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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
This is a brief report of a 2 week holiday I had in Jamaica. The majority of birding trips are earlier in the year than mine and usually entirely bird focused. This however, was essentially a family holiday and therefore based in a single location in Ocho Rios with me taking the opportunity to try and do some birding on the odd couple of days. Despite this I was able to see all the Jamaican endemics and most of the near endemics and hopefully the report will be of use to people doing a similar holiday to mine.
Timing and location
August is not the best time to visit. It is hot, the breeding season is largely over with birds obviously moulting and not very tape responsive. The North American migrants have left. You also run the risk of hurricanes. Indeed hurricane Dean hit just 1 week after we left. Balanced against that Antillean Nighthawks are in and easy to see and actually the important birds are all available.
There are multiple reports on the web which are very good. I found Gruff Dodd’s and Roger Ahlman’s most useful. I have not tried to duplicate much of what is in those reports. I also used the Jamaica Rough Guide which is very good and gave good directions to the Royal Palm Reserve and Cranbrook Forest.
Car hire and driving. I arranged this after I arrived, hiring a Mitsubushi saloon for 10 days for US$840. We used it for family trips as well as birding. I got a Shell Jamaica map which was very good, particularly the Kingston part. Despite the reports all saying how bad the Jamaican driving was I found it OK. They are aggressive and occasionally we came across some maniacs on the Montego Bay road, but if you are prepared it’s fine. Actually the main problem is how slow they drive through or around potholes. They seem to always choose the bumpiest, slowest route through any holes, especially if they are in a four wheel drive. It does allow you to easily overtake though, by just driving past them on a smooth bit of road. Note although distances are small, most roads are not fast and times can be slow. Big traffic jams were not uncommon in and around Ocho Rios.
I visited the Barbecue Bottom road from Ocho Rios. It took about one and a half hrs to get there. Roger Ahlman’s map is very good. At first sight the tracks look awful with long grass and small rocks but in fact are perfectly driveable. I drove into Campbell which is just a few small houses/huts. Here I asked directions to Barbecue Bottom road. One of the locals called Kevin said he could take me to the road which actually turned out to be a tiny track which I would never have identified myself. (See diagram taken from Roger Ahlman’s report). He knew the birds really well and said there was a good lookout point a couple of KM along the road for parrots which turned out to be excellent. He stayed with me all the time I was there and I paid him US$ 10 for his help. Highlights were Crested Quail-dove on the track, the two species of Parrot both in flight and perched. I also saw my only Jamaican Elaenia and close Rufous-tailed Flycatchers.
See map below copied from Roger Ahlman without his permission and modified. I hope he doesn’t mind!
This is a traditional feeding site that most people visit for close views of birds at the feeders. I spent a couple of hrs one afternoon here. I had no ticks here but had excellent views of Caribbean Dove. It is usually a reliable site for the Owl and Potoo, but when I visited Fritz said he had seen neither for one month. He will take people out in the morning for a fee and will get you species that otherwise might be difficult if not visiting Marshall’s Pen. As it was so far from Ocho Rios I decided not to go back again. It’s well signposted and easy to find.
Royal Palm Reserve
No one seems to visit this site near Negril. It is very reliable for West-Indian Whistling Duck which are common. They are actually almost tame which did initially make me wonder about their origins! It avoids a late trip to Elim pools especially if like me you have to be back at the other end of the island by the evening. The place is not signposted but easy to find, the turn off being approx half a km east of the Golf Course. Just ask the locals. I was there during the heat of midday and saw little else apart from Northern Jacana which was a tick. I had hoped for Caribbean Coot but they were absent.
The site on the south coast for Bahama Mockingbird. I got there turning off the toll road from Kingston cutting through Lionel Town. The signposting was good with no danger of getting lost and apart from a few minor potholes the road was fine. The village is well spread out. I just drove for a couple of km until I reached an open area on the right which looked as though it was going to be developed for housing. I parked up, played a tape and immediately had a pair come and sit on top of a bush. Northern Mockingbird is common . I forgot to look for Stolid Fly here.
