Thursday, 28 March 2013

I Am the Owl - Dead Kennedys

The day had hardly begun before some were taking
to the sea and the sky.
and while those in England and the Eastern Seaboard of the USA
might not wish to hear this,
"believe you me it's tough
but somebodies got to do it!"
Checking the San Juan map, it seemed the most likely place close at hand to see any wildlife would (once again) be the BOTANICAL GARDEN. 25 'bucks' each way in the taxi, I met the Security Officer's dog, while checking out the squawking of Parrots, long before I met man himself. When he showed up he greeted me with a warm shake of the hand and welcomed me to his 'part of ship'. As already stated I have found Puerto Rico one of the most friendly and welcoming places on earth and today was to be no exception.
I am a Little Red Rooster, too lazy to crow in the day.
David my cabbie tells me this sorry looking bird is likely a losing finalist from one of the many Cock Fighting Stadia here abouts. He went on the say that there are, at the moment, no fewer than 78 of these establishments on the Island which generate $10 Million annually for government coffers.
 Apart from the afore mentioned Parrots
 the first 'wild bird' seen was this
The next wasn't quite so pretty
Am I really that ugly Mummy?
 No you're not, but just make sure the mirror is covered just in case!
juvenile and adult.
 One of a million beautiful blooms.
 It's been quiet a while since we have seen
 and even longer since seeing one so close!
 The mandatory LIZARD
 Something a little more familiar
That's when the Security Officer I had met earlier turned up and stopped right alongside me. Gordon Bennett, had I forgotten to pay my entrance fee, had I been walking on the grass - what could it be.
He jumped from the 4x4 repeating over and over again, "Pronto, get in, Puerto Rican Cuckoo Bird, Puerto Rican Cuckoo Bird". Directing what little traffic there was in the opposite direction we took off at high speed, during which time I was thinking if indeed this was a Cuckoo what chance of it being there still, as we squealed to a halt at another 'check point' at the other side of the gardens. There he raced round to open my door and dragged me from the Jeep and in the direction of an eight foot high chain link fence. Very excitedly he pulled me close and started pointing into the bush, but as usual it took a while for me to lock on to the target! Finally, I got on to the bird and 'disappointingly', immediately realised it wasn't a Cuckoo at all, in fact nothing like a Cuckoo. No it was only the
 Island's 'endemic'
Stood there a little bewildered and thinking to myself, "for WHO's sake Paul", my new found amigo left to continue his day's toil - and hopefully find me another bird? The fact was it was difficult to pull myself away from that spot, just as well as soon there came the distinctive sound of mandible against tree trunk. Having taken some time to study the 'PR bird list with particular note to the endemics' it was clear that apart from very rare/accidental sightings of Hairy and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker there is only 'one' Woodpecker to be found on the Island. The drumming got louder as the patience paid off with a 10 second view of PUERTO RICAN WOODPECKER on the tree and a little longer in flight after which, despite a long search, it was never seen or heard again. The 'hat-trick' was on and so very nearly achieved as next up were these
'truly wild'
Already on the World List, from much further south, it was obvious they were wild as they wouldn't approach closer than a foot to retrieve the bread thrown to them.
Another strange SEED CASE (or is it an Insect Nest? - there were several hanging from this tree) either way it's rather akin to Peter Gabriel's head-dress during early stage renditions of 'I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)'.
 The 'Terror of the Pins'
and before leaving I just had to have another look at the Owl 
before heading back to the hotel.

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