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Birding Vacations and Tours

December 24, 2013

Attractions Link Tourism Services have gone the extreme to promote Jamaica's Birding to the World.  By doing this many birders have travelled from various parts of the World to Jamaica in order to experience bird watching in a quiet, easy and friendly way.  These persons have have expressed their honest opinion regarding the services of  this compact, aligned and rounded company which is driven by a knowledgeable group of hard working and committed people who know what it takes to arrange bird watching activities weather it is a full birding vacation package or just a single day birding excursion. 

Below are a list of the various birding holiday packages and single day excursion or tour packages which is offered by this company.  If you have done any of the following activities, you are welcome to voice your opinion regarding the activity which you have done.  This can be placed in the comment section below.

Birding Vacation Packages:-

Birding excursions or single day-tours:-

If you are thinking of a birding vacation or single day birding activity in Jamaica, you are welcome to follow any of the links above to its respective page where you will be able to get additional and precise information ragarding your Jamaica birding interest.  Thanks for making it Attractions Link Tourism Services!  You are at the place where birding arrangements and activities are easy in every aspect!

Go Back

I woke up in the middle of the night in order to reach the Blue Mountains by dawn en route to my (allegedly) midday departure out of Kingston. My stalwart driver was Wayne Murdock of Attractions Link Ltd., a remarkable, hard-working man who also shows the good sense to be a birder. Wayne knew quite a bit about the Blue Mountains, including what my target birds should be. For example, he knew that we should be able to find the endemic Crested Quail-Dove tottering along the road at daybreak and sent me down one path to seek them out while he scored me some awesome organic beans (yes, coffee) from some rastas! The Crested Quail-Dove is a wondrously colored pigeon that jerks along shaded mountain paths like a drinking bird. Of course, I was thrilled to see it though my photos aren’t much to speak of!

Jamaican Todies seem to be nesting right now, in late April, and I found quite a few todies zipping around at eye level or lower in dense forest. They nest in holes in a vertical bank, and when roads are cut, such a bank is often created. That's probably why the birds are so easy to spot near a road. Several times I found two together. And once you spot a tody, it tends to stay around and give you plenty of time to look at it.

Wayne MurdockWayne Murdock showed me my first Jamaican Tody, along Ecclesdown Road, at the extreme east end of Jamaica. Wayne and his wife, Janet, own Attractions Link Tour Company in Port Antonio. They provide bus or car transportation, as well as arranging tours.

Wayne specializes in nature tours, especially birding. He took me to Ecclesdown Road and helped me spot many of Jamaica's endemic birds.

Wayne,

Attached is our final bird list for Jamaica. We had a total of 104 species, with Therese having 34 new lifers and I had 33. I had seen the white-tailed tropicbird once before.

The snow was all gone when we returned to Michigan, but a day later we had an inch of new snow. New snow looks better than old dirty snow. Winter is still here though.

Thanks for the great birding and hospitality. And memories to last a lifetime.

Dave and Therese

Janette and Wayne:

We arrived home on Saturday evening and are currently trying to catch up on the accumulated paperwork - to say nothing of our sleep! We will post a trip report to the web shortly.

Thank you (Janette) very much for all the help in organizing the trip and Wayne for finding all the birds. Our final total was 107 species, including 39 lifers (and 3 additional species seen by trip leaders as rapid fly-bys!) We were especially pleased to have such good looks at many of the endemics and birds that were new to us.

Jamaicans are very friendly people - and Jamaican birds are very cooperative!

