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One of My Faves and an Enormous Hint

I remember looking at illustrations and photographs of Ruby-topaz Hummingbirds years ago, and just acknowledging their existence. I figured yes, this is a brown hummingbird with some red and gold adornments, alright, what's next? But the first time I saw it in person - I remember it vividly - a misty morning in south Trinidad, it was feeding on a patch of flowers that was brilliantly lit by the rising sun. Sure enough, it was brown, but where were the adornments that were in almost every illustration of this bird? And perhaps too quickly for my brain to process, the colours flashed. Almost as if it were...

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Birding Hacienda Jacana: Mar/Apr

Last week we returned to the ever peaceful, ever appealing Hacienda Jacana for another sojourn away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the uncivilized civilization. Nature is cultured and rich as always, even in the height of the tropical dry season. Rivers have withered away, and only the deepest ponds retain water. Nevertheless, greenery always ensures that the forest is at least a couple degrees cooler than the concrete jungle we're accustomed to. Getting there in the darkness of night, I was up before dawn to the fleeting faraway calls of Red-bellied Macaws and the soothing warbling...

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The Herons Formerly Known As…

A few months ago, I co-authored an e-book with some folks at BirdsCaribbean on Caribbean waterbirds. You can find out more about it as well as download it (for free) in three languages here. In it, I wrote about two species of small herons that are found in T&T. Herons I've enjoyed the privilege of observing for extended periods of time - all the while learning more and more about their behaviour. Formerly considered a single species - Green-backed Heron - new knowledge has led to a split into Striated Heron and Green Heron. There is a third closely related species called the Lava Heron...

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River, Rain and Sea

Water comes in many forms - here in the tropics snow and ice may not feature, but we do have a few manifestations of this deity to understand and appreciate. They are all completely different, yet they all contain water. Some folks' special sanctuary may be a quiet river, others prefer the sound of raindrops on the roof while tucked away in bed. And some of us are one with the undeniable power of the ocean. Which is yours? All snakes can swim, but smaller snakes can easily be swept away in a fast current if they're not careful with choosing their route. Even fallen leaves like this dead bois...

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Blue Hour Birding

It's that time when most of us are experiencing the best sleep of the night, that time when covers are pulled, alarms are snoozed and minds wander around in dreamland. For us chasing feathers, however, we're experiencing the awakening of the forest. Completely magical feeling, and all images created during this time have one underlying common factor. Apart from the darkness that still clings desperately to wherever it can. Not like darkness in itself is a bad thing - it creates mood like nothing else can.                   About...

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What In The World?

Surfacing briefly after being under the radar for a little bit. What do you think this is?           Answer to come in due course :-)

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Spot The Difference

Within the past few months I've photographed more Dickcissels than ever before. From flocks to individuals, they're willing subjects each time - perhaps they haven't yet grown accustomed to the "Trinidadian way"? A few days ago we found a massive flock of these noisy birds twittering away as the sun rose in the east. Sometimes we weren't sure of where they actually were, then a movement would catch the eye and many glimpses were to be had from within the reeds.             Anyway, back to the title of today's blog post. What's the difference...

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Blazed

Now I've spoken about poor lighting conditions in the past, but they've usually involved little to no light, be it the darkness of the forest or dark overcast conditions. But these days, we're only getting the exact opposite. The sun starts to burn just an hour after sunrise. And for the rest of the day, there seems to be no respite. Even the clouds seem to be avoiding the searing glare of the sun. For us photographers, this means that very quickly, images start to look harsh and unpleasant unless one is careful and mindful about the direction the lens is pointed. It's easy to grab a few shots...

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Diversity of the Western Mudflats

For those of you who are interested in getting good views of many different species in a short space of time, the tidal mudflat along the western coast of Trinidad is the perfect place to get things going on. Eagle-eyed readers may have realized that the last few posts have very similar images - and suspicions are warranted, as this post, the one before it, and the one before that one too - have all been based on images created at this hallowed ground. Especially during the peak of migratory season, when thousands of wintering birds pass through, some en route to as far south as Patagonia, after...

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Patience Brings Rewards…Sometimes

We've all heard the various tired quips about having patience. Especially when we're talking about photographing or viewing wildlife - after all, wild creatures aren't confined to a schedule as us humans are. When I observed this Yellow-crowned Night Heron standing stock still on the mudflat, I knew this could only mean one thing: food.             I crept into position, and waited. Nothing changed. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly - it leaned forward. Excited, I clicked the shutter a couple times.           Over...

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