Swamp Four Seasons

Swamp Four Seasons
Blessed by the beauty of Creation -
Sharing what I see from my little place in His world!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

T & T Part 7: The Nests!

In places like Trinidad and Tobago where there is a multitude of birds, of course there are also many nests.  Because we had lots of ground to cover during our time there, we didn't watch the activity at any one nest for long, but I still very much enjoyed seeing them.  When I look thru my photos of nests from the trip, the thing that stands out to me is the variety!
The first nest isn't much of a nest at all.  It's a 'scrape' on the ground made by a White-tailed Nightjar.
This nest was along the side of a road on Tobago.  While it's basically out in the open, it was still quite protected, at least when the Nightjar was sitting on it-- as her camouflage coloration hides her well.
The next nest is also on the ground.  Laughing Gulls had nests all over the place on Little Tobago Island.
Even though they were all gull nests, there was still some variety.  Brown leaves were preferred by some mothers, green leaves by others.
While we walked by, some of the mothers were quite concerned and made noise to try to distract us from their nests.  I think the Laughing Gull in the next photo looks more sad than happy, don't you?  (Their name comes from the sound they make, not their expression).
We saw two other ground-nesting birds, but these two don't just nest on the top of the ground-- they build burrows.
Those holes on a bank belong to either Rufous-tailed Jacamars or Motmots.
The Trinidad Motmot on this steep bank in Tobago may have been looking for a good spot for a new nest.  Motmots have good bills for digging.
Rufous-tailed Jacamars have long, strong bills.  Their tunnel nests can be up to 20" (50 cm) long.  Their bills are about 1-3/4" (4.5 cm) long.
Jacamars are found in pairs during the whole year and are rather social birds.  We often saw two or more together.
Some other birds of Trinidad and Tobago are very social and nest in colonies.  Here's a huge tree filled with the hanging nests of Yellow-rumped Caciques.
What good weavers they are!
Their babies would seem to be quite well protected in those nests, and with so many parents around to keep an eye out for danger.

The same is true for another colony nester--  Crested Oropendolas.
This tree was on the grounds at the Asa Wright Nature Center.  I'm not sure what the growth in the middle was... a mass of limbs the tree produced for some reason.  It was so high up, we couldn't get a good look at it.  To give you an idea of the scale, here's a photo in which you can see a building below the tree.
I think that those nests are quite an accomplishment from a bird with a bill like this:
In case you are wondering,  the male Crested Oropendolas do have a crest, which is long and dark and usually not noticeable.  

The entrance to their nest is near the top and the babies reside in the bottom. 
Wonder if they like it when their nursery sways in the wind?

Another hanging nest we saw in Trinidad belonged to a Yellow Oriole.
They are very similar in looks and nesting styles to our Baltimore Orioles.

Other birds which have comparable nests to ones we have in Pennsylvania are the woodpeckers.
This Golden-olive Woodpecker may look different than our woodpeckers, but she makes her babies' nursery the same way, in the cavity of a dead tree.

Other cavity nests we saw were very different from here at home, because we don't (luckily!) have termite nests!
Not sure what bird hollowed that nest out of an old termite nest, because we didn't see a bird.  It could have been a Parrot or a Trogon... or maybe something else.

We did see Trogons working on a cavity in another location though.
We saw this beautiful male Collared Trogon... and then a female in the same area--
... so we watched for awhile and saw the male excavating a hole in a dead stump.
Little pieces of wood came flying out of the hole as he pecked at it and there was a pile of them on the ground below.
That was really cool to watch!

While it was perfect timing to see the Trogons, we were a few days late to see the baby hummingbirds in the nest in the next photo.
Do you see the nest?  This is what you are looking for:
A hummingbird raised her babies successfully right outside the Asa Wright Nature Centre main building.  They fledged just before we arrived, but it was really neat to see the nest anyway!

Now can you find it?
We saw other hummingbird nests, too.
A female was sitting on eggs in this one (you can see her tail hanging out the back), which was hanging fairly low over the road.  We saw another one along the same road, but it was higher up.
At first, we thought this was the female Tufted Coquette sitting on eggs, but from a different angle we could see there were actually two birds in the nest... probably not long til fledge-time for those youngsters!
At our motel on Tobago (the Cuffie River Nature Retreat) we could see a Green Heron on a nest of sticks right from our balcony.
An even closer nest was being built while we were there, in the upstairs open-air lounge that was next to our room.
My husband saw the birds going in and out of that spot, so we briefly removed a pillow from the couch so we could see the nest.  In the next photo you can see one of the Palm Tanagers from the pair who were building it.  The other arrow points to where the nest is located!
That's quite a variety of nests, I think, but there's one more I want to tell you about.  However, that's a story for another post.  Here's a hint!