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TIBA in Saint Lucia

by Jo Ann MacKenzie

           

During the last week of November, 2007, a Taiwan International Birding Association delegation traveled to Saint Lucia, West Indies, on a mission of “eco-diplomacy.”  The government of Taiwan will assist the government of St. Lucia in producing a bird book specific to St. Lucia.  At present, the birds of St. Lucia are only illustrated in books on the West Indies.  A Birding in St. Lucia website will be developed to encourage and enhance ecotourism for birding.  Other initiatives will also be undertaken.

            While in St. Lucia, the team, along with Mr. Tom Chou, Taiwan’s Ambassador to St. Lucia, and local guide, Mr. Adams Toussaint, Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, met with the Prime Minister, the Honorable Stephenson King, at his residence in Castries, the capital city of St. Lucia.  Productive meetings were also held with the Hon. Ezechiel Joseph, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Forestry, and Mr. Louie Lewis, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.

             The team found time for birding lovely St. Lucia under the excellent guidance of Adams Toussaint. The first bird we saw on arrival at Hewanorra International Airport at the south end of the island, late in the afternoon of Nov. 25, was Carib Grackle — we would see many more!  The drive from Hewanorra airport to our base for the week, in Rodney Bay at the northern and more populated end of the island, took 1 ½ hours. 

            The next day, after breakfast at the hotel (Village Inn) where Lesser Antillean Bullfinches foraged in the shrubbery and sometimes on the open-air restraurant tables, we began by visiting the Union Nature Reserve, not far from Castries, the capital city.  Among our first birds there were St. Lucia Warbler, St. Lucia Pewee and St. Lucia Black Finch — three endemics almost immediately.  A large hummingbird, Purple-throated Carib, perched in a tree.  Gray Trembler, Brown Trembler, Black-whiskered Vireo, Scaly-breasted and Pearly-eyed Thrashers, were also observed. Our photographers were kept busy.  Leaving the reserve, we drove into the hills above Desbarras village, where we watched for forest birds at an informal roadside over-look.  Continuing eastward across the island toward Grand Anse, we stopped to coax a House Wren out of the forest.  This wren, the endemic subspecies Troglocytes aedon mesoleucus, is a pale bird and perhaps a candidate for ‘splitting.’  The last stop of the day was at a pond where Masked Duck can sometimes be found, but not that day.

            Very early the next morning, we departed for the Quilesse Forest Reserve, a rainforest that was true to its “rainforest” description, with heavy 10-minute rain squalls about every half-hour.  These mountains offered our best chance for seeing the colourfull, endemic St. Lucia Parrot, and we did — several vocal birds in flight. The parrot represents a conservation success story.  By 1975, as few as 100 individuals survived in the wild, their numbers dwindling due to combined pressures from deforestation and hunting.  The St. Lucia Forestry Department began a nation-wide education program while protecting substantial areas of rainforest, and banning hunting.  The parrot became the National Bird in 1979, the year of St. Lucia’s independence from Britain. St. Lucia Parrot numbers have increased to about 800 since then.   We also saw another endemic in the Quilesse Reserve, St. Lucia Oriole; a Merlin (rare, and a Life bird for our guide, Adams), Crested Antillean Hummingbird, and many Lesser Antillean Swifts.  We walked part of the Des Cartier Trail, where a St. Lucia Parrot perched in a tree overhead, preening after yet another rain squall.  Farther along the trail, we found a Rufous-throated Solitaire.  We ended the day in dry habitat at the south end of the island, where the critically endangered White-beasted Thrasher maintains a precarious existence in shrinking habitat.  That particular spot is near Praslin Bay, just across the road from where the huge Le Paradis Beach and Golf Resort is being constructed.  Unfortunately for some of St. Lucia’s most endangered wildlife, resort and residential development is a major threat.

            We went to Soufrière, on the southwest coast near the Pitons, two ancient volcanic plugs that rise dramatically from the sea.  The Pitons are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  For those with the time and energy, there is a steep hiking trail up Gros Piton, the larger of the two.  At lunch, we watched resident Broadwinged Hawks circle on thermals between the two peaks.  Much nearer to us, two Carib Grackles attacked a large Black Witch moth. The tattered moth escaped and took refuge on a wall beneath some vines where it became almost invisible, blending in with the stones of the wall.  Not far away is Sulphur Springs Park, a “drive-in” volcano, with steaming, bubbling volcanic mud.