The site for the mountain endems. I drove through Kingston without any problem, not managing to get lost once! The roads are all well marked but look out for the one way systems. I stayed at the Gap B+B. US$75. They open at 10am and close for meals at 4PM. The rooms are self catering with fridge/cooker/microwave. Unfortunately in the morning there was only a tiny amount of electricity so no chance of boiling water or making toast or cooking the eggs I had been given.
I worked the road down towards “Section”, in particular the gullies in the first few km and the next morning I birded the better forest starting at some large rock faces a couple of km nearer “Section”. I was lucky considering how bad the weather was on the first afternoon. Highlights were Jamaican Blackbird, Blue Mountain Vireo, White-eyed Thrush, Jamaican Pewee and Greater Antillean Elaenia.
I wanted to get back via Mockingbird Hill outside Port Antonio and was told the road down to Buff Bay was closed. However the locals have cut a track through a small coffee plantation which bypasses the section where the road has been washed away. Despite it being very wet my car made it up and then down this track. However it would have been impossible to have made it in the other direction. This saved me loads of time and I gave the locals who had made the small diversion US$10 for their help.
Mockingbird Hill Hotel
The site for Black-billed Streamertail. Some groups stay here and although it is not cheap it looks lovely with other birds in the grounds and is close to good birding on the Ecclesdown road. It was also the only site I saw Chestnut-Bellied Cuckoo.
I just turned up and was allowed just to look around and bird the balcony and gardens. I did buy a fruit punch!
Cranbrook Flower Forest
This is a site just 20minutes west of Ocho Rios which I found from the Rough Guide. It mentioned an area of gardens and forest which you can visit during the day for US$10. Chukka Tours runs zip wire trips through the forest which we also did as a family. The forest is mostly secondary but holds most of the non-montain species. I visited for a couple of hours one afternoon and got Lizard Cuckoo. On my penultimate day I went in before dawn to try for the Potoo which amazingly I got as well as the Becard. I ended up leaving before the opening time so did not have to pay!
01/08/07. Mountain Bike ride down the Blue Mountains. We did this as an excursion from the hotel. It took us on the road up from Buff Bay most of the way to Hardwar gap and we then cycled back down. Not a birding session but I had my bins with me. I managed to see Tody, Olive-throated Parakeet, Euphonia, Orangequit, White-chinned Thrush, Woodpecker and Red-billed Streamertail on the cycle back down.
02/08/07 2:30- 5pm. Cranbrook Forest
Having just got the car and as the rest of the family were occupied I decided to pop up to explore possibilities here. I got good views of Woodpeckers, Euphonias, Stripe-headed Tanagers, Orioles and Red-billed Streamertails in the gardens. Unfortunately the path runs along side a noisy river so I found a far better option to take the track that runs along the left side of the gardens. This borders some secondary forest and actually has a couple of trails off into it. Highlights here were close perched Jamaican Crows and a Lizard-Cuckoo. This came into tape and although staying up high gave good views. I was pretty pleased with this as I knew they could be difficult. No response though to Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo tape.
04/08/07. Barbecue Bottom road to Negril.
I left Ocho Rios at 4am arriving at Campbells at 5:30 am. En route I flushed an Owl which unfortunately turned out to be a Barn Owl. The track to Barbecue bottom was not as marked on the Shell map but one of the locals was only too happy to show me the way along with some good spots to see stuff. Driving along the track I kept flushing doves. Most were Ruddy Quail Doves but some were almost certainly Crested Quail Dove and some Caribbean. I managed to get views of one perched Caribbean and then finally spotted a Crested Quail Dove. It was quite bizarre walking down the track pumping its long grackle-like tail. A great start to the day. At the look out, Parrots were common but it took some time before I managed to get decent views of Black-billed. I also got my only Stolid Fly in some burnt out forest here. Other species were flight views of Crows, a distant perched Ring-tailed Pigeon as well as several others presumed to be this species. I also had Greater-Antillean Bullfinch, perched Vervain Hummingbird, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Jamaican Vireo, Jamaican Mango, Tody, Oriole and Stripe-headed Tanager. Driving back down, I stopped at a few spots and played Becard and Elaenia as well as Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo. Unfortunately I got no response but did bump into a pair of Rufous-tailed Flycatchers which gave great views. It must be the world’s most distinctive Myiarchus fly.
