita
Up at 5.30 to walk the secondary forest and scrub surrounding the hotel. Puerto Rican Screech-Owls were calling around the hotel, but refused to budge from the centre of dense cover on steep slopes above the road. More luck was had with other endemics and the first species fell easily: Puerto Rican Woodpecker, Puerto Rican Emerald, Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo, Puerto Rican Oriole, Puerto Rican Tody and lots of smart Puerto Rican Tanagers. Returning to the hotel, I found a Black-whiskered Vireo singing in the tree in the courtyard. While scrutinising it and trying to turn it into a Puerto Rican Vireo, a movement behind revealed a stunning male Puerto Rican Spindalis.
Flushed with success, I decided to spend the hotter part of the day recovering from the exertions of the day before. By 3.30 though, I was itching to get out again and drove up the road to km16.2 where an immature Elfin-woods Warbler was found in the stunted forest along the track from the carpark. Strikingly long billed and very distinctive, it came in to pishing. A real gem and the most important species at Juanita – they can be very difficult in El Yunque.
Dinner at the hotel was a very strange experience. There was a wedding in full swing and so service was slow for us and the other 3 couples on the terrace restaurant. In addition, a small man with a very loud Casio keyboard was entertaining the wedding guests from the terrace itself, even though the wedding party was 2 rooms away and the other side of us: this meant he had to keep the volume on ear-splitting levels and conversation was literally impossible. Eventually, he turned the volume down but this brief respite was marred by the surreal appearance of dozens of middle aged Latin couples who started to salsa around our tables which were now effectively in the middle of the dance floor. They were also joined by the couple at the table next to ours. All very odd.
Day 3, 2.3.06 – Hacienda Juanita to the coast
Up at dawn and drove back up the road to km16.8. I had read that Key West Quail-Dove is regular here and indeed flushed two from the track leading up from the road. One flew into the forest, but the other flushed along the path, allowing appreciation of the beautiful green iridescent shawl. A beautiful bird! Other birds here included my first Green Mango (unlike many, I missed this species at Juanita itself) and more of the common endemics. 2 pairs of Puerto Rican Vireos showed well: they really do have a very different jizz to ‘typical’ vireos. A real surprise was an Adelaide Warbler in the stunted forest along the track: this species is usually associated with the dry forests around Guanica.
I then returned to km16.2 where I located 2 adult Elfin-woods Warblers, again very close and confiding along the track past the ruined house.
Checking out at 12, we drove the short distance to the coast where we tried to check in to Guanica 1929. We were too early and were directed to the beach bars down the road to get something to eat. Unfortunately, the 10 or so car parking spaces were full and so we parked alongside the mangroves on the roadside into town, in front of 20 or so other cars. We grabbed a coke, decided against eating (rather unpleasant fast food being all on offer) and returned to the car where we found 2 police officers giving us a parking ticket. We pleaded innocence, pointed out there were no signs banning parking and that there were lots of locals parked. Strangely enough, no-one else was being ticketed! The police officer looked very embarrassed and spoke to her supervisor who was sat in an enormous vehicle and looked rather toad-like. She waved her hand dismissively and our fine stood - $100 for a 5 minute stop! After that, we never parked anywhere in towns except in malls and the like.
Day 4, 27/3/06 - Guanica
A pre-breakfast wander along the road through dry scrubby woodland produced little except for a male Northern Parula. The rest of the morning was spent chilling.
At 4pm, we drove down to the Guanica Reserve, along PR333 past some beautiful little beaches. The lagoon held some Blue-winged Teal and Black-necked Stilts. Towards dark, trying to ignore some rather furtive human activity in the bushes, we took a track inland for 45mins or so through cactus-filled scrub and open forest. Once dark fell, we started to hear the distinctive ‘whip whip whip’ call of Puerto Rican Nightjar and got a glimpse of a few birds in flight as they moved perches. An Antillean Nighthawk went overhead just as the light vanished.
Day 5, 28/3/06 - Guanica
Decided to try for better views of the Nightjar so headed out before dawn again; this time down PR334. The road leads through suburbs right up to the edge of the forest which appears quite abruptly. I parked here (with the thought of parking tickets at the back of my mind) and walked uphill along the entrance road. Lots of Puerto Rican Nightjars were singing and finally one called right next to the road allowing me to torch it. The bird was in a short shrubby tree, singing with head back and pulsing throat and showing the white tail spots.
A brief stop in cactus scrub along PR333 produced a gorgeous pair of the introduced Venezuelan Troupial surely one of the best icterids.