            East of Castries and about half-way across the island, near Babonneau village, is Rainforest Skyrides Park. Adventurous folk can hike up a mountain, then ride down on zip lines between forest trees.  We preferred the Aerial Tram, both going up and coming down.  The open-air gondolas seat 8 to10 passengers on a slow, quiet journey 130 feet above the ground, with opportunities for birdwatching and photography, through the oldest mature rainforest in St. Lucia.  When our two goldolas reached the top (elevation about 2,000 feet), we found a network of hiking trails through the forest.  On the ride back down, in beautiful clear weather, we could see the island of Martinique to the north.

            Near the end of our time on St. Lucia, we visited Pigeon Island National Landmark, a cultural monument of international civil, military and maritime events of West Indian historical change, in a natural setting.  Small Caribbean Hermit Crabs Coenobita clypeatus, scuttled about, over rocks and up trees.  Gray Kingbirds, Zenaida Doves, Bananaquits. Tropical Mockingbirds, Carib Grackles and Lesser Antillean Bullfinches were everywhere.  Offshore, Brown Boobies and Brown Pelicans could be seen, and overhead, Magnificent Frigatebirds soared.

            St. Lucian endemic birds can be seen without a great deal of difficulty, except for Semper’s Warbler.  This is (was?) a plain-looking bird of the undergrowth of moist forests at mid-elevations.  It is believed that the introduction of mongooses in 1884, compounded by habitat loss may be responsible for the drastic reduction, perhaps extinction, of the species. Although there have been scattered reports over the past 45 years, here have been no confirmed sightings since 1961. 

            Our visit to St. Lucia was very productive.  Certainly, the island nation has much to offer besides sun, sand and sea.

            The TIBA delegation to St. Lucia was headed by Legislator Tien Chiu-chin.  Other team members included Liao Shih-ching Simon; Tseng Chiu-wen Hank and Wu Ten-di (bird photographers); Jo Ann MacKenzie and Hue MacKenzie (Canada); Tsai Mu-chi, Hsueh Chi-lien, Ross Tsai; Tseng Shu-kai (Liberty Times, Taiwan) and Chun Chin-kan (Formosa TV).  The two photographers stayed in St. Lucia for four weeks, photographing as many bird species as possible.  Writing for the book will be undertaken by Adams Toussaint.

TRIP RESULTS, Saint Lucia, West Indies, November 26–Dec. 2, 2007

Endemics: BOLD        Endemic subspecies: *            Lesser Antillean regional endemic: **

