We woke up very early today, 6:00 AM, in order to go bird watching. We first went to pick up our tour guide, Wendy Lee, in order to have a good experience, not get lose, and not get eaten by a bird (I'm kidding). On our way we observed only beauty, so much amazing mountains that sorrounded us. Wendy pointed out to us along the way a Baptist church by the name of Webb Memorial Church, in a place called Stewart Town. The church was named after the Reverend Menzies Webb. The church was very instrumental and very active in the anti-slavery movement. They collaborated with the Quakers. The Stewart town is called a free village settlement. The reason is because, long time ago when the Africans were free, the Quakers helped them establish land there. This is one of many free village settlements in Jamaica.
In Stewart Town, there were lots of rundown houses, lots of trash on the streets, and a lack of water. I was talking to one of the residents there and she said that they have days that thy have not had water running through their pipes, but they have tanks to collect rain water. It kinda sounds like what happens in my country in the poor communities. The thing that surprised me the most was the amount of garbage up in the mountains. We need to get some people up in these areas to educate the locals on maintaining the habitat. The one thing that was nice to see is that the place where you go birding is less filled with trash.
While we were bird watching we were able to see a lot of different types of birds. I couldn't take a picture because they were too fast and my camera does not have the best quality for taking pictures. We were able to see 21 bird species while 14 of them were endemic. We were able to spot very beautiful flowers a long the way lots of parrots. It was so much fun for me because I was taught how to use binoculars for the first time. Several in the group also struggled when focusing on the birds. We were able to see two owls. I believe one of 'en was named Stewart by Wendy, and the other one was a baby owl. I managed to take a picture of Stewart, but it's hard to point him out.
It was a great experience. I didn't get bit by mosquitos because I literally showered in bug spray since I'm allergic to them. I was very happy to be in the woods. In Iowa, it is also possible to go hiking and stuff, but the amount of birds here in Jamaica were nothing compared to those in Iowa. I was so happy to see so many parrots, I had a long time not seeing a parrot flying up in the sky. It is very sad when you see people using them as pets, teaching them how to talk, and depend on humans for survival. Wendy talked about the amount of birds that the locals put in cages. Which is very sad because we, ourselves, are destroying what makes our country beautiful ( generally speaking). I also observed some cutting down of trees.
During our walk, we also saw a lot of different types of plant species. I'm pretty sure my biology professors would love to be here right now. Wendy said that there are plants that are still finding their purpose of the way they are structured. Wendy did a great job explaining all the different birds we saw and their characteristics and names. She knew a lot about them. One thing that is interesting about her, is that she takes care of animals at home. She finds an animal suffering in pain and she takes it in and cares for it. The only problem is that all of the money needed to take care of these species she has comes from her own pocket, the government is not even supporting her with a dime. She does receive some veggies and fruits from volunteers and people who she's taken bird watching. I'm happy for what she is doing. Because after that experience, I would like the forest and its wildlife to continue existing.
So, today was a fun relaxing day. Keep connected to catch more of the things we do during our last days in Jamaica. Until my next blog.