When I finally got my paws on a copy of the Field Guide to Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, I was excited to identify species that I had previously seen, as well as those that I wanted to see. I remember pausing at Plate 85: Vireos and Greenlets. The page was overflowing with different shades of olive green, yellow and a touch of red. I had never before seen any of these birds – but was fascinated nonetheless as I had already been birding for some time. How could these birds listed as “common” still escape my prying eyes?
Fast forward a few years, and this section of the field guide still holds the excitement from the first day (even though I’ve seen five out of seven). This family of birds is notoriously difficult to spot – not only do they blend in superbly with their surroundings, they almost never sit still.
Tobago’s Scrub Greenlet possesses an almost imperceptible level of green, and true to form, frustrated me a great deal on a sunny morning. I remember only getting brief glimpses of this bird that’d dart in to the bush, flit about and exit hurriedly – only to repeat the process a few minutes later. Funny thing was that I didn’t even know what it was as I could not, no matter how hard I tried, get a decent enough view. The first view I got was the moment I made this image. Ah, Scrub Greenlet. It was nice.
Dabbling a little further into colour saturation, the Red-eyed Vireo had long been on my list. Seeing this bird typically involves some degree of neck pain as it’s usually in the high canopy. And even then, one doesn’t really get much opportunity to savour its gentle colour gradient. And zero chance to see the reason it got its name. Lucky me, I had this one at eye-level, and also some selective lighting to bring that red eye out. How lovely it is to work in the studio!