In the afternoon, we drove to La Parguera and asked permission to enter the manicured gardens of Parador Villa Parguera where we bumped into some birders we had met at Juanita. Almost immediately, 2 Yellow-shouldered Blackbirds appeared in the palms and showed beautifully. Very smart, with lemony upper-wing coverts in flight. We then decided to try and locate Laguna Cartagena. Initially, we parked next to a large reserve sign and walked in, but could not find any open water and only managed a single Great Blue Heron in a water hyacinth choked ditch and our first Antillean Mango in a pasture tree. We returned to the car and drove further on, around the S of the lagoon, and then turned N back towards the main road. This brought us around to three open expanses of water surrounded by hyacinth swamp and full of birds including Caribbean and American Coot. Perhaps the biggest surprise was when a pair of squabbling American Purple Gallinules flushed a Yellow-breasted Crake which fluttered across the hyacinths before plummeting back into cover. Scrutiny of the wildfowl produced no Whistling-Ducks amongst the many Blue-winged Teal but a male Northern Pintail is a notable record for the island.
Day 6, 29/3/06 – Guanica
Woke at 10.30 according to the hotel room clock, but later discovered that it was adding 30 mins a day to the correct time! We spent a leisurely day before returning to the SW of the island in the afternoon. Stopped first at Laguna Cartagena again to look for Whistling-Ducks, where the rain was so heavy, you could hardly see through it with the optics. Despite this, a remarkable 9 Osprey were in the air together, fishing successfully in less than ideal conditions. We then moved to Cabo Rojo where the wader viewing tower had closed for the day and so drove down to the lighthouse at the end of the island. Here we found 3 Clapper Rails easily in the mangroves and were able to get prolonged views of them feeding on fiddler crabs. The mudflats around the bay behind the lighthouse were packed with waders, of which a pair of Wilson’s Phalaropes in breeding dress were of most interest: this species is a very rare bird in Puerto Rico. We ate at Parador Bahia Salinas – an excellent meal with the added bonus of watching Yellow-shouldered Blackbirds coming to roost in the isolated mangroves alongside.
Day 7, 30/3/06 - Guanica
The morning was spent at the pool (call this a birding trip?) then we headed out in the afternoon. The initial plan was to try for introduced psittacines at San Germain but the rain was torrential again. We therefore drove to Laguna Cartagena for a last stab at Whistling-Ducks. Walking down the causeway between the two main bodies of water, I noticed a pair of duck on the far side – long-necked and obviously Whistlers, but looking rufous on the breast. Thinking they would be Fulvous, I swung the scope round to reveal a pair of immaculate West Indian Whistling-Duck bobbing their heads nervously. Within 10mins, they had drifted into the water hyacinths and all that was visible was their crowns. As before, there were many other water birds present – this site really is excellent.
Returning to Cabo Rojo, I decided to digiscope some waders. Stepping forward onto what looked like solid sand and gravel, my foot vanished into the mud up to the hip! My other leg was still on the surface, stuck out at right angles. Luckily, Mike was with me and I managed to call him over. It took some time, but eventually we managed to extract my leg from the mud and it was then straight to the sea to try and get rid of the smell of rotten eggs. If I had been by myself, I would have been in serious trouble. Nice waders though!
Day 8, 31/3/06- Puerto Rico to Dominica
We drove back to San Juan for our flight to Melville Hall in NE Dominica. The journey was uneventful, although I did get accosted by a young gentleman in the toilets at San Juan airport: he was obviously keen on my company, so I had to beat a hasty retreat!
At Dominica, we were shown our hire-car which had completely bald tyres. The girl insisted it was safe ‘they’re not gone, they’re just going’ but eventually we persuaded her to give us a different vehicle for a little extra cash and ended up with a decrepit but functional old jeep. This proved its worth when in the mountains, despite the quality of the roads.
The road to Portsmouth cuts across the island through beautiful scenery and lush forest. We checked into the hotel (Antillean Crested Hummingbird), and spent the rest of the afternoon in the sea.
Day 9, 1/4/06 - Parrots!
We met Bertrand Jean Baptiste at the hotel at 7am (a luxury late start!) and headed off along the coast road in his jeep. Just S of Portsmouth, the turn to Syndicate Estates is well marked, and is opposite a large Avis sign. We spent 4 hours or so birding the area, and returned in the afternoon for another 3 hours or so. Immediately after we arrived, Bertrand heard an Imperial Amazon calling from the next ridge. We drove further down the track and soon had it pinned to a clump of 3 large trees next to the track. This was going to be too easy! The bird was calling continuously but an hour later we were no closer to seeing it. Presumably, it was in a nesting cavity. Eventually, a pair of Red-necked Amazons flew in and flushed another parrot (presumably the Imperial). Very disappointing.