Thanks again for everything

Alan and Carol

The “Ten Days Jamaica Birding Extravaganza” offered by Attractions Link is billed as a (relatively) leisurely way to see all of Jamaica's 28 endemics – and lots of other Caribbean species. We took this tour in April, 2013 to do just that. We wanted a guided tour of Jamaica's birding hotspots, but on an extended basis to give more opportunities to try to ensure finding all of the endemics. This is not to say that the birding pace is that relaxed; it is a birding trip after all. Birding commenced around 0500h each day in order to reach prime birding habitat when the birds were most active. But, we were able to relax on many afternoons, and had the luxury of taking some time out on various days. For example, much of one day was spent on a bamboo raft on the Rio Grande River but, even here, although all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the scenery, we were treated to close-up views of herons, egrets and shorebirds along the the river's edge. Similarly, a visit to the beach at Frenchman's Cove on another day, had to include a walk around the gardens where Yellow-Crowned Night Herons were feeding at the edges of the ponds just metres from the paths. But, the stars of the show were surely the renowned birding spots such as Old Mine Trail, Hard-war Gap, and Ecclesdown Road. Having a local guide to such places is a huge benefit for non-residents. Not only do these individuals know how best to access the locations, they also know specific spots where target birds can be located. These include places where birds were seen on recent tours, or birds that have been observed by other local birders. Such knowledge is invaluable to visiting birders and is why we often use local bird guiding services. We were not disappointed in our tour of Jamaica. Wayne Murdoch, the owner of Attractions Link, was our guide for most of the tour. Wayne really knows his way around Jamaica - and how to avoid most of the potholes on the mountain roads! He also knows the best birding locations and has a wide network of contacts for birding information. At Forres Park in the Blue Mountains, our guide was Lyndon Johnson, a young birder with excellent skills for hearing and locating specific species. Between them, our two guides found all 28 endemic species for us. We had good views of many of these birds, even some of the more difficult targets. Who could forget driving around a bend on a forest road and Wayne stopping abruptly because a Crested Quail-Dove was stationary in the middle of the road?! Similarly, we vividly recall listening to the weird and wonderful burbling calls of a Jamaican Crow flying overhead, a bird that the Jamaicans very aptly call the Jabbering Crow. The only endemic we didn't actually see was the Jamaican Owl. We heard this bird calling early one morning but, even with a powerful flashlight, were unable to locate the bird. But, we trust our eyes to identify birds, and so have no reason not to similarly trust our ears – especially when we know that the bird is known to be present in the specific location. So, we count all 28 endemics as having been “identified” on our trip. Or, have we just left a little room to require a second visit to Jamaica? Time will tell...

Alan and Carol German
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Birding Jamaica

Not many cruising boats stop in Jamaica. First of all, it’s off the beaten track. Most Caribbean boaters travel along the island chain to the east between Trinidad and the Bahamas. For them Jamaica would be diversion since it is to the west of Hispaniola. We were heading directly to Panama so it was right on our path and we were tempted to stop.
Jamaica’s second drawback is a reputation for crime. Before deciding to stop there we did some research on the crime issue using cruising boat websites, boating safety indexes to all Caribbean islands, US gov’t state department recommendations and bird watching sites. We decided we would not feel comfortable anchoring out in the remote harbors, but Jamaica offers three marinas with good security. We chose the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio on the northeast coast of the island. It got excellent reviews, was not in a city known for crime, was the easiest to reach and was near the Blue Mountains and other interesting places to visit.
The Errol Flynn proved to be a good choice. It is owned by the Jamaican government and has the coast guard next door. Paul, its Jamaican manager who loves his country, goes out of his way to insure that the boaters at his marina have a pleasant and safe visit. The marina is part of a large secure port property which also includes several restaurants and waterfront paths past mangrove swamps and flowering plants that birds like.
In my pre trip internet research on Jamaica I discovered Lorenzo “Wayne” Murdock on the Fat Birder website and Trip Advisor. He and his wife run tourist and transportation business called Attractions Link, which includes birdwatching trips as well as more general tourist services. He turned out to be a great person and the perfect resource for a birder and non-birder couple. Tom and I did two non-birding day trips with Wayne (of course, I did see a few birds along the way). Our eight mile raft trip down Jamaica’s Rio Grande from the mountains to the sea was in gondola style bamboo rafts which seat two and are poled by a skillful driver. Our mountain hike stopped at two coffee plantations where they grow and produce the famous (and expensive) Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. At each place we had a tasting and a chance to purchase these choice beans at a fraction of the costs elsewhere. Wayne is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Jamaican life—education, politics, economics, taxes, housing construction and running a small business were among the topics we discussed. Through him we felt we got a taste of the real Jamaica.
Birding with Wayne also worked out exceedingly well and the birds of Jamaica are accessible and well worth seeing. He was able to include me in two days trips he had scheduled with other birders which saved money and added more spotters. With a British couple I went to Ecclesdown Road in the eastern foothills. With a Danish birder I visited Hardwar Gap in the Blue Mountains. In both cases we walked along roads with very little traffic which alternated between heavy forest and more open areas where you could look out over the canopy. Jamaica has 28 endemics, more than any other Caribbean Island. Many are quite similar to birds on nearby islands, but due to current trend toward “splitting” the birds from different islands are considered different species. Put the word “Jamaican” in front of the following for a sample of the lifers I saw: tody, pewee, elaenia, vireo, oriole, woodpecker, crow, lizard-cuckoo. Lots of wintering North American warblers were also around. I ended up seeing 10 NA warbler species and was able to help the Europeans get some lifers, like the female black-throated blue which isn’t even pictured in the Jamaican guides.
Without a doubt my favorite birds of the week were the hummingbirds. Jamaica has four kinds, each distinctive in its own way. Luckily I got good looks at them all. The vervain hummingbird, found only in Jamaica and Hispaniola, is the world’s second smallest bird. At first glance it looks like a large bug as it zips around, but when it lights you see a green and white mini version of our familiar ruby-throated hummingbird female. The Jamaica mango, an endemic, is at least four times the weight of the vervain. Its atypical coloring is all bronzy-black with flashes of dark purple in the right light. Best of all is Jamaica’s national bird the streamertail (locally called the doctor bird) which comes in red-billed and black-billed versions. Unfortunately, the splitters don’t always prevail. The two streamertails are considered separate species in Europe and Jamaica but not by the AOU in North America. The males are spectacular with black hoods, flashing neon green chests and two outer tail feathers three or four times as long as the bird’s body. Jens Lind, the Danish birder I met on the Hardwar Gap expedition, was taking pictures and I have included a couple of his excellent hummingbird photos.
When we left Jamaica after a little over a week, the place had exceeded our expectations and we never felt even remotely in danger. I ended up with 23 endemics and several other lifers.
Best wishes and happy birding,

