A CUBAN EMERALD HUMMINGBIRD ON ABACO, BAHAMAS


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A CUBAN EMERALD HUMMINGBIRD ON ABACO, BAHAMAS

I took photos of this tiny bird at BPS last month. They were ‘chance’ pics taken when we were photographing parrots in the tree tops. The hummer suddenly appeared some way ahead of me, so I swivelled the camera at it without changing any settings. Frankly, I didn’t expect the results to show more than a small green blur, but they have turned out slightly better than anticipated. I put these images on my subsidiary ‘Gallery’ site and people seem to like them so I’ve decided to add them here too. After all, it’s their true home, I suppose, with the other Abaco wildlife. Apologies to those who have seen these already on the other site. The images are exactly as taken – no colour tweaking, no sharpening, no photoshop  - and may not stand enlargement or close scrutiny, because I was several yards away. On the other hand they give a good idea of how this bird feeds. The body postures are very characteristic, and besides, the plants are pretty… Cuban Emerald Hummingbird in flight, Abaco Bahamas 1Cuban Emerald Hummingbird in flight, Abaco Bahamas 2Cuban Emerald Hummingbird in flight, Abaco Bahamas 3Cuban Emerald Hummingbird in flight, Abaco Bahamas 4Cuban Emerald Hummingbird in flight, Abaco Bahamas 5

BEDRAGGLED ABACO PARROTS, & AN AMERICAN KESTREL TAKES OFF…


BEDRAGGLED ABACO PARROTS, & AN AMERICAN KESTREL TAKES OFF…

It’s a fine June day. Perfect for a morning out with Ricky Johnson, the omniscient leader of  ABACO NATURE TOURS. Want parrots? He’ll take you to them. Want a Bahama Woodstar ‘pished’ from its deep cover into the open? He’s your man. And as for wrassling land crabs – see LANDCRAB and LANDCRAB: THE SEQUEL We set off from the Delphi Club in sunshine and hope…

Sure enough, we found the parrots at Bahama Palm Shores, so often a good bet. This was (Ricky said) a non-breeding flock, the breeders all being otherwise detained in the National Park with their nests and eggs. Out of nowhere, a sudden short, sharp downpour arrived, and 5 minutes later, everything – everyone – was soaked. And so, of course, were the parrots. At first I discounted the resulting photos for use. These lovely, rare birds are made to be seen in their bright cheerful livery of green, red and blue. These wet ones looked… black. I usually try to avoid doing much (or any) ‘work’ on my photos, but for these I tried changing the contrast a bit and realised that they looked rather appealing with their dark, damp feathers and unkempt appearance. So I’ve decided to use a few images. Here they are, then: some sodden parrots!

While we were damply watching the parrots, Ricky spotted an American Kestrel near the top of a tree. Heads swivelled. It was some way away, but we could see it looking a bit dejected, huddled in the palm fronds. Then suddenly, just as I pressed the camera button, the kestrel stretched itself upright, raised its wings, and launched itself into the sky. The two photos below are frankly of marginal quality (on a high “blur setting”, as you might say) but the second one has caught the rain-drenched kestrel’s take-off about as well as a point ‘n’ shoot at that distance could… 

RED-LEGGED THRUSH – A WELCOME GUEST AT DELPHI, ABACO


THE RED-LEGGED THRUSH - A WELCOME GUEST AT THE DELPHI CLUB, ABACO

They are everywhere in May and June, with their eponymous limbs and their remarkable red eyes. In fact, ‘red-eyed thrush’ would be as apt a name, if somewhat lachrymose-sounding. This was our first Summer visit to Abaco and the difference in sightings was marked. Now, the thrushes tended to choose a high tree-perch to sing from, when not hopping around feeding on the ground. In March they seem more furtive, lurking in the coppice – presumably eyeing up the talent (or sizing up the opposition) with mating in mind.

There are 6 distinct regional variations on the species, which are found in the Bahamas, Caymans, Cuba, Dominica, Haiti and Puerto Rico. TURDUS PLUMBEUS is the subspecies specific to the Bahamas. Some view them as the Caribbean counterpart to the AMERICAN ROBIN. They eat fruit, insects and small creatures such as snails, lizards and caterpillars. Their song sounds like this (courtesy of Paul Driver at Xeno-Canto)

LOGO BIRD

In a departure from the normal use of an ‘in-house’ logo, I’ve posted a silhouette of a Delphi RLT in the coppice close to the Club. The photo itself was dull, but I liked the pose and decided to turn it into logo-thrush

BIRDS IN THE DELPHI GOUNDS OR IN THE COPPICE NEARBY

1. This bird was at the top of a tree on the Delphi front drive close to the Club. It is singing cheerfully, and you can clearly see its tongue

2. This bird also chose a high vantage point near the front entrance gate. I managed to get gradually closer to it. Its feathers are quite fluffy and I wonder if it a juvenile / late teen?

3. Strike the pose! Two very characteristic poses by a bird on the guest drive. In the first image, you can also (just) see its tongue as it sings

4. Another high perch above the coppice alongside the drive

GROUND-FEEDING IN THE GARDEN ROUND THE POOL

Two very productive areas for thrush-fodder. The newly cut grass exposes insects, in particular ants. And the border beside the lawn has plenty of insect-life to feed on (Photo quality suspect – half-asleep  by pool, grabbed camera)

A PRETTY EXAMPLE OF THE THRUSH TAKEN AT BAHAMA PALM SHORES

Checking out the precarious electricity infrastructure, Marsh Harbour, dusk                                                        

BIRDS OF BAHAMA PALM SHORES, ABACO: FEEDER, COPPICE & BEACH


BIRDS OF BAHAMA PALM SHORES

I posted a while ago about a wonderful afternoon spent at BPS with nature guide and all-round Abaco knowledge mine Ricky Johnson. Three posts (Abaco Parrots; other birds; flower and plants) were later combined into the page ABACO ECO-TOUR (if you visit, apologies that the formatting is still out of whack after a blog format change)

Resident ANN CAPLING has kindly sent some photos of birds on her feeder, prompted by my post of her recent sighting of a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, a bird not often encountered at BPS. The feeder photos were taken from indoors through glass, considering which they have come out very well. She also sent a brilliant photo of a tiny female Bahama Woodstar looking totally cute (not a word I normally use, but completely apt here, I think); and of 2 American Oystercatchers strutting along the BPS shoreline

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON

INDIGO BUNTING (and 2 more dowdy admirers)

INDIGO BUNTING (2)

GREATER ANTILLEAN BULLFINCH

BAHAMA WOODSTAR HUMMINGBIRD

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS