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“great first taste of Jamaica”

Arrowhead Birding Tours
Ranked #3 of 19 Tours in Kingston
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Owner description: Arrowhead Birding Tours is a birdwatching tour company in Jamaica. We provide from one day to several days excursions to birding hotspots across the island. All tours are led by professional local birding guides.
Reviewed October 17, 2013

In July 2013, I went to Jamaica for the 1st time. Being keen on nature in general and birds in particular, I searched the Internet for a bird guide; this is how I met Ricardo Miller on his website. His one-day tour to Hardwar Gap (in the Blue Mountains) and Hope Gardens in Kingston sounded quite interesting, and everything was arranged very efficiently by email.
He picked us up at my friend’s place at 5:30 am and provided her with a pair of powerful binoculars. After our 1st birding leisure walk where we particularly admired a Crested Quail-Dove lingering on the path, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast with local stuff. Another stop farther up the road let us admire gardens full of temperate and tropical flowers, and our first red-billed streamertail, the national bird; what an unforgettable sight.
At Hope Gardens, we enjoyed a local lunch at a nice outdoor place. Our bird list for the day: 37 species including 17 endemics.
That day was so pleasant I asked Ricardo for another customized outing; it was a full morning, starting at 5am, pick up time, walking in Hellshire from 6am till 9am, and breakfast before heading for Mountain Spring . His telescope came handy. The bird list was 42 species including 13 endemics.
Ricardo has a lot of patience and perseverance; he was determined to show me the northern Mocking bird AND the Bahama mocking bird in Hellshire, and he coaxed them both into coming nearer! In Mountain Spring, he did the same thing with the mangrove cuckoo.

Another quality to point out in Ricardo: the way he speaks English: I am not a native English speaker, but it was never a problem understanding him as he speaks so clearly.
I was very happy to have him as a guide for my first taste of Jamaican nature; hopefully, it won’t be the last one as I am planning to come back for his 8-day birding tour to see more of this large and fascinating island.

If you want more information, please feel free to send me an email; I’d be delighted if I can help.

3  Thank Marie_Claude972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ricardo M, Owner at Arrowhead Birding Tours, responded to this reviewResponded October 18, 2013

Thanks for your kind review Marie.I believe I learned as much about plants from you as you did about birds from me. I look forward to hosting you again.

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Reviews (19)
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16 - 19 of 19 reviews

Reviewed August 21, 2013

The purpose of our visit to Jamaica was a family vacation in the resort area of Negril -- not as much of a birding hotspot as other areas on the island, but there are many fantastic areas for birdwatching within striking distance. In an effort to see more of the country (and birds!) I began looking into hiring a bird guide. Ricardo at Arrowhead Birding Tours was able to set up a two-day itinerary for me and my partner (within weeks of our arrival) which maximized our opportunity to see most of Jamaica's endemic birds, as well as other bird and insect species of interest. His communication was very prompt and professional, and we had every confidence that we were going to have a great experience. We were not disappointed. Day one brought us to Dean's Valley Forest Reserve and the Royal Palm Reserve, where we got fantastic looks at the Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, White-chinned Thrush, Vervian Hummingbird, Jamaican Mango and not one but two roosting Potoos (a bird I have long wanted to see) -- among others. On day two, we traveled to Cockpit Country to visit the Fyffe and Rankine Forest Reserve. Here we caught a fleeting glimpse of the elusive White-eyed Thrush, saw flocks of endemic parrots flying overhead, had close encounters with Red-billed Streamertail, Sad Flycatcher, and Rufous-tailed Flycatcher. Especially exciting were two appearances by the critically endangered Jamaican Giant Swallowtail butterfly. The tour ended with a stop at the Montego Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant. This was a great opportunity to get a close look at a variety of breeding shorebirds. Ricardo is very passionate about ornithology and a great guide and teacher. Our trip was much richer because of his efforts and hospitality. If I'm able to return to this beautiful country in the future, I would not hesitate to utilize Arrowhead Birding Tours. Highly recommended.

2  Thank Meghann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ricardo M, Owner at Arrowhead Birding Tours, responded to this reviewResponded August 26, 2013

It was indeed a pleasure to take Meghann and Chad birding in Jamaica. I especially like these trips where I learn and discover along with the guests. It was my first time finding a Northern Potoo on its day roost by myself. I have seen potoos at night and been directed to day roosts before but never had I found a roost that I never knew was there. This was immediately after we had very good views of the majestic Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo so we were already fired up.

Overall, I am deeply humbled by all the good remarks that Meghann had to say and I am totally ecstatic that she had as much fun as I had. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.

Happy birding!

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Reviewed April 8, 2013

Great and safe alternative to the busy tourist attractions if one is interested in birds and getting off the beaten track. Ricardo is personable, knowledgable, and very dependable. A very nice, authentic Jamaican jerk lunch at a scenic hillside restaurant is part of the package which departed from Ocho Rios. I am certain other tours arranged through Arrowhead would be personalized and as excellent as ours.

1  Thank AnnetteJ350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RicardoM833, Owner at Arrowhead Birding Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 10, 2013

We at Arrowhead Birding recognize the fact that a good reputation is the hardest thing to build but the easiest to lose and so we strive in every aspect of organizing and executing a bird tour to not just meet but exceed our clients expectations. It is as much about the birds as it is about providing an experience and companionship that will keep our clients smiling and engaged.

We started this tour with the thought that we might not see much as it was 11am and certainly it would be too hot for the birds. We were pleasantly surprised to find the birds out in numbers at the locations we decided to bird. We visited 3 locations with a stop for some authentic Jamaican Jerk food. In all 17 endemics in 5 hours was a good total.

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Reviewed April 6, 2013

Ricardo and Dwayne are amazing bird guides. I was fortunate to spend a morning with each of them exploring the "Old Mine Trail" in the Blue Mountains an hour from Kingston. Expertly sighting birds and tracking them, they used the laser pointer to clue location. When the reluctant birds hid too effectively, they used voice produced bird calls, luring the birds into sight. We paused mid-morning both days at Forres Park for a scrumptous Jamaican breakfast on the deck. Over the course of my two bird watching mornings, I saw 20 of the 28 endemic species. 14 of those I saw on the first day with Ricardo. These included the Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, the Jamaican Elaenia, the Orangequit and the beautiful Jamaican Spindalis. Thank you so much for making a birder's dreams come true. They don't get better than Arrowhead Birding!!

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1  Thank HappyWan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RicardoM833, Owner at Arrowhead Birding Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 10, 2013

It is such an honor to receive such a rave review considering this business is so new and we are aware that the first steps can often be the most challenging. This bird watching tour was particularly easy as the birds did most of the work. We do employ the use of a laser pointer to indicate a difficult target but we exercise extreme care in its use and always try to first put the client onto the bird by giving directions. As a last effort the laser pointer is used and even then it is only used to locate a branch or tree or object that can be used to better give directions to the bird. Finding the birds is one thing, but the comfort and needs of our clients are paramount.

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