July 19th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Catching up, this post includes some wildlife photos from the past few days. The first set is from an evening walk to the airport salt pond, mostly featuring various waterfowl:

We cannot display this gallery

The next is a few creatures from near the Bistro Nu in Marigot, mostly showcasing Anolis pogus:

We cannot display this gallery

At the Butterfly Farm near Galion, I spent a bit of time trying to capture some of the local bird species, with varying success:

We cannot display this gallery

Finally, a couple creatures from Quartier d’Orleans:

We cannot display this gallery


July 18th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Madam J found me a frog and brought it home. I’ll leave it to her to tell the whole story, but I was very excited because it is the first time I had seen any amphibian on the island. There are actually two known species of frog and I’m not 100% sure which one this is. It was actually bigger than either species is supposed to be. We released him near the Bistro Nu, one of our favorite restaurants, which is located on an alley that is busy with frog calls at night.

We cannot display this gallery


July 18th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We have been trained by the Reserve Naturelle of Saint Martin in the analysis of sea turtle tracks and nests. Once or twice a week, we are visiting the beaches of Grandes Caye and Petite Caye at the northeast corner of the island to look for tracks and possible nests as part of their nesting survey. Below are photos from our first two trips out there. We didn’t see any tracks or nests yet, but it is a pleasure to be out at the most beautiful and unspoiled corner of the island in the early morning.

Notable sitings from our first trip included a huge mass of laughing gulls at the dump, mysterious (non-turtle) tracks on the beach and a sampling of the Anolis gingivinus that live on the rocky beach area between the two beaches we survey.

We cannot display this gallery

Our second visit was great for seabird photos. I was able to capture a female and an immature magnificent frigatebird jousting in the air. There were also many reddish bees that were swarming where the vegetation meets the beach, sometimes stopping to do something that looked like fighting but could have been mating. The nearby flowers had a very curious shape, presumably to facilitate pollination, that can be seen below.

We cannot display this gallery


July 18th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Below are some photos from a recent trip to Pinel Island, including a few shots of birds, a group I am currently trying to catch up on for my wildlife guide. The bananaquit photos were taken by the secret house on the island.

We cannot display this gallery


July 18th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

I have been busy at work on a guide to the wildlife of Saint Martin, so I haven’t been as vigilant about posting, but here are some photos from the Grand Case area. The first set is mostly from around the airport salt pond and includes photos of the ruddy duck and Caribbean coot:

We cannot display this gallery

The second collection is taken from near the cemetery and the salt pond and mangrove area there. Of particular note is a butterfly I had not previously seen, the white peacock:

We cannot display this gallery


July 10th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Yesterday I went to Bell Valley for the first time since April. On a mission to get more photographs for my guide to Saint Martin wildlife, I was happy to get photographs of several new birds and a mongoose. I also discovered that there are pigs there. The first photo in the set below was actually taken on our balcony, as the first of the chrysalides had hatched into a cloudless sulfur, the remainder hatched last night or early this morning.

We cannot display this gallery


July 9th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Yesterday afternoon I went out to La Savane, mostly photographing around the soccer field. I started by looking for a mouse nest under a board that I had seen before, and while the nest was there, the mice were not.

As I was doing this, a horse approached. At first, it was nice to see a friendly horse, but then he started following me around. I think he was after my backpack, or perhaps my straw hat. He would walk right behind me, almost breathing down my neck, and if when I turned around he would quickly turn his head and look the other way, as if to say, “Following you? Of course not! I just happened to be standing here, minding my own business.” Eventually he left to go wallow in some mud.

I saw a few interesting things, including what I’m guessing were some flatworms and some monarch butterfly caterpillars eating a small plant with red and orange flowers that I don’t think is a milkweed. On my way back, I found a cluster of chrysalides on a bush and brought them home to find out who they belong to.

We cannot display this gallery


July 9th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

I was doing surface cover the other day on the dive boat near Tintamarre and tried my hand at photographing sea birds while I was there. With the boat rocking and the birds flying, it’s quite difficult. As you can see, the results were less than spectacular. When the boat is rocking, it can also make you feel a bit ill. One thing I did learn was to find the bird and focus while zoomed out, then zoom in. Using a 70-300mm lens, trying to focus at 300mm is much slower, and getting a flying bird in the frame is much harder. Starting at 70mm, it’s pretty fast and easy, and then you can zoom in on the bird. Probably everyone who photographs birds already knew this.

We cannot display this gallery


July 4th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

For the second dive, we went out to Underground City, a reef near Creole Rock that I had discovered a few weeks ago. A long stretch of reef beneath the channel between Creole Rock and Bell Point, it is one of my favorite places to take photos. The reef rises up a couple meters from sand on each side, making it easy to take photos facing upwards, and there are passages and caves under the reef full of schooling silversides and other fish.

We cannot display this gallery


July 4th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Yesterday I had the pleasure of tagging along with a group of students taking the PADI underwater photography specialty course. Our first stop was Rocher Marcel, a free-standing rock surrounded by reef in Anse Marcel. After a few exercises to improve buoyancy control and see the effects of distance when photographing, we headed towards the underwater canyons near the rock and took some photos.

My favorite sighting was a banded jawfish that kept peeking out of his burrow in the sandy channel. As you can see from the photo below, in addition to excavating burrows, they use larger rocks and coral rubble to create a masonry-like structure around the entrance. Usually they retreat into their burrow when approached and are reluctant to re-emerge, but since we were in the vicinity for so long doing exercises, I think this one grew tired of hiding and kept popping back up. I also saw a lancer dragonet, but with the fisheye lens I wasn’t able to get a good photo of something so small.

We cannot display this gallery