Friday, 14 February 2020

Hen Harriers








A windy day at Wicken Fen, and the harriers came in to roost between 4.45 and 5pm.  ISO was 3200, going up to 12800, with a shutter speed of 1/800th.  Even then, the images were under-exposed.  On the way back to the exit we saw a Chinese Water Deer.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Rain at Breakfast










Today we decided on an early breakfast and a walk to the Darkwood Lagoon in cooler weather, but it rained quite heavily and we got wet at our table out under cotton umbrellas when the cotton became soaked.  Did some butterflies after the rain and found a Watts Anole Lizard.   The butterflies are, from the top, Tropical Chequered Skipper; White Peacock; Little Yellow and Monarch.  Then Great Egret with fish, juvenile Brown Pelican and inundated crab.  

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

St. John's, Antigua














The capital of Antigua and Barbuda.  Every morning three or four cruise liners dock at the tiny port and disgorge thousands of tourists, who spend the day on the island and re-embark at dusk to sail overnight to the next island.  In pic 2 you can see the liner at the end of the street, dwarfing the buildings.  There are a couple of big supermarkets, but most real shops are the size of British corner shops.  Much of the trade is done from roadside stalls by (often Rasta) smallholders selling their produce.  Rastafaris are vegetarian and do not take alcohol or tobacco or participate in Babylon - consumerism as we know it in the West.  They wear the dreadlocks under caps of green, gold, yellow and black and use cannabis. Most of the buildings and houses are wooden, but we saw breeze block construction and metal-framed structures.  The impression is of a 'poor' island, but perhaps needs in a hot climate with good fishing are simpler than in the north European countries.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Getting up to Speed on the Wildlife










On our way back from our round the island trip, we had asked to be dropped at Darkwood Beach, which is backed by a large lagoon where we hoped to find water birds.  We then walked back along the road to Cocobay.  Our cabin lizard enjoyed banana and sugar, as did the Bananaquits.  We saw the two species of Hummingbird on the island - the Green-Throated Carib and the Antillean Crested.  We also found a butterfly roost close to Cocobay, where there were the tiny Miami Blues, no bigger than an adult fingernail.  The crabs we think are Sally Lightfoots (Grapsis grapsis) and they blew bubbles and streams of water.  The Black-Crowned Night Heron is exactly the same as the European Night Heron we saw in Mallorca.  The Mongooses were very common around the resort and quite timid in the open.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Back on the Beach







Some views of Coco Beach, Peter, Holly and Ann.  The fisheye pic of the beach bar caused much amusement because none of the three could believe that they had been in the pic when I'd taken it.  The bottles include Diamond Reserve Coconut in the middle of the lower row - it was my favourite rum, taken with lemonade.  The cabana at the end of the causeway was where we photographed the crabs - more later.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

English Harbour






An English naval base, where Nelson was stationed as a 26-year old captain.  The entrance to the harbour (on the left of the bottom picture) had a chain which could be raised to prevent enemy warships from getting in.  The French were on Guadalupe, not far to the south, and a system of lookouts and flags enabled the English to detect and communicate any hostile activity all round the island.  King George V also served here as a naval officer, and the capstans were refurbished to mark his 25 years on the throne.  

Friday, 31 January 2020

Discovering the Wildlife











Venturing out into the sun and scrub beyond the resort to see what was common.  From the top: White-Crowned Pigeon; Ruddy Turnstone (same bird as ours); Gray Kingbird (a large flycatcher); Mongoose (an introduced species); Silver Spider (argiope argentata); Bananaquit; Magnificent Frigate Bird (immature); our friendly cabin lizard and Antillean Crested Hummingbird.