I have wanted to write a post about Bermuda’s Longtail native birds for ages, and in fact have spent quite a long time trying to film them, to usually get quite dismal results.
This time I just did it so you will have to excuse the poor sound quality and my amateur lack of videoing skills. It’s a learning process especially when the wind and the horizon line is concerned.
So here on the Reach the Longtails nest in the rocks on the West shore alongside the Railway Trail. They arrive at the beginning of spring and stay until the chicks leave the nest about September. Some of them are up to about seventy five centimetres in length, including their long white tail that gives them their name. Their wingspan can be about a metre so they’re not small birds by any means. They are mostly white but have black markings on the tips of their wings and across their backs, and make a high pitched squeaky noise that you might hear on the video. Think of a streamlined white and black seagull, with a long white tail out the back, and you’re on the right track.
So here’s my transcript of the video:
‘Good morning everybody. Now I’ve been trying to take this video, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to record these longtails flying about here at Ferry Reach. But it’s such a beautiful day this morning, I thought right, this is my last go, absolutely, I won’t do it again, I’m just going to post whatever I get, take a chance on it, and……now I’ve done a wee lesson on blogs and how to take blogs, ah not blogs sorry, my bad! Um, on podcasts. Now this isn’t really a podcast, it’s a video with a soundtrack, so it’s really kind of both.
So that long gap was me trying to pan round to find the Longtails. Now to the very left just above the rocks, that’s Dockyards. And that’s the other end of the island, that’s how small Bermuda is, that’s about twenty-one miles away, if you’re driving in the car. If you went in a boat straight across it wouldn’t take long really, I guess so, but you would have to have a very still day to do that in our little boat, that’s for sure. So this is part of the rail trail and I’m gong to pan down now and show you how rocky it is, with all the black volcanic rock. It’s very unforgiving you wouldn’t want to smash your boat or your knee against that, that’s for sure. And I’m going to zoom in because there’s one coming now. There it is. (Laugh). I don’t know if it will focus on a certain point but let’s try that. And we’re already out of time. So Longtails are native, they’ve got that distinctive squeaky sound to their cry, they look a bit like seagulls but they have got a great big long tail out the back. And they’re here at the moment because their nests are in the rocks. When those birds have left the nests and fly out to sea they could be gone for up to a year, but the adults come in every year for a new nest.
Look at those beautiful clouds. So you’re looking at the Atlantic Ocean and you’re looking towards, I think, in this direction, Canada. Or maybe America. I’m not very good on my directions so that will make my lovely husband laugh…. There we go they are incredibly hard to photograph. My neighbour has a beautiful photo that she did, and you know, it must have taken her hours to get that photo. I take my hat off to her…… I think the problem is I keep trying to pan round to find them, and I need them to just really fly to me. There’s one now, fantastic. (Someone calls out ‘Aren’t they beautiful!’) And that’s someone saying hello to me this morning. (I say’ Yeah’, and wave). Alright then. Thank you everyone for watching, have a lovely day.’
I hope the video didn’t make you too sea-sick!
More soon – Sally
References I used to get my facts right:
P.S. Have you checked out my Offload page or seen my new picture of George yet?