A number of seasonal specialties have been arriving within the final remaining patches of wetland on the southwest finish of the cigar-shaped island of Tobago right here within the southern Caribbean. Being based mostly on this island for the higher a part of this yr has afforded me the chance (for the primary time) to bear witness to the motion of our bodies by way of these quarters – and it continues to be exhilarating.
Fall migration is at all times thrilling, however experiencing it in a special location is a complete new type of feeling. On one hand, there may be an expectation of what’s attainable as a result of I do know what’s supposed to be passing by way of. After which there may be the whole lottery of it, being on a special island I’m on a steep studying curve relating to the subtleties of the birdlife right here. I’ve been studying about what the birds I’m accustomed to seeing occupy themselves with because the months go by. So for migration – I’m as wide-eyed as they get.
Though we’ve got been seeing shorebirds for some time now (and an infuriating Northern Waterthrush close to to the place we’re staying who refuses to have its image taken), the uptick in uncommonly seen species started in late October with three Bobolinks. In accordance with the distribution map, their migration takes them as far south as Argentina, however decidedly much less widespread in central and japanese South America. I’ve seen them many instances on Trinidad however they’re much rarer on Tobago.
On the identical morning after we noticed the Bobolinks, I tried to have breakfast parked up in one other marsh. I used to be unable to even get midway by way of my oatmeal once I observed a pair of warblers feeding on some overhanging vegetation. They had been yellow, however not that yellow. The one time I had seen Blackpoll Warblers beforehand was one forty ft overhead that I practically burned my eyes out attempting to discern leg coloration. So the reality is – I wasn’t actually certain if I had seen this species earlier than or not. However on this morning – it was plain.
This eye-level Blackpoll Warbler was the primary of many sightings of this species I might get pleasure from within the coming weeks.
Whereas attempting to trace these warblers I observed a pair Tropical Mockingbirds shifting by way of the cover. A pair flew from one tree to a different, their lengthy, gray and white tails would fan out as they had been about to land. As I loved this, one other, long-tailed chicken appeared to comply with their route from one tree to a different. This one, nonetheless, was brown. And had conspicuous white spots on the finish of its tail.
As shortly as I may with out breaking character (extra on that on one other discussion board) I scrambled to get a transparent view of this chicken. It was undoubtedly a cuckoo, however which one? At first I believed lastly I’m gonna nail a Mangrove Cuckoo – however as soon as I noticed it once more I knew it was not; it was a stunningly lovely Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The one different time I had seen this species was additionally in Tobago – additionally whereas trying to eat – however that one disappeared comparatively shortly. This time, I used to be in a position to spend about ten minutes with this chicken, intently observing it because it hunted from department to department, from tree to tree.
I’m in love.
On one other go to, we continued to get pleasure from glorious views of the pair of Blackpoll Warblers, this time there was one other pair of warblers lighting up the swamp. The unmistakable and extremely distinctive shade of yellow on a Prothonotary Warbler is a literal beacon within the shade.
A brownish shorebird feeding alongside some Lesser Yellowlegs caught my eye, I checked out it with binoculars by way of the windshield and instantly referred to as it as a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. I photographed it briefly earlier than it flew away and drove dwelling, because it was already late. I despatched out a message on the native chicken alert. The next morning I despatched out photos of the again of my digital camera, and a keen-eyed birder responded with a “What is that this?” – I instantly appeared on the image once more and did the traditional double take I grew up seeing in cartoons – the chicken was no buffy, it was a Ruff.
This Ruff flew throughout the Atlantic to get right here.
The most recent uncommon suspect we noticed on one other morning was a Hudsonian Godwit being harassed by two Willets. In actual fact, it was the ruckus of the Willet pair flanking this chicken that made me flip round to see the Hudsonian Godwit wanting moderately bewildered within the center. That argument didn’t final lengthy, nonetheless, and silence quickly returned to the marsh.
Previous few instances we’ve visited the realm since haven’t yielded something out of the extraordinary. I nonetheless benefit from the Willet/Whimbrel supposed friendship, and the seek for a hidden Wilson’s Snipe continues.