Dominican Republic Day Eight: My Full Last Day In Paradise At The Altos De Cano Hondo Resort.
I awoke early on Wednesday morning during my visit to the Dominican Republic.. It was my last full day at the beautiful Altos De Cano Hondo resort. My experiences at this world famous eco-lodge situated at the edge of Los Haitises National Park were already truly amazing. I was glad I decided to visit this wonderful place and I was looking forward to spending my last day exploring the trails near the resort.
Once again I was up before dawn, had some coffee, and was off in search of the sunrise. I walked the steep stone road from the Altos De Cano Hondo hilltop resort and walked the half mile dirt road to the entrance to the National Park. I arrived before the sunrise so I had a little wait for the sunrise.
I didn’t mind. I listened to the roosters crowing and watched the cattle egrets flying overhead.
They spend the night in the trees and return to the fields in the morning to follow the cattle during the day, feeding on the insects and other small animals they stir up. . I admired the mountains in the distance in the morning twilight. It was a very peaceful place to be.
I didn’t have to wait to long,
the sun soon appeared on the horizon and quickly rose over the trees on the other side of the fields.
I took the now familiar walk to the boat docks at the Los Haitises National Park entrance. There are many photos, and reflections on this walk in my previous blog posts on my trip.
At the docks I didn’t see the little blue heron that was there on an earlier hike. However, I was greeted with the familiar gobble of the males in this flock of American wild turkeys that live near the boat docks.
As I had done the past threes morning I walked along the road looking for birds, and as usual I found them. There were a few female American redstarts. I could have head these birds singing in the woodlands of Pennsylvania. They breed in North America and migrate here for the Winter. Smart birds.
and dozens of yellow-faced grassquits,
and this scary looking Greater Antillean grackle. Grackles always look scary. Poe should have included them in a poem instead of a raven..
Once again the workers at the National Park started arriving, scaring many of the birds, so I made my way to the quiet trail along the rice paddies that lead into the Los Haitises forest.
On the way to the this more secluded, and quieter, trail I was excited to see, I believe, a female,
and male Antillean mango humming bird. I love hummingbirds and love seeing them back home in Pennsylvania. These are native to the Dominican Republic and would not be seen in my woods back home.
On my walk I again saw the many colorful wildflowers along the road and trails, once again I am not positive about the identifications, I am relying on my Picture This iPhone app. It tells me this is an invasive mile-a-minute vine flower,
and this a native Mexican primrose willow.
Whatever their names they were pretty and attracted the usual butterflies that are so common in the area including zebra longwing,
my favorite the malachite butterfly
and white peacock butterflies.
On my my walk on the other trail I saw many of the same birds but also saw a few different ones, including this smooth billed ani,
the usual pair of killdeer, and,
a few Hispaniolan woodpeckers. Here is a link to a gallery with some more of the birds I saw on my morning hike. Dominican Republic Day Eight morning hike birds. October 27 2021
I also saw the cattle that roam freely on the side of the trail opposite the rice paddies, and between the forest of the National Park. It really was like walking into a scene from a different time.
Finally, I was able to photograph one of these orange butterflies that kept eluding my camera. There were not many of them and they rarely landed on a leaf or on the ground. Finally one did. I believe it is an Antillean crescent butterfly.
And I also saw another new butterfly this one is a polydamos swallowtail,
After walking about four miles I headed back to the Altos de Cano Hondo resort. On the way I saw this huge pig sleeping on the side of the road, with his chicken pal. I was glad he was asleep. He was big. And if he was as mean as the other male pig I may have been in trouble. I never have gotten bit by a pig before, and I didn’t want too, especially in this remote area. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from morning hike Dominican Republic Day Eight morning hike October 27 2021.
After a hearty breakfast of pancakes and an omelet I made arrangement for my ride back to Santo Domingo the next day, inquired about my needed Covid test and checked in with my office back home. Yes I still was doing some work on this trip. The rest of the afternoon I edited photos and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the resort. Around 3:30 p.m. I again left the resort and explored the now familiar trails. It was hot so I walked the trail near the rice paddies since there was some shade from the tall trees and the nearby cliffs to the west of the trail.
I saw many of the now familiar birds such as the palmchats,
On this hike I photographed a lot of the exotic plants, flowers and berries growing along the roads and trails, I believe these are bloodberries,
these sea grapes fruit both native to the Dominican Republic.
Of course, this one I knew, it is a banana tree.
I also photographed some of the more unusual leaves on the plants growing along the trail , such as these giant taro or elephant ears leaves,
As I was finishing my hike I saw this bird. I thought it was a eastern towhee that migrate to Northeastern Pennsylvania in the Spring. I later learned it was a tricolored munia , an invasive bird from India. Wilfred, the hotel guide, said that no one had seen this bird in the area before. It probably migrated from Puerto Rico were they were introduced from India.
There was so much to see on every hike in this sub-tropical paradise. I would never get bored exploring this area. And I didn’t take advantage of the many day excursions that one can take from the Altos de Cano Hondo resort. I hope to return some January when the humpback whales give birth to their calves and mate in the warm waters of the San Lorenzo Bay. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my afternoon hike. Dominican Republic Day Eight afternoon hike birds. October 27 2021.
It was near sunset when I returned to the resort. I had another wholesome dinner and retired to my room to listen to the frogs and crickets on my last night in this wonderful paradise.
Through the sunset of hope,
Like the shapes of a dream,
What paradise islands of glory gleam!
Percy Bysshe Shelly
It was wonderful walking the trails with you in the Dominican Republic, Frank.
Such beautiful photos!
Thanks for the comment