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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rufous-throated Solitaire and Yellow Warbler Chit Chatting!!

Janice Mathurin-Poleon

Rufous-throated solitaire: Hey! You there yellow bird, what is your name?

Yellow warbler: Why do you want to know my name?

Rufous-throated solitaire: Because I’ve never seen you around here.

Yellow warbler: In that case then, I’m Yellow warbler. I am an endemic subspecies of many Caribbean islands; Bahamas, Cuba, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia and others. I am known scientifically as dendroica petechia babad a mouthful I know. Just call me sucrier mang as the locals do. It’s much easier.

Rufous-throated solitaire: Why are you here in the rainforest? Where do you live?

Yellow warbler: I got distracted and found myself here. My home is confined to mangroves such as Makote, Vieux Fort and coastal scrub forests areas like Praslin. I eat mainly insects although sometimes I’ll eat small berries too. I build a neat cup-shaped nest low down in a bush or low tree.

Rufous-throated solitaire: Are you male or female?

Yellow warbler: I am male. I am 11.5-13.5cm (4.5-5.25 in). As you can see I am mostly all yellow, including patches on my outer tail feathers. My upperparts are greenish-yellow though with reddish streaks at my breast and sides. My head is yellow but with this cool, distinct reddish-brown cap.
My wife is similar to me, but she has faintly reddish streaks below with no reddish brown crown. She lays 2-3 spotted, greenish-white eggs mainly between February and June. I have told you so much about me would you mind telling me about yourself?

Rufous-throated solitaire: I am Rufous-throated solitaire, endemic subspecies of St Vincent, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Dominica, Martinique but specifically the myadestes genibarbis sanctaelucia is unique only to St Lucia. Commonly I am known here as siffleur morne.

Yellow warbler: Hey, we’re found on some of the same islands! Is this all?

Rufous-throated solitaire: I grow to a length of 19cm (7.5in). I am mostly grey above, with white chin; reddish brown throat, neck and undertail coverts; light grey breast; yellow feet; and a tail with white outer feathers. I live in the dense mountain forest of Quillesse, Micoud and Edmund Forest Reserve, Soufriere. I build my nest cup-shaped in a crevice, center of a tree fern or bromeliad. My lady love lays two eggs, bluish-white or blue with white spots during the months April to August.

Yellow warbler: I bet you love living in this tranquil environment.  It is cool and private.

Rufous-throated solitaire: Yes I do. I feel quite at peace.  The mangrove sounds like a good place but as far as I have heard, people do not understand let alone appreciate the value of your habitat. Maybe we should educate these humans on the importance of protecting and conserving the mangroves of our island.
You know they think they know everything and they just keep destroying our environment but what they don’t know is that they are destroying themselves also.

Yellow warbler: It was sure nice meeting you. Hope to see you around some time if I get distracted. Have a pleasant day.