Dorothy

Thanks for your message. We really enjoyed the tour and I will certainly recommend Attractions Link. Hopefully I will find some time to write a report. Right now I am again very busy at work.

Best Regards and greetings to Wayne,

Jos and Wilma

Vacationed to Port Antonio and requested the services of Attractions Link Limited (managed by Mr. and Mrs. Murdock) to provide airport transfer and a birdwatching day tour.

Attractions Link provided friendly, reliable, worry-free, lower cost airport transfer between Kingston and Port Antonio. Our driver's name was Paul and he did a fabulous job navigating the winding roads between the airport and our hotel. He was reliable and very professional plus has great taste in reggae.

While staying at Port Antonio we also booked a birdwatching day tour with Attractions Link. Mr. Murdock (Wayne) was our guide and led us on the most wonderful 8-hour birding adventure. We went to Ecclesdown Forest early in the morning and viewed birds while sipping Blue Mountain Coffee. We saw a majority of the 28 endemic bird species, including some of the rarer ones. Wayne's enthusiasm for the birds and for nature plus his excellent knowledge made the hike the best birdwatching tour I have ever been on. We capped the day off in Boston Bay with some fabulous Jerk Chicken and an ice-cold Red Stripe.

Both the airport transfer and birdwatching tour were arranged by Mrs. Murdock at Attractions Link and she went above and beyond to ensure everything went smoothly and kept in contact to ensure everthing was going well.

I will definately book with Attractions Link again next time I am in the area.

Wayne my guide was waiting for me before start time( 6 a.m) at my hotel . I am a beginner birder so was aware this would be a challenge (5 hours). As it turned out however, Wayne adjusted carefully to my skill level . He was patient , knowledgeable , and obviously had wealth of experience, which he shared in an interesting way!
I learned more than birding however, as he took time to answer my questions about the beautiful countryside and culture . It was a pleasure being with him and especially so when we interacted with local people, as he is such a genuine and warm person with all.
An amazing day I will not forget. I will plan for a multi day birding tour in the future.
Thanks so much for the care put into my tour from Wayne and Jeannette!
Visited April 2015

My wife and I booked 3 separate days birding and photographing excursions from our hotel in Ocho Rios and our guide was Wayne. We were picked up between 0500 and 0600 depending were we were going and return was between 1500 and 1600. My focus was photography and not max count but we saw 58 specisis of which 36 were lifers and 20 out of 28 endemics. I photographed over 65% which is a good percentage. Wayne was excellent as a driver a guide of both nature and local history and is highly recommended. The admin was done by Skype re booking etc and was painless
Visited May 2015



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