JAMAICA'S GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS
Jamaica has a warm tropical climate which can get rather humid, also in parts of the well known and published mountainous habitats. This can be the same for other mountain forests that are not spoken about. However, the elevation and time of year these areas are traversed, do make a difference. Although it is noticeably cooler island-wide in the winter months, the higher elevation areas especially in the Blue Mountains, usually have a cooler feel year-round.
Eastern Jamaica, hosts the highest mountain ranges on the island, especially the northeastern end of the island which hosts the Blue Mountain Peak which sours to a height of 2,256.13 m or 7,402 ft. Blessed with this luxury, these areas are more lush and cooler than all the other parts. Although Jamaica's western and central mountains, are not as high as those in the eastern region, they also have numerous lush forests, plenty breeze and cool temperatures. These parts of the island are dominated by the impressive and almost impenetrable Cockpit Country which consist of wet limestone forests and beautiful birds.
These areas are comprised of hundreds of little hills resembling inverted egg crotons. However, the southern to southwestern areas tend to be warmer and dryer than the central, northern and northeastern parts of Jamaica. Although the northern and northeastern areas are cooler than the southern, do not be misled; as this region does go up to high and humid conditions. However, it does not get as high as those areas of the south and southwestern regions. All four seasons experienced World wide, are also spoken about here. However, the only seasons we experience are the wet season and the dry seasons.
Birding Habitats In Jamaica
This birdwatching hotspot hosts over ninety percent (90%) of Jamaica's rare birds such as the Arrow-headed Warbler, Jamaican Blackbird, Crested Quail-dove, Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo, Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Jamaican Elaenia, White-eyed Thrush, are just a few of the birds that are spotted here between the months of November 2017 through April 2018.
This area is just one of over ten major birding hotspots which are located in this region of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. This area is one of the homes for various bird species to include Jamaica's 29 endemic species.
This large area spans numerous hectares of ponds, rivers, swamps and canals, some of which are diked for easy walking and are parts of the Lower and Upper Black River Morass. This area hosts a large number of migrant, resident and vagrant species most of which are water birds. Dry-forest birds such as the Stolid Fly-catcher can also be found here. Common residents such as the Northern Potoo and some endemics can also be found here.
This area forms a breast plate for the northern Blue Mountains if you are leaving from the northern shores. After a brilliant morning in the northern Blue Mountains, journey breaks along the road overlooking several gorges and creeks is a good idea. Here you can view species of Herons, Sandpipers and Kingfishers. Do not be surprise if a few endemics turns up.
This birding hotspot is one of the many habitats which are located in the hills of the northern Cockpit Country. On any given day, a large number of Jamaica's endemic bird species can be found here. During the months of November through May, other species such as migrant and residents are also here.
These three areas forms the main southern Jamaica's dry-forests which are known to host the Bahama Mockingbird outside of the Bahamian Islands. Other rare species that are prone to these parts are the Stolid Fly-catcher, Grasshopper Sparrow and the endemic Jamaican Mango Hummingbird.
JAMAICA'S WEATHER PATERN AND BIRD SPECIES
Jamaica's dry season runs from December through April; while the wet season starts in May, through to the introduction of the hurricane season in June. During this time, a high level of rainfall is usually present. Between the months of June and September, Jamaicans and visitors to Jamaica must expect heat and humidity sometimes with rainfall, being that this time is the hurricane season and various tropical systems and rapid change in weather patterns usually appear during this time of year. October through mid November, the hurricane season says goodbye.
During this time, heavy rainfalls which Jamaicans refer to as bad weather, usually occur. With all the above said, Jamaica is the birding gem of the Caribbean. This blessed tropical paradise boasts sixty seven (67) resident land-bird species including twenty nine (29) endemic bird species, eighteen (18) endemic subspecies, plus another one hundred and eighty seven (187) migrant bird species which are present during the winter through spring periods. This averages over three hundred (300) species of birds which are recorded on the island.
Unfortunately the Jamaican Petrel and Jamaican Pauraque have not been recorded since shortly after the introduction of the mongoose in 1872. There is little hope that these species still exist. However, twenty nine (29) of these endemic birds are still remaining and can be reliably seen on any four to ten days birding vacation or multi-day tour. If you do not have enough time on this beautiful and blessed island to do any of our multi-day tours, take one of our single-day birding excursions or tours. One of our experienced birding guides will be happy to be with you.
Birding Excursions and Vacations
Have a look at our four (4) birding excursions or single day birding tours to major habitats in northern and eastern Jamaica.
Enjoy comfortable, clean and relaxing accommodation with second to none meals during any of our birding vacations or multi-day birding tours. Have closeup views of rare birds, sometimes almost at your arm's reach.
RECOMMENDED GEARS AND EQUIPMENT
Please, do not forget your binoculars. As for telescopes these are always ideal for spotting birds that are perched on branches far away. If persons have their specialized telescope or spotting scope, we recommend that they take it along. We also recommend that persons take along rain-coats. Although we usually have our car, van or bus close to us during birding, it is not a certainty that your motor vehicle will bet to you or you will get to it in time, if there is a sudden downpour.
In the Cockpit Country for instance, most habitats do not accommodate motor vehicle. In addition to this, Some persons may have the ability to go off on trails that sometimes will take them several hundred meters from the driving road and will not be able to be picked up or make it back to their motor-vehicle if there is a sudden downpour of rainfall. Although most of our birding sites or habitats in other areas are mainly on paved surfaces, sometimes we do have huge puddles of water that can cover and soak through sandals and sneakers easily.
This means that you also need to bring a proper pair of shoes. If the weather is brilliant, these can remain the motor vehicle transporting you if you do not want to use them. If you are birding in late winter early spring, you can wear short pants and short sleeves. However, we do recommend that persons tale along long sleeves and full trousers if for any reason one decide to go off on a trail to see a specific bird. Your choice of insect repellant is also recommended to have on hand in some areas that may have mosquitoes. If you are allergic to repellants, some White Over-proof Jamaican Rum will do the trick!