Abaco (Cuban) Parrot (Melissa Maura)



For tens of thousands of people, the past 2 weeks have been dominated by one cruelly aggressive female: Irma. In terms of a lucky escape, Abaco’s gain was elsewhere’s pain. Recently, only the vivid Wunderground trackers I have posted have stood out from the bleakness of the ominous clouds, pounding waves, and sluicing rain. With the prospects for Hurricane Jose wandering around in the mid-Atlantic looking increasingly good, it’s time for a look at something more cheerful.

Birds can lighten the spirit. As yet, I’ve seen few reports of how the birds on Abaco have fared, but the ones I have seen have been encouraging. A west-indian woodpecker back on his usual tree; a piping plover foraging on the beach at Winding Bay, even as the storm raged; bird business more or less as usual at Delphi. No news yet of Abaco’s iconic parrots, which will have most likely headed to the National Park for cover. They usually manage OK. The header image is a tip of the hat to them, their raucous beauty, and their healthy recovery from near-extinction over the last few years.

Here’s a small gallery of some of Abaco’s most colourful and striking birds for some light relief. Have a nice day!

Painted Bunting, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyBananaquit, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenWestern Spindalis, Abaco, Bahamas - Craig NashWhite-cheeked (Bahama) Pintail, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenCuban Emerald Hummingbird, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenBahama Woodstar, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyBlack-necked Stilt, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyCuban Pewee, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenOsprey, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyBahama Yellowthroat, Abaco, Bahamas - Gerlinde Taurer

Photo Credits: Abaco (Cuban) Parrot, Melissa Maura; Painted Bunting, Tom Sheley; Bananaquit, Keith Salvesen; Western Spindalis, Craig Nash; White-cheeked (Bahama) Pintail, Keith Salvesen; Cuban Emerald (f), Keith Salvesen; Bahama Woodstar, Tom Sheley; Black-necked Stilt, Tom Sheley; Cuban Pewee, Keith Salvesen; Osprey, Tom Sheley; Bahama Yellowthroat, Gerlinde Taurer. Storm tracker, Wunderground


Hurricane Irma NASA


It’s Saturday afternoon. Irma has (surprisingly?) weakened from Cat 5 overnight to Cat 3 right now – but is expected to regain Cat 4 strength as the core of the storm reaches the tip of Florida. The hurricane has now cleared the north coast of Cuba and is heading for Florida, where the first effects of this massive storm are already being felt.

For Abaco, the situation is better than feared and expected at one stage. I’ve seen several reports from the main island, including a video from Jason who is holding the fort at Delphi. He’s also sent a video sweep of Rolling Harbour taken from the verandah of the club a couple of hours ago.


Here are a couple of photos from Olivia Patterson Maura taken from her stretch of beach, taken earlier today. It hasn’t taken long for the sea to build up from rough to scary.

Below are some trackers and screenshots, mostly issued at 11.00 am today. The top one segues into a path prediction. I think it’s now certain that for Abaco, at least, the hurricane will be more of a violent sideswipe than a critical event. Not so elsewhere, for sure.


It looks as though JOSÉ will continue north-west, with an increasing hook to the east over open water. A complete change of course obviously remains a possibility, but for the moment it retains the status of ‘one to watch’. KATIA has dissipated, and although there are remnants of the storm

Credits: NASA (1, 5, 7);  live tracker screenshot NotableMedia (2);Olivia Patterson Maura (3, 4); Wunderground (6); NOAA (8); Video Jason Pragnall. Stay safe.



It’s Friday afternoon. Irma is spinning her destructive progress through the Bahamas towards… well, right at the moment it seems to be Andros and then towards the Florida coast and northwards up the panhandle. Abaco is not currently shown in the direct firing line – but there’s no doubt that the passage of such a massive storm will mean plenty of dirty weather very soon now. 

I have just taken a screenshot (above) of the live tracker I am using. Top right is a realtime satellite view of Irma’s current position. Bottom left is the predicted position later this weekend. The fiercest part of the storm will have passed over Andros and carried on northwest, a path further west of Abaco than recently forecast. We must hope so, remembering of course that one location’s dodged bullet will inevitably be another’s bullseye.

In the tracker realtime shot above, it’s impossible to ignore the lurking menace of Hurricane Jose – recently graded Cat 4 – to the east. Here’s the latest Jose tracker I can find for today. Right now (but who knows for how long) this system looks as though it may hook north and expend its savage energy in the open ocean.

And here is the latest Irma tracker, as I write. It looks as if the storm may dissipate after it has made landfall at the southern tip of Florida, but it will clearly be very unpleasant down there I’m afraid.

There’s been some interest in the International Space Station ISS images I posted yesterday. The serenity of the view of a hurricane topside is so at odds with the ferocity of the weather beneath and the destruction being wrought on the ground. And they work on the imagination: suppose you were in that capsule, moving with eerie calmness through the sky, looking at the swirling mass of white cloud far below…?

Today’s screenshots were taken during yesterday’s ISS pass over Irma, using external cameras. The one below is the last in the sequence, an upside-down view looking rather like some pale alien spaceship hanging above a dark earth.

I’ll be watching events during the weekend. By the time I next write, the storm will have passed the Bahamas, and the assessments will have begun. From a safe distance of 4250 miles, I will be thinking of those who are already counting the cost; those currently enduring the brutality; and those still awaiting Irma’s malice.


Credits: all images ISS / NASA; live tracker from NotableMedia; tracker images for Jose & Irma from Wunderground