I dropped off Kevin and paid him US$ 10 for his help which had been invaluable and drove back down the track to Kinloss. I made one stop in some forest and found a small flock containing common species but also one adult and one juvenile Arrow-headed Warbler. I decided to give the Jamaican Elaenia tape a go and immediately had a response up the slope. After a scramble and a bit of searching I eventually found the bird which proceeded to feed in the mid canopy circling me even though I only played the tape a couple of times. It at least is a distinctive flycatcher.
West Indian Whistling Duck
Very pleased with my morning so far I decided that as it was now 9:30 I ought to get going so headed off towards Montego Bay. The plan was to go to the Royal Palm Reserve at Negril during the heat of the day and then on to Rocklands when it supposedly opened in the afternoon. The road to Montego Bay is in the process of being upgraded so as a consequence parts of it are pretty slow. However I made it to the Reserve by 12:30. There were no signposts to the entrance road at all. It is by a motorbike taxi rank on the 1st turn off east of the golf course at Negril. I just asked the locals who knew it well. The first birds I saw were a large group of West Indian Whistling Ducks loafing at the edge of the lake. My last Whistling Duck. They weren’t totally tame but clearly were used to people.
Other birds I had here were a couple of flight views of Northern Jacanas, Pied-billed Grebe and my first Sad Flycatchers. I was disappointed that there were no Coot present as that almost certainly meant dipping on my penultimate one. I wandered around the boardwalk seeing a few common species but it was now the heat of the day and there was little bird activity. After an hour I decided to head off to Rocklands going via Savanna la Mar where I managed to take a wrong turning ending up right in the middle of town. I soon sorted that out and arrived at Rocklands at about 2:30. Fritz welcomed me and I spent the next hour and a half watching the birds at the feeders. I got no new species but the highlights were great views of Caribbean Doves, which are very attractive for a new world species, loads of very tame Red-billed Streamertails and Jamaican Mangos. One Jamaican Oriole came in briefly and an Arrow-headed Warbler was seen feeding in the trees but mostly it was common species such as Black-headed and Yellow-throated Grassquits, and Common Ground Doves.
Chatting to Fritz he said he hadn’t heard an owl for over one month, the regular roosting one having apparently moved, and he had not seen a Potoo for the same time. He did suggest coming back early one morning for other species although he said the Pewee was very difficult. Disappointed by this news I decided it was not going to be worth the drive and I was going to have to find my own birds. By 4pm I had photographed most of the available birds and decided it was time to head back arriving in Ocho Rios by 5:30.
04/08/07. Evening birding near Cranbrook Forest.
I decided to try for the Owl and Potoo this evening and left Ocho Rios at 5:30, but just before reaching there I spotted a group of Nighthawks feeding over a field to the left of the road. They gave pretty close views and occasionally called their distinctive treble note. Unfortunately I realised that if I had left half an hour earlier the light would have been far better for photos, but never mind. I then drove up to the “forest” to discover loads of people playing music in the car park and gardens. It was Independence Day tomorrow and clearly a big party here was incompatible with owling. So I drove out and tried another small road up into the hills. Passing through one small village I came to a decent patch of forest and decided to give the Potoo tape a blast. No response although I got some odd looks from a local who walked past. Similarly the owl tape drew a blank. Clearly these birds were going to be tough! After 10 minutes or so a high pitched squeaking call started up. It was very similar to that of a young Tawny Owl but just a long, single note. Unfortunately it was calling from at least 50metres up a pretty steep hillside but I decided to give it a go. After a couple of minutes I caught site of a bird flying across my headlamp beam and assumed I had flushed it for good. Turning on my spotlight though I was amazed to see a bright orange, young Jamaican Owl perched on the nearest branch. It gave great views for a minute before getting fed up with the light and flying off. Thrilled with my success I felt it was far too dodgy scrambling around these unstable slopes in the dark for more views and headed back for supper.