Brown Pelican                              

Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis

Brown Booby                               

Sula leucogaster leucogaster

Magnificent Frigatebird                

Fregata magnificens

Great Egret                                  

Ardea alba egretta

Little Blue Heron                          

Egretta caerulea

Snowy Egret                                

Egretta thula brewsteri

Cattle Egret                                  

Bubulcus ibis ibis

Green Heron                                

Butorides virescens virescens

Roseate Spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus carolinensis

Broad-winged Hawk                    

Buteo platypterus rivierei

American Kestrel                         

Falco sparverius caribaearum

Merlin

Falco columbarius columbarius

Wilson’s Snipe                            

Gallinago delicata

Spotted Sandpiper                       

Actitis macularius

Greater Yellowlegs                      

Tringa melanoleuca

Royal Tern                                   

Thalasseus maximus maximus

Rock Pigeon                                

Columba livia

Scaly-naped Pigeon                     

Patagioenas squamosa

Eurasian Collared-Dove               

Streptopelia decaocto

Eared Dove                                  

Zenaida auriculata rubripes

Zenaida Dove                               

Zenaida aurita aurita

Common Ground-Dove                

Columbina passerine antillarum

ST. LUCIA PARROT                           

Amazona versicolor

Mangrove Cuckoo                        

Coccyzus minor

Lesser Antillean Swift                   

Chaetura martinica **

Purple-throated Carib                   

Eulampis jugularis **

Green-throated Carib                    

Eulampis holosericeus holosericeus

Antillean Crested Hummingbird         

Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis

Belted Kingfisher                          

Megaceryle alcyon

Caribbean Elaenia                        

Elaenia martinica martinica **

ST. LUCIA PEWEE                          

Contopus oberi

Gray Kingbird                               

Tyrannus dominicensis vorax

Lesser Antillean Flycatcher          

Myiarchus oberi sanctaeluciae*

House Wren                                 

Troglodytes aedon mesoleucus*

Tropical Mockingbird                    

Mimus gilvus antillarum

White-breasted Thrasher              

Ramphocinclus brachyurus sanctaeluciae*

Gray Trembler                              

Cinclocerthia gutturalis macrorhyncha*

Brown Trembler                            

Cinclocerthia ruficauda

Scaly-breasted Thrasher              

Allenia fusca schwartzi*

Pearly-eyed Thrasher                   

Margarops fuscatus klinikowskii*

Rufous-throated Solitaire              

Myadestes genibarbis sanctaeluciae*

Bare-eyed Thrush                         

Turdus nudigenis nudigenis

Black-whiskered Vireo                  

Vireo altiloquus barbatulus

Antillean Euphonia                        

Euphonia musica flavifrons

Yellow Warbler                              

Dendroica petechia babad*

ST. LUCIA WARBLER                         

Dendroica delicata

Blackpoll Warbler                          

Dendroica striata

Bananaquit                                    

Coereba flaveola martinicana **

Black-faced Grassquit                   

Tiaris bicolor

ST. LUCIA BLACK FINCH                  

Melanospiza richardsoni

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch              

Loxigilla noctis sclateri*

Lesser Antillean Saltator               

Saltator albicollis albicollis **

Carib Grackle                                

Quiscalus lugubris inflexirostris*

Shiny Cowbird                               

Molothrus bonariensis minimus

ST. LUCIA ORIOLE                            

Icterus laudabilis

 

 

 56 SPECIES

 

 

 

N.B.  SEMPER’S WARBLER, Leucopeza semperi, a rather plain-looking, ground-dwelling, mountain rainforest species is critically endangered.  There have been no confirmed reports since 1961.  

 

 Other wildlife observed

 

ST. LUCIA ANOLE                             

Anolis luciae

Barbados Analis                              

Anolis extremis

Black Witch (moth)                          

Ascalapha odorata

butterfly sp.                                      

Pieridae family

Caribbean Hermit Crab                  

Coenobita clypeatus

     

 

 

 

Text of message by Legislator Tien Chiu-chin to Hon. Stephenson King, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, November 29, 2007, Castries, St. Lucia, W.I.

            “Honorable Stephenson King, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Mr. Jeff Fedee, Press Secretary, friends of the media;

            “First of all, allow me to introduce myself.  I am a parliamentary leader of an environmental NGO in Taiwan.  Nowadays, the issues of global warming and ecology are drawing more and more attention.  As members of the “global village,” I firmly believe that bilateral relations, laying the foundation of environment and ecology, are the best way to reach the next generation.

            “According to the survey conducted by the World Bank, the most booming area of tourism is ecotourism.  It is not necessary to spend a great deal of money on construction.  What is needed is only to preserve the beautiful resource created by God.  It is a gift that there are six endemic species of birds in your beautiful country.

            “The world knows that over the years, Saint Lucia has been successful in increasing the Saint Lucia Parrot (your National Bird since independence from Britain in 1979), from approximately150 individuals in 1976, to 1,000 now.  In Taiwan, we also have had a similar successful experience with some endangered species.  We would like to share our positive experience with our good friend, Saint Lucia.  The purpose of our visit is to collect information for publishing a birding book for Saint Lucia; to build a birding website; to assist Saint Lucia in participation of the Birdwatching Fair in the United Kingdom; and also to arrange advertising to promote Saint Lucia ecotourism in the U.S.A., Canada, and the U.K.  Moreover, we would like to leave one set of birding equipment for a volunteer in Saint Lucia.

            “I firmly believe that this is only the beginning of our cooperation.  It will create a better environment and future for our children.

 

            “Thank you.”

 

 


TAIWAN JOURNAL

 

Vol. XXIV                     No. 47               November 30, 2007

 

By Edwin Hsiao

 

            A delegation consisting of Taiwanese and Canadian birders left for Saint Lucia Nov. 24, intending to assist the island nation in developing its ecotourism industry.  The team will help Saint Lucia, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, catalog its birdlife, train guides and set up relevant websites.

            A Nov. 24 report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times pointed out that so far, around 170 different kinds of birds have been discovered on Saint Lucia’s 600-square-kilometer island.  Due to such a biological diversity, the government in Castries has embraced the idea of promoting its natural treasures through environmentally sustainable ventures, the report said.

            Phoebe Yeh, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Nov. 27 that the ministry’s Non-Governmental Organizations Affairs Committee and Taiwan’s embassy in Saint Lucia have provided some assistance to the group, including helping to arrange its schedule.

            Yeh pointed out that although Saint Lucia is a beautiful country, there is still definitely a lot of room for improvement in the country’s ecotourism industry.  “This is a trend we are advocating, with the idea of helping our allies develop eco-tours to promote their tourism industries,” she said, adding that Taiwan is hopeful that its “ecological diplomacy” will bear fruit for many generations of Saint Lucians to come.

