Mourning Doves

Among the dozen or so varieties of birds we see every day in Guadeloupe, there are three kinds of doves: mourning doves, ring-neck doves, and turtle doves. The mourning doves are constant companions – they hang out on the terrace or by the pool, chasing away the ring-necks whenever possible; they perch on the roof, peck for seeds, and of course coo constantly.

Mourning dove and ring-neck dove

And they make a lot of babies. I mean, a lot! I read that they have up to six pairs a year, but I think it’s more. The mama and papa take turns sitting on the eggs and with the babies for a couple of weeks, then there are a few days of feeding and encouraging them to fly, then it seems like mere days later mama and papa are back in their birdhouse.

Mourning doves

I have a cute story about how that birdhouse came to be. For a while, we had the mating pair scoping out locations in our house – on top shelves, above windows, and I jokingly provided commentary to my husband, “You see darling, this one has a lovely view but the neighbors are a bit noisy” kind of thing. In any case, we allowed them to build a nest inside once when the house was still under construction. Mourning dove nests are very flimsy, just a few twigs piled together, and the mess was not to be believed. So my husband built them a little house.

Mourning dove family

He put it in our giant tamarind and they found it almost immediately, but they didn’t seem to like it. I suggested that was because it was facing away from the sea so he turned it, and they nested there once but then after that they started location scouting again. Thinking maybe this was due to it being to open to the elements, particularly rain, he moved it to under the eave, and they seem to love it there, returning time and time again to lay new eggs. The babies grow from tiny to adult sized unbelievably quickly, so the house gets a bit cramped toward the end, so he added a strip of rebar to serve as a perch and they seem pretty happy with that as well.

Here’s a video of feeding time, which strikes me as somewhat violent, but I guess Mother Nature knows best.

Green Heron, Blackbirds in Guadeloupe

We are visited by tons of birds every day: large numbers of birds and many different species. While we see blackbirds and at least two different kinds of doves every day, this green heron is only an occasional visitor, so I feel lucky to have gotten him on video, however briefly.

Rare sighting of a beautiful green heron, plus lots of blackbirds, including a youngish one squawking constantly to be fed.

An Iguana Tail Tale

Iguana in a flowering tamarind treeThis is the story of an iguana in Guadeloupe. Iguanas come and go on our property – some we recognize for a while then never see again, while others are anonymous creatures that we never get to know. Sometimes they wander in our front door – and then usually get freaked out when they see us and hide in ridiculously small gaps behind appliances and furniture for a day or more, then sneak out when the coast is clear. Other times we barely spot them racing across the driveway or hanging out on the periphery. Generally speaking, they are extremely shy (though there are exceptions). Despite their sometimes fearful appearance, iguanas would much rather take flight than fight. Continue reading

Going to Guadeloupe

GuadeloupeWith the launch of cheap, direct flights from the US in 2015 and expanded dates and airports in 2016 – not to mention the full-page spread in NY Times Travel in 2017 – Guadeloupe is becoming a popular destination for Americans. Here’s a bit of advice on getting here.

If you live on the East Coast, you’re in luck, because extremely cheap flights can be found from New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), and Baltimore/Washington (BWI), as well as from Fort Lauderdale/Miami (FLL). If you’re not near one of these airports, you still might be better off flying to one of them to take advantage of this much cheaper second leg, courtesy of Norwegian Air.

Note: Guadeloupe is an overseas French department, and up until 2015, 90% of its tourists were from mainland France. This means that French is the official language and English is not yet widely spoken. To make the most of your trip, I recommend that you learn French.

Next Page »