August 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

A few days ago I went for a dive on the Fusheng, a natural wreck that is at about 30m depth off the Dutch side of the island. Since I’d already been there with the fisheye, I decided to try a macro lens this time. I didn’t get any amazing photos, but I did find a whole bunch of yellowhead jawfish off to the side of the wreck, dozens or maybe hundreds floating above their burrows.

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August 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

After having some difficulty locating some of the local frogs to include in my guide, I hit upon a different strategy: raise tadpoles. Unfortunately, after putting my plan into action, I found out that one of the species I want to photograph does not have tadpoles, but the eggs hatch directly into tiny froglets. It’s still fun to have the tadpoles, though, and they’re growing quite quickly.

While I was out acquiring tadpoles, I figured I might as well get a few of the freshwater fish that live in the roadside ditches here. I believe they are guppies. I also ended up getting a couple species of freshwater snail and an aquatic beetle.

Below are a few photos of our little friends. Next I will try to come up with some better ways to photograph them.

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August 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Over the last week I’ve made an effort to get out more at night to check out the various nocturnal creatures which seem more plentiful now that the rains have made the island so lush. Below are some photos from a few recent night explorations. As usual, many small moths which I haven’t yet identified are represented.

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August 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

A few days ago, we had the good fortune of being invited to head up to Tintamarre with the Petrelluzzi family and some friends. At Tintamarre, I had the chance to do a little exploration and take a couple photos of the Anguilla bank amieva, which is supposedly a different subspecies on Tintamarre from the population on St. Martin.

Next, we took a tour of the lagoon before picking up the kids from school and heading to the La Samanna end of Baie Longue, where the water was unbelievably clear and made for some great snorkeling. On our way back, we stopped near Happy Bay to see a brown pelican roosting area.

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August 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

In this post are a few photo sets taken over the past week between Grand Case and Baie de Petites Cayes, where I go weekly to survey whether turtles are nesting.

First up are a few shots from the airport road area, featuring the killdeer as well as a couple domestic animals, the muscovy duck and the goat.

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Next are some photos from a trip to Baie de Petites Cayes last week, where I finally did see some turtle tracks. It had rained some that morning, so they weren’t as clear as they would have been otherwise, but it seemed to be a green turtle that dug several holes, but did not seem to complete a nest. I also finally saw the orange stripe on the top of a gray kingbird’s head, which isn’t usually visible, and an awesome mailbox.

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Finally, I have some photos from another trip out to check for turtle tracks. Highlights for me included a male American kestrel near Eastern Point. I also had a chance to watch a couple brown pelicans basking on the rocks near my beach. Another bird that has shown up recently is some type of swallow, perhaps, that can be seen flying around the bay in the mornings and evenings. So far, it’s been difficult to photograph, but if I have to sit out on the veranda in the evening trying to photograph a small, fast bird in flight, so be it.

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August 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

I’m about to post a bunch of new photos. These are from a walk through Grand Case down to Friars Bay. I spent most of the time with the new Tokina lens zoomed out to 400mm and got quite a few bird photos. Right now there are common moorhen chicks on the salt ponds and some kind of small wading bird that has shown up in the past few weeks and seems to be everywhere now. I also saw a female American kestrel near the cemetery, which was quite a treat.

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August 19th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

In an attempt to get a few better bird photos for the wildlife guide, I picked up a Tokina 80-400mm lens in New York. Although it’s not the best on the market by any means, it is one of the smallest, although it is still at least twice as heavy as my camera. They’re able to make it smaller (and cheaper) because it doesn’t have image stabilization, which means it’s really only useful if there’s lots of light. Luckily, we generally have that down here and I think it’s going to work out well.

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August 19th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

On a recent snorkeling excursion in the bay Madam J and I were lucky enough to see a group of four small squid, probably about two or three inches long. They spread their tentacles in a v-shape, perhaps to make themselves look larger and more threatening. I think they were juveniles of the common Caribbean reef squid, but it’s possible that they were adults of a smaller species.

Later, we found an octopus which changed color several times before eventually crawling into a crevice under some rocks.

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August 19th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Below are photos of a few critters that I saw at Pinel Island last week. They’re mostly familiar faces, although the young grasshopper and moth may be new to me.

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August 19th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

A few weeks ago I found another tree that was being almost completely defoliated by checkered swallowtail (Papilio demoleus) caterpillars and brought back a single chrysalis which hatched a week or so later. This time it hatched in perfect form. Despite the fact that it is an invasive species, I released it because a single individual would not really make any difference in the colonization of the island.

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