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A Bird In The Hand

Common phrases like the title of this blog post have been everywhere, in the minds and hearts of men for eons. How have they subliminally shaped our psyche? Exactly how much of our thought processes today have been influenced in some way by something we’ve heard, possibly in passing even, as a child. Where did these sayings originate? What were the circumstances surrounding the birth of these sayings? Clearly they have all come from a time completely unlike the times of the present. Nowadays things have gotten to a point where sooner or later folks may be asking the question “What is an attention span?”

See, this is one of our major faults as human beings. We think of ourselves as supremely intelligent lifeforms, yet still the large majority of us suck up the knowledge of past generations like it is indeed the gospel. No effort is made to understand the circumstances surrounding the original acquisition of this knowledge. Oftentimes I tend to liken this to music: when some of us may look at say, The Beatles, and think that well these guys aren’t playing anything that’s blowing the mind of the listener, where are the octave skipping vocals, where is the intricate guitar work, or why aren’t the drums doing anything other than holding the beat – well, put yourself in the time and space when those four Englishmen ruled the world and the entire package would seem like something entirely different.

It’s one of our defining characteristics as self centred human beings to think that our environment, our space, our lifetime, is the entire picture. Too many of us lose sight of the picture of humans as a species, occupying a tiny portion of a tiny planet for a tiny speck of time. To take existing knowledge and apply it to one’s life without question is shortchanging yourself. Sure enough, it may have worked before for an entire generation. But will it work now? Is the world the same? The only thing that is constant is change, my friend. The world is always changing, and it’s changing now faster than ever before. Which is why it has become ever more imperative to embrace the concept of flux. The folks who cannot accept new concepts and ideas, who claim that they’ve been “born so”, who claim that “they say it is so, so it is so”, who say “it’s worked there, so it will work here”  are the folks who are the dragging feet of a dying being.

The sad thing is that many of these people are our friends, our family members, co-workers, and even (gasp) leaders. And we’ve grown up to be so reliant on what we perceive in this blip of an existence, that we’ve become addicted to it. It’s just another form of selfishness. My life. My relationships. My friend. My belly. My pocket. So we look the other way. We avoid saying what we feel, for fear of the repercussions. Well, look where it’s gotten us. Of course, it’s a positive aspect of life to establish relationships with your fellow inhabitants. But from the moment we tried to sway the course of nature to do something as innocent as keeping a loved one with us for a longer period of time, we upset the balance. And it doesn’t matter in which way the scales were tipped, in our favour or not, the fact is that the scales were tipped and it’s all downhill from there.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a blog about nature photography isn’t it? Hahaha! Funny thing is that I had no intention of rambling like that, but hey, it happens sometimes. I love to ramble. That’s why I have this blog. Here’s a butterfly to cheer up things a bit. I really must get on to learning more about these little ones, there was once a time when each time a survey was done at Simla research centre in the Northern Range, a new species of butterfly would be discovered. As time passed, and the quarries expanded, the frequency of discovery gradually decreased, until eventually species started disappearing. Good job everyone.











As I have spoken about change earlier, I think it’s fair to say that our outlook on tourism is in urgent need of an update. Gone now is the appeal of resort-based tourism. People have finally realized that if you visit one resort, you’ve more or less visited fifty others. Carbon copies just like personalities. Maybe that’s where the problem lies, who knows? Developing countries have always been struggling with that label of “Developing” – forever locked in the battle to become noticed as “Developed”. How is this different from a child in school trying to out-do his classmates at something just to prove a point to the girl across the corridor that he’s “worth it”? Instead of trying to be something else that has been defined by someone else, how difficult is it to just be oneself? On a country-wide scale I’m referring to here. Take Tobago for example, Tobago has its own character, its own appeal that draws thousands of tourists to it each year. But these numbers have been steadily dropping in recent times. Why now try to paint an image of something that’s different? Why sacrifice Tobago’s own inherent wealth to introduce filth, to then paint a picture of wealth on this now unsteady foundation?

Resort-based tourism does nothing for the average person on the street. Small-scale eco-tourism is what will benefit everyone, as it gives each person a sense of ownership of their own piece of history. I personally know photographers who travel specifically based on a species hunt. Brilliantly coloured birds like our very own Trinidad Motmot is a target species for many birders and photographers alike. Generally speaking, those who are interested in nature are also interested in the culture of the places they visit. They are less likely to visit a mall than they are to check out a local farmers’ market. These are the people who bring our country foreign exchange. These are the people who would purchase a locally made bar of soap. Citizens can have a positive impact on a global scale without having to have a “name” or “connections” as is usually the situation here.











Even though other less colourful birds may be overlooked by some, birdwatching tours never skip stops, and you’ll get a crowd of twitchers scoping out this Grey Kingbird just as they would the Motmot above.








Smaller creatures like these Ghost Crabs eke out their own version of their existence, on their own version of time. I spent some time observing this one crab leave its own hole to go searching for what, I’m not sure of. I thought it would have been happy, seeing as its residence was well taken care of. But it went on a mission to oust another crab (pictured to the left of the frame) and claim its burrow as its own. What did the displaced crab do? It moved on with its life.







Everything natural has depth to it, and the closer one looks, the more becomes visible. Superficially green, Green-rumped Parrotlets show varying shades of that colour plus hints of blue. That’s the beauty of it all. It’s not in colour, texture, behaviour – it’s in depth. And if we, as living beings on this good earth, lose our depth and choose to live shallow lives, well, we have lost our beauty.


6 thoughts on “A Bird In The Hand

  1. Devan Mulchansingh says:

    Well said man, all of it! Our population is very unscientific, refusing to accept what it tells us we must do, and change, while simultaneously embracing the spoils that it gives us. Now its either you have your car, camera, computer, cell phone and accept everything science tells you, or if you refuse to accept all of science, give up all these things, because it has the power to destroy our planet if not understood. So we take the science that builds a bulldozer, but not the science that says we will cause massive disruption to our ecosystems if we quarry in the Northern Range. We accept the science that gives us our electricity, but don’t accept the science that says we need to transform our energy to renewable. This is just the angle from which I see it. We live in a world now dependent on science and the denial of science will destroy it.

    1. We are a paradoxical nation you know. Not only do we have no identity, but as you very rightly said, we accept science when it is convenient, and deny it when it doesn’t immediately benefit ourselves. Then again, we’re suffering from acute short-sighted tunnel vision.

  2. Eeeee! GrPL. Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia share the same subspecies F.p. viridissimus. (I assume you already know this but for the rest of the readers) A male is featured in this blog. The females have a yellow forehead and lack the blue feathers on the wings.

    I prefer hostels too- small crowd, similar age group and you’re literally eating in the owner’s kitchen.

    Lastly about the recent increase in coffee shops, bourgie restaurants and tentative resorts…we sell out.

  3. Love this post!! Keep up the awesome work!
    We have become a society in love with convenient truths and ready to discard everything else. Strange how we so willingly want to accept the outdated ideology that we are the centre of the universe, when the humbling truth is far more beautiful. But I guess looking around at other occupants of this planet and seeing brothers and sisters instead of objects used to display our own dominion and ego may be too bitter a pill for us to swallow.

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