Blog

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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Listen

As babies fresh in the world, first words are always a milestone. It seems as though such a momentous occasion as the first time a child utters a word should predicate a lifetime of celebrating what the child has to say - but very surprisingly, the exact opposite often happens. All of a sudden, the child has to listen, only speak when spoken to, be seen and not heard, et cetera. But it's not only the parent who must listen. The child too, must pay close attention to himself/herself as the years begin to tick by. Years ago, it was easy to pay attention to one's mind as it grew - not so much now - as pacifiers...

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Staples

It seems as if it's been forever since I've written a blog post. Things have been more than a bit hectic over the past week or so, and as such I have been somewhat absent from the internet recently. Nowhere near my last hiatus which lasted for about two years, but still too long to be away for! Sharing some more Tobagonian images here - it's difficult to not shoot when I'm across there. Tame birdlife just presents endless opportunities. In Trinidad you'd be a lucky bastard to even hear a Trinidad Motmot call, in Tobago they're literally begging you to click the shutter. I maintain, they...

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The Vireo, The Greenlet

When I finally got my paws on a copy of the Field Guide to Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, I was excited to identify species that I had previously seen, as well as those that I wanted to see. I remember pausing at Plate 85: Vireos and Greenlets. The page was overflowing with different shades of olive green, yellow and a touch of red. I had never before seen any of these birds - but was fascinated nonetheless as I had already been birding for some time. How could these birds listed as "common" still escape my prying eyes? Fast forward a few years, and this section of the field guide still holds...

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Dull, Drab, Surprisingly Cute

The flycatcher family is perhaps not the most well-known - or well-liked family of birds; this could be due to a variety of reasons. For starters, they don't usually sport the vivid colours that are usually associated with birds of the tropics. They're usually various shades of olive green, brown and everything in-between. This lends to their low detection rate among birdwatchers. You may be hearing them calling, but you must find something that looks pretty much just like a leaf. And once you do lay eyes upon them, beware. Flycatchers - particularly those belonging to the dreaded Myiarchus genus...

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