9-10/08/07. Portland/Blue Mountains and Mockingbird Hill Hotel
I still had a number of endemics to get and the best site is clearly up in the Blue Mountains so when my wife suggested I actually stayed up there overnight I did not hesitate too long. Doing it that way would avoid driving through Kingston in the dark and give me more time to get Bahama Mockingbird and Black-billed Streamertail. I set off at 4:30 am heading for Portland Cottage to look for the very localised Bahama Mockingbird. I reckoned it was unlikely I would ever visit the Bahamas, so see it now. The route was very easy and despite reports to the contrary the roads to Portland Cottage were well signposted and I arrived an hour or so after dawn. Many people seem to drive up to the lighthouse to try and see the birds but I hoped to get them before that. Portland Cottage is a long strung out village but as I was driving through I noticed a turn to the right and a more open area which was clearly going to be developed as housing. Stopping here I played a tape and immediately two birds popped up in full view. They allowed very close approach and although not exactly stunning were great to get so easily. At one point a Northern Mockingbird perched right next to the far larger and heavier Bahama Mockingbird. They are far more different than the illustrations show.
Heading back towards Kingston I decided to try and find the Caymanas Ponds mentioned in Robert Sutton’s photographic guide. Unfortunately despite driving all the roads in the Caymanas area I was unable to find them or the river itself. I probably needed to drive some of the sugar cane tracks to do so but decided I could not really spare the time just for Caribbean Coot. I spent some time searching along the road for Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo and Jamaican Becard but found nothing of note. By now I had missed the rush hour through Kingston so was able to negotiate my way through without a problem. I arrived up at the Gap area at about 11am and decided to book into the Gap Café straight away. The room was very good and would be ideal if one was self catering, with a small equipped kitchen. I of course had brought no food!
I decided to head up to look for Jamaican Blackbird in the gullies beyond the Gap. Without the aid of tape I quickly found a pair of Blue Mountain Vireos, but these were to be the only ones I would see.
Blue Mountain Vireo
Tape soon brought in White-eyed Thrush and Greater Antillean Elaenia but by now it was beginning to cloud over and the fog soon rolled in. After an hour of poor visibility it started raining, varying from persistent drizzle to torrential downpours for the rest of the afternoon. It was looking really grim and my chances of getting the remaining endems looked slim. In brief spells between heavy rain, I ventured out of the car in a vain hope to see something. While staring down a small gully a light tchk-tchk-tchk caught my attention and a black bird flew in and perched in the open. Before I could get my bins on it though it took off and flew straight at me before swerving away a couple of metres in front me. It was a Jamaican Blackbird! I tried playing the tape but to no avail and soon the visibility and rain forced me to give up. I would have to make do with flight views, if very close ones. I was limited by the weather as to seeing any other birds but did manage to get very close views of Solitaire and Ring-tailed Pigeon.
Jamaican Strip-headed Tanager
I headed back for food at the café but it was now 5pm and the lady running it said she stopped serving at 4:30! Luckily she took pity on me and cooked me a really good meal and got me some bread coffee/cheese and eggs for the morning. At least I would get breakfast. It rained heavily that evening with really strong winds and lightening during the night which kept me awake. I had planned to try and see another Jamaican Owl but no chance.
The next morning the rain and wind had stopped but sadly there was only just enough electricity to produce a glimmer from the bulbs. So no toast/eggs or coffee. I made do with cheese sandwiches and set off. If I had not already seen Crested Quail Dove I would have concentrated on the road for one but instead I worked the roadside forest around the gap and then lower down toward section. Eventually I heard a distant plaintive call of a Pewee and after some time found it perched above the road.
Despite much trying though there was no sign of the Becard or Cuckoo so I decided to head out. Both birds are supposed to be scarcer at such high altitudes and Black-billed Streamertail is virtually guaranteed at Port Antonio. It was now 9am and if I could get down the direct route to Buff Bay I would be able to get there quite quickly. If not it was going to be a long detour via Kingston meaning a late, unpopular return to Ocho Rios. At Section I asked if I could get down the road. The reply was yes if I took a muddy detour of approx 100m to avoid a landslip. The car just made it up the steep slope. It would have been far easier without last night’s rain. But that small track saved me several hours driving. Well worth the US$10 I paid the local guys. I stopped off on the road down to Buff Bay at a couple of spots. The forest near the top was quite good and in one big tree there were two huge nests overhanging the road. I am sure they were Jamaican Becard’s but there was no sign of the birds. One bonus was an American Redstart flitting around in the upper branches.
