Yeah, I just can’t get enough of Tobago. Both before and after the Charlotteville Bioblitz I never closed my eyes. Some folks were just too tired, but I kept my red, sandy eyes open no matter what. Before I even arrived at the Bioblitz, I photographed this pair of White-tailed Sabrewings in the rainforest. These large hummingbirds were nearly wiped out completely by Hurricane Flora in 1963, but have since made a staggering comeback, and can be seen with some degree of regularity in certain locations. In fact, there is a little hut on the main road passing through the rainforest with a couple hummingbird feeders, and the last time we were passing by, there were at least two White-tailed Sabrewings attending that feeder.
Males of the species are territorial, and feisty. Completely different pot of emotions from the females. They do not let anyone bully them in the slightest. Large and in charge, their colour shifts from blue to green depending on the type of light they’re in.
Females are shy and docile, generally. Subservient almost. I’m sure you could tell from this image, this coy glance over the shoulder – almost a giggle you can hear, no?
After the blitz I had some time to kill before my flight back to Trinidad. So what did I do? Yeah, head straight for the sewerage ponds and drains I spoke about here. No disappointment was to be had, of course. A stunning Greater Yellowlegs posed for me in a heavenly setting. Many folks seem to think that the closer you get into a bird/subject, the better the image. Personally, however, the setting is just as important, if not more important, than the subject itself. I love creating small-in-the-frame images. The layers, the small white flowers, the textures – they all come together nicely.
Of course, I can go tight, given the right subject. Tobago’s tame birds provide the ideal opportunity to create both loose and tight portraits. This Great Egret lit by the fiery setting sun looked me straight in the eye. Again, even with this tight image, what made it better for me was the background.
Gradually, the sun sunk lower and lower, and as this was happening, a small movement in the grass caught my eye. I couldn’t believe it. A bird that I had fought to see so many goddamned times and never any luck. Snipes are notoriously well camouflaged, and this actually allows for a close approach. Once you do not let them know that you’ve seen them, of course. Two species occur here in T&T, and they look so ridiculously alike that they have to be differentiated by the time of year you see them. This one is a Wilson’s Snipe.
Two of the birds featured in this blog post are also featured on my 2017 calendar. Today I’m finally presenting the cover images – we’re doing the usual wall calendar (same dimensions, 11″x17″ as last edition) as well as a smaller, desk calendar (opens to 8.5″x11″). This time the cover shows thumbnails of all the months’ images.
Wall Calendar, 11″x17″, $200TT each:
Desk Calendar, opens to 8.5″x11″, $150TT each:
Both calendars are available in a bundle, Wall and Desk for $300TT. You can leave a comment here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me via Facebook to place your order. Please place your order before November 14th as only a limited number are being printed.
I’ve included common species this time around, for the sole purpose of encouraging folks to get out there and see what is to be seen, it’s beautiful.
Here’s the list of species:
Purple Gallinule (Jan)
Blue-chinned Sapphire (Feb)
Gull-billed Tern (Mar)
Pinnated Bittern (Apr)
Spotted Tody-flycatcher (May)
White-tailed Sabrewing (Jun)
Striated Heron (Jul)
Masked Cardinal (Aug)
Greater Yellowlegs (Sep)
Copper-rumped Hummingbird (Oct)
Savannah Hawk (Nov)
Blue-backed Manakin (Dec)