Tag Archives: Tanager

Birding at Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad and Tobago, Part 2

If you have read Part 1 of this series on my trip to Trinidad and Tobago, you have seen honeycreepers and hummingbirds that I saw from the Asa Wright veranda. I hope I didn’t leave the impression that there was nothing else to see from the veranda. There were multiple species of beautiful birds. Many colorful tanagers appeared at the feeding tables below the veranda.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Silver-beaked Tanagers

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Male White-lined and Silver-beaked Tanagers

Violaceous Euphonias were frequent visitors to the feeding tables as well.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Violaceious Euphonia

There were birds in the trees around the feeding area, waiting for their turn at the feeders.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Yellow Oriole

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Tropical Mockingbird

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Blue-gray Tanager

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Male White-lined Tanager

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Female White-lined Tanager

Asa Wright Nature Cantre

Male Silver-beaked Tanager

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Female Silver-beaked Tanager

I enjoyed watching a pair of Palm Tanagers as they played in the trees …

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Palm Tanagers

… and then came down to the bird bath for a splash.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Palm Tanagers bathing

There were often Spectacled Thrushes and antpittas beneath the feeding tables. I was able to get a photo of a Spectacled Thrush.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Spectacled Thrush

Unfortunately, I was never quick enough with my camera to get a satisfactory photo of any of the antpittas.

Common Agoutis, large members of the rat family similar to Capybaras, wandered beneath the feeders looking for anything that had fallen to the ground. It was fun to watch them sit on their hind legs while daintily holding food in their paws.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Common Agouti

Tegu lizards would scavenge under the table feeds for scraps as well. I loved watching these large, beautiful lizards!

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Tegu Lizard

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Tegu Lizard, full view

A highlight of my stay at Asa Wright was the walk to Dunston Cave to see the Oilbirds. Oilbirds have a very interesting history, and you might want to read about it here. On our way to Dunston Cave we were fortunate to see a Green-backed Trogon and Golden-headed Manakin. Because of the rain and the slippery trail, I did not have my good camera with me. My manakin photos look like little yellow blobs, but I did get an almost-recognizable photo of the trogon.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Green-backed Trogon

If you walk to Dunston Cave, you will get wet. As I did not have Wellies with me on the trip, I wore capri-length pants and Keen hiking sandals. It was a good choice. The entrance to the Cave is though a shallow running stream.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Entrance to Dunston Cave

At last we were taken into the cave, two at a time, by our guide. She shined her light carefully on the birds so that we could take a few photos. We were not allowed to use flash photography in the cave, as it would have disturbed the birds too much.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Oilbirds in Dunston Cave

Asa Wright that they gave us a lovely Christmas celebration. They brought in Trini Parang singers for Christmas Eve on the veranda, and they had us all singing and dancing. For some reason, I cannot locate my photos and videos of this evening except for this one:

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Trini Parang singers

The next day the centre prepared a lovely Christmas lunch with many Trini specialties including, ham, turkey, pasteles, sorrel sauce, and black cake. It was a delicious feast!

In my next post I will venture away from Asa Wright and do some birding elsewhere in Trinidad.

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A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part II

At the close of A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part I we were about to return to the Nature Trail after making a detour to Alcove House at Bandelier National Monument.

We saw a Mule Deer doe browsing quite close to the trail. She was not concerned about three photographers pointing long lenses at her, and she continued to consume a great deal of Gambel Oak as we photographed her.

Mule Deer doe

Mule Deer doe

Mule Deer doe

A hungry girl.

This cute little Rock Squirrel paused next to the trail just long enough for me to take its photo.

Rock Squirrel

Rock Squirrel

I saw a lovely Abert’s Squirrel peeking at me from a branch of a Ponderosa Pine.

Abert's Squirrel

Abert's Squirrel

Bosque Bill stopped along the trail to talk to some other birders, and I wandered away, looking at the beautiful, tiny butterflies that seemed to be everywhere in the park.

Spring Azure Butterfly on a Big Golden Pea Plant.

Spring Azure Butterfly on a Big Golden Pea Plant.

