Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm with Vince [possibly]

So one of the joys of living on one Caribbean island is that its easy to visit others and one of the nicest things about all island chains is endemics which is why I found myself in the pouring rain halfway up a mountainside in St. Vincent. I was, of course, looking for St. Vincent's endemic amazon; the St. Vincent Parrot (scientifically Amazon guildingii locally the Vincy).


Now I should stress I was somewhat hindered in my quest by a number of factors. Firstly my parrot watching experience is limited to Rose-ringed Parakeets on London's bird feeders; rainforest is something else. Secondly the trail is a long one through the parrot habitat but I had little time as we were losing the light. Thirdly I'd been unable to secure a local guide on short notice and fourthly it had just started to absolutely pour with rain. However I was having a great time checking out tiny frogs and giant snails on the path and weaving through the giant tree ferns on my quest.


Parrot Lookout point (sponsored by the excellent local beer!)

Watching birds; any birds in the dense forest was really hard. Eventually, absolutely soaked having removed my shirt and wrapped it around my camera to keep the moisture out, I made it to the parrot viewpoint. I waited for a while watching the blackhawks circle over a far tree and hoped for a parrot to emerge squawking. No squawks rang out but a tiny call did draw my attention to a branch 30 feet or so away. A small bird was singing - Whistling warbler! St. Vincent's other endemic of interest. I sat in the rain watching the tiny bird defiantly singing out before giving up and trudging my way out of the forest. On my way out a distinctly parrot shaped silhouette squawked once and disappeared out of sight in the canopy. Was it a Vincy? Perhaps. Was I disappointed in the view? A little. Was I disappointed in the experience? Not at all. I'd gone out into the forest, seen what there was to see and come back and sometimes that's what its all about.

More on St. Vincent Parrots to come soon.


The Clown said...

5 unusual uses for parrots and why everyone should get one…

How often do you think about parrots?

Not often enough. These 5 tips will have you rushing out to the pet store.

In fact, don't delay. Don't even read the rest of this article. Don't even get dressed, get in your car and go buy one.

Then rush back to find out how darn useful they are. Why are you still there? Get going now.

You back? Take the wrapping off of your parrot. Sit it on your shoulder, peering at the screen with you, so you can learn together. Prepare to be amazed.

1. Parrots mimic what you do. There...did you see? They are amazing creatures. In that split second, they discovered how to use a PC, keyboard and mouse. You can now get a proper job, and your parrot will blog for you all day. Better still, when you get home, they'll tell you the best posts they read, recite any comments you've received, and save you trolling through the usual nonsense.

2. Not many people know this, but parrots are fantastic swimmers. They love it. And they can save you a fortune on plumbing bills. Blocked toilet? Simply flush your parrot. They get right to cause of the blockage and their beaks are especially designed to break up the crap. When the parrot emerges for air grab it straight away. They love it so much, they'll just dive straight back in otherwise. Can't be bothered washing them? Stick 'em straight in the washer. They adore the spin cycle.

3. Lazy? Overweight? Unfit? Pissed off with society telling you to eat less or exercise more? Fear not. Parrots are not only IT-savvy, they are amazing chefs. And you can combine those skills together. They can internet shop. Have the ingredients for your favourite meals delivered, and a most fantastic gourmet delight served piping hot for your arrival home from work. Parrot feathers absorb grease, oils and other leftovers. So when you have finished, simply wipe your plate with your parrot. Voila! a clean dish for your next meal tomorrow.

4. Take them to the office. Perched on your cubicle, specially adapted bluetooth headsets make them ideal secretaries. They can take sales calls. Answer the usual bull you have to listen to from colleagues. And shit on them if they really get on your nerves.

5. Improve your sex life. Chase your parrot around the room vigorously for 10 minutes. Make whooping noises. It has to be frightened. The adrenaline transfers an irresistible hormone which can be extracted from the sweat. Wipe it with a cloth. Dab your neck with the cloth before your date. DON'T go into the restaurant. Instead meet her for a drink. One whiff of your parrot-aroma will save you a fortune. She will want to go back to your place straight away. Just try stopping her undressing you in the cab home.

Patrick Belardo said...

Sounds like a great experience. I can't wait to bird in the Caribbean.