Endemic Birds of the Blue Mountains
The remnant misty montane rain forest, full of bromeliads, epiphytic orchids and tree ferns, on these mountains, which rise to 2256 m near Kingston, support most of the island’s endemics, including the Crest Quail Dove and Jamaican Blackbird, both of which, along with the Greater Antillean Elaenia and Rufous-throated Solitaire.
– Birds of Jamaica, Sutton 1995
Recently we had the pleasure of world famous bird photographer Yves Jaques Rey – Millet and Biologist Josh Larsen staying in Highgate for 3 weeks. Their objective was to try and photograph as many of the endemic species found in the Blue Mountain area for the new book on Jamaican Birds to be released next year.
Many of our endemics are small and hard to photograph. Out of the 24 species, hopes were high to photograph at least 12 based on what they saw flying around the gardens at Strawberry Hill. Little did they know what he would be able to see.
After 2 weeks, in his calm and unflappable manner, Yves commented ” in my 30 years of photographing birds I have never seen so many endemics and been able to capture all 24 species in a 3 week period” Yves and Josh hired our local driver Boris and linked up with Mr Brown in Section for the actual spotting. In Yves expert opinion the road from Newcastle to Hardware Gap provides some of the best viewing from 5.30 am onwards and, if you include the road along Section towards Clydesdale, you will be able to see most of the endemics over a week.