Thursday, 20 December 2012

Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell

On the face of it and as you left the city behind, a beautiful and lush island but seemingly spoiled by the European (French) influence. There were few moments in the day when the lyric "they pulled down Paradise and put up a parking lot" wasn't buzzing through my head.
 Another port, another Pilot Vessel.
The Captain (centre) at the ships controls as he gently guides the vessel alongside, aided by the Local Pilot (left) and the Staff Captain.
Secured, so all ashore who's going ashore,
and what a BEAUTIFUL welcome!
We hired taxi driver FELIX (why say something once when you can say it 20 times) after a good deal of haggling, but as the genre goes he was very good.
I thought for a moment they were coming to take me back to the Oil Rig. Only two things on our minds today, one being Martinique Oriole (true endemic) the other White-breasted Thrasher (only shared with St Lucia) unfortunately after great effort neither were seen.
The 'birding' day started with something of a David and Goliath
but in this instance the STICK INSECT fell to a much larger female CARIB GRACKLE.
This photo is posted, not for its quality but for the fact a LIZARD appeared during editing, not seen at the time.
A study of the ubiquitous BANANAQUIT which are occasionally far more obliging.
but those today, including this female, were the friendliest yet.
Although a good deal of searching has been made through the Field Guides available we have been unable to track this one down. Suggestions were made of Tropical Mockingbird, but with no wing patterning and wrong eye colour we have to lean on the readership for HELP!
female CARIB GRACKLE at close quarters.
At the Botanical Gardens PURPLE-THROATED CARIB were darting around all over the place, but this is the nearest we got.
Up to the Plateau as a second stab at the endemics
but the beautiful scenery was no compensation for the birds.
We did however encounter another welcome addition to the list
BLUE-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD but it was only the female that obliged us with a decent photo as the male buzzed high in the tree tops.
So back to base with a couple of stops at vantage points and
replica of the SACRE COEUR, MONTMARTRE, Paris, France.

and finally, these 2 lovely fellow passengers MARILYN and KAY joined the ship as total strangers and have enjoyed this great experience together. They leave in a couple of days time for England 'firm friends' who plan to do similar journeys together in the future. I for one have very much enjoyed their company throughout and wish them a safe flight home.