Upon my odyssey for wisdom, destiny cast me ashore on the isle of Little Tobago, a haven where avian secrets awaited, concealed within the artistry of bird banding. Here, amidst the tranquil embrace of nature’s symphony, my passion for recording the melodic tales of the wild began to unfold.
Little Tobago, a minuscule jewel adrift off Tobago’s northeastern shores, a realm within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. A realm of seclusion, where the only passage is by sea, where human comforts relent, surrendering to the unspoiled canvas of the night sky, adorned by the celestial dance of the Milky Way.
This sacred isle cradles a dry forest, a sanctuary for seabirds—Red-billed Tropicbirds, Audubon’s Shearwaters, Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies, Sooty and Bridled Terns—all gracing the island as custodians of the heavens. White-tailed Tropicbirds, a rare sight nesting among the rocks, weaving their tales into the tapestry of this mystical land.
Stepping ashore, one is transported to a Jurassic kingdom. The dry forest, a verdant abode for diverse songbirds and near-passerines, like the Trinidad Mot-Mot wielding anvils to conquer beetle shells, while shearwaters echo their cackling calls in the distance.
The saga unfolds as the Tropicbirds, pelagic wanderers of the azure expanse, commence their aerial ballet. At 2:30 pm, a celestial rendezvous at the cliff’s edge, where winds sculpt destiny. In elegant circles, they harness the invisible currents, orchestrating a grand descent into the embrace of shrubs below.
Yet, should the first dance falter, a daring plunge off the cliff, a daring encore to perfect their art. Enter the Frigatebird, the ocean’s marauder, soaring through the mid-air theater. Aware that Tropicbirds, satiated after a day of feasting, carry the ocean’s bounty, these aerial pirates seize their opportunity. Mid-flight, a violent shake coerces regurgitation, and the Frigatebirds seize the harvest in a daring mid-air ballet.
As the clock ticks towards 4 pm, the winds subside, and the avian performers retire to their roosts, leaving but a fleeting window to capture their symphony. In this ephemeral dance, the Red-billed Tropicbirds emerge as the maestros, rendering their enchanting melodies, making them the most bewitching notes I have ever endeavored to record.
Recorded by Giselle Ragoonanan Little Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
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