The drive to Port Antonio was straightforward although the road is very twisting with multiple sections full of potholes. I arrived at Mockingbird Hill Hotel, which is well signposted a few Km east of Port Antonio, at midday and just went in. They were quite happy to let me wander around and watch from the balcony even though I only purchased a fruit punch. They suggested I look around the gardens but I soon found an obliging male Black-billed Streamertail by the entrance. I did glimpse a female as well.
The only other birds of note were Yellow-shouldered Grassquits. I then decided to go to the car and give the tape of Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo a blast. The reaction was instantaneous. A bird appeared directly overhead and gave brilliant views over the next 10 minutes.
Unfortunately similar attempts with the Becard tape produced no response and a search along the entrance road proved fruitless. So I decided to call it a day and headed back to Ocho Rios arriving in a torrential downpour at 15:30. It had been a successful two days.
12/08/07. Cranbrook Forest early am.
So now I just had two more species to get, the Potoo and Becard. Although many people split the Potoo off as an endemic, most authorities include it under Northern Potoo which I also needed, plus Potoos are amazing birds so I was determined to have a final go at seeing it. So I left the hotel at 03:00 hrs and arrived at Cranbrook Forest 20 minutes later. I walked up the road through the entrance and took the first driveable track on the right after 20metres or so. This I knew would take me away from the river to some more open areas in the forest. After about 200metres the river was no longer audible and there was an open area on a right hand bend which looked ideal. I played a short piece of Potoo “song” and almost immediately a huge shadow flew over the clearing, circled above me and landed on a low branch. I quickly put my spotlight on it and started to admire this weird beast. I am always amazed at the size of the eyes of these nocturnal birds particularly their amazing bulging corneas. Anyway this bird sat in the beam allowing me to admire it from all angles. Unfortunately I then discovered I had left my flash back in the car. I therefore had to make do with the inbuilt camera flash which gave surprisingly good results.
The next hour before first light I spent trying for Jamaican Owl again but to no avail. As dawn broke I started searching along the forest track until I found a fruiting tree with pigeons visiting. There were several White-crowned as well as many White-winged Doves and on the ground a couple of Ruddy Quail Doves and even a pair of Caribbean Doves. However, thinking that a fruiting tree might bring in something else I searched carefully through the branches but found nothing out of the ordinary. Playing my short section of Jamaican Becard tape though brought in a chunky back bird directly overhead. A pristine black male! It did not call but hopped around above my head feeding every now and then. Although uniform black it was really quite a smart bird. I was absolutely amazed. I had actually managed to see all the endemics plus most of the other specials. I had hoped to do so, but had resigned myself to missing a few several days ago. Well pleased with my views of my last two ticks I decided to wander back to try and get some photos of those species I had so far missed. There were some dead trees next to the track that, when I had visited before, had seemed popular with Woodpeckers and Stripe-headed Tanagers. So the next hour or so I spent getting a few more photos before heading back for breakfast with the family.
I had managed to see all the endemics in just over three day’s birding in the heat of summer while based in one part of the island. This was despite losing most of my afternoon in the Blue Mountains to rain. The birds were all pretty obliging and did include some real stunners, in particular Jamaican Tody which was one my few remaining new families. Tapes had proved invaluable although clearly many species were not particularly responsive at this time of year. The people had all been very friendly and helpful and as a short birding break it would be a great place. Ocho Rios and I guess most of the big tourist resorts had little to commend them in my opinion though.
Five days after we left Hurricane Dean passed through and I guess some species might be a little more difficult for a while.
Species List E= endemic, underlined = new species.
I have here counted 28 endemics considering Northern Potoo and Olive-throated Parakeet to be more widespread forms. Of course Jamaican Oriole is nearly endemic being found only on the Cayman Islands otherwise.
Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus) 1 in a pool at Saltmarsh
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podicep 1 Royal Palm Reserve
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) several along the north coast and 20 or so at Royal Palm Reserve.
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) 20 or so seen along the north coast.
Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) not uncommon in wetland areas.
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) widespread.
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) abundant
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) several along the north coast.
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolour) not as common as the above species but again several along the north coast.
Green-backed Heron (Butorides virescens) 1 Ocho Rios
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) 2 in flight west of Kingston.
West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arborea) about 50 at Royal Palm Reserve.
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) common and widespread.
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1 Royal Palm Reserve, 1 Ocho Rios. 1 Barbecue Bottom Road.
