Puerto Rico Day Five: Finally Some Birds On the Ballena Trail In The Dry Forest

Puerto Rico Day Five: Finally Some Birds On the Ballena Trail In The Dry Forest

Puerto Rico Day Five Copamarina morning walk F ebruary 12 2018 (2 of 14)
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I awoke early Monday morning at the Copamarina resort and was  off to find the sunrise. I had done some research and now knew the trail I hiked on Sunday afternoon  was called the Ballena trail. It led from beautiful Ballena Beach  up into the dry forest. I decided to watch  the sunrise from the beach . jeep along road at Ballena trail

I parked at the entrance to the trail . It was clear and a pleasant 74 degrees as I walked to the ocean past towering agave stalks.agave flower stalk in morning twilight

I was rewarded with  to a beautiful sunrise over the Caribbean Sea. sunrise over ocean Ballena beach

And, finally, on my return walk I saw a number of different types of birds. The first was this turkey vulture sitting in a tree and watching the rising sun near me. turkey vulture on tree

As I walked in the early morning sun I was attacked by swarms of gnat like insects. They were everywhere for about 15 minutes. I think the heat from the rising sun caused them to disappear as suddenly as they appeared. These insects may have attracted some of the birds I saw such as this warbler. A birder friend believes it may be an Adelaide’s warbler. .yellow warbler in tree

I was also pleased to see what I believed was a Puerto Rican woodpecker. Puerto Rico woodpecker in tree

The trees were alive with the sounds of  the birds. It was hard to find them in the thick foliage but I was able to see a few gray  king birds who like to perch on high branches gray king bird on branch

And , one of my favorite, a mockingbird. mockingbird in branch

I was delighted to see another exotic, and beautiful bird, a troupial. I immediately noticed the bright orange plumage and was able to get a few photographs of this beautiful bird,  a relative of the oriole. troupial in tree branch

I also saw another exotic bird , a Puerto Rican  barnaquit.  I now realized you had to be up early and in the right place to see the many birds that inhabit the dry forest. barnaquit on tree branch

I decided to walk back up the Ballena trail that I discovered by accident the day before.shrubs and trees on ballena trail

There was a lot more bird activity in the early morning. I was delighted to see  my first Puerto Rican toady.  toady in tree

These beautiful birds are only found on  this island and are quite common. I would see many more and soon  became  familiar with their song. toady on branch

I again walked up the steep trail , through the dry forest exposed to the sun. shrubs and trees in dry forest

I saw many turkey vultures flying overhead and many gray king birds perched in the trees. The environment changed completely once I again entered the shade of the mountains and the thicker vegetation that grew there. sun shining through trees in dry forest

I saw another Puerto Rican woodpecker in the thick foliage.puerto rican woodpecker on tree branch

I continued upward to the ranger and visitor center of the Guanica Dry Forest Reserve. ranger station Guanica dry forest

I met a ranger who only spoke Spanish but also a student from Maine who translated for me and       recommended some hiking trails.   She was staying in the dry forest to do research on the birds. She pointed out this pearly eyed thrasher as we walked  from the visitor center. pearly eyed thrasher

She suggested I continue my hike on the Lluveras  trail. I took her advice and was soon under the shade of the many trees along the trail. 

I was  in a thick forest of larger trees. It was now later in the morning and getting hot so the birds were becoming less active.  This would be a great area for an early morning walk since their were many trees laden with all types of exotic fruit. 

There were still some birds in the forest, mainly my new Puerto Rico favorite the toady. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Puerto Rico Day Five: Ballena Trail Hike Birds February 12 2018  

And I also saw a number of butterflies and other insects along the trail.,

including these wasps or bees that hoovered in mid air. It took awhile but I was able to get this photograph. It isn’t very clear but it was amazing how they would stay in one place for long periods of time. 

This   butterfly were also beautiful,  exotic and well camouflaged. 

And there were a few spider and other wasp like insects in the thick vegetation.

I followed the trail until it intersected with the Granados trail and began to lead me back  to the Ballena trail and down the mountain to the ocean. 

I retraced my steps down the trail enjoying the shade of the mountains most of the way. Once I reached the open areas near the ocean I was exposed to the intense sun and higher temperatures. 

It was almost noon when I returned to my car and I was hungry and thirsty after the almost five mile hike in the dry forest. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike on Ballena Trail. Puerto Rico Day Five Ballena Trail walk. 

I will admit I was a little tired from the hike so spent a few hours planning the next leg of my adventure in Puerto Rico and editing photographs. By 3 p.m. I was rested and ready to again explore the area. I drove back to beautiful Ballena Beach. 

Other than a young couple and one surfer I had the beach to myself. I walked along it’s unspoiled shore and past sea turtle nesting sites. 

I found this coconut sprouting in the sand. Someday it will be a towering coconut palm tree. 

I also saw a few shore birds as I walked along the unspoiled beach. 

I think they were semipalmated plovers. 

I enjoyed walking the beach but, even with the refreshing breeze, it was still hot and it was a long day. I headed back to the resort for a short rest before I walked out to watch the sunset but it was hidden behind some clouds. Still a beautiful scene it was. I had a nice dinner and again sat by the fire at the beach before retiring for a well deserved sleep. I was falling in love with Puerto Rico. Here is a link to some more photographs from my afternoon hike. Puerto Rico Day Five: Ballena Beach Hike February 12 2018.

For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world.  Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.  Janine M. Benyus














  1. Monica M. Bazewicz on February 25, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Thanks so much for sending your travel e-mails. I love seeing them and in fact some I even saved. Even though I have been to some of the places you have been your e-mails are more interesting because you have seen things that I haven’t seen.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on February 25, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      You are welcome Monica. I love sharing my adventures.