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July 15

Sam Williams, PhD | Jul 15, 2006


Some of the older chicks now look almost like real parrots and they have real characters. I think in the next week a few will be leaving their nests. Getting them out of the cavities now typically involves a few bites but they are not yet so strong. They have become a hand full to measure and check over, and noisy too. They are typical Amazons, so feisty and ready to let you know their feelings, I love ‘em!!!

I was due to revisit the tree nest Buchy had found and as we needed to take blood from the chicks Rowan and I were going together. Ro was also interested to see if a nest camera could be fitted into the nest. I thought it would be a good opportunity to show some parrot chicks to my eco-conscious friends George and Laura De Salvo. George and Laura run the islands English language newspaper and have helped me and the project endlessly. We left their Toyota at the road and took “Percy” the parrot car into the bush. After about 20 minutes driving on nondescript tracks into probably the most remote place on Bonaire we arrived at the nest.

I was shocked to see the remaining half of the tree had fallen over. Compare the pictures to those of only a few weeks ago. It was the middle of the day and we dealt with the chicks swiftly, using the car for shade. Follow the chick work we fitted the nest camera, which was easier than we had expected. After that we packed up and were ready to go only we had a flat tyre. Ok that’s no problem I thought. With all hands on deck w quickly got underway but it wasn’t to be so simple. First two bolts snapped clean off and then when all the remaining nuts were removed the wheel would not leave the car. We heaved but it would not budge so I got a big rock and banged the back of the wheel over and over but still it was stuck fast. It turns out the salty air corrodes the wheels and the surface the rest upon and they seize together.

We all had mobile phones but the problem was even if we gave directions only one other person we knew would find us, Buchy, but he doesn’t have a car that could get there. Even on my first return visit without Buchy I got (temporarily!) lost.  So it was decided I would run to George and Laura’s hilux and drive back along with the air pump they have in their car. The others would keep trying and we’d work something out. Off I went with a bit of water and a phone. I’d run about 3 or 4 km when I got a call, it was Laura and they had managed to get the wheel off and put the spare on but they didn’t know their way out so I would have to run back to them!!! Shortly after we all met up and drove out from the bush (which we measured to be 12km). It was a few hot hours later than we’d planned but we were still laughing.