Dominican Republic - Punta Cana - Melia Caribe - June 16-21, 2014

Published by Brent Steury (bsteury AT cox.net)

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I just returned from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Melia Caribe and it turned out to be a great location to find lowland coastal Dominican birds. I did one hour walks every morning from 6:00 to around 7:00am between June 16 and 21 and found 36 species without leaving the resort grounds. Many species were nesting and I observed chicks of West Indian Whistling-duck and Common Moorhen. The grounds are extensive and include large trees, ponds, and mangrove wetlands. The south side of the resort is especially productive as it seems to border an undeveloped scruby wetland area. Below is the total list of species observed and numbers of each species.

Species Lists

West Indian Whistling-Duck - 1 male, 1 female, 6 chicks, in mangrove
White-cheeked Pintail - 20+ on ponds
Brown Pelican - 1 on beach
Magnificent Frigatebird - at least two, observed daily at the beach
Great Egret - 10+ in mangroves and ponds
Snowy Egret - 1 in pond
Little Blue Heron - 1 in mangrove
Tricoloured Heron - 14+ in mangrove
Green Heron - 15+ in mangrove and ponds
Cattle Egret - 2 on turf
Turkey Vulture - 2 soaring overhead
Common Moorhen - 30+ many with chicks of various ages
Killdeer - 2 flew overhead while calling
White-crowned Pigeon - very common, 50+ observed
Mourning Dove - 50+
Common Ground Dove - 4 around clay tennis courts
Hispaniolan Parakeet - 50+ in 7 flocks of 3 to 12 birds
Hispaniolan Parrot - 1 flew low overhead calling loudly
Hispaniolan Lizard-cuckoo - 3, a pair and a single (watched one chase a lizard in a tree - amazing how fast this bird climbs bare branches while in chase).
Smooth-billed Ani - 12+, usually in pairs
Antillean Nighthawk - 1, flew around and then landed on a tree branch stayed for about 10 minutes until scared away by Greater Antillean Grackle.
White-collared Swift - 1, flew low overhead coming from south
Antillean Palm Swift - 100+, maybe the most common bird on the resort
Antillean Mango - 3, 1 male, 2 females
Hispaniolan Woodpecker - 75+, the resort is ideal habitat
Stolid Flycatcher - 1 in scrub on south side of resort, observed for about 5 minutes at close range.
Grey Kingbird - 75+, very common
Caribbean Martin - 3 flying around beach area
Red-legged Thrush - 5, usually in hedge rows
Northern Mockingbird - 40+
Palmchat - 100+, impossible to miss - many nests observed on the resort
Bananaquit - 25+
Yellow-faced Grassquit - 2 near zip-line area
Greater Antillean Bullfinch - 1, my best find, in tree eating small flowers or pollen - found the first morning but not seen again.
Greater Antillean Grackle - 75+, very common - comes into dinning area to feed on scraps
House Sparrow - 1 male near dinning area. Thankfully this bird is not yet common perhaps due to competition with Greater Antillean Grackle.

The resort also has green pea-fowl (peacocks) on the grounds that are presumably wing clipped (many were observed with chicks), as well as one Helmeted Guineafowl, and 3 American Flamingo (also presumably wing clipped) so these three species were not counted in the total above.