Archive: » 2017 » January

Are Solitary Sandpipers Really Solitary?

Now I know it's not shorebird season right now, but I never pass up the opportunity to photograph members of one of my favourite families of birds. Solitary Sandpipers are winter migrants to T&T, which differentiates them from passage migrants - those birds who just stop by during the months of August/September on their way south. Migratory patterns usually follow an elliptical, so they generally do not pass here on their northward journey - this usually takes place over Central America. Winter migrants like the Solitary Sandpiper stay here and fatten for the cold months in the north, then...

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Challenging Lighting? Challenge Accepted!

Last week sometime, I took a drive to check a good friend, with the intention of staking out a location for some golden-hour light. Deeper and deeper into my northward journey, I only saw more and more dark, grey clouds envelop the entire sky. At one point, I did see a sliver of blue, but it was just that. A sliver. Nothing more. After having a good laugh about our good fortune, we headed out anyway, who knows what we would miss if we didn't go right? I believe it was the gloomiest day of 2017 thus far, but letting weather get the better of oneself is not something any nature photographer worth...

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Backyard Bird Buddies

Many folks who identify as "nature people" or equivalent seem to fall in to a sort of routine, where enjoying nature is just another activity that is penciled into a rigorous schedule that is centred around a certain non-nature activity. It ends up being a task almost, a place to go, something that has to be done. All this while there is nature all around us, in our homes, in our backyards, on the way to work or school; like it or not, we are part of it, and we eventually will be re-absorbed into nature herself one fine day. Sure enough, this doesn't mean that you should resign from your regular...

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Small Favours

I've always been telling myself that I should delve deeper into the world of the small scale - reptiles, amphibians, insects, plants, every infinitesimally microscopic organism is as important as the other, after all. It's just that I really fancy my avian subjects and usually get distracted by them. Probably because I had a great dinosaur affinity as a child. Still do, in a certain weird way it applies to birds and could explain how I obsess over them. Occasionally, however, I do make the time to photograph some of our smaller creatures, some much maligned creatures they are. This little fellow...

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A Dream Come True… Well, Sort of

A few years ago, I had an odd dream. I was at the edge of some body of water, probably a lake somewhere, and I was looking at a Lesser Scaup coast past on the water. I grabbed my camera (in the dream of course), and lined up this beautiful duck in my viewfinder, and pressed the shutter button. Naturally, dreams being how they are, no picture was taken. Which had me cursing and grinding my teeth, only to wake up and laugh at myself. Yeah, I dream birds sometimes - most times I'm trying to photograph them and failing in some creative way. Anyway, the morning after the CBC we headed to Tobago for some...

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CBC 2016: Episode 2 – Orange Grove

By the time midday rolled around and we had recorded our final two species for the am session in Aripo Livestock Station (Pinnated Bittern and Grassland Yellow Finch - not complaining at all) the now drastically reduced group decided to break for lunch, and reconvene later in the afternoon to continue the count in another location - Orange Grove. Now this was a relatively new location for me, it didn't have half of the extensive history the Livestock Station had with birdwatchers, but varied habitats within this farmland coupled with its proximity to civilization has boosted its popularity in recent...

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CBC 2016: Episode 1 – Aripo Livestock Station

The 2016 Christmas Bird Count kicked off on the morning after Boxing Day, where a small group of ten avid birdwatchers gathered in the blue predawn light around the entrance to the Aripo Livestock Station. A well known birding hotspot for locals and foreigners alike, it issued a notice some weeks prior that it'd be closed to birdwatchers until further notice. Not entirely certain why this was so, but the CBC Coordinator assured me that all names and license plates were forwarded to the relevant authorities, and permission was granted for us to perform the census on that day. But knowing my luck,...

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Oops

A couple days ago I posted about an Aplomado Falcon I photographed from a mile away after the sun set. It didn't occur to me that it was strange for me to immediately identify the bird as a very rare migrant, especially in those conditions. Well, I never had a shadow of a doubt about it, I knew what I saw, and I communicated this excitedly to the rest of the small group I was with. So now this morning I'm spamming comments and something tells me to check that picture again. I open it on the blog, and something looks odd about it. It suddenly did not seem in any way like an Aplomado Falcon. They...

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Random Hummers… And a Dream Shot

On a recent assignment to document some of the smaller creatures around a friend's property, I noticed an unnatural number of hummingbirds present. we counted twelve species in under 24 hours! I had arrived there with butterflies on my mind, but couldn't stop myself from aiming at these marvelous little jewels. Forever eluding me, three Long-billed Starthroats were mixing in with the similar sized Black-throated Mango - at first glance I didn't believe my eyes, I sort of locked up - as this is a species that has given me the cold shoulder for a number of years. But this one gave me ample views...

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The Opposing Colours of a Sunset

Last month I had a raptor infused sunset experience that ranged from the last rays of golden daylight to the desperate blues of the night creeping in. The experience of literally watching the world turn never ceases to be a completely awe inspiring and humbling one. What made this particular experience more interesting was that we had a strange alignment of colour, with the help of two of T&T's predatory birds. As the sun began to dip lower and lower in the sky, the light gets more and more golden. This has given rise to the term "golden hour" - only here at lower latitudes we only have...

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