aba events

ABA Birding Rally: Puerto Rico

puertorico_smSOLD OUT!!

When:  October 2 – 8, 2016

Where: Puerto Rico – San Juan & La Parguera
How Much: $2495
Registration: Contact events@aba.org, 800-850-2473
Hosts: Gabriel Lugo, and others
For more info:
email events@aba.org, and see the event INFO sheet here  

 

From the tiny, colorful Tody, to the ornate Puerto Rican Woodpecker to the island’s unique tanager, the United States territory of Puerto Rico is indeed rich in birds.Known as La Isla del encanto, meaning the isle of enchantment, Puerto Rico is about three times the size of Rhode Island, and is an island of beautiful beaches, forests and wetlands.

The endemic Elfin Woods Warbler was only just described to science in 1972.

The endemic Elfin Woods Warbler was only just described to science in 1972. (Photo © George Armistead)

Home to the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest system, the famous El Yunque National Forest in the east is the largest chunk of public land in the country, rising 3500 feet above sea level and is the 2nd highest point of land on the island nation. Like El Yunque, the Maricao Highlands in the central cordillera holds dwarf forest habitat where the enigmatic Elfin Woods Warbler is found. Just discovered in 1968 (and described in 1972) this species flew under the radar for years, and is still considered vulnerable due to its tiny range and small population of about 600 individuals. One of its prime predators is the Puerto Rican Sharp-shinned Hawk itself, a unique and endangered bird with a population of perhaps no more than 150 birds. Of course the most well-known bird in Puerto Rico is the Puerto Rican Parrot which is critically endangered too.

The fidgety Puerto Rican Tody is common in forested areas throughout the island. (Photo by G. Armistead)

The tiny, fidgety Puerto Rican Tody is common in forested areas throughout the island. (Photo by G. Armistead)

A common bird thoughout much of the country, the Puerto Rican Woodpecker is one of the world's most handsome. (Photo by G. Armistead)

A common bird thoughout much of the country, the Puerto Rican Woodpecker is one of the world’s most handsome. (Photo by G. Armistead)

While some of the more alluring birds on the island are its rarest, many of the common birds are attractive and charismatic too. Mangrove Cuckoo, a bird so hard to see in the ABA Area, is easily encountered across Puerto Rico, and Gray Kingbirds, Red-legged Thrushes and Bananaquits abound. Lizard-cuckoos are sneaky and hard to see but are heard frequently, while the wetlands may hold Masked Duck and West Indian Whistling-Duck; the latter so hard to see through most of its range, is often easier here.

Join your fellow ABA members for an adventure to United States’s tropical home-away-from-home, the magical Puerto Rico. Our route will take us through all the habitats the island has to offer, at an easy and pleasant pace, with routine sightings of fetching birds. This trip should net almost all (possibly all) the endemic birds and a bevy of other cool caribbean species. Let’s head for San Juan and experience Puerto Rico together.

Cabo Rojo, in the southwest corner of the island, is scenic and also a great magnet for migrant and vagrant birds. Photo © Carlos Roman/Creative Commons

Cabo Rojo, in the southwest corner of the island, is scenic and also a great magnet for migrant and vagrant birds. Photo © Carlos Roman/Creative Commons

Cancellation policy: Full refund, less $150.00 per person administration fee, until July 15th, 2016. No refunds after July 15th, 2016.

Travel Insurance
We highly recommend that all attendees registering for any ABA event consider purchasing travel insurance to guard against problems caused by severe weather, injury/illness, and any other logistical issue that might prevent a registrant from attending and participating in the event. Refunds beyond the cancellation date simply are not possible. Many members make use of companies such as Allianz, CSA, or Travel Guard to insure their trips.

 

Itinerary

DAY 1 – OCTOBER 2 – ARRIVAL

From 1:00pm thru 5:00pm on Sunday, October 2nd, every hour on the hour, there will be ABA vans running airport pick-ups to transport members from SJU to the Sheraton.
6:00pm:          Dinner & Lecture: Introduction to Birding in Puerto Rico

DAY 2 – OCTOBER 3 – NORTH-CENTRAL

Heading west from San Juan we will stop along the Northern Karst Region in a variety of spots looking for Adelaide’s Warbler, Puerto Rican Vireo, Puerto Rican Tody, and Puerto Rican Woodpecker.

DAY 3 – OCTOBER 4 – RIO ABAJO – NORTH-CENTRAL – PUERTO RICAN NIGHTJAR

Early, short walk in Rio Abajo State Forest, home of the most successful population of the extremely endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. The parrots are unpredictable but this site offers us our best chance for finding one.

DAY 4 – OCTOBER 5 – MARICAO – SOUTHWEST

Birding in the Maricao State Forest looking for our targets the Elfin Woods Warbler and Puerto Rican Tanager plus any additional endemics. Then drive to south coast with birding stops along the way.

DAY 5 – OCTOBER 6 – CARTAGENA LAGOON – PLAIN PIGEON

Explore Cartagena Lagoon National Wildlife Refuge looking for West Indian Whistling Duck and other species before departing to search for the endangered Plain Pigeon in the central mountains.

DAY 6 – OCTOBER 7 – HUMMINGBIRDS OF THE EASTERN PUERTO RICO  – EL YUNQUE NATIONAL FOREST

After breakfast, look for Antillean Crested Hummingbird and Green-throated Carib on hotel garden in Northeastern corner of the Island. Later we will be taken by authorized vehicles to El Yunque National Forest.

DAY 7 – OCTOBER 8 – DEPARTURE DAY
Rally activities conclude Saturday, October 8th after breakfast at the Sheraton Old San Juan. Those requiring transportation to SJU, have the option of taking an ABA shuttle van at 8:00am or 9:00am, or arranging their own transportation with the hotel.