Some of my original Zebra Finches from years past (the cleaner pot rack alone dates the photo)
I’m almost totally over the rhino-plus virus, well enough to get through what seemed like endless commitments. Now as my mind clears along with my sinuses, I am feeling remiss in keeping up with this commitment, so when I remembered this morning there is always an opportunity to fall back on those “Unattached” photographs that clog up my media library, I decided to select a few at random just for fun. A couple from the Galapagos, not so long ago, which reminds me I still have a couple days left from my trip I never covered…
Yellow Warbler – Galapagos – July 2016
Magnificent Frigatebird, Galapagos, July 2016
The three below are from a trip to East Africa in 2013.
Gray-Crowned Cranes, November, 2013, Tanzaniya
Burchell’s Zebra, November 2013
Pearl-Spotted Owlet, November 2013
The sunset below probably happened in Belize at Crooked Tree in March of 2014…I’ll be back with more recent endeavors soon.. Thanks for following my meanderings. I hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past.
This week, going through the Belize photographs (almost done!), I found this series of Black-Crowned Night Heron pictures, and decided the bird deserves its own post, which almost reminds me of a fashion layout. I set the first photo as my desktop background at work so I can be greeted by a little cheer as I sign in every morning (work and the weather being what they are lately).
I have seen Black-Crowned Night Herons before but never like this one. If there was a momentary realization that the heron was hanging out in some astounding scenery, I think my autopilot kicked in and just kept shooting as many pictures as I could. These pictures were taken the day we went on a boat ride around the lagoon that surrounds Crooked Tree and its environs.
Above was the first sighting of the heron. Although the photographs were in sequence I cannot remember now, three weeks later, if this was the exact same individual. Although I think it’s likely that as the boat moved, it flushed the heron and the bird flew ahead of us to land eventually in the flowering shrubs.
So at a greater distance the heron was in a less colorful habitat which made for less attractive pictures.
There were pictures of other birds between these two settings, but I don’t think the boat had moved all that far. I’d like to think after the heron saw us with cameras it decided to go for the best background for its photo shoot.
If anyone knows this shrub, please tell me what it is. I bought a beautiful little book on the Trees of Belize by Kate Harris at the Audubon Society in Crooked Tree, but so far have not been able to locate this plant by pictures of its flowers and leaves. (Birds this life; in my next life, plants.)
I won’t tell you how many pictures I took of the heron at this particular spot but I think the bird almost looks quite pleased with itself. Close scrutiny being what it is, though, eventually it was time to move on. The heron took the first cue.
It’s going to be a busy weekend, but I will try to accomplish my post about the focus of the trip, which hopefully will coincide with our fearless leader’s report as well.
If anyone knows how much birds hate to be handled, it’s me. My indoor birds remind me of this constantly, and I don’t pick them up unless I absolutely have to. I’m not trying to offend anyone by posting these pictures.
But before I get on to writing in a future post about the primary reason for why I was in Belize–which was to be part of a group of 7 volunteers that helped Operation Rubythroat set up mist nets to catch and band Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and transcribe banding data…and all the reasons why they are doing this…
I wanted to share some pictures of other birds banded that I never could have seen so closely.
Suffice it to say I learned a lot in 8 days.
For those of you still uncomfortable with the handling of the birds, we checked the nets constantly, moving birds still captive and waiting to be banded or shown out of the sunlight, and they survived well. I believe there was one casualty in a net on our last day, which was cut short due to inclement weather. I suppose the biggest testimonial to survival was the birds, already banded, recaptured from previous years.
The Northern Waterthrush was one of perhaps three or more we banded, but the Louisiana Waterthrush was the first one ever seen at Crooked Tree in Belize. See if you can tell the difference this close up. The distinguishing features are still subtle, but the Northern looks more “yellow” than the Louisiana and has denser streaking.
You may have noticed that all the migrant warblers are not quite as decked out as they will be by the time they reach us. This Yellow Warbler was just developing his rufous streaks.
Clay-Colored Thrush, National Bird of Costa Rica
The last bird on this post is not a neotropical migrant and therefore was not banded. But I thought it best expressed any indignation at being handled, for all the other birds banded on this page. And I probably never would have seen the beautiful streaking on its throat, in the field.
Up until last week, every Vermilion Flycatcher I ever ran into in my travels was at least a good 200 yards away.
Now I have been to one of the best places in the world, maybe, to hang out with Vermilion Flycatchers: Crooked Tree in Belize, and more specifically, Bird’s Eye View Lodge, where at least two pairs of these gorgeous birds were in the vicinity.
I would walk downstairs from the rooms and around the back and there he would be, greeting me cheerily to his territory.
Female Vermilion Flycatcher
She was a bit more shy, as girl birds tend to be, but even she was closer than 200 yards away. (Click on the picture for a closer view.)
Female Vermilion Flycatcher
And the day I caught her doing her toilette after a bath, she was downright close.
Our last day it rained steadily, sometimes offering downpours. He took advantage of the free shower.
I hope to be back soon with many more birds from Belize and a recap of my brief but engrossing experience. I have succumbed to a rhinovirus after coming home late Saturday and cleaning all day Sunday. I went back to work today… And I have to get up early to vote before I go back to work tomorrow. So I’m not feeling too chipper but am glad I went to Belize, where it was 80+ degrees!