Friday, March 25, 2011
White-fringed Antwren eating an ant in Tobago
In Tobago, we observed a male white-fringed Antwren for a while but were never able to photograph him because he moved about so quickly among the branches. He has stunning mask.
The next day, we saw this juvenile white-fringed antwren. Mike was particulay pleased when he discovevered he photographed it with an ant in its beak.
American Robin waiting for spring
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Honeycreepers of Trinidad and Tobago - so colorful and adorable!
Purple Honeycreeper (male)
Purple Honeycreeper (female)
Green Honeycreeper (male)
Green Honeycreeper (female)
We were very anxious to see the Honeycreepers on our trip, especially the red-legged ones. As it turned out, the star of the Honeycreeper show for us was the female Purple Honeycreeper. Almost always in the bird world, the female is quite drab in comparison to the male. Well, not these little darlings! The females were decked out in at least three shades of green and had some seriously fancy breast striping plus a pretty peach neck and eye area. Chris even commented that she herself would never have the guts to wear all those shades of green in one outfit. It just seemed like the females had the personalities to match their colors too as they darted boldly about with all the males.
A male red-legged honeycreeper made only one brief appearance at the feeders at Asa Wright, but we were able to see one again out on one of our rainforest walks. It almost seemed like cheating when we watched all the Honeycreepers coming to the nectar feeders and flowers near the center, so it was more fun in a way to find them out in the trees. And, boy, do they pop with color when they're amongst all those big deep green rainforest trees.
We ended up with a funny little ritual thanks to the Honeycreepers. Anyone who knows us understands that Mike can be sort of distracted sometimes. If you don't know us, think absent-minded professor type. When traveling, that can make it hard to remember which color toothbrush Chris packed for him. This trip we had one purple and one green toothbrush with us, and Chris used the purple one first. So when Mike asked which was his, it was the green. Anytime Mike needed a reminder which color brush was his, we just said "opposite of the honeycreepers," i.e., purple for her and green for him. If Chris had given it any forethought, she might have chosen the green first - then we would have been just like the Honeycreepers instead of the opposite. Obviously the Honeycreepers put us in a pleasant and silly state of mind.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Early Spring Birds in New Jersey: Robin and Red-winged Blackbird
Booby Photos from Little Tobago Island
Red-footed Boobies in trees
Brown Booby with chick
Brown Booby relaxing on the edge of a cliff
Off the coast of Tobago, there is Little Tobago Island, a small island accessible by boat. Many boobies make their home on the trees and cliffs of this isloated island. We took a small boat out to the island, hiked to the top of the hill and saw their nests. Mike climbed down a steep trail to get closer to the chicks while Chris sensibly waited near the top. While Boobies can relax on a cliff, Chris cannot.
Red-billed Tropicbirds from Little Tobago Island
Monday, March 21, 2011
Goodbye Ruby-Topaz (Birds of Tobago)
On our last full day in Tobago, we spent some time observing the ruby-topaz hummingbird. The male, in the top two photos has a spectacular red head, yellow neck and orange tail when the light hits it just right. The female ruby-topaz has fewer colors on the head and neck, but just as spectacular a tail.