Tragically Lovely?

Tragically Lovely?

In my final publish I alluded to a number of goings-on that warranted separate posts. Though a lot has occurred from then to now, the reminiscence of a fowl we noticed on that day has remained with me.

I had been monitoring a Yellow-billed Cuckoo because it fed within the cover when Joanne (my life and birding associate) drew my consideration to an exceptionally darkish heron searching in a small waterway. I drifted nearer, and positive sufficient, there on the water’s edge, was a small heron – nearly black with blazing, fiery yellow eyes – fixated on some motion beneath the floor.

We watched this fowl for fairly a while. Undoubtedly its behaviour was that of a neighborhood Inexperienced Heron – it additionally briefly interacted with one other, regular-looking Inexperienced Heron that flew in momentarily. However one thing was positively totally different about its plumage. My preliminary thought was that it was an oiled fowl; right here in Tobago oil spills are rare, if not nearly extraordinary. However actually not unattainable!

Sometimes, it will fly from one financial institution to the opposite. Nearer appears revealed a plumage I couldn’t have imagined even when I used to be deep right into a hallucinogenic journey. I revisited my oiled principle.

Seeing that it was actively searching and working like an in any other case regular Inexperienced Heron, I opted to {photograph} it, analysis it and probably return and proceed observing the fowl. Once we acquired residence, I reached out to the authors of this paper on polymorphism. Inside a day, I acquired a response – almost certainly an oiled fowl.

I felt horrible for ogling at its iridescent feathers as an alternative of instantly leaping on the fowl and dousing it with cleaning soap and water. However the extra I have a look at the pictures is the extra doubt I create inside my very own thoughts. I haven’t seen all of the Butorides herons on the planet, however I’ve by no means seen both a Inexperienced or Striated with scapular feathers like this one. Some blue with white edging, others inexperienced with copper edging. Even its plumes are coppery! Some white feathers are seen, however there appears to be some staining of kinds on its legs and naked components.

All this being mentioned, I revisited the world a number of instances since and by no means laid eyes on it once more. With what I had been advised, I used to be ready to a minimum of try and seize it and wash it. Relaxation assured – I attended an oiled fowl workshop some years in the past so a minimum of I’ve some concept of the best way to clear an oiled fowl! However no luck. Did it transfer on to deeper inside the mangrove? Was it washed within the heavy rains we had not too long ago? Did it perish from ingesting poisonous chemical substances? Sadly, all I’ve is that this pair of images.

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