            Legislator Tien Chiu-chin, who is also the chairperson of the Taiwan Sustainable Ecology Society, led the 10-member delegation that included Simon Liao, chairman of the Taiwan International Birding Association (Canada) and Jo Ann MacKenzie, executive secretary of TIBA (Canada).  According to TIBA, MacKenzie is Canada’s bird-watching record holder, having spotted a total of 4,500 species in different regions of the world.

            The origins of TIBA stretch back to July 2003 in British Columbia, Canada, when an association called the International Taiwan Birding Association was founded.  Not until May 2005 was TIBA itself formally registered with the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture in Taiwan as a non-profit organization.  The two associations existed in tandem until March 17, 2007, when they finally merged, with the objective of encouraging ecotourism in Taiwan.

            As part of its efforts to make people aware of the variety of indigenous birds in Taiwan, TIBA launched a campaign this January to get people to vote for a national bird.  Over a four-month period, more than one million votes were cast and it was determined that the Formosan magpie had come out on top, followed by the Mikado pheasant.  The results were forwarded to Taiwan’s lawmakers for consideration.

            Liao and MacKenzie also offer tours around Taiwan, taking birders to numerous locations in the hope of being able to see endemic species, such as the Yellow Tit and the Flamecrest.  In May 2008, they will be leading a tour to the Taiwanese island of Lanyu.

            Diplomatic ties between the ROC (Taiwan) and Saint Lucia were first established in 1984.  Nevertheless, the Caribbean country switched diplomatic recognition from the ROC to the PRC in 1997, eventually deciding to restore ties with the ROC in April 2007.

           

 

聖露西亞賞鳥行

    聖露西亞St. Lucia是一個既遙遠又陌生的國度,在期待前往賞鳥的地點名單中,從不曾在腦海裡閃過一絲念頭,即使在報刊或地圖上見過她的名子,也會被歸類成到不了的地方而隨即忘懷;這次能前往賞鳥,算是個不可思議的因緣。

    緣於1018日野柳因橙腹仙鶲及琉球歌鴝而發燒,攝影者的大砲及鳥人在廁所附近擠得水泄不通,我們也前往湊熱鬧,不期遇見多年鳥友廖老師,告知外交部有一協助聖露西亞生態旅遊計畫的外交團,詢問有興趣參加否? 加勒比海地區是一個擁有眾多特有種且個人賞鳥從未觸及的區域,雖然路途遙遠且在當地僅停留五天,還是高高興興的,當場加入賞鳥為主的生態外交團。兩天內聯絡旅行社並刷卡敲定機票。

    接下來翻地圖查資料,她位於南北美洲間分隔大西洋與加勒比海的一長串小島-小安地列斯群島的南段,該區有三個我們的邦交國:聖露西亞Saint Lucia、聖文森Saint Vincent and Grenadines及聖克里斯多福Saint Kitts and Nevis。三個邦交國中聖露西亞最大,島嶼面積有616平方公里約台北市的1.5倍大,人口16萬。約在北緯12度屬熱帶海洋性氣候,全年的氣溫均在22~30(攝氏)之間,分乾濕兩季,冬半年是乾季。

    該島於1718世紀間曾為英法兩強互奪易手達14次之多,19世紀初由英國完全佔領。於1979年宣布脫離英國獨立,為大英國協的一員。與台灣及中國的外交關係亦數度易手,去年聯合工人黨選舉獲勝,今年430日再與我恢復邦交。 國家主要財源來自觀光及農產外銷(農產50%以上為銷歐盟及美國的香蕉)。來自台灣的僑胞僅兩位,農技團留下的屏東邱姓夫婦。

    本團原本成員六名:由田秋堇立委率團、自由時報及民視記者各一名、廖世卿、曾秋文及吳添地三位(後兩位將停留至1218日,協助當地鳥類攝影),半路上加入了兩位加拿大鳥人Mr. HubertJo Ann夫婦及野柳報名的我們兩個,最後若詩也由德州趕來湊一腳,變成浩浩蕩蕩的十一人團。此團主要協助聖國的項目有四項。()拍攝當地鳥類照片,希望明年能出版一本該國的鳥類圖鑑。()協助聖國架設賞鳥網站。()在英、美、加等賞鳥風氣盛行國家的旅遊雜誌刊登該國的賞鳥廣告。()在規模最大的英國賞鳥博覽會協助設攤推廣。外交部希望藉這些生態上的交往與友邦一起推展生態旅遊,在當地豐富的觀光旅遊資源中加入生態保育的成分,共同為地球村的永續發展努力。

    聖國雖是個彈丸小島,擁有的鳥類資源卻相對豐富,聖露西亞紀錄鳥種有171種,其中有6個特有種(某些分類系統認為4),加勒比海地區的51個特有種中在聖露西亞有有17種紀錄,另外該地區的近似特有種有18個,聖露西亞也有8種的記錄,加上加勒比海的迷人景色,賞景度假兼賞鳥,花個三五天時間,運氣好的話有將近30種新鳥種的機會。所以雖然路途遠、機票貴、時間短還是滿懷希望的上路囉!

