Manchester to Jamaica
Dudley and Mary travelled up from St Albans and stayed the night as we had an early start his morning. We arrived in Manchester a little after 8.00am parking the car and catching the shuttle bus to the Airport where we met up Keith and Lyn the remainder of the UK contingent in the terminal. The flight was fine and I watched on of the worst films I have ever seen “The Meg” avoid at all costs.
We landed in Montego Bay nine hours later where the two Americans Ann and Darleen had been patiently waiting for us. I first met Ann in Brazil in 2005 and being a long-standing friend of Dudley and Mary I had met her in the UK a few times. Darleen (a friend of Ann’s) a lady in her 80’s was as fit as a butchers dog, during the course of the week she left most of us standing and was amazingly resilient. I felt so sad when see told us about coming home from a weekend away to find her house had been burned to the ground during the Californian fires a couple of years back.
At the airport we saw a couple of Magnificent Frigatebirds and Zenaida Doves. Our driver Raymond got us loaded up and started on the three hour drive to Green Castle Estate which lay 100 miles to the west along the north coast of Jamaica. After what seemed forever we turned off the main road and followed a rough track for about three miles with a brief stop for a Barn Owl before we arrived at the Estate House which was our base for the next week.
The staff were waiting for us and showed us to our rooms, which were well equipped and very pleasant. We then returned to the dining room for a light meal to be joined by a Northern Potoo that flew in to take advantage of the insects attracted to the lights around the complex.
Sunday 6th January
Green Castle Estate
We were met by the resident guide Dwain, after a pre-breakfast at 7.00am he took us for a walk around the gardens. The birds came thick and fast with Jamaican Spindalis, Red-tailed Streamertail, Vervain Hummingbird, Jamaican Woodpecker, Jamaican Mango, Jamaican Vireo, Sad Flycatcher, White-crowned Pigeon, Jamaican Euphonia, Jamaican Oriole and Loggerhead Kingbird, most of which were endemics.
After breakfast we explored the Waterfall Trail one of many trails on the estate. We saw further endemics plus a Mangrove Cuckoo, Greater Antillean Bullfinch, Orangequit, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit plus a good scattering of American Warblers were Parula Warbler and American Redstart were surprisingly rather common.