As I wandered away from the trail, Bosque Bill, thinking that I was ahead of him, hurried back to where we had agreed to meet. Not knowing that Bill was ahead of me, I wandered along at a leisurely pace, waiting for him to catch up with me. As I wandered along, I saw a number of birds to photograph.

Male Black-headed Grosbeak

Male Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay

At one point along the Nature Trail I could see the ruins through the trees across the floor of Frijoles Canyon.

Ancient Pueblo ruins, glimpsed through the trees.

Ancient Pueblo ruins, glimpsed through the trees.

As I walked along, wondering what had happened to Eric and Bill, I saw warblers, swallows, goldfinches and vireos flitting through the trees. I heard woodpeckers pounding on tree bark. It was a lovely, peaceful walk. When I reached our rendez-vous point, Eric and Bill were waiting patiently for me. We ate dessert, which we had not eaten with our lunch. I saw a Canyon Towhee at the edge of the picnic area.

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

After we finished our dessert we decided to walk around the lower parking lot where Bill had seen the Grace’s Warbler earlier in the day. Although we did not see the warbler, we did see a gorgeous Hepatic Tanager, our best bird of the day.

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager, another view.

As we left, we took the opportunity to look down into Frijoles Canyon from the road on the mesa above.

Frijoles Canyon

Frijoles Canyon seen from the mesa above the canyon.

Bandelier National Monument is a wonderful place to see both Ancient Pueblo culture and a nice variety of wildlife. Be sure to make time to visit when you come to New Mexico.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

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A Walk in the Corrales Bosque

Yesterday Bosque Bill and I took a walk in the Corrales Bosque to see if the fall migrants were beginning to come through. We saw quite a few Wilson’s Warblers, but they were too deep in the dense cottonwood foliage to get photos of them.

Common sunflowers (Helianthus Annuus) were blooming profusely along the ditch banks.

Common sunflower, Helianthis Annuus

The Western Tanagers are on their way back through New Mexico, and we saw this lovely female high in a cottonwood.

Female Western Tanager

There were many hummingbirds in the bosque. Although most of them were high in the cottonwoods feeding on insects, I was fortunate to see this female Black-chinned Hummingbird sipping from a sunflower.

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

Western Wood-Pewees were high in the trees.

Western Wood-Pewee

We saw a very attractive bull snake sliding along the path. He got a bit grumpy when I wanted to pick him up and play with him.

Bull Snake

When we approached the Rio Grande we found Northern Pike in an area where runoff goes into the river.

Northern Pike in the Rio Grande

As we walked back along the irrigation ditch we saw a Black Phoebe hunting in the coyote willows.

Black Phoebe

We also saw a beautiful female Blue Grosbeak in this area, but my photos of her are candidates for the blurry photo contest.

On our walk back we saw many dragonflies and damselflies.

Flame Skimmer

Female Variegated Meadowhawk

Damselflies, American Bluets

It was a beautiful day for a walk in the Corrales Bosque.

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Orange Birds Love Purple Food

Some of you may have read Fat Finch’s blog last week and discovered that the writers are awaiting a call from the Nobel Committee as a result of their scientific discovery that orange birds love purple food. To assist the writers, I offered to do an independent study to see if I could replicate their results. Armed with essential scientific research tools–binoculars, the Canon with the long lens, an 8-pound can of grape jelly and a beer–I set out to do my own study.  I observed eight or nine Western Tanagers and two Bullock’s Orioles over a two-hour period:

A subject eyes the grape jelly feeder

More subjects volunteer for the study

Other orange birds arrive

Some traditionalists stay with usual food sources.

Western Tanager with insect

But orange birds vote overwhelmingly for grape jelly.

Bullock's Oriole, Western Tanager

The clear winner: Grape jelly

Some fortunate birds are able to eat with no conflicts.

Delectable grape jelly

Enjoying the grape jelly

But occasional disputes break out over ownership of the jelly feeder.

Western Tanagers

Another dispute

Incoming

My observations confirm Fat Finch’s original conclusion, and I cannot wait for the Nobel Committee to award the well-deserved prize. I hope to get the opportunity to conduct more research. Next time perhaps I should bring an additional beer. In the meantime, you should follow Fat Finch’s blog for always interesting birding information.  If you enjoy that blog you might also want to follow The Golden State by the same author.

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