#494-497 in Old San Juan

Today was a break from birding. Instead Beth and I went to visit Viejo San Juan. It reminded me more of the French Quarter than anywhere else I’ve ever seen. Of course I did bring my binoculars, and Beth brought her camera. You never know when something’s going to surprise you in the middle of the city, and Viejo San Juan didn’t disappoint. The first surprise was what I first thought were Tree Swallows, but they were a little off. For one thing, when’s the last time you saw Tree Swallows nesting in the middle of the city? After consulting the field guide I realized we were looking at Caribbean Martins!

After that it was a few Greater Antillean Grackles, a Monk Parakeet or three, and hundreds and hundreds of Rock Pigeons until we reached the western city wall where a Red-legged Thrush dropped down right in front of us:

I’ll try for a better photo Saturday when I’m back in San Juan with my real camera.

Not five minutes later, an Antillean Mango flitted into a tree just north of the Casa Roja. No pictures of that one. Hummingbirds are hard enough to photograph with the DSLR. There’s almost no chance of doing this with the Lumix point-and-shoot.

Finally on the lawn in front of El Morro I spotted the first Mourning Doves of the trip. Or were they? In binoculars they looked a little off. Do Mourning Doves have an iridescent pitch in their neck and brownish tail feathers. No! It’s #497, Zenaida Dove:

Total count for Old San Juan was 14 species including 4 life birds:

  • Brown Pelican
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Rock Pigeon
  • White-winged Dove
  • Zenaida Dove
  • Common Ground-Dove
  • Monk Parakeet
  • Antillean Mango
  • Gray Kingbird
  • Caribbean Martin
  • Red-legged Thrush
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Bananaquit
  • House Sparrow

I was hoping for some gulls and terns in the harbor, but I can’t complain about 4 life birds in the middle of a city, especially when I wasn’t expecting any. 500 is now easily within reach on this trip.

Leave a Reply