The Red-neckeds were much better behaved and gave repeated excellent views, sometimes next to the road feeding in tree Magnolias or citrus bushes. At least 50 birds were seen in total, generally in pairs in fluttering flight overhead.
While waiting for the Imperial, we connected with most of the other speciality birds including a fine male Blue-headed Hummingbird, a couple of very distinctive rufous Antillean House Wrens, Plumbeous Warblers and plenty of smart Brown Tremblers. Moving to the Syndicate trailhead, we heard a Forest Thrush giving its ‘scowling’ call and managed to locate this shy bird on a high perch.
An Agouti towards dusk was a nice bonus next to the path – it froze when it saw us on the assumption we hadn’t spotted it before eventually bounding off through the forest.
Day 10, 2/4/06 – Syndicate Estate #2
Although I had allowed lots of time on Dominica for the Imperial (it can be tricky), I was keen to get it under my belt sooner rather than later. Dawn therefore found me at Syndicate again, where Red-neckeds were even commoner than yesterday.
At 8.30, I walked up the Syndicate trail to the first lookout. 10 mins or so after I arrived, a huge dark parrot flew up the valley, looking like a vulture. It landed in the only open tree on the far side of the gulley in full view – a magnificent Imperial Amazon. Very different in shape to other Amazons, with a relatively small head and a ponderous jizz. Fantastic! After this, nothing else could come close although a nice Forest Thrush certainly was still appreciated.
Celebrated with a swim in the sea and in the late afternoon, walked up to Fort Shirley on the Cabrits Penninsula, flushing a Bridled Quail-Dove from the very summit of West Cabrit.
Day 11, 3/4/06 – Picard Beach
A lazy morning and then drove to Roseau to book whale-watching. Few birds, but Tropical Mockingbird and Eurasian Collared-Dove were both new for the trip.
Day 12, 4/4/06 – Syndicate Estate
Spent most of the day at Syndicate. In the afternoon, visited the first lookout again where an Imperial Amazon repeated the events of the previous visit: even landing in the same tree. This bird had very deep red irides, so was presumably the mate of the bird seen before. It slowly clambered up through the branches, until it emerged in the sunlight at the crown, where it sat allowing prolonged views and even some photos, although my hands were shaking somewhat. The views cemented its place as one of my favourite birds of all time: this bird is truly spectacular. In flight, the rusty-red tail is obvious and the flight is heavy and flapping, quite unlike the flutter of most Amazons.
Day 13, 5/4/06 – Emerald Pool / Roseau
Today was whale-watching day, with the hope of some seabirds. En route, we visited Emerald Pool, for a swim beneath the pounding waterfall and to admire the confiding Brown Tremblers around the carpark. We then drove to Roseau where we spent several hours at sea, unsuccessfully looking for Sperm Whales. We did connect with a massive school of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins which leapt around the boat while we sat on the floats of the catamaran watching them. Seabirds were very limited, and none of the hoped for species appeared. An immature Red-footed Booby and some splendid Summer-plumaged Pomarine Skuas were the best I could muster.
Day 14, 6/4/06 – back to San Juan
A travel day, returning to San Juan where we collected a hire car and drove to Fajardo. The Fajardo Inn is hidden down side streets and, despite our detailed directions and map, we had to stretch our Spanish skills to find it!
Day 15, 7/4/06 - El Yunque
Only 30 mins from the hotel is the famous Rio Espiritu Santo lookout on PR186. This used to be a regular site for the critically-endangered Puerto Rican Amazon but they have become very erratic here is recent years and the lookout itself is blocked off by bamboo and a huge Cecropia tree. After an hour or so here, it started to rain heavily and so the attempt was abandoned. It looked like this was the one endemic I would miss – as I had expected before even leaving the UK. I commiserated by spending the afternoon in the pool complex and then having a huge meal at the excellent Blue Iguana restaurant in the hotel.
