Ecclesdown Road

Monday, March 14th: Before leaving Goblin Hill, I got the day started with White-chinned Thrush, Western Loggerhead Kingbird, Jamaican Woodpecker, and Greater Antillean Grackle. We left Goblin Hill and headed over to Ecclesdown Road.

Ecclesdown Road is a fabulous birding road. It's an old paved one-lane road through intact forest. There is little traffic and most of the Jamaican endemics can be seen here (I think Red-billed Streamertail is the only one that is absent). Indeed, although we spent hours on the road this morning, we had the only vehicles in sight. My first lifer of the day was Ring-tailed Pigeon. We saw a number of them fly over during the day. Another commonly seen bird was Ruddy Quail-Dove. We never got a good look, but frequently saw them flying off the road as we approached. At our first stop we found Jamaican Spindalis, Jamaican Vireo, and Jamaican Orioles. Walking along, we encountered some Jamaican Blackbirds. Rufous-throated Solitaire was heard singing, but not seen. White-eyed Thrush was seen. It took me a while to get a look at an Orangequit, but quite a few of them were present too.

Some Yellow-billed Amazons flew over. Bananaquits were also present, and within minutes of the Yellow-billed Amazons, we also saw Black-billed Amazons. Only a couple of us got a look at a Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, but we all had a chance to admire the Jamaican Todys. There were also hummingbirds flying around, including Black-billed Streamertail and Jamaican Mango. We got to see the Jamaican race of Greater Antillean Bullfinch, which has more red on it than the Bahamian bullfinches. Finally, an Arrowhead Warbler showed up. It eluded me for a bit, but I finally got a look at it. Finally, we added Jamaican Pewee.

We drove further along the road. At our next stop we added Jamaican Becard and Jamaican Elaenia. Before we returned to Goblin Hill for lunch, we also saw some Smooth-billed Anis. Somewhere along Ecclesdown Road we also found Worm-eating Warbler, but I didn't note the location. Blue Mountain Vireo and Crested Quail-Dove were heard, but not seen.

We took a break after lunch, then headed to the east end of Jamaica in search of tropicbirds. Before getting there, we saw a Small Asian Mongoose, Herpestes javanensis, which was introduced to Jamaica many years ago. Needless to say, it has not been good for ground-nesting birds.

We spotted a White-tailed Tropicbird as we arrived at some seaside cliffs near Hector's River. That was it! It soon disappeared into the cliffs, presumably going to roost. We probably should have shown up a bit earlier. As we started back, we noticed hundreds of White-collared Swifts hawking insects over some fields.

We headed inland near Reach Falls (we didn't visit the falls) so we could take Ecclesdown Road on the way back. We stopped some to bird, and I added Black-faced Grassquit to my list. We were still looking for quail-doves. There were more Ruddy Quail-Doves flying off the road, and I got a glimpse of a Crested Quail-Dove near the road. It was a very poor look, and I'm not counting it as a life bird. I hope to get a better look another day. We also managed to find some Jamaican Crows. Once we finished Ecclesdown Road, it was only a short drive back to Goblin Hill where we again enjoyed a dinner prepared by our housekeepers.

Today I totalled 52 species including 13 lifers, bringing the trip total to 86 species including 25 lifers.

Goblin Hill Villas, San San