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Apr 10, 2008

11 new species on my bird 'life list'

My trip to St. Lucia last week produced a bird list of 34 species, 11 of which I had never seen before. The new birds which I have added to my 'life list' include: Brown Booby, Black Swift, Lesser Antillean Pewee, White-breasted Thrasher, Grey Trembler, Adelaide Warbler, St. Lucia Black Finch, Lesser Antillean Saltator, Caribe Grackle, Shiny Cowbird and St. Lucian Oriole. The bird pictured above is a Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, which I first saw in St. Maarten in 2002. Whereas in most Caribbean islands, it is the Banaquit which joins you at your outdoor dining table, in St. Lucia it is the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch that is ubiquitous when one dines alfresco. There are Bananaquits also, but they are outnumbered about 40-1. I've never been to a place where the bird sounds are as pervasive as they are St. Lucia. The 'birdsong' lasted from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and because we had no windows in our rooms (just screens and louvres) we were constantly surrounded by songbird serenades. Each evening, when the birds finally fell silent, the tree frogs took over and provided the lullaby. (Bullfinch photo by Greg Lasley)

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