Thursday, December 21, 2006

Keep an eye on the skies.

Time for a few birds for a change before we get into all those ugly fish. Ages ago I posted about watching snipe in the fantastic London Wetland Centre reserve in which I mentioned how well camouflaged they are and had to draw a red outline around a nearly invisible bird in the accompanying photo. Well imagine my surprise at walking through a patch of rough ground that was part carpark part building site in the main town on my little island when a snipe exploded out of the ground 2 feet in front of me. Here in the carribean we have only 1 snipe, Wilson's, which is the same as the mainland US species. It is also, I realised when I had recovered my composure a life and island tick. Nice. Well it went to ground again and after watching for a while I resolved to return with my digiscoping gear and improve on that ropey snipe photo.

It rained before my return and I was somewhat surprised to find my snipe spot loaded with waders. Kildeer ambled about complaining about my presence and a green heron stalked a puddle (rather optimistically I thought). I soon found my snipe (X 2!) and got my photo.


Score! Still not perfect due to the artefact at the top but at least this time you can tell its a bird. Well the snipe got bored before I got that perfect shot and retreated underneath a nearby lorry. Feeling pretty pleased with that and the spotted sandpiper (island tick!) walking around the same puddle when I walked back to my ride, glanced up and spotted this:


Forgive the darkness but its a merlin (at 60X) sat on top of an emerging palm frond watching the waders and (probably of more interest to it) dragonflies below. Awesome. Anyway the moral of the story? Wherever you are, whatever you're doing; keep half an eye out. You never know where that next cool bird is gonna appear. ..and my new patch is a car park.


Carl Buell (OGeorge) said...

I'm looking at the Butterfly fish on a recent post and I'm thinking "ugly fish"(?). Well anyway, the snipe photo is wonderful. You seldom get even a good close look at them, much less a photo. As for the merlin, the only actual merlin kill I ever saw was of a small (probably semipalmated) sandpiper a beach in Long Island. Tough, aggresive little falcon, I'm not sure how interested he would be in the dragonflies with any smaller waders around. Kestrels, do they pass through(?) are a different story.

tai haku said...

Hi Carl, some seious ugly is on the way!

Falconwise we do get American kestrels, which are lovely and so different to our european kestrels, and the odd peregrine. I had no idea merlin would go for something as big as a sandpiper.