    11/24()午夜1155長榮班機,飛了將近12小時於當地時間1940抵洛杉磯,轉機等了3.5小時,搭2315 AA班機飛邁阿密,又是橫越美國4小時40分鐘的飛行,抵邁阿密是當地早上700,再等4個多鐘頭轉機,1115出發飛聖露西亞,3個半鐘頭後終於在當地時間(11/25星期日)下午3點半到達目的地,大使館一行人到機場接機,並在官邸設宴招待,但一行人半夜出發,近30個小時沒法躺平休息已無體力享受豐盛的款待,只想趕快回旅館好好補眠。

    11/26()經一夜好眠600天剛亮就有鳥聲Morning call,出門見廖老師已拿著望遠鏡在庭院中四處搜尋;下榻的Village Inn位於島嶼的西北側近海邊,庭院中有游泳池及十來張餐桌椅,地面大多為水泥鋪面,栽植的花樹不多,但仍有

Carib Grackle Lesser Antillean Bullfinch等常見鳥種習慣性的在餐桌上下跳躍覓食;牆外幾株大樹,枝條長長的伸入圍籬內,樹上可愛的Bananaquit在花叢間穿梭(本種在中南美一帶數量相當普遍,但在加勒比海的一串小島上本種出現甚大的羽色變異,在聖露西亞南方約50公里的聖文森島上有一亞種甚至全身漆黑)Zenaida DoveEurasian Collard Dove則來回於屋頂及大樹間,後者是外來種,近年快速的入侵附近各島嶼。門外及對街各有一小排開花的綠籬,有隻小小的Antillean Crested Hummingbird在花前定點採蜜,陽光下閃爍著耀眼的綠光,加上翹著的小羽冠,眾人都看呆了,只聽秋文的大炮一陣狂射,是此行第一種上鏡頭的鳥種。門外約50公尺遠有一小海灣,水邊的亂草地上有一群小鳥活動,仔細一瞧腳粉紅色不是Bullfinch而是Black-faced Grassquit,正拿著圖鑑比對的時候,毫無預警的一陣大雨當頭淋下,三步併兩步衝回旅館,還沒把圖鑑和筆記本擦乾,大大的太陽又熱呼呼曬在頭上,可見熱帶地區就連老天爺也都隨性行事。    這時電線上傳來尖銳的叫聲,原來一隻Grey Kingbird正向旁邊的Tropical Mockingbird示威呢。再抬頭看看海上的天空,可熱鬧的很,除了Magnificent Frigatebird,還有Royal Tern Cattle Egret Brown Booby Roseate SpoonbillAmerican Kestrel也來湊熱鬧。時間是上午730有人叫吃早餐,清點一下這一個半小時記錄了15種,個人已加了6個新種,真是輕鬆愉快的開始。

    當地鳥導Adams是林業部的官員,也是聖國僅有的六個賞鳥人之ㄧ,曾在紐約攻讀環境科學,為人誠懇熱情,野外知識豐富,對當地的保育措施暸若指掌,這天帶我們前往附近的保護區Union Nature Trail也是動物園,大門附近有幾個鐵籠關了幾隻她們的國鳥St. Lucia Parrot、南美的金剛鸚鵡及當地的兩種鬣蜥,但鐵籠吸引不了鳥人的目光,急急的想往森林中找鳥,Adams先在鐵籠旁的一顆開紅花的桃金孃科的大樹上找到此行的第二種蜂鳥Purple-throated Carib幾隻在大樹上來回追逐,Adams解釋此花是附近約六種鳥的食物,現在花期已近尾聲數量不多,剩下的花朵皆由數隻Purple-throated Carib的雄鳥霸占,其他鳥來均被驅趕,而樹下落花的雄蕊則鋪排成一大片鮮紅色的地毯,既漂亮又壯觀,樹上的蜂鳥及樹下的落花引來一陣陣相機的卡嚓聲。接著濃密的樹叢間有鳥影晃動,先出現的是Scaly-breasted Thrasher,鳥導再指出一隻Grey Trembler在枝葉間躲躲閃閃,眼尖的若詩見到一隻Bare-eyed Robin旋即隱入林內,離開聖露西亞前沒有人再見到牠。Union的步道穿梭在一片保存完好的成熟自然林中,走起來舒暢愉快,除了一再出現的常見鳥種外,又見到長相歌聲均漂亮好聽的St. Lucia Warbler,本種在其他島嶼原被稱為Adelaide’s Warbler分布於聖露西亞的族群被部分學者認為是特有種而稱St. Lucia Warbler,同時在步道內見到的另一隻St. Lucia Pewee分類情況也相同,被部分人提出為特有種。今天最捧場的要算是Mangrove Cuckoo了,一是個子大另一是他不亂跳,雖在大樹上有點距離,還是讓大家清清楚楚的瞧個夠;回程在一巨木下的空地上,Adams才讓團員們圍一圈開始正式的歡迎大家的到來,自我介紹並對聖露西亞的鳥類及生態環境做一通盤的說明。