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius dominicensis) very common throughout island.
American Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica 2 Royal Palm Reserve.
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) several Saltmarsh.
Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) 2 in flight Royal Palm Reserve.
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) several Saltmarsh, 3 Chukka Cove.
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) Saltmarsh and Portland Cottage.
Willet 40 Portland Cottage.
Dowitcher sp. 1 Portland Cottage. Too distant without scope to Id to species although I did not try hard as had other priorities.
Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) a few birds along the north coast.
White-crowned Pigeon (Columba leucocephala) common throughout the island seen even in the middle of Ocho Rios
Ring-tailed Pigeon E (Columba caribaea) 1 perched Barbecue Bottom Road, 1 Hardware Gap. Many other birds in flight high overhead at both these sites were presumed to be this species.
White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) a few seen in the lowlands. At least 50 in Cranbrook forest in fruiting trees.
Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita)
Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina) common in open lowland areas.
Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis) 2 Barbecue Bottom road: 1 perched, 3 Rocklands where fairly tame and 2 Cranbrook forest.
Crested Quail Dove E (Geotrygon versicolor) 1 bird on the track on the barbecue Bottom Road. More uniform brown than illustrated so possibly a juvenile.
Ruddy Quail Dove (Geotrygon montana) 10 or more flushed on Barbecue Bottom road, a couple seen perched. 2 Cranbrook forest.
Olive-throated Parakeet (Aratinga nana). This is sometimes split off as the endemic Jamaican Parakeet. Commonly encountered in forest areas, the Blue Mountains, Dunn’s River falls, Barbecue Bottom Road and Cranbrook forest.
Yellow-billed Parrot E (Amazona collaria) at least 30 seen from Barbecue Bottom road, mostly in flight but half a dozen or so perched. Many other parrots seen in flight too distant to identify without a scope. Also 4 birds near Bob Marley’s mausoleum.
Black-billed Parrot E (Amazona agilis) 2 birds seen well in flight and less well perched from Barbecue bottom road. Several others seen less well. Best feature in flight is red carpal area but also red base to undertail seemed more obvious. Black bill and uniform green head only noticeable at close range. Calls are different also.
Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo E (Hyetornis pluvialis) 1 performed well at Mocking Bird Hill Hotel. I played the tape at many other sites but with no response. I thought I glimpsed one at Cranbrook but could not rule out Lizard-Cuckoo.
Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo. E 1 on two different dates at Cranbrook Forest and 1 Dunn’s River falls.
Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) Common in lowland areas.
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) 1 near Daniels en route to Barbecue Bottom road.
Jamaican Owl E (Pseudoscops grammicus) 1 juvenile in forest near Cranbrook.
Northern Potoo (Nyctibius jamaicensis) 1 Cranbrook Forest
Antillean Nighthawk (Chordeiles gundlachii) a flock or 30 or so over the road on two separate evenings near Cranbrook Forest. On the second occasions I was out with my family and they were flying around in good light at about 17:30. One other bird was seen flying in broad daylight near Daniels.
Black Swift (Cypseloides niger) several at scattered locations.
White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) 1 Chuka cove.
Antillean Palm Swift (Tachnornis phoenicobia) seen at several lowland locations. Commonest in Ocho Rios.
Jamaican Mango E (Anthracothorax mango) 2 Barbecue Bottom road, 1 Royal Palm Reserve and 3-4 Rocklands where tame.
Red-billed Streamertail E (Trochilus scitulus) common along Barbecue Bottom road, Cranbrook forest, Rocklands (where very tame) and lower parts of Blue Mountains. I was surprised most males had full streamers.
Black-billed Streamertail E (Trochilus polytmus) 1 male seen well and 1 female glimpsed at Mockingbird Hill Hotel.
Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) 2 Barbecue Bottom Road and 1 Bob Marley’s mausoleum were the only ones seen properly. Other dots seen elsewhere.
Jamaican Tody E (Todus todus) One really tame bird seen in the lower Blue Mountains when unfortunately I did not have my camera. Ones and twos seen at Cranbrook Forest and Barbecue Bottom Road.
Jamaican Woodpecker E (Melanerpes radiolatus) Seen at all forested sites, common.
