Puerto Rico Trip Part 1

3/27/19 – A decent morning, after we landed in Isla Verde, a bustling city in Puerto Rico, I was wondering what to do for birdwatching. Clearly Isla Verde is a party city where people play loud music on the street that you can even hear them from the sixteenth floor! I’d have to get used to it. My dad took us to beach early morning and to my surprise I was able to hear few birds in the apartment backyard. As we were tired, we decided to rest in the apartment for rest of the day. I was able to see a water lagoon far, but was not expecting to see any birds. Interesting enough my dad pointed out a soaring bird flying towards us from the lagoon. I observed its wings and the body shape. I was amazed that it was a Magnificent Frigatebird and I was seeing it right from our apartment. It was a really nice sighting. Here’s the photo:

Magnificent Frigatebird

3/28/19 – After another restless night of cars and loud music playing on the street, I couldn’t sleep and woke up early in the morning. I was tired, yet we went to apartment backyard at 7:00 am and our first bird of the day were some White-winged doves.

White-winged Dove

While seeing White-winged Doves, we also heard a new, high pitched bird call and I wasn’t sure what it was. I followed the call and soon enough spotted a tiny little bird hopping from one branch to another in the nearby tree. it was a beautiful little Bananaquit. What a funny name – ” You quit eating a banana and its a Bananaquit”. This became my favorite, cute little bird, and now I see it every time I visit the backyard.

Bananaquit

While catching up with Bananaquits from one tree to other, we spotted the bird in the picture below. I did not knew its name at the time. Can you guess the bird without reading further?

Red-legged Thrush

My initial ID research confirmed it is a Red-legged Thrush. They’re nice birds to see. And at 10:00 am, we came back in.

3/29/19, Excited to explore what else I’ll find in the backyard and ocean front for birdwatching, I got up early at 6:30 am and stepped out. The very first bird we saw were some White-winged doves.

White-winged Dove

And then a White-crowned Pigeon. Finding pigeons and doves on the beach was little unusual for me. I’m used to seeing some kind of shore birds there. Then my dad explained it to me the reason behind it. This beach is very sandy and clear with not much vegetation. So, no major fishes and sea weeds for birds to eat. Hence shore birds won’t come here. Also, this is surrounded by the residential buildings and pigeons and doves live on the buildings, thus we find more doves and pigeons. It was funny to watch pigeons digging the sand for food at sometimes.

White-crowned Pigeon

After the beach, we went to find my favorite Bananaquit. It was happily singing and skip hopping on the bushes in the backyard. I got to capture a photo of a singing Bananaquit! And that was all at the beach and backyard.

Bananaquit

As it was getting cloudy, we returned to our apartment. Our apartment window faces towards a beautiful lagoon in the far named – Laguna Los Corozos. It was getting misty and rainy and suddenly we spotted a circle of few birds soaring in the far. Soon their circle started flying towards us and I was able to zoom my camera and had a look at them. These were some Magnificent Frigatebirds. They sure like the rain and were enjoying soaring in it thoroughly.

Magnificent Frigatebird

Another highlight of the apartment birds is Black Swifts. I see them flying around the top of the building every morning and evening, but not able to get a picture. Today I was little patient and managed to click a blurry but ok picture of the Black Swift. And this concluded our morning birdwatching.

Black Swift

After resting for the afternoon, we decided to go for an evening walk to the beach. As a bird nerd, I refuse to leave my camera at home. And I’m so glad that I took it with me. Within 10 minutes walking of the shore, we spotted a not so usual bird towards one of the apartment building. As we approached to see closely, we found it was a Yellow-crowned Night-heron. This one might have lost its path and came here. This is the entirely new species in the trip. After few minutes, it stood so still for almost 20 or more minutes. It felt like a statue. I nearly got 20 photos of it from all angles. We went further and came back to check on it on the way back and it was still in the below statue position. Fascinated as how it can stand still for so long.

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

After the Yellow crowned Night Heron, I was able to click a good shot of the Greater Antillean Grackle. A bird you find like flies everywhere in Puerto Rico. Even though it is a common bird, but I felt it needed to be included in this report.

Greater Antillean Grackle

3/30/19, Another day and I was even more excited for what new possibilities of birds I can find today within the accessible areas nearby our apartment. We stepped out onto the beach, and walked further than we usually go. Luckily this was a weekday morning, when not a lot of tourists go on the beach partying. It was peaceful and calm and I saw a Greater Antillean Grackle.

Greater Antillean Grackle

Near Grackles was also a Scaly-naped Pigeon, a new species for the day.

Scaly-naped Pigeon

While I was clicking Scally-naped pigeon, my mom spotted few birds flittering in the nearby bushes in front of an apartment building. As sun was bright and all I could see was the black birds. I really needed a bird to perch on the right spot to sit for a nice click and identify. After flying across and over and under, a bird perched and I was able to get a good click after few tries. I had to come back to ID the bird. And it turned out to be a new species – Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Then on the way back I clicked a city-dweller that you clearly hate, either its population or their poop, the Rock Pigeon, although it wasn’t annoying.

Rock Pigeon

On 3/31/19, I was not as excited. We were going to the car dealership and expected to spend whole day there. I had no hopes of finding any birds there, but I was wrong. As we were waiting for the paper work to get done, we spotted a bird in the parking lot and followed it. To my surprise, we saw a Gray Kingbird and within minutes we spotted not just one, but four of them! I was sad as I did not carry a camera, but my mom came to rescue as she carried a small camera. I became so happy and clicked so many pictures of Gray Kingbird – another new species for me.

Gray Kingbird

And as usual we also saw some Greater Antillean Grackles.

Greater Antillean Grackle

With this I conclude this long post of Puerto Rico Birds Part 1. Let’s see what new I explore in upcoming days, before I head back to California.

As always Happy birding!

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