Spiny weed; but is it?

The species I would like to put in the spotlights in this article is regarded by lots of people as a nasty, unwanted weed, that needs to be eradicated as soon as possible. True, its spines are long, hard and sharp, and it will pop up the moment you ‘clean’ a piece of land. But that is exactly what makes the Cossie (Acacia tortuosa), locally known as the Wabi, so special as part of the local ecology. The tree is […] Read more »

That little yellow scoundrel again!

I cannot help it. I like these birds. Although very common, they never stop to amaze me. Take this picture, for example. I never knew these birds have forked tongues! If you take a look at the literature, the Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) is described as nectarivorous (nectar eater). I came across anatomical descriptions indicating tongues with bristles at the tip, because that’s what you supposedly need to extract nectar from flowers. Well, either the one I got in front of […] Read more »

Biodiversity and the green stranger

Most people tend to translate the concept of biodiversity simply into numbers of species. How many species are present in a particular area? In some countries an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required by law in case of proposed development of an area. Unfortunately, this is (still) no obligation on Curacao, although some developers take steps on their own in order to market themselves as having a ‘green’ image. Such a EIA seems quite a powerful tool, but in most […] Read more »

Formal portrait of a scavenger

Young people face a lot of problems, and recently a name has been invented for one of those ‘modern’ problems. You do probably expect me to talk about the ‘over-twittering’ or ‘hyper-pinging’ syndromes, which certainly are or will be topics of importance, besides the fact that walking about with a constantly bowed head throughout the day can only lead to chronic neck pain, not to mention RSI-symptoms like sore and stiffened thumbs (admittedly, I also own a smartphone, so I […] Read more »

Adaptations to modern times?

The local Yellow Oriole (Icterus nigrogularis curasoensis) is on my mental list of really special species. Not only because it is endemic to the ABC Islands, but also because of the ingenious way it constructs its nests. Can you imagine having to weave a basket with only your feet and mouth? These beautiful birds can do that, and they do it in a superb way. These birds are easily spotted, not only because of their bright yellow plumage, but also […] Read more »

Little yellow scoundrel

This easily recognizable bird is probably the most common bird on our Island. It has discovered a lot of tricks to make its life easier. One of those has to do with nest construction. It is much easier to attach your nest to some conveniently located lamp on the porch of a human being. Safer. And with building materials readily available, in the form of that cleaning mop clumsily left outside by that stupid human being. Easily dislodged and beautifully […] Read more »

Traveling Yellowlegs

As holds true for a significant number of bird species we might encounter on Curacao, this elegant wader is a traveller from afar. During northern hemisphere summer time it roams the shores of arctic and subarctic North America. When the going gets tough it takes to the wing and travels all the way to South America, sometimes even as far as Tierra del Fuego! Lots of them incorporate a refuelling stop on Curacao in their flight schedule, and during years […] Read more »

The sailing danger

Every year, during the period in between Carnival and Easter, popularly known as Lent (temp’i kuaresma), the wind pattern in our region tends to be irregular. When the directions from which the winds originate shift towards the south-east, our island might receive visits from a bizarre organism, one that we often are not too happy with. This organism belongs to the order siphonophora, and this word stands for animals ‘with hollow tubes’. We are talking about the Physalia physalis, commonly […] Read more »

Majestic tourist

Encountering a Great White Egret (Ardea alba) is a real treat! These stately birds are not very common and rather wary, so being able to observe one in the wild for more than a few seconds is a lucky feat. But as long as you respect its “circle of tolerance” it might allow you a better view of its blindingly white feathers, its long yellow beak and its blackish feet. Most of the ones encountered on Curacao are (winter) visitors […] Read more »

Cute little tyrant

I literally bumped into this cute little beauty. Although it formed part of my photographic wish list for quite some time, I never expected to encounter a Caribbean Elaenia (Elaenia martinica) while wading ankle-deep through mangrove muck, but there it was! Another wise lesson: always keep your camera at hand and ready-to-shoot at all times. This little bird (its length is at most 15 cm.) breeds on Curacao and its direct neighbors, Bonaire and Aruba. It also occurs on other […] Read more »