A Mangrove Cuckoo, one of several I saw and photographed. Nearly every one I came across on St. John’s was NOT in the mangroves, but was in the dry forest scrub that covers much of the island.
I’m just not in a photo processing mood. Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon situation. It’s a bad combination to ALWAYS be in a photo SHOOTING mood, but to rarely be in a photo processing mood. The result? A huge backlog of unprocessed photos. I typically make a directory on my computer where I put a day’s worth of photos, then delete that directory when they’re all processed and the good ones are on my website. Unfortunately right now I have many such directories worth of unprocessed photos!
That even includes a folder of “Virgin Islands birds” I made, from our recent vacation. I have a number of “new” species” for me that I don’t have on my website, but I haven’t gotten around to processing the photos yet. Here are a few more new species I did this morning. The highlight of this group for me is the Mangrove Cuckoo. They’re around in the U.S. itself, with a few lurking in mangrove swamps of southern Florida. I find cuckoos in general to be SO incredibly difficult to try to see. I knew they were on St. John’s Island, the island where we spent our vacation, but I wasn’t really expecting much beyond maybe a brief glimpse, or just hearing them but not seeing them.
A photo of a Gray Kingbird observing his domain from a natural perch. These guys were everywhere, but the problem was trying to get a photo of one that wasn’t hanging out on an electric line.
Fortunately the Mangrove Cuckoos on St. John’s were the most visible cuckoo population I’ve seen! The first one I heard on the trip was in deed in the heart of a mangrove swamp, but their real stronghold on the island is in the dry scrubby forest that dominates much of the landscape. They may be a well-named species in much of their range, but they were definitely more common in dry scrub on St. John’s than they were in the Mangrove swamps. I was able to get wonderful views of a number of different cuckoos, and it seemed on nearly every drive across the island, at some point one would fly across the road.
Another highly visible species on the island were Gray Kingbirds. If there was any kind of relatively decent-sized patch of open land on the island, you could almost guarantee there would be a Gray Kingbird or two looking out over the landscape from a high perch. The most common sight was of a Gray Kingbird sitting on a telephone/electric wire, but towards the end of the trip I was able to get some really nice photos of Gray Kingbirds hanging out on natural vegetation.
Zenaida Doves were extremely common on the island. GIven their similarity to our own very common Mourning Doves, I almost forgot to try to grab a few photos before we left!
The third “new” species I processed today was the Zenaida Dove. This one generally falls into the category of “missed opportunity” from a photographic standpoint! They were extremely common on the island, basically the ecological equivalent of the ubiquitous Mourning Doves we have around here in the summer. They were most common in around settlements, but were found in nearly every habitat on the island. Because they were such a common sight, I kept passing on very easy photo opportunities, waiting instead for a chance at the more “exotic” hummingbird or other species. Before I knew it, the trip was almost over and I had no Zenaida Dove photos! I managed a few rather boring photos of Zenaida Doves walking across an open lot, but I definitely felt like I missed many chances to get some nicer photos of the species.
3 species processed…and now I’m no longer in the mood to process photos today! The rest of the Virgin Islands photos will have to wait!