Archive: » 2016 » October

Bioblitz 2013: Arima Valley

Basecamp for the 2013 edition of the T&T Bioblitz was perfectly chosen as the Asa Wright Nature Centre. Nestled within the lush rainforest, there was no denying that this was going to be more productive than the previous year's event. Birding is easy from the verandah at the Centre, and the "easy species" were soon checked off, such as this Purple Honeycreeper.                   Not to be outdone, his mate flew in close for a good look.                   I...

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Shorebird Quiz & Not-so-casual Sights from a Casual Drive

I have a confession to make. I love Tobago. And the first thing I usually do as soon as my feet hit the ground there is head to the drains and sewerage ponds behind Bon Accord. Hahaha. Oh boy, I love my life. Why do I do this? Well, unlike Trinidad, Tobago's drains don't smell like rotting intestines from last month. Plus (obviously) they are filled with birds during the right season. And the right season is migratory season. Which allows for viewing of many different species of one of my favourite groups of birds: Shorebirds (I think it's a toss up for top spot between shorebirds and vultures...

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One Week…Bioblitz Number 5

Seven days from today, the fifth Trinidad and Tobago Bioblitz will be getting underway. Once a year for the past four years, scientists, experts, hobbyists and enthusiasts have all been getting together to document as many species as possible within a certain radius of the designated basecamp. For 24 hours everyone scours the area, from mountain to reef, recording all that is seen. After all surveying is complete, numbers are tallied, specimens are put on display and the public is invited for a little lesson in "allyuh find dat here?" This year's event is carded from the 4th to 6th November,...

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More Undocumented Behaviour

Sometimes we see things and only realize their importance after the fact. Late last year, I was enjoying observing some of our migratory terns fish off Trinidad's west coast. The usual species were all present, but among them was an uncommon migrant; a Gull-billed Tern. These thick-billed birds are seen sparingly during the boreal winter, and I've noticed that I could never really trace their appearance to any specific habitat. I've seen them at mudflats, on open fields, and now here, flying back and forth over open water. Furthermore, it seemed to be fishing just like the other terns, diving headfirst...

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Resilience

The world is changing faster than ever before, and it is plain to see that some species are doing better than others with the shift. Specialized species are the first ones to suffer, creatures that rely on a particular food source must follow said food source, wait it out, or perish. Others which are adaptable are generally better suited to life alongside humans, as we are usually the catalysts for change. Over the past few years I've enjoyed observing one of our particularly resourceful raptors, the Yellow-headed Caracara. This lesser-known relative of the falcon family doesn't sport any particularly...

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Roaming in the Rice Project, More Goodbyes

The Rice Project in Caroni, central Trinidad can be a double-edged sword. At the right time of year, it's going to be rife with migratory birds, some intent on spending their winter here, others just stopping by for a quick refuel as they continue on their journey southward. This large area is largely left alone during other months of the year, however. One morning during the "off-season" as it were, we decided to check out the fields and see what we could see. Predictably, during the golden first light of the day, the only willing subject ended up being this dragonfly.           The...

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Back Home

Having been born and raised in Trinidad, it may seem somewhat odd to refer to somewhere else as "home" - but let me tell you something: the moment I step off the boat/plane onto the land mass known as Tobago - I breathe easier, I feel like I have come home. Maybe it's the laid back, traditional attitude of the society across there. Maybe it's the lack of traffic, lack of hustle and bustle. Maybe it's the lack of trash on the roadside. Maybe it's the unspoiled nature of the island. Maybe it's the friendliness of the people. Hell, it could be anything, there are so many reasons to choose from! If...

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Shoot’n in the Rain and the Cutest (wetland) Couple, Ever.

Nice days are nice days, to put a constraint on what constitutes a "nice day" is akin to conditional love. There are countless quips and proverbs about making the most out of any situation, but the reality is just that today is the only day we have. It matters not what we did yesterday, nor what we have planned for tomorrow. If today brings you sunshine, then bask in it. If it brings rain, bask in it all the same. Of course, metaphorically speaking - I don't plan to take responsibility for anyone's chest cold. For me, it tends to get a little literal, though. When it's sunny, I get burnt. When...

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Another “Formerly Known As”…

When I was only just getting into birdwatching, I used to go through the list of birds of Trinidad and Tobago and mark off birds that I felt were interesting, attractive, or any combination of these. The family of wood-rails always stood out to me - for their vibrant colours over anything else. Well, that was all I could've gathered from the pictures. As I learned more and more about birds in general, I realized how slim my chances of seeing any one of these rails were. Residents of thick forest, mangrove and swamps, they were notoriously skittish and avoided any sort of human contact whatsoever. One...

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Special Trees and a Sneak Peek into my 2017 Calendar

First of all, I'd like to express my deepest, heartfelt gratitude to everyone who purchased one (or more) of my 2016 calendars. Apart from covering the basic costs of printing, each purchase is helping me continue along my path of spreading awareness through my art with the ultimate hope of providing some level of stability to the natural landscape and all within it. And sometimes, it helps to put food on the table as well :) For those of you who do have a copy of this year's calendar, which is your favourite image? Is there anything you'd like to see more of? Less of? Although a tough pick,...

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