    中午在一家緊靠海灣的餐廳用餐,食物與擺設及庭院的佈置都有濃濃的加勒比海風味。團長還忍不住躺到掛在海邊的吊床上拍張紀念照。離開餐廳出發前,發現車子不見了,隨身行李被搬到另一吉普車上,同車的一群人被分成三車,心理正滴咕著換車都沒先打個招呼,還要多出兩個司機的費用,後來路漸走漸小滿佈坑洞且要數度越過小溪流,才發現早上用的大車根本走不進這條路。下午要去的地方叫Grand Anse(字面意思為大沙灘是聖路西亞最長的沙灘)附近一個近海的林中水塘,有Masked Duck,雖然牠不是這地區的特有種,卻在受脅鳥種的名單中,值得前往一探;路途中在叫Desberras的地方停了兩次車找鳥,加了兩個此行的新紀錄-Blackpoll WarblerLesser Antillean Saltator,前者是過境的候鳥,因值冬季羽色與同行的加拿大鳥人在北方所見的大異其趣,後者是加勒比海區的特有種,也是此行的重要目標之ㄧ,另有一隻早上鳥導提過很多人都沒看清楚的Black-whiskered Vireo也補了回來。黃昏前天轉陰颳起風來,在一大片草地上停車,目的地就在前方的林子裡,Adams囑大家放慢腳步輕聲接近,Masked Duck生性敏感,大家仔細找了一大圈卻只見紅冠水雞的身影只好放棄,回程繞過草地(此草地據說是一處廢棄的舊機場)往海邊轉一圈,在一大片海葡萄的林下爬著許多巴掌大的紅色螃蟹,天色已昏暗,所有的人還是拿著相機猛拍,結束了第一天的賞鳥。

    11/27()今天要去的地方是Quilesse Forest Reserve位在島嶼的東南山區,路途較遠要找的目標鳥種是聖國國鳥St. Lucia Parrot清晨機會較大,所以大家起個大早天沒亮500就出門,一路Adams一一的介紹當地的土地利用、農業及森林概況,一個多小時的車程很快過去;一下車就聽到對面山有鸚鵡的叫聲,卻找不到蹤影,不過另有收穫,在樹叢間Adams找到一隻特有種St. Lucia Black Finch

Bullfinch不同的是牠的尾羽會不停的往上抖動而非左右擺動,此時路邊不遠的枯樹上突然停下一隻猛禽,第一眼覺得是American Kestrel沒太理牠,仔細一瞧居然是少見的MerlinAdams在聖露西亞第一次見到牠,難怪他興奮得直大叫。

    今早天氣很不穩定,不時來陣讓人來不及躲的大雨,還好路邊有幾處包裝香蕉用的工寮,雖破舊但足以避雨,就這樣走走停停兩三回,人跟器材都沒淋濕,只有廖老師追著鸚鵡聲音跑老遠,最後鸚鵡沒看到,淋了湯湯的一身回來。雨停的空檔天空出現一群Lesser Antillean Swift牠們個子小、飛得高又飛太快根本沒能細看,還好這種環境沒有太多雨燕來混淆;接著另一特有種現身St. Lucia Oriole,雖也叫Oriole也長得很漂亮,但跟東方的朱鸝、黃鸝等在分類上可毫不相干。

