Sunday, 17 March 2013

Things Are Getting Better - Stone the Crows

There are but c2 Corvids on Hispaniola both of them 'endemic', with White-necked Crow being considered 'vulnerable' on the Island while Palm Crow is thought 'near threatened'. Classifications are as a result of habitat destruction and hunting as they are treated as 'game' by the locals. Both species are said to prefer higher ground but will occasionally venture to sea-level, I have been living in hope of seeing both but given the circumstances chances seemed limited!
I don't want to Stone the Crows
but think that might be the exclamation should I see them.
Even after all these days here I've hardly venture more than 15 minutes walk from the Guest House, no need as that is where the birds are, and pass this CHARCOAL BURNER stood on his wood-pile,
 past the GOATS and
 COWS (the B and B stands within the trees center)
and look out into the distance.
 Across the 'cropped' Sugar Cane Fields
 and away to the de-forested hillsides.
Each day I have also seen a few 'flying' dots like the
one just left of and half way up the tallest Palm.

A 'CROW' surely, magnified here for a clearer view.
Thus far I have considered them to be Palm Crow, if only on size, but today the intent was to venture a little further afield to qualify that.
 Stopping to admire this Forest Bloom, I was distracted
by the screeching of what seemed to be a great number of birds,
so returned to investigate.
 Between the TENT VILLAGE and Eucalyptus Guest House
stand these few trees.
Having past this site both early morning and late afternoon every day I've been here, surely the birds or at least their
pendulous nest should have come to my attention - but no!
 This was a fairly large colony of
seemingly engaged in the full breeding cycle from nest building to feeding young. Having seen lots of these birds in Africa, it was interesting to find that they were first discovered on Haiti in 1796 obviously introduced here before that date. All but confined to Hispaniola in the Caribbean, some were also released on Martinique where they now thrive at the northern end of the Island. As for capturing a decent shot, especially of males displaying - quite a sight, there are a hundred excuses why not but none of them attributed to me! The best one (excuse) I can come up with however, is being distracted by Jackdaws - shouldn't be any trouble getting you to believe that?? At least it sounded like that but turned out to be about a dozen, 
 'confirmed', PALM CROW.
 Joy of joy's, the Mountain had come to Mohammed!
albeit this was the closest and best photo achieved. 
Now, as we all know Lightning NEVER STRIKES TWICE 
in the same place, so I almost disregarded the 'guttural',
Raven-like calling from afar,

 but turned to see, coming out of the sun, a 'murder' of c5

Again they were distant and difficult to capture on camera,
but easy to identify on 'size' and 'call' alone,
but who needs excuses when you've just had
2 'Endemic', 'Lifers' in 2 'Minutes'?
The 5 larger birds mobbed the Palm Crows and ousted them
from their perch on the mast, putting them to flight and
pursued them until out of view, not to return.
 However, that's when the 'obliging'
adult male VILLAGE WEAVER showed up.
I then left for the forest, before 'the fluence' ran out,
in search of more 'goodies'.
They included this
another female AMERICAN REDSTART,
(the male still evades me)
this 'immature' VILLAGE WEAVER and
a most striking BUTTERFLY.