Friday, April 16, 2010

WINGS Tour to Jamaica: Day 6,The Cockpit Country

 This morning was reserved for a visit to the Cockpit Country about an hour's drive north of Marshall's Pen.

The limestone carst here has weathered into a shape that resembles an giant egg carton, named "cockpit" for the resemblance to the pits where cockfights were held.

This remote, one-lane road was once a major route to the north coast.

The Red-billed Streamertail is the national symbol, fortunately a common bird.

The Rufous-tailed Flycatcher is one of two endemic species of Myiarchus flycatcher on the island.

Jamaica is one of the hotspots for bromeliad diversity. Tillandsia and this one, Hohenbergia, are two genera that are particularly well represented. Notice the lizard on one leaf.

The lizard is Anolis lineatopus, the Jamaican Gray Anole.

Also known as poor man's orchid, Bauhinia provides nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds.

The only ture orchid we have seen in bloom on this trip is the ever reliable Bletia purpurea.

Our local guide, Brandon Hay, thought this was one of the endemic members of the family Malpighiaceae.

A plant in the family Piperaceae.

This endemic palm is Thrinax parviflora.

It's always especially gratifying to have great views of such an amazing bird without having to resort to playback. This Jamaican Lizard-Cuckoo was sunning after early morning showers right next to the road.

It's hard to get good digiscoped images of Jamaican Tody – they sit in one good spot for precisely one second shorter than the time needed to set up the scope, turn on the camera, and click the shutter. Maybe tomorrow I'll be quicker than the bird. Still, here you can see the adorable red throat, yellow vent, and pink flank tufts. Pink!

I thought this damselfly must be Protoneura viridis, as Jamaica has only 13 damselflies, and I thought it didn't look like any of the typical pond damsels I'm more or less familiar with. Even Dennis Paulson didn't recognize it at first. Since this was in an area with no surface water, the tank bromeliads being the only possible breeding location, it is apparently the Jamaican endemic Diceratobasis macrogaster. Like the dragonfly we had the other day, this one appears to be never photographed in the wild before.

A true bug, order Hymenoptera, this red and black bug caught out attention.

On the way back to Marshall's Pen we passed the unassuming Pickapeppa Plant where the world-famous condiment is created.


  1. Red-billed Streamertail is a beautiful bird. Common means you can find it everywhere? Nice reports.


  2. Hi Gyorgy,

    Yes, indeed, one can find the Red-billed Streamertail almost everywhere. All people on the island are quite familiar with this bird. The only place it does not occur is the far eastern end of Jamaica, where it is replaced by the equally beautiful Black-billed Streamertail.

  3. Thank you friends for the information about the Red-billed Streamertail bird, its looks really beautiful. All pictures are nice.

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