Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Puerto Rico - Thursday 15th September

Thursday was set fair from the start, so after breakfast I took the opportunity to get outside during the first working session of the conference day. I was surprised to find this huge Iguana sunning itself:

There were in fact a large number of lizards on the hotel grounds, whether by design or not I don't know:

This one was enjoying both the sun and the view:

I tried to set-up this shot so that your eye is drawn along the tail and body to the 'smiling' head of the lizard:

Wheeling around in the sky, a now familiar shape of the Magnificent Frigatebird:

The Solitary Sandpiper had moved from the lawn area to the rocks on the shore:

A small group of White-winged Doves were stealing food put out for the Swans:

One of my favourite New World bird families is the Grackle, the local representative in Puerto Rico is the Greater Antillean Grackle:

A very small but very vocal bird, nesting in the grounds of the hotel was the Bananaquit:

During the last morning session I popped out again, this time I was treated to an up-close-and-personal display of flying from a Brown Booby. It settled briefly:

Before taking to the air again and wheeling around the small bay area, diving in from time to time too:

I am particularly pleased with this image:

It felt like a real privilege to see the bird so close, while alone. At one point it flew directly overhead no more than a metre away and appeared completely unconcerned with my presence. Close encounters with wildlife like this one are truly exhilarating!

On Thursday evening I packed up the stand and then made my way to the shipping shop. The maps and sat nav data in Puerto Rico are wholly unreliable so it pays to do as much planning as possible and always to leave spare time. It's also worth remembering that the roads are pot-holed, have unmarked storm drains, etc., and the drivers are almost exclusively aggressive machismo fuelled and frankly dangerous. I left 45 minutes for a 1 mile trip that turned out to be a 3 mile trip that took nearly an hour. The chap at the shop was kind enough to keep it open beyond closing time and to talk me in on the phone so I actually managed to get the stuff shipped. Then a dash back to the hotel (I'd figured out the best address for the sat nav to navigate me close) a shower and change then off to the airport to collect Helen. As I met her the first rain of the day fell but it was well after dark and time for an early night before the birding proper!



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