Nov 26, 2007 by Janine |
I spent most of my Thanksgiving break at home with the flu. And eye infection in both eyes. Went to the doctor today and got some meds so hopefully I will be back to my chipper self (yeah right...)

I got out a bit last week and took some photos before I got sick. Because I was captive all weekend, I finally did some work on the gallery.

And, we went to Everglades National Park last weekend and saw our first Bronzed cowbirds.

These American Crows were looking for handouts in the parking lot.

Red Shouldered Hawk with a fab 'do

Puerto Rico Part 3

Nov 22, 2007 by Janine |
The Guanica dry forest is on the south coast of the island. It is a beautiful place - a very unusual mixture of arid and tropical plants, alongside stunning and remote beaches. There was so much life at the seashore- seagrasses, invertebrates, corals- it made our local beaches seem dead. We saw several Anis, which are now rare in Florida, as well as hummingbirds and the ever present kingbirds.

At the SW tip of the island, we stopped for lunch before heading to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse and the surrounding wildlife refuges. This was the view from our table. Not only was it a delicious meal, but we could watch ospreys soaring and sandpipers foraging while we ate.

The view from the lighthouse of the cliffs and nearby lagoons was spectacular.

We are planning to return to Puerto Rico next year and explore the east part of the island. Its a great place and I would recommend it for anyone planning a holiday. Back in 2004 when I first visited PR, I hired a guide for a day to show me around the "hotspots" and I got to see most of the island's endemic birds. If anyone is interested I can provide his contact info. While this trip was not very birding/listing-oriented, I am definitely planning to do more rainforest birding on our next visit.

PS- Happy Thanksgiving!

Puerto Rico, Part 2

Nov 18, 2007 by Janine |
Next stop was Rio Camuy Cave Park. Ive never been in a "real" cave and wasnt expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing the place was. Photography was difficult, even with monopod. It was so dark and damp, but not in a gross stagnant way, more cool and earthy.

Our tour guide was fantastic and made sure to give us English translations at each stop (My Spanish is passable but not great).
We drank from a natural spring and the water was cold and fresh and tasted like minerals. The guide pointed out several "cave spiders" which are actually pseudoscorpions, as well as cave crickets and dark pools where blind cave shrimp reside. Although we didnt see any bats, we did see and smell the bat guano.

After the caves, we headed to the Arecibo Observatory. The movie "Contact" made it famous for its use in the search for extra terrestrial life, but it is used for a wide variety of other research as well. There was a great visitor's center with tons of educational displays.

More PR trip details to come. Just wanted to mention that tonight we tried out a new and interesting wine with dinner- Schnebly's Carambola Wine. It is made here in South Florida, not far from where I live. They use all sorts of tropical fruits in their wine making. They offer tours of the winery- think we will go there sometime soon to check it out.

Puerto Rico, Part 1

Nov 16, 2007 by Janine |
We stayed at the northwest corner of the island, north of Aguadilla. The beach by the hotel was a surfer's beach with a rocky shoreline and huge crashing waves. And lots of surfers.

It was also a good place to see wildlife- we saw pelicans, frigatebird, starfish, and tons of crabs. It was a great place to chill out and relax, which is what I needed.

More coming soon...

Back home and computer fixed

Nov 12, 2007 by Janine |
Puerto Rico was awesome. We got back Saturday night and Rich got the computer back up and running yesterday so all is well. Got a lot of pics to sort through so will be doing that throughout the week.

Computer Died

Nov 03, 2007 by Janine |
Last week the power supply on my computer blew up. Smoke came out and everything. So, working from laptop for now. This week has been hectic because 1. no computer 2. threat of Tropical Storm Noel and 3. going on holiday next week which I am very excited about. We are going to Puerto Rico!
Sorry for lack of updates but will be back up and running as soon as I can.