Linda and I spent last week at Runaway Bay in Jamaica. Snorkelling and birdwatching were high on the list of things to do. High winds, all week, kept the snorkelling to a minimum, but I did add 11 birds to my life list, which now sits at 386. Jamaica is a lush, beautiful island. The food, music (reggae) and swimming were great. It doesn't take long to see that the Jamaican people live a hard life by our standards, but everyone seems to be trying their best to get by.
One of the hawkers, on a nearby beach, was an middle-age lady named Gloria. I paid her to sit down with Linda and I, for a few minutes in her little shack, and to briefly tell us her story. It was an eye-opener and I admired her determination to provide for a family of 10 children as a single-parent. It was the best 20 bucks I spent all week.
Two of the 11 'lifer' birds I saw were hummingbirds: the Jamaican Mango and the Vervain Hummingbird. The one hummingbird I especially hoped to see was the Streamer Tail, known locally as the 'Long-tailed Doctor Bird' and, by most estimations, the most spectacular West Indian hummingbird (see attached internet photo below). It's green and black body is only 4.25" long but it has two long, black, streamer feathers which emit a whirring sound in flight. It is the most abundant and widespread bird in Jamaica, and yet, I failed to see it. Oh well, it's just one of a number of reasons to re-visit this lovely island one day, hopefully.