LHUDE SING, CUCCU! THE MANGROVE CUCKOO ON ABACO


 Mangrove Cuckoo, Abaco, Bahamas (Bruce Hallett)

LHUDE SING, CUCCU! THE MANGROVE CUCKOO ON ABACO

Summer is icumen in, that’s for sure. Has already cumen in, to be accurate. The approach of summer is the time when cuckoos tend to sing loudly (not lewdly, as the old lingo might suggest). The YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, recently featured, is one. The MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor) is another. Before I get on to some gorgeous pictures (none taken by me!), let’s have a sample of how this species sounds. The call has been described in various ways, for example as “gawk gawk gawk gawk gauk gauk”. I’m not so sure. And I can’t think of a sensible way to write it out phonetically. So I won’t. Please try, via the comment box…

Jesse Fagan / Xeno-Canto

Cornell Lab / Allaboutbirds  

MANGROVE CUCKOO, Abaco (Alex Hughes)Mangrove Cuckoo with insect.Delphi Club, Abaco, Bahamas (Tom Sheley)

You will notice that all three birds above have got fat insects in  their beaks. A lot of photos in the archive show feeding mangrove cuckoos. Maybe that’s when they are most likely to break cover, for they are quite a shy species.  Their preference is for caterpillars and grasshoppers, but they are happy to eat other insects, spiders, snails, lizards and (with a nod to an all-round healthy diet) fruit.

Mangrove Cuckoo, Delphi Club, Abaco, Bahamas (Tom Sheley) copyMangrove Cuckoo, Abaco, Bahamas (Gerlinde Taurer) Mangrove Cuckoo, Abaco Alex Hughes

Delphi is lucky to have some of these handsome birds lurking in dense foliage along the drives – the guest drive in particular. Some of these photographs were taken there. Occasionally you may see one flying across a track ahead of a vehicle, flashing its distinctive tail. It’s significant that only the last of these photos shows the bird right out in the open – the rest are all deeper in the coppice.

Mangrove Cuckoo, Abaco, Bahamas (Tony Hepburn) copyMangrove Cuckoo, Abaco, Bahamas (Tony Hepburn)  copyCredits: Bruce Hallett, Alex Hughes,  Tom Sheley, Gerlinde Taurer and the late Tony Hepburn; Audio – Xeno-Canto & Cornell Lab. All photos taken on Abaco!

 

COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2014, GLASGOW: THE BAHAMAS TEAM


180px-Flag_of_the_Bahamas.svg

 YOUR CUT OUT ‘N’ KEEP GUIDE TO TEAM BAHAMAS

 THE OFFICIAL BLURB

BAHAMAS: POPULATION: 313,500, CAPITAL CITY: NASSAU

The name may have come from the Arawak people who lived here, or the Spanish words ‘baja mar’, which means shallow water or sea.

You’ll find frogs, lizards and snakes on the Bahamas. None are poisonous.

In the seas around the islands you can see many fish, including the crayfish. This isn’t actually a fish, but a spiny lobster.

Tourism is important to the economy. Columbus was the first visitor from Europe, when he landed in 1492 on the island that became known as San Salvador.

The Dean’s Blue Hole is one of the Bahamas’ claims to fame. Blue holes are inland caves or underwater sinkholes, and the Dean’s descends 220 m, making it the world’s deepest blue hole.

The Jankanoo is a traditional street parade in Nassau, taking place on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve with lots of music and dancers.

The national sport is sloop sailing. Basketball and American football are popular too.

Schoolchildren on the Bahamas like softball, volleyball, baseball and track &field sports.

The Bahamas joined the Commonwealth in 1973.

It first attended the Vancouver 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and has only missed the Games of 1974 and 1986. The islanders win the vast majority of their medals on the athletics track, and at Melbourne 2006 Tonique Williams won Bronze in the Women’s 400m and Laverne Eve won Bronze in the Women’s Javelin.

At the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, The Bahamas won six medals. Four of them were in Athletics, with the remaining two in Boxing.

