Best Spot for Bird Watching in Jamaica
“I believe in the energy of trees,” says Shireen Aga, one of the co-owners of the Hotel Mockingbird Hill in Port Antonio.
And from this vantage point, high on a hill overlooking glorious Port Antonio, we certainly feel as if we are in a beautiful, luxurious tree house. It was quite a climb to get up here—at times we thought the car was afraid of heights—but it’s worth it for the view that stretches all the way to the Blue Mountains in one direction, and all the way down to the shore on the other.
Birdwatchers love it here, says Shireen as she takes us out into the lush gardens that surround the small hotel. Twenty-two of the Jamaica’s 28 endemic birds can be found right on the property, including the Black-billed Streamertail (which locals call the Doctor Bird because its long tails look like the black-tailed coats once worn by doctors), the Jamaican Tody, and the Sad Flycatcher.
Tiny little nooks dot the grounds, making it easy to hide away with a book and let the birds come to you.
And the tree-hugger within me rejoices when Shireen talks about the property’s eco-friendly features, like how they use rainwater in the spa, recycle their grey water, use solar panels, and don’t use insecticides or pesticides. Those are bad for the birds.
Back inside the hotel, a cooking class is just wrapping up—today’s topic was Jamaican cuisine. Shireen points out that they are the only hotel in Jamaica to have meatless Mondays, which probably disappoints her large pet dogs but scores high points with the vegetarian in our crowd.
We wave goodbye to Shireen and Barbara Walker, the hotel’s other co-owner, and get ready for the steep ride down the hill. Maybe they should have named this Mockingbird Mountain.