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The Egret from Mars, the Alien, the Giant and A Kind Of Zorro

What a complete hodgepodge of characters that’d be! Of course most of you know I’m somehow referring to birds in my typical, roundabout, over-imaginative fashion. But what if I wasn’t?

Ok, enough of that. I’ll go through this list and you tell me if I’m off target in my version of avian nomenclature.

I photographed this gorgeous Cattle Egret in full force – officially known as “high breeding plumage” – on a cloudy dark day, which went well for an all-white bird. Out of a large flock of perhaps around fifty birds, there were a few that were wearing this dress. Many of you would have seen this bird before, but I encourage you to look out for this extra-spiffy iteration. A rush of hormones causes the exposed areas (legs, bill and lores) to flush with deep, rich colour. Straw-coloured plumes on its neck and mantle complete the outfit. The barren landscape of farmland being prepared for cultivation gave this image its otherworldly appearance.

cattle egret-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

In grasslands across Trinidad, one would be familiar with the small “Johnny-jump-up”, or Blue-black Grassquit. Males are just as described, while females are brownish overall.

blue black grassquit-2

 

 

 

 

 

However, in certain areas within recent times, one would find another tiny seedeater – only this one isn’t native to Trinidad – or this hemisphere for that matter. Common Waxbills are African birds that have been shipped here via the cagebird train. Escapees have since etched out residences in a number of grasslands throughout the island.

common waxbill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drastically different in size and manner is the Giant Cowbird. Somehow every time I’ve seen a hulking male displaying, it’s been in some of the worst lighting conditions. This time was no different.

giant cowbird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, well I’m sure you’ll figure this one out for yourself. A calling Masked Yellowthroat is a treat for the early morning. Thankfully, this one stayed put!

masked yellowthroat-3