Fun fact: ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ is a song by the Bahamian group Baha Men, who play music called Junkanoo. You may have heard this song in the The Hangover (2009), and it’s also sung at sport events.

Sport fact: Between 1948 and 1988, the Bahamian sailor Durward Knowles competed in eight Olympic Games, and in 1964 he won a Gold medal in the Star class. Previously he sailed for Britain, ending fourth in 1948.

images

OPENING CEREMONY

FLAG CARRIER

SWIMMER Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace adds another honour to her glittering career tonight when she carries the Bahamas flag at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow.

The 24-year-old multiple national record holder will be the first female outside track and field to be her country’s flag bearer at the prestigious quadrennial event that stand just behind the Olympic Games in prominence.

“It’s a really big honour. I mean I feel like sometimes track and field get a lot of attention so it’s really nice that swimming is going to get the attention,” said Vanderpool-Wallace.

Although she was given the news before she arrived in Scotland, Vanderpool-Wallace said yesterday it is slowly sinking in that she will be leading in the Bahamas’ largest delegation ever to the Games. “I hope that one day I will also be the Olympic flag bearer,” she said. “But the Commonwealth Games is a very big event for the Bahamas and the world, so I am really honoured that I am carrying the flag.”

SWIMMERS_l-r_Joanna_Evans_Ariel_Weech_Elvis_Burrows_Dustin_Tynes_and_Arianna_Vanderpool-Wallace.1_t670

SWIMMERS Joanna Evans, Ariel Weech, Elvis Burrows, Dustin Tynes, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace

(Text & Photo Tribune 242)

THE EVENTS

BAHAMIANS COMPETE IN 6 DISCIPLINES WITH MORE THAN 30 ATHLETES IN OVER 60 EVENTS

ATHLETICS

Men
Track and road events
Athlete Event Round 1 Round 2 Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Chris Brown 400 m
Jeffery Gibson 400 m hurdles
Adrian Griffith 100 m
Shavez Hart 100 m
200 m
Demetrius Pinder 400 m
Teray Smith 200 m
Latoy Williams 400 m
Warren Fraser
Adrian Griffith
Shavez Hart
Stephen Newbold
Jamial Rolle
Teray Smith
4 x 100 m relay
Chris Brown
Jeffery Gibson
Michael Mathieu
Demetrius Pinder
Alonzo Russell
Latoy Williams
4 x 400 m relay
Field events
Athlete Event Qualifying Final
Result Rank Result Rank
Lathone Collie-Minns Triple jump
Latario Collie-Minns Triple jump
Raymond Higgs Long jump
Ryan Ingraham High jump
Leevan Sands Triple jump
Donald Thomas High jump
Jamaal Wilson High jump
Women
Track and road events
Athlete Event Round 1 Round 2 Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Cache Armbrister 100 m
Shaniqua Ferguson 100 m
200 m
Shaunae Miller 400 m
Nivea Smith 200 m
Anthonique Strachan 100 m
200 m
Cache Armbrister
Tylar Carter
Shaniqua Ferguson
Tynia Gaither
V’alonne Robinson
Nivea Smith
4 x 100 m relay
Christine Amertil
Miriam Byfield
Lenece Clarke
Shakeitha Henfield
Shaunae Miller
4 x 400 m relay
Field events
Athlete Event Qualifying Final
Result Rank Result Rank
Kenya Culmer High jump
Tamara Myers Long jump
Triple jump
Bianca Stuart Long jump

BOXING

Men

Athlete Event Round of 64 Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
Rashield Williams Light welterweight N/A
Carl Heild Welterweight N/A
Godfrey Strachan Middleweight
Kieshno Major Heavyweight N/A

CYCLING

ROAD

Men
Athlete Event Result Rank
Chad Albury Road race
Anthony Colebrook Road race
Time trial
Roy Colebrook jr. Road race
Jay Major Road race
Time trial
D’Angelo Sturrup Road race

JUDO

Men

Athlete Event Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Repechage Bronze Medal Final
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
D’Arcy Rahming jr. -66 kg
Women
Athlete Event Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Repechage Bronze Medal Final
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
Cynthia Rahming -57 kg

