Wilderness in September

Surveying for turtle tracks without a car is a bit of work. It usually takes me about five hours roundtrip to get out to our assigned beaches and back. On the other hand, it is also a great opportunity to get out to the most undisturbed part of the island every week (called Wilderness) and see cool stuff, even on days where there are no turtle tracks. Below are some photos from my last three trips.

On September 12th, there was a group of a dozen pelicans fishing around the beach at Petites Cayes. Most of the time you don’t see that many at once. I also got some shots of a brown booby, which I had wanted to photograph. On my way back, there were dozens of cattle egrets near the dump.

On the 25th, there was a mongoose near the beach at Grandes Cayes, probably picking through the trash that people leave there. Near Petites Cayes I saw an American oystercatcher, a terrific-looking wading bird that I have only seen here a few times. On my way back I saw one of the American kestrels that hang out by Eastern Point. I also spent a lot of time trying to take photos of the common ground dove in flight so I could show what its red wings look like in the book. This was a challenge. Also, I saw an osprey for the first time and figured out that Cuban treefrogs hide inside the bromeliads at the nursery I pass on my way to the beaches.

On the 30th, there were various seabirds to see, but the highlight was watching several American kestrels hunting on my way back. They used the wind coming over a seaside hill to hover in place while scanning the ground for lizards and insects. It was very cool to watch.

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