Quail-Dove & Cuckoo Hunt

Wednesday, March 13th: We returned to Sierra de Barahuco via the Rabo de Gato trail in search of two species that we'd missed: White-fronted Quail-Dove and Bay-breasted Cuckoo. Miguel spotted a quail-dove early, but after extensive searching, only a couple of us got brief glimpses of it.

Eventually, we decided to give the quail-dove a rest and head upslope to a better area for the cuckoo. We finally found a pair of them. They called a number of times in response to tape, and one briefly sat in the open with its back to us. Everyone saw it and Bay-breasted Cuckoo was added to our list. A Key West Quail-Dove was also calling in the area.

We cleared off a couple of picnic tables for lunch (one had a small downed tree over it). As we finished, a limb fell off a tree a tree above one of the vans. Fortunately, it missed both van and one of our group standing next to it. As we contemplated it, Miguel spotted a small scorpion that came down with it. We also saw some sort of racer today. I think it was a Hispaniolan Lesser Racer (Hypsirhynchus parvifrons).

After lunch, we resumed the dove hunt. One White-fronted Quail-Dove flew up in a tree, giving glimpses when it moved around and flew off to another tree. Finally, one showed up on the opposite side of the river, where it was seen by a couple of others.

With the quail-dove seen, we headed back to the lodge. We had barely started when a Zenaida Dove flew off the road in front of our van. It landed briefly where we could see it. It seemed have a bit more color than those I've seen in the keys and Bahamas.


We returned to the lodge early, took a break, and had dinner around 6. Then it was time to head back out in search of nightbirds. We went a short way east on the main road, then took a dirt road uphill. We encountered an interesting nightjar, which may have been an undersized Chuck-will's-widow, or maybe not. Further up, we reached a point where a track goes up to the right, potoo territory. It was a half-mile uphill walk to the potoo, and part of the group decided to skip it and look for the Ashy-faced Owl with Gavin.

The rest of us started walking up the track, following Miguel. On the way we encountered giant moths, bats, Giant Geckos, and some anoles. Miguel called in the Northern Potoo, and it soon appeared over us. After we had a look, he switched the light off and handed around a pair of night vision binoculars. The view through them was amazingly detailed. The big surprise was that the potoo's eyes glowed in the dark, even without the extra illumination from a light.

The other group wasn't done, so we checked another track. Before we reunited with the other group, Miguel showed us a Barahuco Giant Anole (Anolis barahonae). They did not get the owl. We'll look for it again tomorrow.

5 trip birds (total 122) including 3 lifers (45 total)

Club Hotel el Quemaito, Barahona