Trinidad & Tobago  -  p 2   NOTE:   Images were prepared using screen settings of 1024x768, and are best viewed with those settings.  As usual, the name of the bird can be seen by placing the cursor over the photo.

male Purple Honeycreeper1 May 2009
For sheer brilliance, you can't beat the honeycreepers, which are usually lumped in the tanager family.  In addition to the Green, we have Purple Honeycreeper, complete with garish yellow legs.
    Honeycreepers present an unusual challenge to the photographer.  Their plumage color is structural, not due to pigment.  As a result, it changes according to the angle of the sun, cloud cover, and one's camera color settings.  The Purple Honeycreeper may appear entirely blue unless I re-work the settings.
    So the image shown here is my best approximation of how the bird typically looked to the eye.  This is what I saw.  Honest.

White-tailed Trogon



Considering how large, colorful, and rather slow they are, trogons are surprisingly difficult to photograph.  But yesterday afternoon as I took a nap, one perched in a tree outside our window and called, inviting me to try my luck.  Alas, my view was blocked by small limbs.  But the bird seems to follow a route, and today reappeared in the same tree at the same time, now in the open.  So I easily got a photo of a handsome Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, after all those near misses of trogons in Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Tanzania, etc.

Common Potoo

2 May 2009
Just when you think you've seen everything in the bird world, along comes something like the Common Potoo.  Related to nighthawks, it spends the day perched motionless on a dead limb, its body shape and color allowing it to appear as an extension of the limb and thus inconspicuous.  We photographed this one from a boat in Caroni Swamp, where we came to see wading birds including Scarlet Ibis.
    Late in the evening at Asa Wright, we hear in the far distance the potoo's poignant, melancholy call.  To the locals, its call is rendered as "Me poor one."


Scarlet Ibis

Caroni Swamp features wading birds, including Snowy, Cattle, and Great Egrets, Green Herons and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, not to mention Green Kingfisher and an Osprey with a fish.  But the undisputed star is Scarlet Ibis, which just might be the reddest bird in the world.  Unfortunately, we've come at the wrong time of year.  Nearly all are now in Venezuela where they nest.  Only a few modest-sized flocks glide in near sunset to roost.
    It's another disappointment for all, especially Duncan, who wanted to see immense flocks, and to be closer to the roosting trees.  Our guide and boat driver, apparently anticipating this reaction, immediately opened a picnic hamper and began to pour generous quantities of rum punch for everyone.  By the time we returned to the boat dock, we were all quite mellow, the frustrations of the day entirely forgotten.


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