Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Working in Paradise

some of my friends on Little Tobago Island, D-Lux 4 camera

I've never been the best blogger in the world as I often hit busy periods where I have more to do in a day than I have time to finish all. Well, the bad news is I've just come off one of these hectic periods and I haven't posted in forever (obviously). The good news is that as aresult of all of that running, I have some fabulous stories to share. Not the least of which includes travelling for 10 days with some friends and esteemed colleagues for a wondrous trip to Trinidad & Tobago.

My esteemed panel of friends, authors, artists, and colleagues included from left: Pete Dunne, Mark Hedden (owner/operator Caligo Ventures), 2/3rds of Kim Kaufman (sorry Kim didn't mean to cut you out), Julie Zickefoose, Bill Thompson, III, Kenn Kaufman, and Linda Dunne. If the names sound familiar that means you've likely read nearly any bird magazine, or even a bird book or two in your day. Since all of these folks are experienced & accomplished birder-naturalists with life-long passions for the outdoors, I was certain the trip would be a marvelous success. However, for my part, I was going to force each of these folks to try a healthy dose of digiscoping with Leica's brand new digiscoping kits (D-Lux 4 camera, digital adapter 4, and the new APO televid spotting scopes - 65 & 82 mm).

adult Bananaquit digiscoped @ Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

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.

view of scenic Blue Waters Inn, Tobago
Following a week of day tripping out of Asa Wright we shuttled to visit the neighboring island of Tobago. Here we were hosted by the Blue Waters Inn, a spot known to birders primarily for their close proximity to Little Tobago Island. But who knew the place was such a scenic marvel with wonderful reefs with Octopus, Hawksbill Turtles, and the like right off their dock?!?... Special thanks to David Hairston for all of his assistance in helping us to arrange this visit, and to the staff that worked so hard during our stay here as well.
In all it was a spectacular trip and as promised I will have specific details about all of the birding to follow shortly. From birds of tropical forest and open savannah, amazing mangrove forests, to shorebirding, and nesting seabirds and sea turtles... stay tuned!

adult Brown Booby, digiscoped w/ Leica APO Televid 82 mm scope, D-lux 4 camera 7/09

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