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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Chicken of the 12 months? – 10,000 Birds

Sure, I perceive what you’re considering. How can one, in what’s barely the second week of the primary month of the 12 months – even suppose of suggesting a Chicken of the 12 months? Nicely, let me clarify.

I started recording my fowl sightings with images in late 2009, and since then I’ve seen (or not less than heard) a good proportion of species recorded inside my dwelling nation of Trinidad & Tobago. The euphoria of chasing sightings lasted for only some years, ultimately giving solution to my present ethos of merely placing myself in place and letting nature toss me no matter she feels I would like. This enriching follow makes fortuitous sightings much more treasured once they do happen.

Certainly one of T&T’s resident species has been taking me for an actual run round since I started birding – the delicately lovely Mangrove Cuckoo. I first caught sight of 1 whereas birding a mangrove swamp in 2012. The view was of its wealthy buff underside and lengthy, noticed tail because it flew from treetop to treetop – if I say the view lasted a full second I’m being beneficiant. The second time I noticed one was late in 2020 (could possibly be 2021, the pandemic years are a blur), the place a small group of photographers had been having fun with (apparently) a fowl in full view. It took me some time to seek out it and as quickly as I laid eyes on the fowl it flew off, by no means to be seen once more.

As I’ve been on Tobago for the final 12 months, many have expressed shock that I had by no means photographed a Mangrove Cuckoo. In any case, it was a simple process: drive to the mangrove swamps, play the decision, {photograph} the fowl, depart. I skilled this primary hand whereas attending final 12 months’s CBC, however as a result of I’m motivated by emotions I didn’t think about this a true expertise. Nature is an infinitely unpredictable organism and I’m glad to fowl naturally.

Which brings me to the happenings of yesterday morning. After an pleasurable dawn session on the seashore with a number of Whimbrels, Southern Lapwings (together with {a partially} leucistic particular person!), and Black-bellied Plovers, we had been simply packing up and finalizing preparations for the place to have breakfast. I had simply switched my digicam off and tossed the binoculars into the again seat when Joanne identified a fowl that was perched virtually instantly overhead. Yeah, you guessed it – a Mangrove Cuckoo!


Black-bellied Plovers are at all times enjoyable to spend time with!

This partially leucistic Southern Lapwing didn’t appear in in the least ostracized by its friends. A lesson we’re steadily studying.

I forgot all about breakfast and tracked the fowl for about twenty minutes because it foraged within the treetops, solely sometimes sitting for longer than a couple of seconds. Most of these occasions it was obscured by branches, however I did handle some photos I’m proud of.

My arms had been already shaking by the point the Mangrove Cuckoo hopped on this open department however thankfully developments in software program now imply that I can salvage photos I might’ve beforehand tossed. What a stunning fowl!

Given what number of occasions I’ve missed out seeing a Mangrove Cuckoo through the years and the shut calls I’ve had with the species, I’m moved to contemplate this as an actual contender for my BOTY. In fact, a significant component on this determination rests in its standing as a resident species. Will or not it’s upstaged by one other? Who is aware of what this 12 months will carry?! Maybe lastly a possibility with a Pearl Kite (don’t get me began on this), or the holy grail itself – Scaled Antpitta. 2023, you’ve 50 weeks, let’s see what occurs!

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