I wanted to record my hundredth bird for the year by the end of November, but the mostly likely bird I figured would bring me to that land mark was the Orange Winged Parrot, but this was proving harder to find than an Emperor Penguin, sun bathing on Brown’s Beach (one of our popular beaches). So I returned to my casual mode of birding.
On Saturday December 11th I got out of bed around 4:30am with no plans of going birding. To my surprise, I found my nine year old son busy doing his homework. My son is into butterflies, well insects in general but he really loves butterflies and moths. He is always eager to go birding but has problems leaving his bed early on these cold mornings. This morning was not a school morning and he was up, and had already completed his homework and ready to go. So I decided to take him to see a butterfly, a White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae), which he has never seen before. I only discovered this butterfly at Graeme Hall’s Nature Sanctuary while birding last month.
We left home about 6am, talking about one thing to another, the sun was now peeping over the Horizon and the sky had those beautiful morning colours. As we were approaching Bridgetown, our capital in the parish of St. Michael, I heard the call of a parrot and saw two flying in a southerly direction. I followed them until they both perched on a Palm at Belleville. Belleville is known for Parrots and Parakeets. It was once decorated with many tall mature Royal Palms (Roystonea oleracea) but these are now slowly disappearing.
After taking and checking the photographs, I realized these were Yellow Crowned and not Orange Winged. Just then a flock of nine parrots flew high overhead towards a north-easterly direction. I quickly aimed the camera and took a shot, but only got two frames. Upon inspection the yellow cheeks of the Orange winged Parrot could clearly be seen. With a smile, I turned to my son and said “that is my hundredth bird”. We tried to follow them but gave up after losing sight of them. It was then off to Graeme Hall. We did not see the White Peacock but we found an interesting caterpillar which we are still trying to identify. He took photos of tadpoles, while I took some of the water lilies. We are planning a revisit to look for the Butterfly during his vacation and hopefully he will be able to get some photos.
The Orange-winged Parrot is my hundredth bird species for 2014. The difficulty in finding this bird peeked my curiosity. I would like to try to track them in the New Year, get some quality photographs and hopefully get an idea on the numbers in the wild. Don’t expect an update on this blog on the numbers though. These guys are facing a lot of pressure from poachers for the pet trade and I don’t want to tip them off.
Below are some photographs from that day.