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Trips : Bermuda : Wildlife

Bermuda is not really known for its wildlife. But they do have some interesting inhabitants. One of the most famous are the pigs. It seems that the island was discovered by accident. Shipwreck, really. The people that survived were able to live, ironically, because of an earlier shipwreck! No people survived the earlier wreck, but the pigs the ship was carrying did. The pigs provided a food source for the people from the second shipwreck.

The people were able to rebuild their ship, and eventually sail on to North America. However, the captain was so enamored of the island that he came back and settled on Bermuda permanently.

The Bermuda "Hog Penny" has - guess what - a pig on the back of it.

One of the most distinctive examples of "fauna" on the island is the Bermuda Longtail. It is a sea bird with very distinctive black and white markings. What makes it even more distinctive is, well, its long tail.

These birds are migratory, but not in the way you might expect. They summer on the island, and winter at sea! It's hard to get them to pose for pictures too...

"The Bermuda Quarter"
Featuring the Longtail, Bermuda

Along with the Hog Penny, Bermuda features the Longtail Quarter. Nobody calls it that however. But you can see the extremely long tail. I know you are not supposed to scan money, but I doubt that anyone could print this quarter and pass it off as the real thing.

"Bermuda Longtail"
Taking off from the cliffs, Bermuda

Longtails come to the island to nest. I spent two entire days trying to get some good pictures of these birds! I burned up several rolls of film (and later tossed a ton of slides) trying to get good shots.

The main problem is that the birds would never sit still. They were constantly dipping in and around the rocks, flitting up to the cliffs but never quite landing, circling, circling, circling...

I did manage to catch this one just as it was taking off. I like the way the wings blur... they really capture the sense of motion.

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Longtails appear to be social birds. Quite often we would see them soaring in groups of three or more. The picture below is one of the few that I took with multiple birds that actually came out. Most of them were either blurry or showed only half a bird...

"Longtail Formation"
Southern Coast, Bermuda

"Caiman in the Weeds"
Bermuda Zoo, Bermuda
Big Picture

After several generally fruitless days of trying for longtail photos, we decided to take an afternoon for something completely different. The Bermuda Zoo!

The zoo is not incredibly large. After all, the island itself is only about 25 miles long. But they do have some interesting animals. Including this caiman who thinks he is hiding, I'm sure...

"The Distinctive Yellow Kiskadee"
On the dock, Bermuda

One of the more vocal inhabitants of the island is the Kiskadee. It's a beautiful yellow and brown bird, as you can see. The bird is named from the sound of its song. You can hear it calling, "kis-ka-dee! kis-ka-dee!" It's really quite pretty. According to a Bermuda brochure, this bird was introduced on the island from Trinidad in 1957 to help control the population of lizards. Unfortunately, it prefers to eat bugs, berries, fruit and mice instead.

I got this particular picture while we were resting on a dock, looking down into the water at the wonderful sea life.

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"Sergeant Major"
Looking down from a dock, Bermuda

Speaking of sea life, I had to put this picture on my web site. Believe it or not, this was not taken with an underwater camera! No, I simply leaned over the side of a concrete dock, pointed my camera straight down, and waited for an interesting fish to swim by.

The fact that the fish turned over onto its side when it swam by makes the picture look like it came from the bottom of the bay. But it didn't! I think the fish is called a sergeant major.

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"Find the Octopus"
Shallow bay, Bermuda

This next picture almost didn't make it on to the web site. But finally I decided that I would try it. We were sitting on the same dock when all of a sudden a bunch of fish near the bottom of the bay darted off. Something had obviously startled them! The water was a lot deeper there, so we had to look really close...

Imagine our surprise when we saw an octopus walking along the bottom! It was really cool! It probably sounds silly, but I felt just a teeny weeny bit like Jaques Cousteau at that moment.

The octopus is really hard to see in the picture. For one thing, an octopus is a master of disguise. For another, the water was a lot deeper which tended to turn everything blue. But if you look, you will find him...

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"Lizard Among Nasturtiums"
Local garden, Bermuda

Back on land we saw one other interesting fauna. I grew up in south Louisiana, where we had little green (or brown, depending on their mood) lizards running around all over the place. So that made this lizard that much more interesting! It's green, blue, brown, and purple, all at the same time. It's a Jamaican Anole, according to my research.

This particular lizard was captured (on film) right outside my sister's front porch. Later on, he may have been captured by her cat. We're not sure...

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After seeing that lizard outside of my sister's place, I kept my eyes open for others. At one point there was actually a railroad running from one end of the island to the other. Now the railroad has been removed, and the right of way turned in to a beautiful nature walk.

I believe that I took this picture while walking along that trail.

"Multicolored lizard"
Railway trail, Bermuda

You might not have expected it, but Bermuda does have some interesting wildlife. I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you like, you can see some more typical Bermuda pictures by taking the beach tour.

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