“Ricardo, it was a distinct pleasure to meet you. You are an amazing birder – like a magician.
Thanks for your help birding and answering cheerfully so many questions. Best wishes.”

Diane Stone – Portland, USA

ONE DAY BIRDING

This tour departs early morning from Kingston where we travel up the Blue Mountains pass the historic military training base of New Castle and commence birding at Hardwar Gap (elevation 1200m). These cool western slopes of the Blue Mountains are within the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, an Important Bird Area in Jamaica. There are scattered cottages and homes along with small plots of coffee farms. The remaining forest is mostly secondary growth with areas of good primary forests and supports 24 of the island’s 28 endemic bird species. This is a good area to see the elusive Crested Quail-Dove and much sought-after Jamaican Blackbird. We will make time to have packed snacks and coffee or tea before making our way back into Kingston for lunch and a period of relaxation.


The afternoon session will be shorter and more leisurely as we enjoy a couple hours of birding in Hope Gardens. The main highlights here are the flocks of Yellow-billed Parrots that call this area home. There are also a few Black-billed Parrots among the flocks so be sure to observe carefully. The Hope Gardens also shares up an impressive array of migrant warblers to ensure we are kept busy to the very end.
In all, this one day tour provides good chances of seeing as many as 25 of the 28 endemic bird species.

This tour can also be customized to suit your needs. Contact us for more information.

Cost: US$130 per person for groups of 2 to 10.
US$180 individual tour.

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FEATURED TOURS

Sign-up to be a part of one of the following 8 days birding tour around the island: Be sure to sign up early as maximum group size is only 10 persons. The cost includes double occupancy accommodations for nights 1 to 7 along with three meals per day. Breakfast and lunch are also included for day 8. All ground transportation including airport transfers are also covered. The cost does not include airfare or airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, personal items or any tips.

Cost: US$2,300 per person for groups of 2 to 10. (Single room supplement US$300)

ITINERARY


All guests are greeted at the Sangster’s International Airport in Montego Bay and transported to the Satori Resort and Spa which will be our accommodations for the night. There will be a welcome dinner at the Pelican Restaurant where official greetings are made and the trip itinerary is again presented in details.

This is the first official birding day. First we make our way into the hills of St. James and make a brief stop at the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. This is a very simple, relaxing, rustic environment in the beautiful garden of a country cottage. Here you will experience the most magical feeling of having the Red-billed Streamertail (Jamaica’s National Bird) or the Jamaican Mango sit on your finger while you offer it nectar from a bottle. From here we make our way to the historic town of Black River which holds the honour of being the first town in Jamaica to receive electricity in 1893. After a stop for lunch we visit the nearby Parottee Ponds for wetland birds and shorebirds. More rare migrant birds are recorded in this area than anywhere else on the island. There is also a chance to the see the threatened West Indian Whistling Duck and even American Crocodiles. Finally we arrive at Marshall’s Pen in the cool hills of Mandeville where we will spend the next 2 nights.

We depart at 7am after breakfast for another day of birding in the wetlands. This time we travel to the Black River Upper Morass, Jamaica’s largest expanse of inland wetlands. Here we go in search of elusive birds such as the Spotted Rail, the Masked Duck and the Yellow-breasted Crake. This is also a great area for the West Indian Whistling Ducks. After lunch we return to Marshall’s Pen where we will enjoy an afternoon of birding on the property, including the first of several searches for the Jamaican Owl.
Marshall’s Pen is a designated National Heritage Site and was originally a cattle estate and coffee factory dating back some 250 years. It is now owned by Dr. Ann Sutton, ornithologist and author of A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica. Along with rooms on the main building, the old coffee house has been converted into lodgings for visitors. The rich history, home style meals and impressive birding opportunity will make this location one of the highlights of the trip.

