It’s not difficult to imagine that our Caribbean destinations offer pleasant, postcard-worthy birding sites with sandy beaches, forested hillsides and oceanic excursions all in one trip! Indeed, these are some of the alluring attributes on these tours, but it’s also about the culture, food and overall “vibe” we encounter during these tours.
For birders, these islands offer endemic species and interesting subspecies (future taxonomic splits, etc.) and rare birds, not to mention wintering migrants familiar to many North Americans. Our tours all take place during winter, allowing a respite from the cold not just for the birds, but for our guests as well.
On our Best of the Lesser Antilles
tour we exploring three unique islands—St. Vincent, Dominica and St. Lucia. No doubt, these are famed for their beaches but it’s the mountainous terrain that diversifies the region’s natural history. First, we’ll listen for the fabulous songs such as that of the Rufous-throated Solitaire, then we’ll foray into the forest on the quest to see these often colourful species. Purple-throated Carib and Blue-headed Hummingbirds are but two representing their guild. Imperial Parrots, the largest of their genus, are rare and impressive.
Overall, on this journey we’ll expect to see upwards of two dozen endemic or regionally endemic species, found all the way from the highest peaks (1450 metres) down to those postcard beaches.
Cuba can be mysterious or familiar, depending on where you’re from and if you’ve been there before. Though we do end this tour in Cayo Coco, we don’t generally spend much time with our toes in the sand. Being a large island, Cuba is loaded with endemic birds and we work our way around the island to see them. Some of the best include: Cuban Trogon, Cuban Tody, Cuban Solitaire, Bee Hummingbird (the world’s smallest bird!), Zapata Sparrow, and others. Experiencing the uber-friendly locals, the picturesque towns and preserved antiquities sure provides a wonderful baseline for exploring the birds on this treasured island.
Over on the charming island of Puerto Rico, we provide a unique tour to see more endemic birds and a host of other ocean and shoreline species. From mangrove forests up to the rainforests of Luquillo Mountains, to the varied Rio Abajo, Guanica and Maricao areas, we set forth to tally an impressive list of species not found elsewhere! Some of these include the elusive Elfin Woods Warbler, the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot and Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, and the more common Puerto Rico Tody and Puerto Rico Lizard-Cuckoo, among many others. We’ll spend a few nights near the ocean in the southwest section of the island around Guanica.
Obviously, there is more to the Caribbean than beach life, and when it comes to birds there are vast opportunities. Despite this, many of our guests extend their stay to soak up some sun and sand, and we are happy to help arrange these logistics.