Let's face it, all of us don't always have sense enough to get out of the rain! The male White-necked Jacobin above is actually bathing in the rain, and typically - if lightning isn't flying - I tend to just don the rain coat and let 'er rip in a similar manner. Clothes dry and so will I. In the video below I was out of the rain only because I was already on the veranda enjoying Asa Wright's tea time (or more likely rum punch hour) when this short-lived monsoon blew in.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Asa Wright Nature Centre's infamous veranda, complete with Leica scope! :)
It was hard for me to believe (considering how well traveled the crew I was hanging with on this trip) that none in our crew but me had ever been to Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge before. Some 42 years in operation, we were hard-pressed to think of any eco-lodge with as rich a history, or one that had been in operation as long - especially in the western hemisphere. So it was with great pleasure that I introduced this group of life-long nature enthusiasts to the infamous Asa Wright grounds and especially inviting veranda!
veranda view - Leica D-Lux 4 camera 7/09
The view from the veranda is as lovely as it is "birdy" in a quick review of the Trini list it appears I've seen as many as 87 bird species from this site alone. The array of feeders filled with assorted fruits, breads, grains, as well as hummingbird feeders attract many local specialties in for close looks. Not surprisingly this also offers fantastic digiscoping opportunities, as the birds will often perch up on the vegetation edges some 30' or so away before dropping to the feeders which sit one level below.
Pete & Linda were luckier with flights and able to make it in near mid day on the first day of the trip. I'm afraid for the remaining Ohio contingent they would not arrive until after dark. Not surprisingly, Pete Dunne took to the place like a duck to water. In many ways the Asa Wright veranda is like a ginormous hawkwatch platform, only with shade, a bar, tea time with fantastic treats, and a regularly scheduled rum punch service! So really no different than any other hawk watch I guess, huh?!?... ;p Of course, at first you can't help but notice the constant buzz of the Bananaquits, Hummingbirds, and Tanagers coming and going to the feeders and Linda (ever the photographer) was busily setting up her loaned digiscoping rig.
My other esteemed fiends & colleagues (the Ohio contingent) consisted of Bill Thompson, III & his wife Julie Zickefoose representin' for the downtown "W" Whipple bird club, and Kenn & Kim Kaufman doin' the Oak Harbor crowd proud as well. For these four, their first real taste of veranda living would wait until Monday morning. A phrase that usually equates to board meetings, appointments, and other work-related hogwash, on this Monday morning at least, the Ohio contingent was in for a special treat. Their first view of the Arima Valley as seen above.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As I said before there are a lot of stories to be told over 10 excellent days of birding and digiscoping with such a star-studded cast and for these tales will follow in the coming weeks. As an introduction though, I want to send my sincerest thanks to all of the folks that made our trip so successful.
Oilbird digiscoped at Asa Wright reserve, July 2009
I would be horribly remiss if I didn't acknowledge all of our friends at Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge. The feathered variety performed swimmingly doing their part by offering us the best in digiscoping opportunities & world class natural experiences (like the spectacular Oilbird for example). However, it was the human touch that provided us with all of the creature comforts and amenities we enjoyed. The entire staff from the talented guides were excellent answering all of our questions, and the skilled cook and wait staff did their part to insure I gained at least 10 pounds I think! I'd like to offer Ann Sealey my sincere gratitude for what she did to insure our trip was successful, and thank Mukesh for offering a program on the rich history of Asa Wright as well! We spent 7 days based out of Asa Wright so rest assured I have a lot of tall tales to share..
Thanks to Phil & Margaret Schaeffer, & Mark Hedden of Caligo Ventures as well for making all of the arrangements for a spectacular job arranging an itinerary that was incredibly well balanced between wildlife & photo ops.
adult Brown Booby, digiscoped w/ Leica APO Televid 82 mm scope, D-lux 4 camera 7/09