Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 02/28/2018

Photo taken on March 19, 2017

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Coereba flaveola
side view
Anne Elliott
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© Anne Elliott 2017
Asa Wright Nature Centre
West Indies
19 March 2017

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Bananaquit / Coereba flaveola, Trinidad

Bananaquit / Coereba flaveola, Trinidad
Oh, my goodness, what a sweet bit of video this is. Just seen on the Weather Network's page - a young Chimp who was rescued from poachers by a rescue organization, via a helicopter ride. If only all humans were as sweet and happy as this youngster!

Has everyone seen this video before? The title is "Sh*t Birders Say". It makes me laugh every time I watch it - because so much of it is so true to life : ) Every once in a while, when I'm out on a birding walk with friends, I ask them if they have ever seen this video, because they are sounding just like the guys in it.

We saw Bananaquits on both Trinidad and Tobago. This one was seen and photographed at the Asa Wright Nature Centre on the island of Trinidad, on 19 March 2017. I would much rather take and post a photo like this one compared to the next photo : ) Unfortunately, some birds are almost impossible to get a photo of. - and spot in the first place.

"The bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) is a species of passerine bird of uncertain relation. It is tentatively placed in the tanager family, but classified as incertae sedis by other authorities such as the American Ornithologists' Union. Its classification is debated, and it is often placed in its own family: Coerebidae. It has recently been suggested the bananaquit should be split into three species, but this has yet to receive widespread recognition. This small, active nectarivore is found in warmer parts of the Americas, and is generally common.

The bananaquit has a slender, curved bill, adapted to taking nectar from flowers. It sometimes pierces flowers from the side, taking the nectar without pollinating the plant. It also feeds on sweet juices by puncturing fruit with its beak, and will eat small insects on occasion. While feeding, the bananaquit must always perch as it cannot hover like a hummingbird.

The bananaquit is known for its ability to adjust remarkably to human environments. It often visits gardens and may become very tame. Its nickname, the sugar bird, comes from its affinity for bowls or bird feeders stocked with granular sugar, a common method of attracting these birds. The bananaquit builds a spherical lined nest with a side entrance hole, laying up to three eggs, which are incubated solely by the female. It may also build its nest in human-made objects, such as lampshades and garden trellises. The birds breed all year regardless of season and build new nests throughout the year."

This adventure was only the second holiday of any kind, anywhere, that I have had in something like 30 or 35 years! The other holiday was a wonderful, one-week trip with my dear friends from England, Linda and Tony, when we went down south to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in September 2012. I have had maybe half a dozen weekends away, including to Waterton National Park, which have helped keep me going.

Six birding/photographer friends and I decided that we would take this exciting trip together (from 12-21 March 2017), spending the first two or three days on the island of Tobago and then the rest of the time at the Asa Wright Nature Centre on the nearby, much larger island of Trinidad. We decided to take a complete package, so everything was included - accommodation at both places, all our food, and the various walks and day trips that we could choose from. Two of my friends, Anne B. and Brenda, saw to all the planning of flights and accommodations, which was so very much appreciated by the rest of us. I could never have done all this myself! We were so lucky with our flights, as we were just in time to get Black Friday prices, which were 50% off!

What a time we had, seeing so many beautiful and interesting things - and, of course, everything was a lifer for me. Some of these friends had visited Costa Rica before, so were familiar with some of the birds. There was a lot more to see on Trinidad, so we were glad that we chose Tobago to visit first and then spend a longer time at Asa Wright. It was wonderful to be right by the sea, though, at the Blue Waters Inn on the island of Tobago. Just gorgeous.

The Asa Wright Nature Centre, on Trinidad, is such an amazing place! We stayed in cabins up or down hill from the main building. Really, one doesn't need to travel away from the Centre for birding, as so many different species visit the Hummingbird feeders that are right by the huge, open veranda, and the trees of the rain forest high up the mountainous road. The drive up and down this narrow, twisting, pot-holed road was an adventure in itself! Never would I ever do this drive myself - we had a guide who drove us everywhere in a minibus. I had read many accounts of this road, lol! There was enough room for two vehicles to pass each other, and the honking of horns was almost continuous - either to warn any vehicle that might be coming fast around the next bend or as a sign that drivers knew each other. The drive along this road, from the coast to Asa Wright, took just over an hour each way.

I still miss the great food that was provided every single day at Asa Wright and even the Rum Punch that appeared each evening. I never drink at all, so I wasn't sure if I would even try the Punch - glad I did, though, as it was delicious and refreshing. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all served buffet-style, with a great variety of dishes from which to choose. To me, pure luxury. So very, very grateful to have been invited to be part of this amazing adventure.

This is a video that I came across on YouTube, taken by Rigdon Currie and Trish Johnson, at many of the same places we visited on Trinidad and Tobago. Not my video, but it made me feel like I was right there still. Posting the link here again, so that I won't lose it.

I also came across the following 27-minute YouTube video of the flora and fauna of Trinidad, filmed by John Patrick Smith in February 2015.

Pics-UM, * ઇઉ *, Chrissy, Pam J have particularly liked this photo

Pam J
Pam J
Love that beak !

Admired in ~ I ❤ Nature
10 months ago. Edited 10 months ago.
Tess Mc Kenna
Tess Mc Kenna
Fantastic capture of this lovely Bird. Congratulations on Explore. Well deserved for this image.
10 months ago.