SWIMMING

Men

Athlete Event Round 1 Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Elvis Burrows 50 m freestyle
50 m butterfly
Dustin Tynes 50 m breaststroke
100 m backstroke
200 m backstroke N/A
Women
Athlete Event Round 1 Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Joanna Evans 200 m freestyle N/A
400 m freestyle N/A
800 m freestyle N/A
McKayla Lightbourn 50 m breaststroke
100 m backstroke
200 m backstroke N/A
200 m individual medley N/A
Laura Morley 50 m breaststroke
100 m breaststroke
200 m breaststroke N/A
200 m individual medley N/A
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace 50 m freestyle
100 m freestyle
50 m butterfly
100 m butterfly
Ariel Weech 50 m freestyle
100 m freestyle

WRESTLING

Men’s freestyle

Athlete Event Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Repechage Bronze Medal Final
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
Rashji Mackey -74 kg

This wouldn’t be Rolling Harbour if I didn’t pick up the baton dropped by the official FUN FACT (see above) and give you this:

And here is a reminder of past glory – the Gold Medal Bahamas Relay Team for the 2012 Olympic Games. Kind of…

RED REEF RESIDENTS: A RUFOUS ROUND-UP IN THE BAHAMAS


Squirrelfish (Elvis) ©Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba copy

Elvis the Squirrelfish

RED REEF RESIDENTS: A RUFOUS ROUND-UP IN THE BAHAMAS

It’s sunny and very hot. Time to take another dive with Melinda to see what is going on under water around the reefs. Here are some residents, a somewhat loose description since some of the denizens featured are not especially active. But they are alive, so they qualify by my wide rules. And please may we not get into a discussion about where precisely red and orange overlap. It’s a grey area. And it’s too hot to argue about it… Let’s start with three types of GROUPER that may be spotted in the northern Bahamas. In fact, they are always spotted. One of my favourite pictures is the Graysby – it’s such a great expression, and he really rocks the spots!

GRAYSBY
Graysby © Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba copy

TIGER GROUPER AT A CLEANING STATION with Peterson Cleaning Shrimps & a GobyGrouper, Tiger with cleaning shrimps and goby ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba copyRED HINDRed Hind Grouper Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba copy

BLACKBAR SOLDIERFISHBlackbar Soldierfish ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba copy

HOGFISHHogfish ©Melinda Riger @ GB Scuba copy 2

SQUIRRELFISHSquirrelfish 2 copy

But red fish are not the only red reef residents. Here are some  that won’t swim away from you as you swim towards them to admire them…

A FEATHER DUSTER ON A SPONGEFeather Duster in a Sponge ©Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba copy

RED SPONGERed Sponge ©Melinda Riger @ GB Scuba copyUNDERWATER GARDEN GROWING IN A RED CONTAINERCoral ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba 2 copy

ANOTHER VARIED REEF GARDENReef Garden ©Melinda Riger@ G B Scuba copy

CORALS WITH (I have just noticed) A LURKING LIONFISH Coral ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba 1 copy

CHRISTMAS TREE WORMS (see more of these amazing creatures HERE)Christmas Tree Worms ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba copy

All photos: Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba

“I HEAR YOU KNOCKING”: THE YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO ON ABACO


Coccyzus-americanus_ Factumquintus Wiki

“I HEAR YOU KNOCKING”: THE YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO ON ABACO

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is the least common of three cuckoo species found on Abaco. All are permanent residents.  It is similar to the more frequently seen Mangrove Cuckoo (post to follow). Both are avid consumers of insects in general and caterpillars in particular. The YBC is shy and you are quite unlikely to see one out in the open, though you may hear its distinctive ‘knocking’ call. The third species classified with the ‘cuculidae’ is the Smooth-billed Ani. Here’s what to listen out for:

Mike Nelson / Xeno-Canto

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Abaco, Bahamas (Tom Sheley) copy