Day 16, 8/4/06 – El Yunque
I had decided against trying again for the parrot, but woke up before dawn thinking the old ‘if you don’t try, you won’t know’ routine. 30 mins later, I was stood at the lookout again! Despairing of the lack of a view, I walked back down the road to the waterfall where the view was significantly better. Almost immediately, a Puerto Rican Amazon flew up and perched on the highest tree on the ridge in front of me. My scope was in the car at the lookout but the bird was a small all-green Amazon with no white or red markings visible. It was sat in a tree next to a fruiting tree full of Scaly-naped Pigeons allowing a good size comparison. I raced back to the car for my scope, but when I got back it had flown.
After this triumph, I was done so returned to the hotel. We checked out, spent the afternoon doing touristy things in Old San Juan and El Morro and then returned the hire-car before getting our flight home.
Pied-billed Grebe Lga Cartagena and on small pool on San Juan airstrip.
Brown Pelican Common on both islands.
Red-footed Booby 5/4 immature Roseau.
Magnificent Frigatebird Common on both islands.
Great Blue Heron Cabo Rojo; Lga Cartagena.
Great Egret Lga Cartagena and elsewhere on PR.
Tricoloured Heron 30/3 single at Cartagena.
Little Blue Heron Small numbers on both islands.
Snowy Egret Scarce on PR.
Cattle Egret Abundant throughout.
Green Heron Cartagena. Common on Dominica.
Black-crowned N-Heron 29/3 Cartagena.
Yellow-crowned N-Heron Singles at Cabo Rojo and Roseau.
Least Bittern 28/3 two in flight, Cartagena.
WI Whistling-Duck Superb pair at Cartagena, 30/3
Northern Pintail Single drake on each visit to Cartagena.
Blue-winged Teal Few pairs Guanica; 20 or so Cartagena.
Turkey Vulture Regular in PR in SW of island.
Osprey 25/3 over Juanita; common at Cartagena where 9 in air together.
Broad-winged Hawk Common on Dominica.
Red-winged Hawk The common raptor on PR.
American Kestrel Common throughout.
Merlin 3 at Portsmouth (duplication?) 1/4.
Helmeted Guineafowl Feral birds at Cartagena 28/3.
Clapper Rail 29/3, 3 at Cabo Rojo and heard there on 30/3.
Yellow-breasted Crake 28/3 single in flight, Cartagena.
US Purple Gallinule Abundant, Cartagena.
Common Moorhen Abundant, Cartagena.
American Coot The common coot at Cartagena.
Caribbean Coot 28/3, 5 at Cartagena.
Black-necked Stilt Small numbers, PR.
Grey Plover Small numbers, PR.
Semipalmated Plover Small numbers, PR.
Wilson’s Plover Cabo Rojo.
Snowy Plover 3. Cabo Rojo.
Short-billed Dowitcher 30/3, 50 + Cabo Rojo.
Greater Yellowlegs Small numbers, PR.
Lesser Yellowlegs Small numbers, PR.
Spotted Sandpiper Both islands incl bird on road in El Yunque!
Ruddy Turnstone 27/3, single at Guanica.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Cabo Rojo.
Least Sandpiper 50+ Cabo Rojo.
Stilt Sandpiper 50+ Cabo Rojo.
Wilson’s Phalarope Pr at Cabo Rojo on 2 dates.
Pomarine Skua 3 from boat, Roseau on 5/4.
Laughing Gull Both islands; common on Dominica.
Royal Tern Both islands where common.
Feral Pigeon Throughout.
Scaly-naped Pigeon Widespread esp mountains in PR but all elevations onDominica.
Eurasian Collared-Dove Roseau.
African Collared-Dove Feral birds at Cartagena and Cabo Rojo.
Mourning Dove PR only.
Zenaida Dove Common on Dominica, less so on PR.
White-winged Dove Abundant on PR.
Common Ground-Dove Common in SW PR and on Dominica.
Key West Quail-Dove On trail 16.2, Maricao Forest and others heard. Also heard at Guanica.
Bridled Quail-Dove 2/4 one flushed on West Cabrits.
Ruddy Quail-Dove Female on ground 1/4 Syndicate; another there on 4/4.
Orange-fronted Parakeet 3 feral birds, Fajardo.
Monk Parakeet Feral on PR where nesting around Guanica and El Morro.
Puerto Rican Amazon Single at Rio Espiritu 8/4.
Red-necked Amazon Common at Syndicate.
Imperial Amazon Single birds on 3 dates at Syndicate.
Mangrove Cuckoo 2 at Guanica then several around Portsmouth and Cabrits.
PR Lizard Cuckoo Common by voice but only a handful seen well.
Smooth-billed Ani Both islands.
