Updates

Front or Back Lit? (Yet Again)

I spent some time with a couple Snowy Egrets some weeks (months?) ago. The sun was just getting low in the sky, but the light was still very strong. I was sitting on a road that ran north-south with ponds on either side; each pond had its own Snowy Egret stalking. The beauty was that one was strongly front-lit, and the other strongly back-lit. With the bright sun, I was able to finally use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. First priority was the front-lit bird.                   I then continued, using the exact...

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Parasitic

Some of you may have realized the increasing level of infrequency these posts have managed to rack up over the past few weeks. As they say, sometimes life gets in the way? At least in my case it's all been enjoyable, and even though I haven't been writing much here, I still penned a couple articles for the Tobago Newsday within the last month - one on shorebirds (my loves) and the other on Frigatebirds (my first loves, adapted from an article I first posted here) - so the engine is still relatively warm. And since I managed to land my paws on a new phone that has the memory capacity to run Instagram,...

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Birding Hacienda Jacana: September/October

The most recent count that took place at Hacienda Jacana just slid in under the door as October drew to a close. With all the flooding that went on in October, we almost didn't make it. But with a little faith and a lot of desire to be immersed in the forest, we made the journey into the heart of the island for yet another installment of this series. The timing of our arrival couldn't have been  more perfect. Once we unpacked our stuff, I followed my inner voice that was directing me to a copse of tall trees just beyond the cottages. Somehow I knew exactly where to look; my eyes fell very swiftly...

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Birds That Don’t Have to Try Hard Ep III: White-tailed Sabrewing

For the third and final installment of this mini-series (I really like doing this) I have, naturally, saved the best for last. Well, perhaps not the absolute best, but my definite favourite. Regular readers and avid followers would know by now I have a tremendous soft spot for the White-tailed Sabrewing. One of our largest hummingbirds, it's found only in the rainforests of Main Ridge, Tobago. It was nearly wiped clean from the island by Hurricane Flora in 1963, but populations have since rebounded and can be seen with a certain degree of regularity throughout the forest. Sometimes one doesn't...

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Birds That Don’t Have to Try Hard Ep II: Black-throated Mango

I made a few images of a few Black-throated Mango hummingbirds some time ago, and they all fit the bill of effortlessly magical. The afternoon sun shone its golden light, and all was well. Then there was a slight drizzle, and all was suddenly much better. After that came the mad dash to find a suitable subject. If a backlit subject wasn't enough, a backlit subject in rain was to die for. Well, perhaps not literally. Maybe to be slightly inconvenienced for, dying seems a bit much for this circumstance. Fortunately, here was this Black-throated Mango, perched not too high up on a dry tree...

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Birds That Don’t Have to Try Hard Ep I: Assorted

There is a family of birds that is appealing to everyone just by their plain existence. Well, maybe not everyone. I once heard a story of a woman who was deathly afraid of them. Can't understand why. They are the reason why thousands of people visit the neotropics each year. They are the inspiration behind countless costumes, logos, mottos and scientific experiments. They are a complete marvel of biomechanical engineering, they are Hummingbirds. For the next couple blog posts, I will share with you some of the images I've made over the last couple of months of these tiny bodies full of energy...

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My Loves

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...

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Responsibility

I photographed this little family of Pied Water-Tyrants some months ago, and have been meaning to write a piece on the supposedly onerous task of raising a family in these trying times. But apart from wondering if I'd been reading too much into my subject's lives (I tend to do that a lot) - I figured I'd present it as it is, and leave any further discussion up to the discretion of the viewer. As any point I'd like to raise enters the realm of politics (politricks) - something I'd much rather avoid at this time. We've seen young birds before, and know that they're constantly on the lookout for the next...

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Tales of St Giles – Part II: A.S.C.P.P.

Yeah so continuing where I left off in my last post (in case you missed it, check it out here), I'm sharing some of the other images I made on our trip to the rich and undisturbed tip of Tobago. As I mentioned before, landings are impossible on the islands, and having made some rocky landings myself in the past - memories of trying to time the swell to jump off a boat onto a slippery rock at the base of Soldado rock all the way on the opposite side of T&T make my palms sweaty as I type this - I wasn't complaining. Just being able to be close to the islands themselves was immense in itself....

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Tales of St Giles – Part I: Noddies and Boobies

Some time ago, I posted about Magnificent Frigatebirds we enjoyed while bobbing around in the waters around St Giles Islands. For those of you unfamiliar with the territory, the islands - better described as rocks - that comprise St Giles are the northernmost land masses of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Located to the north-east of Tobago, they are only accessible by boat. And by accessible I do not mean you can step a foot on any of the rocks. Landings are ill-advised for the obvious safety reasons (large swells will smash any boat on numerous submerged and semi-submerged rocks) as well...

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