Trinidad & Tobago  -  p 3   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.

Violaceous Euphonia2 May 2009
Meanwhile, back at the veranda, more colorful birds pose for us.  Just before I headed off for a bacon and omelet breakfast, a nice Violaceous Euphonia, another relative of the tanagers, popped up just off the balcony.  Overcast light made for saturated colors. 

male Barred AntshrikeAntbirds make up a large group of birds in the New World tropics.  The name comes from the fact that they follow army ants and pounce on insects trying to escape the blitz.  Most antbirds are quite shy and found only in the rainforest gloom, not a good recipe for getting a photo.  Around the lodge, however, can be seen one of the more cooperative species, Barred Antshrike.

Copper-rumped Hummingbird

But let's not forget the hummingbirds.  Out in the forest, Rufous-breasted Hermits feed at heliconia flowers, while handsome White-necked Jacobins battle over the mimosa blooms.  Closer to the veranda are Black-throated Mangos, Blue-chinned Sapphires, White-chested Emeralds (love those names!) and commonest of all, Copper-rumped Hummingbirds.  


male Tufted CoquetteThe best hummer of all, however, is at first glance inconspicuous.  He's a tiny little sprite that only appears around dawn and late in the day, almost too late for photography.  Only when you get a good look do you realize how remarkable is the Tufted Coquette - a bird with whom Nature's imagination seems to have run wild.  He feeds on lantana flower heads. 
    In the shade of the evening I must open the lens to f5.6.  Even at 1/250" his wings are a blur.  The smaller the hummingbird, the faster do their wings beat.

male Tufted Coquette

he slightest movement sends the male coquette zipping out to perch on a limb, again providing a chance to admire his distinctive plumage.  Among many shots at a (far too) slow shutter speed, one is acceptably sharp.





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