Barn Owl Heard at dusk, 4/4, Portsmouth.
PR Screech-Owl 5 heard on 25/3 but refused to show.
Antillean Nighthawk One at dusk, Guanica, then heard over hotel a few nights later.
PR Nightjar Common by voice but patience required for good perched views.
Lesser Antillean Swift The common small swift around Syndicate.
Antillean Mango Only 2 singles: Cartagena and in the hotel garden at Guanica.
Green Mango One in Maricao Forest and a second at the waterfall, El Yunque.
Purple-throated Carib Abundant at Syndicate.
Green-throated Carib Common but in smaller numbers; seen at Syndicate and Cabrits.
Antillean Crested HummerCommon along the coast especially, Portsmouth.
Puerto Rican Emerald Regular around Juanita.
Blue-headed Hummer Small numbers seen at Syndicate, often within forest.
Belted Kingfisher Singles over sea at Guanica and Cabo Rojo.
Ringed Kingfisher A male on wires on way to Syndicate, 1/4.
Puerto Rican Tody Common at Maricao and Guanica; best located by voice.
PR Woodpecker Only seen at Maricao and Juanita itself. Heard at Guanica on one occasion.
Caribbean Elaenia One at Guanica (27/3) and common at Syndicate.
Lesser Antillean Pewee Heard only at Syndicate.
Puerto Rican Pewee A single next to path, flycatching from near ground. Juanita.
Lesser Antillean Fly Common at Syndicate.
PR Flycatcher Singles at Juanita and Guanica.
Grey Kingbird Abundant throughout both islands.
Loggerhead Kingbird Small numbers common around Juanita.
Caribbean Martin Scarce on both islands; commonest in SW PR.
Cave Swallow One over road 27/3, Guanica. This form is occ split as Fulvous Swallow.
Antillean House Wren Frequent at Syndicate. A very distinctive form.
Northern Mockingbird Abundant on PR.
Tropical Mockingbird The same pair seen on two occasions at the Anchorage Hotel, Roseau.
Brown Trembler Surprisingly common and easy to see, esp at Syndicate and Emerald Pool.
Scaly-breasted Thrasher Common on Dominica.
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Widespread on PR; small numbers on Dominica.
Forest Thrush Several seen well on Dominica, especially either side of the road just before the entrance to the Syndicate trail. Listen for the call. All birds seen were well up in the trees, contrary to expectations. Seeing the species so well here avoided the need for a dawn vigil at the Emerald Pool.
Ruf-throated Solitaire Frequently heard at Syndicate and one seen well.
Red-legged Thrush Both islands but shy and difficult to see well. Most birds glimpsed flying from road in mornings.
Bare-eyed Thrush Syndicate.
House Sparrow PR only.
Bronze Mannikin A flock of 40 or so in pastureland near Cartagena.
Puerto Rican Vireo Several seen at Maricao and El Yunque, also heard at Guanica.
Black-whiskered Vireo Common on both islands.
Northern Parula One smart male outside hotel, Guanica.
Golden Warbler Common in SW PR and abundant on Dominica.
Adelaide Warbler A surprise bird in Maricao forest then several in SW.
Plumbeous Warbler Relatively common at Syndicate Estate.
Elfin-woods Warbler Seen on both visits to km16.2 including adults and an immature.
American Redstart Single female on way to Syndicate Estate, 1/4.
Northern Waterthrush In mangroves at Cabo Rojo 29/3.
Bananaquit Abundant throughout!
Puerto Rican Tanager A montane species easily found at Juanita and El Yunque.
Puerto Rican Spindalis Several smart males at Juanita but absent elsewhere.
Antillean Euphonia One overhead at Juanita on first morning there.
Yellow-faced Grassquit Small numbers on PR.
Black-faced Grassquit Common on both islands; many males displaying.
Puerto Rican Bullfinch Common at Juanita and a handful at Guanica. Distinctive song and surprisingly smart.
Lesser Antillean Bullf Abundant on Dominica.
Lsr Antillean Saltator Common on Dominica.
Yellow-shouldered Bbird Easy in the SW of PR and giving excellent views.
Grtr Antillean Grackle Abundant throughout PR in lowlands.
Carib Grackle Replaces the above species on Dominica.
Shiny Cowbird A handful of this problem species at Cabo Rojo.
Venezuelan Troupial A stunning oriole seen well at Guanica and Cabo Rojo near the lighthouse.
Puerto Rican Oriole 5 birds seen during the morning at Juanita on 25/3.