Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Run For the Hills - Iron Maiden

For quite some time now there has been a small, but totally dedicated organisation from the United States of American trying to fulfill a dream to bring an Air Ambulance to Haiti and more particularly Port-au-Prince. The team 'on the ground' are made up of Californian Jordan Owen (ex Los Angeles Fire Fighter and Paramedic) who is Project Coordinator, Fania (Interpreter / Secretary) and Amos (Driver and as it turned out a damn fine Bird Spotter). The attached Link will explain better than I.
We were off to the Hills to view a proposed Heli-Pad but first there was the small matter of air for the tyres. Out came the portable compressor, as chiefy fixed a puncture in the background, even 'air' has to be paid for here.
Some scenes, from the car, on the way

Just about every stick of vegetation has been stripped from the hillsides.

As we gained elevation, a glimpse of the Caribbean Sea,
not seen for a while,

while at every small village focus was on the 'water pump'.
We even happened across a wedding
but only dared one shot.
At the village of Caberet the Charcoal Makers were hard at work,
women stood around chatting
as we got a first look at the proposed site.

There has been some construction here, but Jordan tells me
things can be awfully slow and tied up with 'red tape'.

Leaving him and the contractors to 'talk turkey',
Amos (right) and I headed even higher through a series of farm-steads.
Prospects of bird-life seemed thin in this arid terrain,
but looking down on the site first to appear were a pair of
Common Ground Doves followed by this
What followed just got better and better and we make no apology for the number of images posted today as it was thought best you see every 'turn of the head'.
An 'endemic' so soon?
Not a 'lifer' but a chance to see
once again.
Looking down on the new-build, what was first thought to be the flash from a bright green laser pointer caught my eye, but turning to investigate, found this
another 'endemic', perched tantalisingly close.
A series of short flights had it turning this way and that
until attentions were turned to a good find by Amos.
This PALM WARBLER didn't stay long but afforded decent views
on the ground,
feeding in a Thorn Bush (the only 'tall' vegetation here)
and (luckily) in flight.
The TODY, one of two on Hispaniola,
was getting bolder
with this shot being 'un-cropped' to give some indication of distance?
To give some idea of size, it is slightly smaller (by 1cm in length)
than our own Blue Tit.
The other Tody on this Island is Broad-billed which, given these photos, was what it was first thought to be but reference to the Field Guide shows the most distinguishing difference to be
breast/belly colour.
This being far more pale while B-b has a yellowish tint.
What passes for a 'pager' here was soon galloping into town
and soon after passing the message
the Port-au-Prince Ornithological Society were out in force.
There was just time to capture this nifty little
finding something tempting on this dying Cactus
before Amos called out announcing his next little gem!
As ever extremely mobile this
did lead us a merry chase but at least stayed within the area.
We'll leave you with it!
as it was now time to head back to the city,
where on the way there were possessive signs
that the country is, slowly, getting back on its feet.
I should THANK Jordan for the kind invitation and all 3 for their 
company and guidance.

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