After an early breakfast, we depart Marshall’s Pen for Kingston but not before heading to Portland Bight at the extreme southern tip of Jamaica. This is just one of 2 places on the island where the Bahama Mockingbird can be found. In addition, several Caribbean endemics such as the Stolid Flycatcher, Greater Antillean Bullfinch and Caribbean Dove are also abundant in this area. This is also one of the few places on the island where the Grasshopper Sparrow can be reliably found. Numerous Jamaican endemics can be seen here such as the Jamaican Vireo, Jamaican Mango and Yellow-shouldered Grassquit. The tour continues on to Kingston where we have lunch followed by afternoon birding in Hope Gardens. Here you will experience close up views of the endemic Yellow-billed Parrot. It is believed that this flock of parrots is a remnant from a much larger population that lived in this area before the development of Kingston and the surrounding areas. Accommodations will be at The Gardens in Liguanea and dinner at the historic Devon House.

With packed breakfast, we depart Kingston early for the Blue Mountains. Rising to 2,256 metres (7,402 ft), the Blue Mountain Peak is the highest point on Jamaica. This region along with the John Crow Mountain, forms the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, an Important Bird Area in Jamaica. We will travel through the military training base of New Castle and bird at Hardwar Gap (approximately 1200m elevation). 26 of the island’s 28 endemic birds can be found in the forests of this area. The main target birds for this area will be the much sought after Crested Quail-Dove and Jamaican Blackbird. The Chestnut Bellied Cuckoo and Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo are also abundant in this area. There will also be numerous close encounters with the charming Jamaican Tody, a favourite of most visitors. Our accommodations for the evening will be at the Starlight Chalet, a quiet cottage with home style meals and wonderful views of the mountains and surrounding areas. The property will also offer good afternoon birding opportunities.

After an early breakfast we begin birding at Silver Hill Gap and continue into Hardwar Gap. Here, the White-chinned Thrush and its less common cousin, the White-eyed Thrush, will provide good treats. The stunning Rufous-throated Solitaire will be heard singing in the forests as we try to get a view of this rather shy bird. We will also be keen to search for the Jamaican Becard, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Jamaican Elaenia and get our fill of the Jamaican Spindalis as this species becomes less common at lower elevations. Before leaving the mountains we will be sure to find the endemic Blue Mountain Vireo and an Arrowhead Birding Tours must…the Arrowheaded Warbler. Next, there will be a brief stop in Kingston for lunch before heading on to Port Antonio in the northeastern section of the island. Up until this point all the streamertail hummingbirds that were encountered were the red-billed species. In this section of the island however, they are all Black-billed Streamertails. Accommodations will be on the beautiful Frenchman’s Cove property with its own private beach.

We make an early departure for Hector’s River to catch the nesting White-tailed Tropicbirds before they all depart for sea. This is followed by birding along the famous Ecclesdown Road, arguably one of the best birding routes on the island. Here we hope to get good views of the Black-billed Parrots, Jamaican Crow, Jamaican Pewee and Ring-tailed Pigeons. Many of the common endemics such as the Orangequit, Jamaican Woodpecker and Jamaican Euphonia along will keep us busy all morning. We will return to Frenchman’s Cove for lunch and take the afternoon off to enjoy the beach. We will meet to finalize our bird list for the trip and determine which species we will target for our final morning of birding. Dinner will be at Anna Banana Restaurant in Port Antonio. The return for accommodations at Frenchman’s Cove and a final search for the Jamaican Owl on the property.

We return to Ecclesdown Road for the final morning of birding. By this time we should have an impressive trip list including all the endemics. Lunch will be at the beach side restaurant at Frenchman’s Cove after which we pack for the return trip to our starting point in Montego Bay where the trip comes to an end.


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CUSTOMIZED TOUR

We understand that each birder’s needs are different and so this option provides you the flexibility to bird the way you want. Do you want to search the wetlands for the elusive Masked Duck, the Spotted Rail or the Yellow-breasted Crake? Or do you want to search the dry southern forests for the Bahama Mockingbird or the Stolid Flycatcher? Are you interested in bird photography? Or do you want to see all the endemics and as many birds as the island has to offer?

Simply Contact Us and describe what your birding objectives and dates are and we will design a birding experience to match.
You will be provided with a tentative itinerary along with a quotation.


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