I have a real soft spot for underappreciated birds, in case you haven’t realized by now. Far too often birders can border on disrespect for many of the species that we’ve grown accustomed to growing up here in T&T. Sure enough, it’s infuriating when that hint of movement that you detected in your peripheral vision that preceded twenty minutes of tracking a silhouette in the treetops only to realize it’s just a bloody Bananaquit – but it has its own part to play in the functionality of our unique eco-system.
Admittedly I have hurled my fair share of obscenities at an odd-looking Spectacled Thrush, especially if it distracted me from another, potentially more “exotic” species. But, at the same time, I’ve had many folks who have visited T&T and have actually wanted to see this ubiquitous bird.
If it’s one thing common birds have taught us is the basic act of avian appreciation. Common birds were our first window into the highly addictive world of birdwatching. Well, I’m assuming. I don’t know how many birdwatchers were hooked at their first sight of a juvenile Eskimo Curlew.
So as a human being, my conscience harasses me into not viewing myself as ungrateful, reminds me to never forget my roots.
And as a photographer, I really appreciate the birds that are here, there and everywhere. They gift me with some incomparable opportunities. I’m sure most of us are familiar with these two usual suspects. Known locally as “blue jean”, the Blue-grey Tanager is widespread on both islands – although different subspecies are present – that’s why the Blue-grey Tanagers on Tobago seem to be bluer than their Trinidadian counterparts. It isn’t just the refreshing air on Tobago, it’s also science.
Its olive counterpart is also equally as common, Palm Tanagers raid kitchens and find their way into buildings on a regular basis. Recently I was in a classroom where one was trapped. I caught it and offered anyone a closer look at this beautiful little bird. No-one wanted to see. Oh well. Maybe some other time. I love their subtle colour variations and that touch of white I never knew existed until recently.