See what fun we had in the Forestry Summer Camp now!!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Author: Jeannette Victor & Khervelle Pamphile
Jacques-pas-papa-pouw, Jacques-pas-papa-pouw with the last syllable being highlighted is the call of a nocturnal bird that is endemic subspecies to St.Lucia and referred to locally by its call.
St.Lucia Nightjar bears the scientific name of Caprimulgus rufus otiosus and is quite active during the night hence the name Nightjar. A small medium-sized bird attaining the length of 28 cm (11 in) is dark-brown with some reddish-brown edges on its feathers, short rounded wings and a white throat band.
The Nightjar is often heard calling at dusk during the breeding season; May and June. In the breeding season two white eggs with light brown spots is laid in a scrape on the ground which is considered to be its nest.
They occur from the north-east coast; Grande-Anse south to Dennery and also Anse-La-Raye where they feed on insects. The Nightjar is an endangered species due to the fact that they are faced with lots of threats. Those threats include loss of habitat, dogs, cats, mongooses and pigs being predators because they nest on the ground.
We may turn a blind eye when it comes to protecting our species, but did you know that they are protected by other species of the animal kingdom? Yes indeed! The areas where the Nightjar is found has a high concentration of the only poisonous snake in St.Lucia; Fer-de-Lance. This conservation is a blessing that we should appreciate because what is done to nature is done to us all!
Author: Janice Mathurin-Poleon
For the past weeks you’ve been introduced to five endemics St Lucian birds; St Lucia Oriole, St Lucia Parrot, St Lucia Black Finch, St Lucia Warbler and St Lucia Pewee. By definition endemic species are only found in one country and nowhere else in the world.
In the coming weeks we will be introducing our endemic subspecies. The white-breasted Thrasher is a Lesser Antillean Regional endemic found both in St Lucia and Martinique which comprises their entire global range. This charismatic bird is a perfect example of an endemic subspecies because of their separate island homes and an accepted subdivision of its biological classification or the difference in the third name in Latin; Ramphocinclus brachyurus sanctaeluciae (St Lucia) and Ramphocinclus brachyurus brachyurus (Martinique).
What does this bird look like?
The santaluciae race is 23 – 25 cm in length; with dark brown upperparts, white underparts and long bill. Very interestingly also is that this bird often drops its wings when excited or curious. The immature bird is dark brown, developing a creamy white patch on the breast as it ages.
How many are out there in the wild?
The White-breasted Thrasher is also rare and endangered, restricted to the northeast coast from Praslin to Petite Anse. Present research shows that the majority of thrashers (75%) of the global population are found in the dry forest areas of Praslin with between 1100 – 2400 breeding adults on St Lucia.
Where do they live and what do they eat?
It inhabits dry and semi-dry woodland and scrub with abundant leaf-litter, often in areas with a clear understorey but sometimes in dense bushy areas. In the northern part of its range on St Lucia (Petite Anse-Dennery Knob) it tends to occur along ravines and river-valleys, but in the rest of its range on St Lucia it also occurs on dry hillsides well away from streams. It primarily forages on the ground tossing aside leaf litter in search for invertebrates, small frogs and lizards but have also been seen taking berries.
When can we expect to see baby thrashers?
Breeding occurs with the beginning of the rainy season. The Thrasher builds a deep cup-shaped nest in saplings or shrubs and is placed 0.5 - 3 m from the ground. Usually two eggs are laid from May to August. Those cute young thrashers spend much time on the ground before finding a home of their own and are sometimes very noisy attracting terrestrial predators like rats, mongoose and snakes.
Are there any threats to its survival?
The thrasher faces a real threat of habitat loss to agriculture, charcoal burning and wood cutting, and other development pressure. It is still legally protected but sad to say most of its home range falls on privately own land.
Major conservation measures have to be in place for the survival of the species and these are what have been proposed. Future plans include;
· Protected areas need to be established and effectively protect coastal dry woodland and scrub within the thrasher's range.
· Allow adjacent farmlands to regenerate into scrub woodland, providing additional habitat and allowing populations to expand.
· Enact legislation to protect critical wildlife sites.
· Consult with the hotel developer to preserve and protect suitable areas of thrasher habitat in a private reserve.
Author: Jeannette Victor
St.Lucia Warbler: Bonjour Madamme Gobe-Mouche, sa ke fete?
St.Lucia Pewee: Bonjour Madamme Sequia Ba Bad, mwe la cah chaybay.
St.Lucia Warbler: Sa bon! Mwe ousi.
St.Lucia Pewee: You know yesterday while looking for material for my nest, I overheard a little talk between two known gossipers; Carouge and Jacquot.
St.Lucia Warbler: Oh yeah, who were they talking about this time?
St.Lucia Pewee: No one. Would you believe that they were actually getting to know each other.
St.Lucia Warbler: You serious?
St.Lucia Pewee: Yes I am.
St.Lucia Warbler: Hmmmm. That’s strange! Something must be wrong with those two.
St.Lucia Pewee: No it is not. It was then and only then that it dawned on me to do the same, instead of highlighting the bad about our neighbors.
St.Lucia Warbler: Hmmmmm. Come to think of it that is true. Can we start now?
St.Lucia Pewee: Anytime! I will go first. Scientists refer to me as Contopus oberi, and our locals as you know; Gobe-Mouche or Pin Kaka; I am a flycatcher. St.Lucia forest is my world. My upperparts are dark-olive brown and my stomach area is reddish-brown. I make myself comfortable in a cup shape nest made of leaves, lichens and moss which sits on a branch. In there, between the months of May and June I lay two dark cream- colored eggs that have brown spots all over. And last but not least I enjoy a delicious meal of invertebrates and insects.
St.Lucia Warbler: Quite impressive! St.Lucia too is my only home. I go by the scientific name of Dendroica delicate and locally chic-chic or sequia ba bad. Unlike you I have a bright yellow stomach with bluish-grey upperparts. I have a yellow eyebrow stripe and a black crescent below my eye. My nest is a finely woven cup that is usually in a tree where three to four eggs with a few reddish-brown spots are laid from March to June. I love the forest and make insects and spiders my daily meal.
St.Lucia Pewee: Looks like we have similar characteristics.
St.Lucia Warbler: Our forest home is therefore very important to our survival and our beauty and that of our picturesque island home depends on everyone, young and old.
St.Lucia Pewee: Our sweet sounds and unique local tunes must be heard for generations to come.