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Big Birds and Little Creatures

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, of course not as long as my previous hiatus (thankfully) but still longer than I’d prefer. From the T&T Bioblitz last weekend, to a hissy fit about unsustainable hunting, to most recently, the death of one of my favourite teachers – it’s been quite an eventful week.

Browsing that backlog of images from last year, I came across some backyard images I made after the first rains for 2015. Last year we had a long dry spell, and everyone felt the brunt of it. We always think of large animals suffering the most when it comes to a drought, of course that’s what we see in our favourite documentary programs – but every single creature gets thirsty. The droughts will get longer and harsher in times to come. Especially with an open denier of climate change at the helm of one of the world’s largest economies now. We may be small and insignificant voices on our own, but the more we find common ground, the more our collective voice grows.

Anyway, back on track. See how easy I get derailed? Here are some of the world’s smallest creatures relishing the first rains. Just like a watering hole in the African bush, only on a much more microscopic scale. These ants gathered around a single droplet and drank. They drank, moved away, came back, drank some more, and it was a mind-bending experience observing them.







Because of the rains, many small mosquito-looking insects (I have no idea what they actually are, but they look to be young mosquitoes to me) sought refuge on the underside of large leaves. Resting there blissfully, they were prime targets for roaming spiders. I observed this jumping spider eye its prey from a distance, sneak up on it, pounce, and finally liquefy its dinner.








I’m throwing in a discus for no reason whatsoever.








Now on to the big birds as promised in the title of today’s post: a Long-winged Harrier probing the marshlands on one of the hot, dry afternoons made for an interesting image against the afternoon sun.







I spoke about Caracaras before, specifically the Yellow-headed and briefly the very interesting looking pair of Crested Caracaras I encountered on the Nariva Swamp Bioblitz in 2014. A drive to the same area on Trinidad’s east coast yielded another Crested Caracara – and there are three very interesting aspects of this image that I enjoy – you’ll have to view the image large to really appreciate all three. Firstly, the bird itself. Secondly, the delicate line of greenery in a mostly brown-toned image. And lastly, the buzzing group of insects around the bird’s head. Three is a good number.








Also on the east coast, the sight of wild Blue-and-yellow (sometimes Blue-and-gold) Macaws is always enjoyable as they are meant to be – vibrant, wild and free.


6 thoughts on “Big Birds and Little Creatures

  1. Rishi Goordial says:

    Gosh bro. It’s wildlife murder and they hunt for pleasure not food. They really need new hobbies. A total ban on waterfowl hunting must happen soon.
    A little research bro. Do plants communicate? Yes and they are not vocal. Waterfowl speak to each other in their own language. Alarm calls etc. That cannot be just instinct as we humans brand it. Our habitat is fading fast and so is the wildlife with it. SAD………… (Looking out for a piece on animal communication) best RG

    1. Rishi – very interesting points. I have been very vocal about our false sense of intelligence. We, as a species, measure intelligence by our own yardstick. This is the same thing as baking a cake and telling everyone how great it tasted, when you were the only one who ate it. Communication, well, haha – it’s a whole other ball game. We’re probably the only species that communicates via sound and body language only. Ever heard of the time when the Orca killed the Great White? It was one of the first cases documented, and the most interesting thing about that entire incident was that from the moment the shark was killed, all other Great Whites in the area immediately left. They left and all headed for a patch in the Pacific (I can’t remember what it’s called right now, but there’s a name for it, an undersea mountain where Great Whites typically gather in numbers), and what was most amazing about it was that they all dove deep before they began their journey.
      All this means that a message was sent out from the dying shark, the contents of which AT LEAST contained that the shark is being killed by an air-breathing animal. How else would the rest of the population know to vacate, and vacate using the deepwater channels where Orcas cannot go? This is beyond our understanding.

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