Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Snowy Owl Image by Gary Melnysyn

Trips in the Works
With the holiday season fast approaching, it also brings the arrival of our very busy travel schedule with trips departing in the next few months for alluring places like the bottomlands of Arkansas, the jungles of Jamaica, home of the Bee Hummingbird on the island of Cuba, and "The Number One Natural History Destination," the Galapagos Islands. We have enjoyed such great response for both Cuba and Galapagos, that we have added second departures! There still is space on both so give us a call. Hope you will be able to join us. I will be leading the Arkansas trip in January and the first of the two Cuba departures in March.

The Christmas Bird Count season is here, too! Connecticut in just the last week has been host to some great birds including Northern Shrike and Snowy Owl, so hopefully this is an indication of an interesting season ahead.

I have been working all day on the information packages that will go out to the Jamaica travelers, pouring over great info on birds, island history, rastafarians, and the local language of "patua." I had the fortune to travel to Jamaica a number of times back in the '80s and '90s and see most of its 28 endemic bird species including their national bird, the Red-billed Streamertail. Back then, an ex-pat British woman named Lisa Salmon ("The Bird Lady of Anchovy") lived up above Montego Bay and hosted tourists at her sanctuary to see the birds.

Lisa had trained the local hummingbirds to land on visitors' fingers while being fed sugar water from a bottle. It was really quite exciting with not just the streamertails but also the very large, all purple, Jamaican Mango; another spectacular hummingbird!