    穿過私人的香蕉園走進保護區環境截然不同,森林茂密,樹幹上長滿了著生的鳳梨科植物,地面則是一整片翠綠的鐵線蕨與卷柏等蕨類植物,步道走起來神清氣爽,這時Adams抬頭見到一隻國鳥St. Lucia Parrot濕淋淋的停在樹頂的枯枝上晾羽毛,雖昂角高且逆光,但難得的機會大家還是舉起相機狂拍一番。之所以難得,牠不僅是聖露西亞的國鳥,也列名IUCN的紅皮書中,1980年代曾經瀕危到只剩150隻左右,後由國際保育組織介入,停止棲木的砍伐及盜獵並配合人工的復育,目前族群已恢復到一千隻左右,算是復育成功的樣板之ㄧ。

    談到聖露西亞鸚鵡的棲木是一種木材堅韌抗海水腐蝕的Gonmye Tree (Dacryodes exelsa-Burseraceae)但樹心容易腐爛,側枝斷裂後形成樹洞,鸚鵡即築巢其中,當地漁民常砍Gonmye當獨木舟用,這也是鸚鵡瀕危的原因之ㄧ,政府為了鸚鵡的保育曾補貼漁民改用玻璃纖維船,因而停止了棲木的砍伐,其實鸚鵡在當地並無特別的天敵,只要把棲地保護好,族群數量自然會回穩;說到天敵,同樣的樹林中,住著一種Pearly-eyed Thrasher牠也利用與鸚鵡同一種樹洞築巢,不過Thrasher用乾季而鸚鵡用濕季,本來井水不犯河水,但近年氣候異常,乾溼不穩造成兩者繁殖期混淆,而有巢洞爭奪的怪異現象。

    這個保護區有幾處設備不錯的野外教室,我們利用其中之ㄧ吃早餐也順便躲雨,容易的鳥差不多找齊了,心情很放鬆的在漂亮的森林中聽著雨聲,桌上不時有小群的Lesser Antillean Bullfinch來陪吃早餐,讓人覺得恍若身處仙境,連時間也凍住了。

    下山途中再記錄一個地區特有種Rufous-throated Solitaire,全程就看到這麼一次的帥氣小鳥。午後近200pm才到一家有漂亮花園的餐廳用午餐,花叢中有第三種蜂鳥Green-throated Carib飛舞,從點餐前到飯後共三個多鐘頭一群相機始終盯著蜂鳥拍個不停,每個人也都有滿意的成果。回程經過一處離海岸不遠的乾森林,Adams提醒這裡住著另一瀕危的鳥種White-breasted Thrasher且本島族群佔所有族群的2/3,而這一帶森林正有業者開發蓋度假旅館,一群人趁著昏暗的天色在密叢裡來回搜尋,牠卻只在灌叢深處的低枝間活動,大家雖都隱約看到卻沒能替牠留下清晰倩影。

    清點一下這兩天來的收穫共記錄了39種,雖不算太好的成果,但特有種只剩下40幾年沒有正式紀錄的Semper’s Warbler,幾本鳥書都說牠可能絕種了。地區的特有種則還希望有Lesser Antillean FlycatcherBrown TremblerForest Thrush Bridled Quail Dove Antillean Euphonia等五種,這要看看以後幾天的時間和機會了,到底這不是純粹的飆鳥團隊。

    11/28()這一天的活動由大使事先約好的拜會行程,830先拜會聖國的農業部長(農業部掌管農業、森林及漁業)930再拜會觀光部長,這兩個部會與本團前來聖露西亞的主要目的息息相關,由大使、團長及廖老師等向對方說明此行的內容、實際作法及對生態環境和雙方交流的意義,會場氣氛愉悅雙方皆有記者記錄報導。

    午後前往一個Castries Waterworks Forest Reserve搭乘Sky Train,輕輕鬆鬆的坐著寂靜無聲的纜車進入森林中探索,纜車由森林底層逐漸前進,慢慢升高到樹冠層,能清晰貼近的飽覽完熟森林各層次不同的面貌,當然包括各式的鳥類,好像自己化身成一之猛禽,悠遊穿梭在樹林中一般,此時身旁飛過一隻Broad-winged Hawk落在不遠的枝頭,大家不必再抬頭仰望,只是與老友相見般的平坐對視。這趟纜車的賞鳥雖然只增加了一種Lesser Antillean Flycatcher,但新鮮的感覺與內心的體驗則是另一層的意境。