The YBC has, obviously, a yellow bill. It also has yellow eye-rings and pure white underparts. Photographer Tom Sheley, a major contributor t0 “The Birds of Abaco”, is a very patient man. He managed to capture these two beautiful birds by knowing the right place to be at the right time… and waiting. The results for this little-seen species are spectacular.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Abaco Bahamas (Tom Sheley)

For those whose memories are stirred by the reference to “I hear you knocking” (Rick from Nassau – you!), I include archive material of Dave Edmunds hamming it up. Get a load of the Clothes! The Dancing! The Moves of the guy in the top left corner / centre back, at once rhythmic yet disconcertingly bizarre.

THE OCTOPUS: MARINE BAGPIPES FILLED WITH INK


 THE OCTOPUS: MARINE BAGPIPES FILLED WITH INK

Few people know that, by international law, it is unlawful to fail to be fascinated by Octopuses… Octopi… Octopodes… Octopotomi… Whatever. For a learned dissertation on the correct plural form for these creatures – bear with me, there are strict rules that apply here – you’ll find out the right way at THE PLURAL OF OCTOPUS I won’t go into it all now, because it’s time to showcase some more wonderful underwater photography by Melinda Riger of Grand Bahama Scuba. Strictly, these are not Abacos Octos, but they share the same reef system and are therefore close cousins. Of such tenuous links are blog posts formed.

My favourite octopus photoOctopus ©Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba

Settling down to a take-awayOctopus + dinner ©Melinda Riger @ GB Scuba

The all-seeing eye…Octopus ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba

On the move… so long suckers!Octopus  ©Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba

Octopus InkOctopus Ink ©Melinda Riger @ G B ScubaAll photos: Melinda Riger

The Rare Scottish Tartan Octopus

Bagpipe

SAD POST SCRIPT:  As a Scot out of Norway (did you ever?) my father learnt to play the bagpipes. Indeed had a set. They lived in a cellar I wasn’t allowed into. The bag was allegedly preserved in treacle (don’t ask). I still have the ‘Chanter’ (a single pipe practice instrument), the sound of which is akin to trying to strangle one cat with another cat. I was fobbed off with that. Then one day as a treat the cellar was unlocked and a large wooden box was dragged out. The bagpipes! The lid was opened and… OMG! the bag had rotted away completely, the pipes looked pathetic and very disappointing, and the whole thing stank of nameless dead creatures… I can’t hear the sound of the pipes to this day without finding it (a) stirring yet (b) enough after a short time and (c ) a reminder of a broken dream… The end.

THE SUPERMOON: LUNAR SEA ON A GRAND SCALE


Supermoon, Rio AP / Daily Mail

THE SUPERMOON: LUNAR SEA ON A GRAND SCALE

A supermoon is “the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth”. These huge, bright moons are not particularly rare, but they are undoubtedly spectacular. The most recent occurrence was on July 12, 2014 and generated many wonderful images around the world, such as the header image (AP / D Mail) which cannily  shows a shot from World Cup Land. The moon also brought a flurry of good photos from Abaco, for example these from Char Albury and Rhonda Pearce that were posted on FB. The visible detail of the moon’s surface is amazing – craters, seas, mountain ranges, lines and all. The source of radiance oddly appears to be  a large crater I’d never heard of, called Tycho.

