It’s true you will be able to plan a fantastic bird watching vacation in the Dominican Republic. It is just one of the many hobbies and pastimes that the DR caters for admirably.
If you were to take a bird watching tour in the DR you will find not only that there are almost 200 interesting indigenous bird species, but also many opportunities to spot another hundred or so visiting species flying in from the American continent in particular, seeking warmer climes when the winter sets in at home! ...So humans aren’t the only ones to bask in the year round warmth that the DR is blessed with.
Planning a bird watching vacation in the Dominican Republic
When planning a bird watching vacation anywhere in the world there are certain items a ‘twitcher’ is unlikely to want to be without. You will obviously need a good bird book (New links coming here soon).– an identification manual, something with the appropriate information about Caribbean bird species. Bird watching sources that know about the Dominican bird watching scene suggest that two of the best choices for an ideal bird book for use on a bird watching vacation would be:
The Common Birds of the Dominican Republic by Steven Latta
Birds of the West Indies by Herbert Raffaele.
Equally, a lot of the joy of watching birds is getting that ‘close-up’ look at the ‘quarry’ through a good pair of binoculars. These days few if any bird watchers worth their salt will neglect the need to have a decent camera, probably a digital camera amongst their kit-bag too.
If you are new to watching birds, and want to prepare fully for evidencing your ‘spotting’ successes you may also want to acquire a mini disc recorder for combining a recorded ‘bird call’ archive with your comprehensive photographic albums.
An alternative for those wanting to imitate bird sounds in order to see if other local birds respond - is to get a traditional mouth-operated bird call - if you can get one for the specific bird you are 'stalking'!
Watching birds - what will you see!
If you decide to take a bird watching vacation in the Dominican Republic or plan a bird watching tour whilst visiting the Island of Hispaniola then you may want to check that where you base yourself is ‘handy’ for some of the better bird watching areas.
You can recruit a local guide to help you plan a successful bird watching tour and locate the best places to enable you to ‘tick off’ the prime targets on your ‘to spot’ list. Some of the species you will want to try and get to see may be amongst those that are sadly becoming harder to find, such as the ‘perico’ (Hispaniolan parakeet) or the ‘cotica’ the (Hispaniolan parrot).
On a Bird watching vacation in the DR you will also be able to see larger species like flamingos, along with herons, storks and ibises, if you travel to one of the numerous lagoons or mangrove swamps.
Further inland you will likely to be watching birds of some of the predatory species such as turkey vultures, the American kestrel, the delightful Ridgway’s hawk, as well as various species of owl.
What's the buzz about? Don't miss the humming bird!
Your bird watching holiday would, naturally, not be complete without a sighting of some of the daintier tropical species too, like the beautiful little emerald humming bird.
But it is not only watching birds that you will be doing you’ll be hearing them too. Amongst those that will be heard as frequently as they are seen, are the ‘destructive’ Hispaniolan woodpecker and the yellow-bellied sapsucker. They can be the bane of Dominican farmers’ lives.
On a well-planned bird watching tour in the Dominican Republic you will have full opportunity to appreciate the wide variety of terrains the country has to offer. If you are limited for time though (and two weeks goes so quickly, let alone a week!) and you want to be watching birds as soon as you can after you arrive, employing a local guide or taking advice from local ornithological contacts like Steve and Sandra Brauning will be the best thing you can do.
The words of those who have gone before
To whet your appetite we found the following (lengthy!) quote from a web based ‘diary’ of a successful bird watching vacation undertaken by bird watching aficionado, Joe Thompson, in May 2004. Joe's detailed notes include locations in which he was watching birds as well as the species he spotted and heard – The extract is HERE on 'page 2' for those who enjoy watching birds!
A further link that may prove useful if you are planning your bird watching holidays or want to get the most out of a bird watching tour by getting on the inside track and quickly as possible: Local guides for bird watching tours in the DR ,who seem to be able to provide that invaluable help to find your way to the best vantage points.
BUT please be sure to mention you found them here if you contact them, we’d really appreciate the name check!
We hope that you enjoy your bird watching vacation in the Dominican Republic, and we’d be delighted if you get a chance to drop us a quick report when you return we’d love to keep our visitors up-to-date with any interesting sightings.
Ruth & Esther
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