Blog

My Neighbours Probably Hate Me

For fear of sounding like a stuck record - actually, who am I kidding? I love the bush and all the creatures that come with it and I'll never stop begging everyone to share in this great love. It's an amazing feeling when another living being that has no obligation to you (this is outside of pets of course, which are the ones waiting on your hand for their next meal) decides to move in, have a meal, or just pass through your space. Especially as a member of the human race I can tell you that I carry a huge amount of guilt on my shoulders, we are the ones responsible for the impending doom we're...

Read more...

All Smoked Out

Last weekend I paid a visit to a special wetland in south Trinidad, and when I say special I mean personally speaking; not only is it just about twenty minutes' drive from where I live, but it was also the site of my first official birding experience back in 2011 under the direction of my friend Theo Ferguson. Inexperienced as I was, I remember seeking out common species like Masked Yellowthroat and Limpkin. I found a flock of upwards of 25 White-faced Whistling Ducks as well as dueling White-tailed Goldenthroats, these mind-blowing finds did not tickle my novice brain in the slightest. What I'd give...

Read more...

T&T’s Third Endemic

As science proceeds along its natural path of seeking knowledge, we often realize that things aren't really how they seem. In the not too distant past, what was once the Blue-crowned Motmot was split into six separate species of Motmot, one of which occurs only within T&T, given the dubious name of "Trinidad Motmot". This split was purely based on learning more about the species formerly considered to be a very wide-ranging bird, differences that weren't initially apparent eventually became glaring, and now our Trinidad Motmot looks and sounds nothing like an Andean, Lesson's, Whooping, Amazonian...

Read more...

Two Loves Combined

If it was any indication four years ago when I penned this article as one of my first forays into the world of typing with a purpose, man I really love these tiny brown and white long-distance travellers called shorebirds. For sure. And we all know that identifying these little guys can get pretty tricky at times. Why then would I choose to take a critical element out of the identification process?                     How in the world is anyone going to look at the bird pictured above and notice the two-toned...

Read more...

The Good Old “Fight-up”

If there was a single bird that I could've identified in the past as being my nemesis bird - a subject that I had tried with and had little to no success - it'd be the male Silver-beaked Tanager. Quite a common species around Trinidad, these moody tanagers have taunted me for many years. Ever since the first time I laid eyes on my first specimen at Asa Wright Nature Centre, I was hooked. I was shooting with my first camera, a Canon Powershot SX20, but the image was burned in my memory - a red plumage deeper than the ocean, and a bill that shone brighter than the full moon on a clear night.               After...

Read more...

10 Images that Fail at Instagram

Having poked around within the social media platform that forms the title of this blog post, I've learned a few things. One of the most important lessons that's been gifted to me is that some images, no matter how much I love them, are just not going to fly well on the platform. So thus I bring you these images, which I have very low expectations for to be honest. After all, I enjoy them, and art being the subjective beast as it is, does not force any one being to feel a certain way about anything. Perhaps you'd see a commonality among this set of ten. 1. This immature Tufted Coquette posed...

Read more...

Flycatchers in the Cocoa

Of all types of cultivation, somehow cocoa estates retain some of the highest percentages of native wildlife. The primary reason for this being that the largest, oldest trees are usually kept as shade trees, thus keeping the majority of creatures happy. The cocoa trees that dominate the lower story within the forest allow for a higher level of visibility - well that's if there are things to see, of course. The most visible of birds in the understory are flycatchers, calmly waiting their turn to nab an unsuspecting insect or two. The generous clearings that abound within cocoa estates allow one to easily...

Read more...

Help Save the Birds at the Caroni Cat Sanctuary!

For those of you who think I've gotten the title mixed up, well there's much to talk about. Firstly, I must admit that the inspiration for the title of this piece comes from an article that was published recently, check it out here. The anonymous author makes reference to yours truly regarding some comments I supposedly made. The original post is here, have a read and freely compare both passages. What's really going on is this: There is an existing population of feral cats at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Most of us are familiar with the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, either you've been there before...

Read more...

Studying Birds: Ruby Topaz

It's been many years since I was first blown away by the brilliance of a male Ruby Topaz, that flash of bright red and gold while feeding an early morning in one of Trinidad's southern wetlands back in 2011. Coming from such a dull, dark brown bird it was (and still is) nothing short of plain amazing. But for most of that time, I haven't had much good luck with this bird, only securing one or two decent shots over the years. After photographing it at its most resplendent (see here) I realized that the most interesting aspect of this transformation is not the end product, but the journey itself...

Read more...

A Little Heavy On The Cute

There are many descriptive words used to portray birds as we see them, however simplistic or fanciful we perceive them to be. Few words are as over-used as "cute", though. And for good reason, as birds are covered in well, something terribly soft and delicate that they can make even fluffier than usual at will. Chilly weather encourages this behaviour, as the extra air within the feathers acts as an insulator. This Black-faced Grassquit was feeling mighty chilled on an unusually biting morning at Cuffie River, halfway up to Main Ridge Forest Reserve. After having clear weather for a few days,...

Read more...