You know, sometimes things come together – dovetail if I may – doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s definitely an experience that stays. Earlier today I posted a video of a Red-billed Tropicbird from Little Tobago island. Seabirds like these tropicbirds nest on the ground, and hardly ever come into contact with people. They will still shy away from crowds, so we were extremely lucky that this bird decided that the pair of us posed no threat whatsoever. Having an almost mythical creature pay no attention to you is an amazing feeling. To feel the wind displaced by its wings and hear its feathers fluttering – I can’t replicate that feeling at all.
Back in Trinidad, sitting in the forest trying to make myself invisible, I noticed some movement in my peripherals. Peering through the leaves, I noticed a Northern Waterthrush that was strangely calm. Usually they’re hopping hither and tither, bobbing their tails as they go searching for invertebrates at the water’s edge. This bird had no idea I was there, and it seemed to be in its “special place” – it was completely unbothered, it took its time to preen and look around, up, down and everywhere. It simply sat there and minded its own business until I was happy with what I had captured. This is one of my favourite images for the year thus far. I love the atmosphere created by the soft light and the natural filter of my hiding place.
Out at the crack of dawn at Hacienda Jacana during our last visit, I hunkered down at one of the ponds, hoping to get a view of something unexpected. A Grey-cowled Wood-rail having its morning sip of water was just that!
Being able to go unnoticed allows one to observe wild creatures going about their lives as they would in our absence. This gives us a better and more honest view of their lives; to me it also makes the experience far more meaningful. This is further emphasized when we’re dealing with species that aren’t regularly seen – such as the Grey-cowled Wood-rails of Hacienda Jacana. These secretive and very attractive rails are always a treat to see and photograph.