Supermoon, Abaco (Char Albury)10488111_10152314020043720_423772678214367628_n

The event was a dream for selenologists (lunar scientists) and selenographists – those who study the surface and physical features of the Moon, and are involved in mapping and naming the lunar seas, craters, mountain ranges etc. A surprising amount of detail of the moon’s surface was visible even to the naked eye. Nowadays, orbiting spacecraft have made the scientific tasks much easier, and even the moon’s backside has been thoroughly charted (not to be confused with the frequent charting of The Dark Side of the Moon). In the UK we also noticed the phenomenon – a large, heavy moon hanging brightly in the sky. I took a few shots in the countryside where there is gratifyingly little light or air pollution, without thinking that the object I was focusing on was obviously much the same for everyone everywhere… Supermoon, Dorset Then I got to wondering what exactly I was looking at. I had a vague memory of some of the seas – Mare Imbrium for example – but I couldn’t remember any crater names at all. So I did a bit of research in an amateur serenographist kind of way and came up with this: Supermoon marked map This led me on to thoughts of the moon landings, and in particular Apollo 11. Wasn’t there something about touching down in the Sea of Tranquility? But whereabouts exactly on the supermoon? Here’s the answer. The moon below (from SOERFM) is at a different angle, but it can still be compared with the supermoons above. Apollo-11-landing-site Soerfm And what of all the other Apollo landings? Did they all aim for the same spot where Neil Armstrong staked his claim for mankind? Or were other landing areas tried by the Apollo moon missions? NASA has the answer: Apollo landing locator NASA Then I wondered about the names given to the seas and craters. Are they all modern or are some historical? I came across a wonderful map that shows that many names were given and recorded centuries ago. The moon map below is confusing – it is upside down compared with all the ones above. However, it is clear that by the c17, the naming of lunar geographical features was already largely settled. Almost all the names I added to the moon above can be found on this map of 1647. Double-click on it to get an enlarged legible view. It’s worth noting that it was published only 5 years after Galileo’s death.

MoonMap1

Map of the Moon by Johannes Hevelius (1647)

220px-Dark_Side_of_the_Moon

Photos: Charmaine Albury, Rhonda Pearce, RH, SOERFM, NASA; other credits as noted in text

OWLS OF ABACO (1): THE BARN OWL


Barn Owl, Abaco2

Barn Owl, Abaco, Bahamas (Woody Bracey)

OWLS OF ABACO (1): THE BARN OWL

Realistically, the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the only owl you are likely to see – and hear – on Abaco. The species is permanently resident, which is a good start in that the opportunities for sighting one exist year-round. Although they are not at all common they can be found in particular locations, for example the Treasure Cay area. There are two other owl species recorded for Abaco: the Burrowing Owl, a rare vagrant (post coming soon); and the Northern Saw-whet Owl, a vanishingly rare vagrant recorded a handful of times that I don’t propose to feature unless and until it decides to visit Abaco more frequently…

Barn Owl, Treasure Cay, Abaco Bahamas (Becky Marvil)

Barn Owl, Treasure Cay, Abaco Bahamas (Becky Marvil)

The shrill banshee cry of the Barn Owl – known in many places as the ‘screech owl’ (which, strictly, is a different owl species) – is unmistakeable. Mainly nocturnal, they fly noiselessly like white ghosts in the night. If you are lucky enough to see one in daytime, you’ll be struck by the beautiful heart-shaped face and (if close enough) the delicate markings. We are lucky enough to live in barn owl country in the UK. In summer we often hear them at night as they hunt for rodents and other small mammals. Last night, for example, at 2.30 a.m. Barn owls also make an intimidating hissing noise.

Patrik Aberg Xeno-Canto

Both photos above were taken on Abaco. Woody Bracey’s header image is featured inTHE BIRDS OF ABACO“. Becky Marvil’s photo was taken near Treasure Cay. I’ve never seen a barn owl on Abaco, but  I’ve been lucky enough to get close to a couple – last summer in Dorset, and last week in Cornwall. For those who have never seen one, here is a gallery of my own images that show what wonderful birds they are.

Barn Owl (Keith Salvesen)Barn Owl Dorset 3 copy Barn Owl Dorset 2 copyBarn Owl 2 (Keith Salvesen)Barn Owl 4 (Keith Salvesen)

 This close-up of a barn owl shows the typical speckling on its pure white front, and the wing patternsBarn Owl 5 (Keith Salvesen)

This fluffy baby barn owl was recently rescued and is being cared for in a sanctuary before being returned to the wild. Whimsy is rarely permitted  in this blog, but seriously, folks – cute overload!Barn Owl 6 (Keith Salvesen)

Credits: Woody Bracey, Becky Marvil, RH, Xeno-Canto (audio), RSPB (video)