Friday, June 22, 2012


Our last morning here.  We will miss it!  I had a wonderful stay here and I hope to return.  We didn't have much time here today, but I did have a few minutes to say adios to the regulars.

Goodbye to the bird who tried more than once to get our Doritos while we were in the pool.

Pearly-eyed Thrasher
 Goodbye to the biggest group of green herons I have ever seen.
Green Heron
 Goodbye to the land crabs that were always there and mostly unseen.
Land Crab
 Goodbye to blue bathing beauty that hung out with us every day.
Little Blue Heron
This place was fantastic!  :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We snorkeled, but there were no manatees

Snorkeling!  Yay!  We sort of had to talk them into it, but they did take us out.    I can see why they were a bit reluctant, it was a fair current and the water was churned up, so the visibility was crap.  But it was still fun!

This was the first use of my underwater camera.  It's much more difficult to take pictures underwater.  Fish are quick too, and they hardly ever perch.  Hahahaha, get it, perch?  Fish?  Perch????  Aaaah, I crack myself up.  Oh, yeah, underwater pictures.  There are waves, and there is no stability in sight!  So it's really much more of a game of luck.  For me, anyway.

A starfish on my hand!  Wheeeeeee!  :-)


This morning I got up and headed out, hoping to get up to the trail.  It looked like it might rain so I packed up my rain jacket and a plastic bag for the camera.  And a good thing too, it was raining as soon as I got out of the lobby!  Nice and light, I suited up and headed up the road.  Along the way I saw this ani, I had seen one before but didn't get pictures.  In this one at least you can tell it's not a grackle!

Smooth-billed Ani
 I saw what really looked like a hummingbird chasing away a bigger bird, and then it headed back to wear it came from.  I tried and tried to locate the hummingbird, but couldn't see it.  So I decided to take a quick look at whatever it chased away.  It was a kestrel!  Hahahahaahahhahaha, that is hilarious and awesome!
American Kestrel
 A bit further up the road, a hummingbird came over and proudly surveyed its territory.  Same one?  I can only guess.
 This sign pointed uphill, which surprised noone.
Tsunami sign
 I found the trail!  It was a bit further away than they had described, but I made it.  Yay!
Trail from road entrance
 Almost as soon as I got in there I saw this little lovely, I felt so lucky to be seeing a warbler!
Adelaide's Warbler
 It flitted about in a quite frantic fashion.  It was very close to me, but I couldn't zoom the camera more, it was too crazy to keep it in the viewfinder!  It then flew off to another bush without inviting me along.  I sighed, turned, and saw..........
Adelaide's Warbler
 A tody!!!!!  This was the ~one~ bird I really wanted to see in Puerto Rico.  So gorgeous!  Look at that green!  Look at that neck!  And the beak!  It was sort of waiting for me to leave, so I just snapped a few shots slow and easy, and backed off.  I was really just about on top of it before I spotted it, because I was looking the other way at the warbler.  It certainly put a spring in my step!
Puerto Rican Tody
 Reminder: this is ~not~ a rain forest.
Mystery Cactus
 A frigatebird soared overhead, I don't know why it was so far inland, but I know basically nothing about them, so, your guess is probably a good deal better than mine.
Magnificent Frigatebird
 Bananabird!  It did not want to talk with me like the Cayman ones did though.
 I made it far enough up the trail to see the little side trail to the big tree and the misty valley.  But the trail was steep (which you totally can't see from this picture) and covered in wet leaves.  This is not a good idea for me travelling alone.
Small trail to a Large tree
 But the part of the side trail I went on was worth it - another tody!  This one seemed pretty unphased by my presence, and when it took off to go to a new perch it totally buzzed me.
Puerto Rican Tody
 Coming back down the trail, almost back to the road.
Trail looking towards road entrance
 On the way back, another look at the kestrel.  I wonder how many there are.  Is this the same on as at the resort?  Is it at least a pair?  Maybe a family?  Why do I see a kestrel every time I turn around?
American Kestrel
 I saw the troupials (there is at least one pair) both coming and going, in the same general area.  When I was nearly back at the hotel this one posed, making sure I had a nice shot to remember them by.  Thanks buddy!
I sat down to a large hearty breakfast which I felt I had definitely earned.  Then it was the beach until snorkel time!  :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On the Road Again