Jamaican Elaenia E (Myiopagis cotta) 1 Barbecue Bottom Road.
Greater Antillean Elaenia (Elaenia fallax) 3 Hardware Gap.
Jamaican Pewee E (Contopus pallidus) 1 Hardware gap on road towards Section.
Sad Flycatcher E (Myiarchus barbirostris) Seen at Royal Palm Reserve, Hardware Gap and Cranbrook Forest.
Rufous-tailed Flycatcher E (Myiarchus validus) 1 pair seen very well Barbecue bottom road, 1 bird at Hardware Gap.
Stolid Flycatcher (Myiarchus stolidus) 1 in some burnt out forest along the Barbecue Bottom road.
Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) common throughout.
Loggerhead Kingbird (Tyrannus caudifasciatus) common in more forested areas.
Jamaican Becard E (Pachyramphus niger) 1 male at Cranbrook forest was the only one despite much searching.
Cave Swallow (Hirundo fulva) many birds seen in lowland areas. Some very pale and scruffy.
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 3 seen while looking for Caymanas ponds.
Jamaican Crow E (Corvus jamaicensis) 2 seen very well perched at Cranbrook forest. Distinct brown wash to neck. Has an amazing call. Several birds seen in flight only along Barbecue Bottom road and on the drive to Bob Marley’s mausoleum.
Rufous-throated Solitaire (Myadestes genibarbis) at least 5 seen in the Hardware gap area.
White-eyed Thrush E (Turdus jamaicensis) 5 seen in the Hardware gap area.
White-chinned Thrush E (Turdus aurantius) common in the Blue Mountains, and Rocklands. Several seen along the Barbecue bottom road and Cranbrook forest.
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) common in lowland built up and rural areas. Note they occur with Bahama Mockingbird.
Bahama Mockingbird. (Mimus gundlachii) 2 seen easily at Portland Cottage.
Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 1 Royal Palm Reserve and a few flocks of approx 50 in the Chukka Cove area.
Jamaican Vireo E (Vireo modestus) 4 or 5 Barbecue Bottom road, a couple Hardware gap and 1 Cranbrook Forest
Blue Mountain Vireo E (Vireo osburni) 2 birds seen at my first stop in the Hardware Gap area. Surprisingly none seen subsequently but I never played a tape.
Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo altiloquus) common in forested areas.
Arrowhead Warbler E (Dendroica pharetra) 2 Barbecue Bottom road, 1 Rocklands and 1 Hardware gap
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) 1 a few hundred metres below section was a pleasant surprise as I had not expected any migrant warblers.
Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) common
Jamaican Euphonia E (Euphonia jamaica) seen in the lower parts of the Blue Mountains, Barbecue Bottom road and Cranbrook forest where fairly common.
Jamaican Spindalis E (Jamaican Stripe-headed Tanager) (Spindalis nigricephala) common in the Hardware gap area, Barbecue Bottom road and Cranbrook forest. Up to 10 daily.
Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivacea) Common at Rocklands, Barbecue Bottom road and other lowland sites.
Black-faced Grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) noted at Rocklands and Hardware gap area. Probably overlooked elsewhere.
Yellow-shouldered Grassquit E (Loxipasser anoxanthus) 3 Barbecue Bottom road, 2 Hardware Gap, 1 Mockingbird Hill Hotel.
Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Loxigilla violacea) 2 Barbecue Bottom road, 1 Rocklands, several Hardware gap, 2 Cranbrook forest.
Orangequit E (Euneornis campestris) 5 Hardware gap, 2 Cranbrook forest.
Jamaican Blackbird E (Nesopsar nigerrimus) 1 brief view Hardware gap.
Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger) very common in lowlands
Jamaican Oriole (Icterus leucopteryx) several seen at Barbecue Bottom road, 1 Rocklands, 3 Hardware Gap including an adult feeding a fully grown juvenile, and 4 Cranbrook forest
Caribbean Coot. (Fulica caribbea) Elim pools is the site for this but I did not visit it.
Least Tern (Sterna antillarum ) Supposed to be east at Parrottee which I also did not visit. I guessed I would get both of these species at some stage in the future.
Plain Pigeon. (Columba inornata). Very rare on Jamaica. I have never seen a report in which people have seen this.
Norfolk NR31 9QJ