Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trinidad and Tobago Day 6: Little Tobago and Tropicbirds!



Today was saw some pretty great stuff. We left for Speyside (the complete opposite side of the island, about a 1.5 hour drive) fairly early in hopes of getting to go to Little Tobago Island. We lucked out. We waited on the beach for about an hour before we hopped in the little boat. It was just us, the 'guide' (mediocre guide), and two uh, how do I put it nicely?...Well, I can't put it nicely. Two other people who got the big time thumbs down. I'll refrain from further comment.

Despite the other two people (blah!), Little Tobago was pretty awesome. The boat ride over was a ton of fun - holy speedy little trip! Thought we might fly outta the boat there a few times! The water was a little rough and the guy was having a difficult time docking it. So, we kinda jumped out into 4 feet of water and swam to the shore. Which was sketchy, because I had the camera gear, ya know? Somehow, the whole jumping into the water thing ended all right. Luckily, Zac is 6'4 so I passed it on to him when he was in the water. Yikes.
We took a short hike to the top and saw some Magnificent Frigatebirds, a few Brown Boobies, 4 Red-footed Boobies and roughly 75-80 Tropicbirds. Sweet!

There were two Tropicbird nests at the top of the ridge. They were pretty well hidden by the trees and branches but I got a headshot that is pretty cute. You gotta love birds on nests! These guys were, dare I say it- neat-o!

We stayed at the top for about 30 minutes (we could have stayed all day) and I tried desperately to get flight shots. For a photographer (and one who takes lots of bird photos), I'm really not a patient person. And flight shots are my nemesis. They make me insane, really. The ones in this entry were a few select ones out of probably 150. I deleted the vast majority of them. I actually really love the first two shots, despite not being crystal clear, and am more or less happy with the others, considering my usual (un)luck with the flight shots.
I didn't even take a picture of the view up there because I was so intent on getting a damn flight shot. That kind of bothers me but oh well. It's imbedded in my head at least. It was really cool to be up there watching all the birds. It was a horrifying drop off and looked like there were some some crazy currents at the bottom. Good stuff!
On the hike back down we saw an Audubon's Shearwater's burrow but there was no bird in it. I didn't know they nested in little ground holes though, so that was interesting.
We got back to the boat and dropped our two favorite people (please note sarcasm) off and then we went snorkeling for about 30 minutes. Again, not enough time in the water but it was still excellent snorkeling. This is one thing I regret about the trip: not bringing my snorkeling gear. We tried to go lightweight so I didn't bring it. I freaking love snorkeling! So, well, the logical solution now is to find a cheap ticket to Hawaii and just snorkel for a week. Zac agrees. It was his idea.
We eventually headed back to Crown Point, got some groceries, coffee and gorged on a tasty dinner of hummus, baba ganoush and rum and pineapple juice. Excellent.

(all pictures are of Red-billed Tropicbirds, other than the dark one, a Magnificent Frigatebird)


33 comments:

Light and Voices said...

Excellent photos!
Joyce M

Jedediah said...

Tropicbirds are so gracefull, I love them. Gorgeous photos!

dutchbaby said...

Though I'm sure it was difficult to share the close quarters of a small boat with the thumbs-downers, you now have a story to tell at home. The nosy part of me would love to hear more but I will not press you.

I have been lurking here since your return from Tabago, never feeling I have enough time to leave a comment worthy of your impressive work. Now I have a few minutes before the duties of my life call me away.

Yes, capturing flying birds is a huge challenge. I have many, many photos of bare branches and blue sky - so infuriating! Your photos of the frigates are magnificent! We saw many Magnificent Frigates in Galapagos and I only got one flying shot in silhouette.

NatureFootstep said...

such beauties! And your photos....... :) Thanks for showing.

Hege said...

Really beautiful pictures!!

Sylvia K said...

Gorgeous birds and skies! Marvelous captures! Hope you have a great weekend!

Sylvia

Al said...

Stunning pictures. I wish I could get bird photos like that.

Rob Ripma said...

Awesome shots of the Tropicbirds! I have got to get to Little Tabago! It sounds like an amazing trip!

Grace and Bradley said...

Thanks for sharing, they are such stunning pictures. I hope We will visit the islands too one day.

eden said...

Such beautiful captures of the birds in flight.

Happy weekend

James said...

The photos and the birds are both wonderful

Randi said...

Wow...all these photos are so beautiful. I love the shots of the Red-billed Tropicbirds.

Titanium said...

Terrific shots. The story behind them is excellent, too. Thank you!

Annie said...

Such a beautiful world you live in.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jill: Congrats on being #1 and I really enjoyed your bird in the sky post.

Benikos place said...

Terrific shot, I like it very much.Best regards :)

Jane said...

Great shots Jill, its wonderful to see these birds isn't it. I like the frigate bird too, I remember seeing those in The Cayman Islands years ago. Thanks for sharing and nevermind about the annoying people, there is always someone like that.

eileeninmd said...

Excellent photos, Jill! I love all the birds and the beach scenery is gorgeous. I love Hawaii!

Helena said...

I think your flight shots are wonderful! And I really love the first head shot.

Carolyn Ford said...

Amazing birds in flight! Beautiful creatures of the sky!

LV said...

I am not very familiar with this bird. They are so neat and graceful looking gliding through the air. Really enjoyed your post.

Tricia said...

They're all incredibly beautiful!

Lindz said...

beautiful shots of the birds, unsual too.

NicoleB said...

I'm totally speechless.
These are beyond beautiful!

Glennis said...

Absolutely wonderful photos of lovely graceful tropic birds. Lucky you to see these, and thank you for showing us!

Pearl Maple said...

Stunning photos you are sharing with us all, thanks for adding to the fun of Sky Watch Friday.

aino said...

So beautiful flyers.

Judy said...

Well, if these flight shots are barely acceptable, then I am way less fussy than you are. I think they are great!!

Natural Moments said...

I was just thinking of tropicbirds yesterday....and these shots brought the memories flooding back all the more from when I was out on Tern Island in the French Frigate Shoals of the Hawaiian Leeward Islands. It was a small place, but a paradise for raising seabird chicks.

Guy D said...

Stunning photography Jill, thanks for sharing.

All the best
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Kcalpesh said...

Beautiful photography!

Pixellicious Photos

SmilingSally said...

Beautiful birds! Happy Blue Monday.

HANNIBAL said...

Awesome! I am sooo jealous of the places you go! In my dreams! Anyway, it caught my attention about your flight shots, and wondered...Are you using the Sigma 50-500mm still? I'm sure you know how slow to focus that lens is, especially tracking, it can't keep up. Just thought I'd note it. As always, exemplery images and great commentary!