Preparing for the Spring Migration

Thankfully ,  Bryony’s week with us  did not  quite live up to her billing as “the Droughtbuster”! It was a bit  rainy to begin with – but not too bad , and about as nice  as you could hope for by the end. I cannot quite comprehend how a  week can go by so fast  , but despite the volcanic ash   , she flew out tonight.  Amazingly her plane  out here was the last to leave before British airspace was closed , and she was probably one of the first back in.


From Antigua classic week



She opted for a relaxed week ,so day one was spent watching the Classic Regatta ( The J’s were awesome , but looked TINY in comparison with some boats ) , followed by a couple of days back in Nonsuch Bay , then 3 days at Great Bird Island – our third visit.

From Birds of GBI

You might think we would be bored retracing our steps like this ,but in fact each time  was more  fascinating  than the last as the bird population  changed with each visit. At first the dominant  species  were the tropic birds ,  but by our second visit the laughing gulls were beginning to arrive , and this week they were there in their thousands , accompanied by increasing numbers of delicate little terns and the slightly more robust noddies.  These latter  were in courting mode  which mostly involved  one bird flying around with a twig in its mouth  and being hotly pursued by several others. Whether these were impressionable  females or rival males I don’t know . Perhaps it was a case of  “my stick’s bigger than yours”, in which case it is only  marginally textually different , and slightly more polite,  than human mating behaviour!

If you add in two types of  colourful pigeon, various gaudy  finches ,   tiny irridescant  humming birds feeding greedily  on the agave flowers , an elusive black and white kingfisher , an osprey  and of course the baby pelicans stretching their wings on the nearby island– this was a naturalists paradise  and my only regret was that I lacked the knowledge to really understand what was going on. Under  the water Bryony brought better understanding  and all in all we had a great time.

From GBI to Jolly

I think  many of the birds will soon be moving on North to their summer feeding grounds , and tomorrow we too stock up for the Atlantic . I doubt we will leave  the island chain for a few weeks yet , but it is important to be able to  take whatever weather opportunity presents itself . There is also the small problem of requiring a dentist  as its not only the boat that needs regular maintenance, bits of me require some attention too. In point of fact   , now that Bryony has gone , the emphasis  of our adventure has shifted . Stage 1 was getting to the Caribbean , stage 2 has been exploring these tropical islands  with our family and friends , and whilst we have a few more islands to go  , we  have shifted mentally into preparation for  stage 3 , the trip home.

We will both  be  sad to leave but  are increasingly excited at the prospect of the crossing – and , yes – at the prospect of coming home ! Neither  of us really knows what direction we will take when we get back -( that was part of the reason for coming in the first place) – and we need to finish this adventure before deciding what comes next.

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