Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cabo Rojo 12/10: Caribbean Elaenia, Bronze Mannikin, Sandwich Tern

Bronze Mannikin
Photos: Shari Zirlin
The next best place to go seemed to be Cabo Rojo, at the extreme southwest corner of the island, about 15 or 20 minutes away. We left our car in Boqueron drove with Hilda down a narrow (paved) road that ran beneath a canopy of trees. Almost immediately we came upon a flock of Bronze Mannikins.

Farther along the road we came across our first Caribbean Elaenia, a fairly nondescript flycatcher with  a call that struck as similar to that of a Willow Flycatcher. Adelaide's Warblers and Northern Parulas were flitting in the trees, and a Puerto Rican Flycatcher whistled often enough for us to finally locate it.
Puerto Rican Flycatcher

The road led to part of the Cabo Rojo salt flats, which, apart from some Great Egrets, were empty. However, it was here that we consistently heard, but could not find, the Venezuelan Troupial. Hilda said it was probably eating the fruit of cacti that we could see growing behind the trees. If so, it was not going to show itself. Around the bend, Hilda parked her vehicle and we walk around to another salt flat, where we heard a racket coming from a flock of birds, which turned out to be the most Black-necked Stilts I have ever seen in one place. Normally, I'm happy to see a few at Bombay Hook in the summer. Here, Hilda estimated there were 800 stilts.

It was way past lunch time by this point so we drove back to Boqueron, another Margaritaville, but not unpleasant, and ate on a bar's covered porch over the water. On pilings not too far out were over 50 Royal Terns and in among them 2 Sandwich Terns. Sandwich Terns seemed appropriate at lunch time.

We drove desultorily around Cabo Rojo after lunch, but found nothing of interest, and as I wanted to get our car to a car wash before the mud baked on, we ended the day a little early.

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