Showing posts from October, 2019

Woodcreepers of Tobago

Who are these birds that hop effortlessly along the sides of trees, sometimes hanging upside down to peck at insect treats? Faraaz Abdool continues his exploration in the rainforest and introduces the wood creepers. All photos by Faraaz Abdool These little birds may be considered similar to woodpeckers, but they are different. One is often unsure of whether or not the flash of brown is a bird – until it takes to the air, flapping and gliding on splayed russet feathers to assume a position on the side of another tree.   As their name suggests, woodcreepers do seem to creep effortlessly up and down the trunks of trees, defying gravity as they hop along the underside of branches. Just as woodpeckers are tethered to large trees, so too are woodcreepers. Being smaller birds, however, allows them access to thinner branches than their heavier cousins; and thus they have the luxury of foraging further away from the thickest limbs. Most woodcreepers are designed to blend into the  bark

From the deep Atlantic to the ice caps of the Arctic

Dr La Daana Kanhai found plastic pollution in every marine environment she’s explored. She talks with Dr Anjani Ganase, and suggests the steps for people on a small island like Tobago to minimise plastics in their ocean We continue the discussion about plastic pollution in Trinidad and Tobago with Dr La Daana Kanhai, marine scientist who has researched the pervasive presence of microplastics in the marine environment, even in the most remote and pristine places on earth. In Trinidad and Tobago, La Daana hopes to be able to continue her research on this issue of plastic pollution; and to use her work and experiences to bring awareness to the growing plastic problem; and to inspire others to make the changes needed. Growing up in the small village of Tortuga in Trinidad’s Central Range – she had a view of the Gulf of Paria - La Daana’s curiosity in nature around her home quickly extended to the marine environment. Vacations took her to the coast and to exp

Adapt, build resilience, transform

Dr Anjani Ganase presents important take-aways from the latest (2019) IPCC report, with recommendations for governments and communities For island nations, the ocean has multiple roles: it defines our boundaries and uniqueness, yet it is the means for exchange of goods and services. The ocean is our major source of food and recreation; and the resource that supports livelihoods, communities and economies. The marine environment around Trinidad and Tobago includes coral reefs that fringe our coastlines but extend to deep ocean habitats beyond the edge of the continental shelf. On a broader scale, the ocean is our regulator of climate, absorbing heat from the atmosphere (more than 90 % of it) and carbon dioxide. Trinidad and Tobago’s close connection to the ocean, like that of many other small island developing states (SIDS), also makes us more vulnerable to the changes in the ocean system. The latest Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC Special Report on Oceans and

Where birds go in a hurricane

Faraaz Abdool is looking for the Abaco Parrot; and though the prognosis appears bleak, he is hoping that these ground-nesting birds found cover on other islands of the Bahamas during the long rain of Dorian. All photos by Faraaz Abdool Hurricanes are massive rotating weather systems packed with howling winds and torrential rain. Birds are tiny, feathered creatures, some weighing no more than a few grams. It’s almost unfathomable that many birds are able to weather storms which flatten entire habitats. The truth is the ability of a bird to survive one of these mega-storms depends on a few factors. Firstly, let’s consider how different birds deal with an approaching weather system. Some prefer to hunker down while others take to the sky in last-ditch attempts to escape. A particular species’ predisposition to stay or flee is crucial in determining how well it fares in extreme weather conditions. As a hurricane forms over the open ocean, seabirds are the firs