Monday, March 12, 2012

My Last Days in St John

I spent the next few mornings birding around the hotel grounds enjoying the common birds of the island, including the Pearly-eyed Thrasher. I was very excited when I first saw this bird because it was a lifer and while I never got sick of seeing them, I could see how birders in the Caribbean might get sick of seeing this species everywhere they looked.

Pearly-eyed Thrasher
On Friday, my wife and I again headed out birding. After going back and forth with myself on where to go, I settled on Salt Pond. It was a 35 minute taxi ride across the island and we finally made it to the hiking trail around 8:30. We were immediately greeted by 4 or 5 very active Yellow Warblers that really seemed to be oblivious to our presence. While watching the warblers, I heard a Bridled Quail-Dove in the distance. It began moving a little closer but no matter how much I searched, I could not find it.

While hunting for the Bridled Quail-Dove, I found a Caribbean Elaenia. It was singing away and gave me my best views of this species that I had all trip. We moved on to the beach and found a pair of Black-faced Grassquits feeding in the mangroves. I was able to get this shot of the male.

Black-faced Grassquit
On our way back up the trail, we found two Green-throated Caribs. One of them even sat still enough for me to snap a photo.

Green-throated Carib
While the Salt Pond trails were ok for birding, I would have to say that I had a much better time birding on the Francis Bay Trail. St John is a beautiful island with many birding opportunities even though there are no endemics. If you have never been to the Caribbean, there are many lifers to be had. I ended up with 14 lifers on the trip and thoroughly enjoyed my time birding on the island.

-Rob

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