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Girls, Girls, Girls

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone made that joke about the kinds of birds I go looking for. It's one of those jokes that probably was funny under a certain circumstance, once, eons ago. It's not offensive or anything (to me at least, I can't speak for any avian glares that may ensue), but it's like that Hispanic buddy named Jesus who's constantly given bottles of water with the expectation that they'd suddenly change chemical composition. Anyway, in writing yesterday's post I realized how many female hummingbirds I ended up photographing. Today I'm still stuck on females - but we're...

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Yerette Highlights

Around seven years ago, when I was just getting into bird photography, I found the work of Dr. Theo Ferguson on Flickr - my preferred medium at the time. Prior to this, I had no idea that anyone locally was involved in this artform. I contacted him, and he very graciously agreed to meet with me to discuss my dreams and aspirations. I remember entering his office, adorned with large-format, exquisite images of birds I had never seen before. He told me the story of photographing a flock of American Flamingos on the west coast a few years earlier. I was in complete awe. He asked about what gear...

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Hitting the Target Part II

In a post some days ago, I spoke about our quest for a rare breeding visitor - a quest that took us into the Northern Range, led us up and down hills frustratingly for a few hours with an eventual out-of-this-world reward shot (see it here). After that mission, we got wind of another exceedingly rare bird - this one isn't even listed in the current edition of the Field Guide. Two years ago, when I finally laid eyes upon the holy grail of local hummingbirds - the Rufous-shafted Woodstar - I enjoyed a period of approximately two weeks having seen all 17 species of hummingbirds within T&T. Why...

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Birding Hacienda Jacana: May/June

This edition of the regular Hacienda Jacana mission found nesting season in full swing. Coinciding with the flowering of many native trees, there was much hurried activity - which funny enough, made the forest quieter than usual. It's almost as if frivolous activities like singing one's life away for no apparent reason were sidelined for the more serious business of securing the next generations. Oh, how this world would be if politicians took that lesson. Hah. Interestingly enough, the mornings were even more devoid of birdsong than the afternoon periods. Even the Orange-winged Parrots were...

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Hunters

Sharing a couple images of two terrorizers of small creatures everywhere. Not saying that arachnophobia or herpetophobia isn't real though. These creatures are often misunderstood, and are usually met with a swift swipe of the broom. Lots of misinformation surrounding these two as well. The Pink-toed Tarantula is slightly smaller than a species I photographed some months back (see here), but its temperament is very similar. Cute and docile, they rarely (if ever) sink their half-inch long fangs into human flesh - they'd much rather beat a hasty retreat. This particular individual was one of two house...

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Hitting the Target Part I

A few weeks ago I got wind of a special bird that was spending some months here in the northern hills of Trinidad. We're accustomed to the general pattern of migratory birds - from the northern hemisphere that is. Each year, from August or September, these birds would be escaping the cold grip of the northern winter - only to depart the following March/April. From warblers to falcons - they're all well documented. But what is a visitor doing here in the middle of the year? The less documented migrants that appear from the south do swell our forests considerably during the months of the southern...

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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...

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Return of the Rains

It's (supposedly) that time, as we near the halfway point in the year, when the skies bless us with that life-giving gift that is water. For me, that means tons of images of one of my favourite things in the whole wide world. Birds in the rain. I love the rain as it adds that magical element to an otherwise static frame.             When everything is wet, colours seem to pop more. Blacks are blacker.                   But not too wet, though! This Yellow-headed...

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Common to Uncommon

The designations of birds' populations confused me initially. Birds were listed as common, some as abundant, some as abundant and widespread, others as scarce, very rare - and even vagrant. But a quick perusal of the field guide's introduction cleared that fog instantly. What really bugged me was that there were so many birds listed as "common", and many of these had escaped me. Of course, with time, all things come to pass. Some birds are just a little more difficult to see than others. Golden-headed Manakins can be heard in almost every forested area in Trinidad - yet still the tiny black...

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The Much Maligned National Bird

We learn about it in school, it's on our coat of arms, it's somewhere in every government building across the country - but why does it not receive the same veneration as its counterpart? Well, this is aside from the issue of a single nation having two national birds. After a quick search, I realized that Trinidad and Tobago is the actually only country in the entire world to have two officially recognized national birds. By this same logic, St Vincent and the Grenadines should have a couple hundred national birds. Anyway, this poor bird has been shoved aside in favour of the more resplendent...

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