Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 03/04/2018


Photo taken on March 20, 2017



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20 March 2017


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Birds of a feather

White-necked Jacobin, Trinidad

White-necked Jacobin, Trinidad 

Last night, I posted 15 rather uninspiring and poor quality images just so that I could get them into my Trinidad & Tobago albums. The birds in the photos were so very far away, but I did want to add them for the record. The photos marked the end of our final morning on Trinidad, meaning that I have now completed this mammoth task of documenting our amazing holiday. It has taken me a year to edit and post 740 photos! I still have various odds and ends to post, mainly birds photographed at the Asa Wright Centre, like this one. Especially during this dreadfully cold and snowy winter we are having, an occasional splash of gorgeous colour will come in handy.

This was just one of several species of Hummingbird that my six friends and I were lucky enough to see on our trip to Trinidad & Tobago. Though this species is found on both islands, this one was photographed on 18 March 2017, at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, high up in the mountains of Trinidad. I seem to have ended up with a lot more photos of this species than any other, so I hope you aren't getting bored of seeing them : )

"The white-necked jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) is a large and attractive hummingbird that ranges from Mexico, south to Peru, Bolivia and south Brazil. It is also found on Tobago (sub-species F. m. flabellifera) and in Trinidad (sub-species F. m. mellivora)

Other common names are great jacobin and collared hummingbird.

The white-necked jacobin is a widespread inhabitant of forest, usually being seen at a high perch or just above the canopy. It is less common at lower levels, except near hummingbird feeders.

The approximately 12 cm long male white-necked jacobin is unmistakable with its white belly and tail, a white band on the nape and a dark blue hood. Immature males have less white in the tail and a conspicuous rufous patch in the malar region. Females are highly variable, and may resemble adult or immature males, have green upperparts, white belly, white-scaled green or blue throat, and white-scaled dark blue crissum (the area around the cloaca), or be intermediate between the aforementioned plumages, though retain the white-scaled dark blue crissum. Females are potentially confusing, but the pattern on the crissum is distinctive and not shared by superficially similar species.

These birds usually visit flowers of tall trees and epiphytes for nectar, and also hawk for insects." From Wikipedia.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-necked_jacobin

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.

youtu.be/BBifhf99f_M

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.

youtu.be/6HHBm9MIxnk

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