Greater Antillean Grackle
At 12:30, we met our leaders Kevin and Lena from Wildside Nature Tours and the two other tour participants. After a brief food and fuel stop, we headed west from San Juan toward the town of Hatillo. We made our first birding stop at Laguna Tortuguero, a small woodland area next to a large lake. We immediately started hearing and seeing some of our sought after Puerto Rican endemics.
The first endemic we saw was Adelaide's Warbler - a gorgeous bird, but uncooperative for a photograph. Pearly-eyed Thrashers called from the undergrowth and several female Puerto Rican Spindalises (Spindali?) flitted in the limbs of an Orchid Tree. Luck was with us and a splendid male Spindalis joined the party. He stayed just out of view for a while, but then came down ridiculously close to feed on the flower petals of the Orchid Tree.
PR Spindalis with a piece of petal in his mouth
A hummingbird made itself known by buzzing over the canopy of the tree. It was a female Antillean Mango - a specialty of the Caribbean.
Antillean Mango - the leaf is not really stuck to the end of his bill, just bad positioning in the photo
We also saw some familiar birds like Osprey and Northern Parula and less familiar ones like the introduced Orange-cheeked Waxbill. We ended our time there and continued to our hotel for the night. I had a great dinner of some eggplant dish with a delicious side of rice and beans, along with some flan de vanilla for dessert. Yum. We were off to a terrific start! Day 3 was filled with tremendous birds. More on that later.