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, I believe I do enjoy the picture from May 2016 marginally more than the others. It’s not made at maximum focal length. It’s not “all up in the bird face”. It’s breaking the rule of “don’t shoot from beneath”. It’s not October’s bathing Jacobin, nor is it August’s majestic Jabiru. It’s a ridiculously common Cattle Egret. But I love it, it symbolizes the freedom that these birds are built for.
The branch in the frame belongs to one of our special trees. Last time I passed through the area there I saw it’s no longer there. Maybe I’m a little crazy for being attached to certain trees, maybe not. Trees themselves symbolize the passing of time, they have seen far more than we can imagine. Countless sunrises and sunsets, the machinations of nature around them, the encroachment of mankind. They are the true life-givers, without them we would have no oxygen, no regulation of temperature, no protection from the elements, nothing to hold the earth together. Spend an hour with a tree and you’ll begin to notice how much depends on it. An evening with the mango tree pictured below gave us lots more than we bargained for.
Apart from the usual ants running up and down the tree, a couple wasps caught the eye. A beautiful metallic green wasp flew down and poked around in the grass below the tree. A reddish wasp that at first glance looked like the regular “jack spaniard” we have here proved to be another species. It was moving around on the ground, dragging a dead spider. Eventually it found a decent enough spots between a couple of the tree’s roots and dug a hole and buried the spider. Soft scratching noises alerted us to the presence of another creature – a Caribbean Treerunner. This lizard sometimes knocks on tree limbs, giving rise to its local name “tock tock”.
The birds were in and out as well, the calls of the Rufous-tailed Jacamar gave away the location of a pair of these gorgeous birds. No sooner had we seen the birds we realized why they had come in so close – they were closely following a beautiful parrot snake. Sadly, no pictures of either. It was enjoyable just experiencing all the different levels of interaction, though!
Trees also help out in my personal pursuits, I made myself small behind the base of this tree to assist in making these Muscovy ducks comfortable with my presence at the P-a-P Wild Fowl Trust.
I ended up spending so much time there that this pond slider swam right up to me. Of course, when it realized that I was neither a rock nor an oddly shaped root, it made swift its escape in a flurry of panicked silt.
Trees also can provide fancy adornments to a photograph, out of focus spots of light and colourful flowers can only add to an image. I should mention here that one of the following images in this blog post will be on the 2017 calendar, which is it likely to be?
#1: Ringed Kingfisher calling
#2: Striated Heron floating
#3: Green-rumped Parrotlet snacking