    11/29()對這個叫做生態外交團來說,今天是個重要的日子,要在總理官邸會見聖露西亞的總理Stephenson King,見面的講稿、禮物都事先準備妥當,連鳥人也把攝影器材架好秀出並將這幾天拍到的鳥照片先挑選整理在電腦上,總理出來後先在秋文事先架好,對著大樹上花朵的大炮上觀察,正好蜂鳥飛來,他馬上移動鏡頭追蹤,在快速連拍的功能下竟然拍到蜂鳥覓食的畫面,一時場面輕鬆自在不少,以後出版的鳥書這張大概就是封面了;會面前再秀秀團員們拍的聖露西亞的鳥圖片,整個拜會過程就在愉快自然氣氛中圓滿的度過。

    重要節目結束後開始清閒的旅遊行程,市區觀光、看教堂、從制高點欣賞加勒比海的海灣遊艇、擠在觀光客中拍照留念,最後沿西海岸南下來到聖國的地標Piton見兩座七八百公尺高的長錐形山峰聳立在海岸邊上,近看遠觀都甚為雄偉壯麗,我們選在與其中一座山峰相望的一家相當高檔的旅館Ladera Resort的餐廳用餐,在周圍整個氛圍的薰染下,人好像變得慵懶無事,拿張躺椅面海躺下就能悠哉的度過一輩子的樣子。離開前突然一陣天搖地動,原來遇上了該國70年來最大的芮氏規模7.5大地震,幸好大家平安沒事,只把閒散心情震醒。

    11/30()團裡部份成員將在今天下午離境返台,最後的半天行程,Adams帶我們往北到附近的一個國家公園Pigeon Island找鳥,步道順海岸線往上爬到個眺望的高點,視野風景俱佳,遊客不少鳥況也不差,只是都為先前見過再次複習或補拍照片鳥種,大家追起來沒那麼急切熱烈。

    總結這一趟所謂的生態外交的賞鳥行,幾天來在聖露西亞全團共記錄了55種紀錄,幾本介紹當地賞鳥的書籍都提到在這種小島一次的賞鳥活動大概不要期待看到50種以上,我們運氣還不差,成果在水準之上,以下是鳥種的紀錄。

 

 

英名

學名

1

Brown Booby

Sula leucogaster

2

Magnificent Frigatebird

Fregata magnificens

3

Royal Tern

Sterna maxima

4

Little Blue Heron

Egretta caerulea

5

Snowy Egret

Egretta thula

6

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

7

Great Egret

Ardea alba

8

Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

9

Roseate Spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

10

Wilson’s Snipe

Gallinago delicata

11

Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularia

12

Greater Yellowlegs

Tringa melanoleuca

13

Ruddy Turnstone

Arenaria interpres

14

Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

15

Merlin

Falco columbarius

16

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

17

Broad-winged Hawk

Buteo platypterus

18

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

19

Scaly-naped Pigeon

Columba squamosa

20

Eared Dove

Zenaida auriculata

21

Eurasian Collard Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

22

Common Ground Dove

Columbina passerina

23

Zenaida Dove

Zenaida aurita

24

St. Lucia Parrot

Amazona versicolor

25

Mangrove Cuckoo

Coccyzus minor

26

Lesser Antillean Swift

Chaetura martinica

27

Antillean Crested Hummingbird

Orthorhyncus cristatus

28

Purple-throated Carib

Eulampis jugularis

29

Green-throated Carib

Eulampis holosericeus

30

Belted Kingfisher

Ceryle alcyon

31

Lesser Antillean Flycatcher

Myiarchus oberi

32

Grey Kingbird

Tyrannus dominicensis

33

Caribbean Elaenia

Elaenia martinica

34

St. Lucia Pewee

Contopus oberi

35

House Wren

Troglodytes aedon

36

Brown Trembler

Cinclocerthia ruficauda

37

Grey Trembler

Cinclocerthia gutturalis

38

White-breasted Thrasher

Ramphocinclus brachyurus

39

Tropical Mockingbird

Mimus gilvus

40

Scaly-breasted Thrasher

Allenia fusca

41

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Margarops fuscatus

42

Rufous-throated Solitaire

Myadestes genibarbis

43

Bare-eyed Robin

Turdus nudigenis

44

Black-whiskered Vireo

Vireo altiloquus

45

Yellow Warbler

Dendroica petechia

46

St. Lucia Warbler

Dendroica delicate

47

Blackpoll Warbler

Dendroica striata

48

Bananaquit

Coereba flaveola

49

St. Lucia Oriole

Icterus laudabilis

50

Shiny Cowbird

Molothrus bonariensis

51

Carib Grackle

Quiscalus lugubris

52

Black-faced Grassquit

Tiaris bicolor

53

Lesser Antillean Saltator

Saltator albicollis

54

St. Lucia Black Finch

Melanospiza richardsoni

55

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

Loxigilla noctis