Tag Archives: Birds

From Dominica: Jacoway Inn, part 1

Red Rock beach at Calibishie

Red Rock beach at Calibishie

The Jacoway Inn, Dominica : Storming Back To Business

The deep blue Atlantic Ocean gleams under a hot Caribbean sun. The cool, sweet tradewinds blow a cleansing breeze into the beachfront mainstreet of Calibishie adding to the recuperative sense of regeneration found throughout the lower village and the surrounding community in the hills behind.

It is late May, and eight months after catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Maria dealt a mighty blow to Dominica, and this northern seaside village of Calibishie seems to be showing the rest of the island how to ‘get over it’ and get back to the business!
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Hummingbirds and Heliconias

I have some beautiful heliconia plants outside my bathroom window that are commonly visited by hummingbirds. A few days ago I observed a small and delicate looking hummingbird making serious attempts to scare off a plump bird who, had perched on the same plant. With kamikaze dives and swoops this little hummingbird made all attempts to scare off the ‘invader’ to its territory of nectar.

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It was a captivating natural show to watch whilst brushing my teeth in the morning! And it made me remember the presentation I had seen last year in Dominica by John Kress, a botanist a curator from the Smithsonian Institution. He was showing the latest evidence collected to show the remarkable co-evolutionary dance between the species of hummingbirds and heliconias in the Caribbean.

Lizard on a heliconia
Lizard on Heliconia

Heliconia flowers are strikingly impressive as they stand proudly and dramatically coloured in the red, yellow and green colours that seem to symbolize Caribbean life. The two native heliconias to the Lesser Antilles are Heliconia Bihai and Heliconia Caribaea and the researchers involved in the study looked at these two varieties with the feeding patterns of the Purple-throated Carib hummingbird (Eulampis jugularis).

They showed that the male and female birds had a different size and shaped beak that are perfectly suited to the size and shape of the flower that they feed on. The research asserts that the bird and plant have co-evolved together to match each others needs. This is a simplistic summary of the study that covered several islands in the Eastern Caribbean and I recommend checking out some further information for more details on this fascinating discovery. The co-evolution conclusion is hotly contested by those who prefer a creationist theory to explain the outcome, but however it happened, it’s certainly a marvel to watch!

Someone once asked me if I could come back as any bird what would it be and I didn’t take a second to answer hummingbird! These incredible little birds, which sound like mini helicopters as they fly through the air, certainly need more attention in future blogs. In the meantime I’m going to sit in the garden and watch the amazing dance of nature for a while.

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Birding in the Caribbean – Saving our Feathered Friends

Birds are an integral part of a healthy ecosystem – Birding in the Caribbean!

People vacation in the Caribbean region for many reasons. As well as the sun, sea, sand, rainforests, hiking, cuisine and entertainment many flock to the region with a pair of binoculars in hand to do some serious bird watching. According to Birdlife International, the region is home to 770 bird species, 148 of which are endemic, with 105 confined to single islands. Certainly anyone fascinated by ornithology will find themselves very happy with a birding holiday in the Caribbean.
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The Minutest of the Caribbean Bird Kingdom

Caribbean Humming Birds

Fantastic beauty on the wing, they dip, sip, dart and dip again Gently buzzing flashing off their brilliant colours, Wild and curious in all their rainbows.. (Anon)

Its quite amazing how much has been documented about this adorable creature, the size of an EC dollar – sometimes referred to as the Colibri when you consider that its only found in the Western Hemisphere and viewed therefore, in its natural habitat by only a tiny percentage of the global community. Originating in equatorial South America, the majority of Hummingbirds still remain there simply because of the abundancy of suitable flowers their raison d’etre – which bloom year round. But, as with many bird species, migratory patterns expand from the indigenous centre outwards and the Eastern Caribbean has been fortunate enough to attract an interesting cross section of the 328 known Hummingbird species.
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