Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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68 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2017 Birding Puerto Rico breed in Puerto Rico but migrate farther south. Wintertime offers opportunities to see warblers (including Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Parula, and Prairie Warbler) and other birds commonly seen on the mainland only during summer or migra- tion. Birding Locations El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System and a popular attraction. Most tourists stop at just a few sites, and not many visitors venture out early in the morning or late in the afternoon. El Yunque is located in the northeast, an easy drive from San Juan. At about 28,000 acres, it is both the largest pro- tected area in Puerto Rico and one of the smallest national forests. The most popular sites are along PR191, which climbs from the El Por- tal Visitor Center and dead-ends near a trailhead leading up to Mount Brit- ton and its lookout tower. The visitor center is the first stop; its parking area and trails are a good place to start, par- ticularly before they get crowded. It is a good location for Scaly-naped Pigeon, Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo, Puerto Ri- can Tody, Loggerhead Kingbird, Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Puerto Rican Tanager, Puerto Rican Spindalis, and Puerto Ri- can Oriole. The visitor center offers in- formative displays, maps, a store, and restrooms. As one ascends PR191, a variety of trailheads and picnic areas provide a similar assortment of birds. Trails are well-maintained and many are paved, though they can be crowded at midday during the high season. Most trails lead to splendid waterfalls or other scenic views. Because showers are frequent, visitors should prepare for rain at any time. Parts of El Yunque receive more than 180 inches of rain a year. The elusive Elfin-woods Warbler can sometimes be found in the high- elevation dwarf forest, which can be ac- cessed via trails at the end of PR191, but the species is becoming rare in this loca- tion. Although El Yunque is one of the n ABOVE: Puerto Rican Nightjar Photo © Benny Díaz n BELOW: Antillean Mango Photo © Guillermo Plaza

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