Ah, work. Such a silly thing, getting in the way of birding, of life in general. I’ve been on a work trip (conference in Portland, Oregon), and thus no birding (or posts) for a week or so. Back home now, and finally getting back to processing bird photos from our vacation in the Virgin Islands.
I had grand plans on how to attract birds at our rented beach house while on St. John’s Island, but admit those plans didn’t pan out! Not in the least. I had brought a hummingbird feeder with me, and had visions of the two resident hummingbird species (Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Green-throated Carib) dancing around the feeder while we relaxed on the deck overlooking the ocean. Both species of hummingbirds were certainly there, as both were easily observable from the beach house as they fed on nectar from the flowering trees and shrubs. As for the feeder? Not once did I see a hummingbird even look at it, much less stop to feed.
Another reason for bringing the feeder was to attract another species I’ve certainly read about, but never seen…a Bananaquit. According to what I read before departing on vacation, Bananaquits were supposedly easily attracted to sources of nectar and sugar. However, just like the hummingbirds, the Bananaquits showed absolutely no interest in the week we were there.
Fortunately they’re a pretty easy species to observe, and they were almost always present in the flowering trees and shrubs around our beach house. The U.S. Virgin Islands have been going through quite a drought, and the vegetation in much of the island was brown. There was one species of tree that had barely any leaves, but did have quite a few big, tubular pink blossoms. There were a pair of these trees by the beach house deck, and the Bananaquits certainly loved feeding on nectar from the pink blooms.
People tend to quickly lose interest in the “ordinary”. Bananaquits in the U.S. Virgin Islands are one of the “ordinary” species that are so frequently seen that the locals likely think very little of them, much like most people are with Robins around here. But for a non-local, I had a blast watching the Bananaquits. That unique curved bill, the bright colors, the aggressive behavior in defending their patch of nectar flowers…it certainly was a highlight for the birding on St. John’s.