Today on my morning walk I ventured onto the road.  Adventure!  Well, okay, that might be a teeny bit of an exaggeration.  Still, it was cool!  Actually it was really quite hot.  Saw some cool stuff tho!  :-)

Once again, loads of flycatchers, also loads of white-winged doves.  They were plentiful, shade was scarce! I had great great looks at a troupial but my camera lens was still fogged up, so the pictures are crap.  Oh well, at least my eyes were happy!

Mystery Flycatchers

White-winged Dove

I was quite disturbed to see a smooshed scorpion on the road.  I should probably stay out of the grass/brush/forest.
Smooshed Scorpion
 Kestrel!  I wonder if it's the same one we saw yesterday.
American Kestrel
 Many of the trees were just loaded with nests along these lines.  And flycatchers were in many of the trees, so maybe the flycatcher nests look like this.  But there were so many of them!!!!
 From a bend in the road at the top of a hill, here is the view of the houses near our hotel and the ocean.  Maybe I've walked far enough for today!
Typical Road View
 These signs were along the side of the road every so often.  There was very little traffic here.

What a gorgeous little...... inlet?  Lagoon?  Doesn't it look like it would be a great spot to explore?  And what is that kestrel chasing?  Could it be a northern harrier?  Is that a white rump?  Some sort of hawk?  I can't tell.
Mystery Raptor and American Kestrel
 Another turkey vulture soaring overhead.
Turkey Vulture
 On the way back, passing the same pretty lagoon, another chase!  It still looks like the kestrel is after something, but what is it chasing?  Looks like a hawk to me, but there are not a lot of good candidates in my guide book.  They are all listed as uncommon or rare or vagrant, or don't match the picture somehow.  I waited for quite some time to see the hawk would come back around, but, no luck.
Mystery Hawk and American Kestrel
 "Dude, chill!  I'm going, I'm going!"
Mystery Hawk and American Kestrel
I also saw the kestrel hunting, and that's about when the truck stopped and one of the four guys in there talked to me.  Nervous!  But it turns out that they work for the forest reserve up the road, and they told me how to get to the trailhead that links up to this road.  Sweet!  It's further than I walked today but not too much further, and I don't have to go all the way around to the car entrance.  That's great news! Okay, adrenaline everywhere, take a breath and head back to the hotel.

 A different kind of mystery flycatcher.
Mystery Flycatcher
 The troupial is back!  Not as close and the light is not as good, but, hey, it's a troupial!
 Back to the hotel and a hearty breakfast which I feel I well and truly earned.  Then to the beach to watch the bird channel!
Little Blue Heron
 Green herons are funnier on windy days.
Green Heron
 This one decided to try out its fancy dance steps.  Yes, my toes are blocking a bit of the picture.  But I was so relaxed on my lounge chair in the shade and a nice breeze that I was just unwilling to move them out of the way.  :-)
Green Heron
 I got up enough energy to walk down to the birdier end of the beach and a ruddy turnstone came over.
Ruddy Turnstone
 This was as intense as the encounter got, then they just ignored each other.  The green heron did chase off other green herons though.  The high count of green herons was seven!  I mean I could stand on the beach in one spot and see seven different green herons just by turning my head.  It was awesome!
Ruddy Turnstone and Green Heron
 At lunch this iguana showed off its new skin.  Now that's bright!
 We walked on the beach to visit the killdeer.  You can't tell but this is a picture of killdeer copulating. Yes it is.  Yes it is!  See, that one vaguely white-with-black-marking blotch is the male killdeer.  THe female is underneath.  Yes she is!  Damn you autofocus!
 See?  There are two of them!  An awkward post-coital moment.........
 I was extremely proud of myself for spotting a land crab.  They are notoriously hard to catch out of their hidey-holes.  Then I saw that the pictures contain several other land crabs that I completely missed at the time, even though I thought I was looking carefully......  :-)
Land Crabs