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One other Look – 10,000 Birds


    After numerous drives at the hours of darkness, scouring powerlines and treetops within the darkness for any sight of considered one of Tobago’s greatest stored secrets and techniques, we have been lastly rewarded a couple of weeks in the past. It wasn’t an anticipated sighting by any means, due in no small half to a historical past of disappointment.

    We had been hanging out – or as we are saying right here, liming – with some mates on the distant northeastern tip of the island and commenced the 90 minute journey again to our (non permanent) base lengthy after nightfall had come and gone. Now there are a number of doable routes we might’ve chosen from; these of you who assume like me would naturally gravitate towards the trail least travelled. And so we did. At that hour, we crossed paths with not more than 5 autos!

    Speeds aren’t excessive on these bumpy, winding roads – and I not often shifted out of second gear. Sufficient time to swerve repeatedly to keep away from frogs on the street. The place there are frogs… I mused, finishing the sentence in my ideas, full with visions of desired sightings.

    About midway by when the street lastly straightened on a gradual however deliberate descent towards one of many coastal villages, I shifted into third, then fourth gear. As we picked up pace, I slouched again into the seat. Virtually instantly, I observed a plump, feathery anomaly on the powerlines – and hit the brakes. By the point I got here to a cease, I used to be immediately underneath it. Joanne checked out me, confused – however with the notice that I’d solely cease for some creature. I whispered to search for, and she or he was greeted by the underbelly of a Striped Owl.

    I backed up fairly a bit and photographed the hen from varied angles. I do know it’s not probably the most bothersome factor for many individuals, however having powerlines in my pictures is totally abhorrent to me. Finally I gave up and determined to attend, within the occasion it determined to vary perch. Maybe I’d have an opportunity with it on some shrub? Or possibly on the bottom? So we waited, and waited. It preened, appeared round, preened some extra, fluffed up a bit. After about half an hour, it started to vocalize – after which flew off into the darkness. Alas, I need to wait for an additional alternative. Fortunately I had seen it earlier this yr and there have been no powerlines round that point.

    Right here’s the awkwardly composed and closely processed ensuing picture. Nonetheless, this is without doubt one of the most treasured sightings for any birder – Striped Owls on Tobago are an endemic subspecies and really sometimes reported.

    A medium sized, richly patterned owl in the darkness.

    Striped Owl