Hoping to run into some Abaco Parrots to make up for these vile monstrosities, we head out on the main Abaco Highway, and then down the road to their refuge, through the middle of Abaco National Park. Hans the whole time telling me to watch those potholes.
It happens with a thud. Tire trashed, there will be no parrots today.
Forward a few years, and it’s a year ago.
A year ago, I was back in the Abaco Islands, and I met the Doctor. The Doctor is a retired American whose interest in ornithology had meant a life of chasing birds around the world. Here in the Bahamas, he is one of a small handful of experts on Bahamian birds. Last year, the Doctor showed me how to find those parrots. Seeing those parrots for the first time gives you a different perspective on the Abacos, because it sets the island in a whole new light. It makes those endless rows of pine trees feel more magical, more like something is hiding behind them.
This year, the Doctor and I had plan to spend a full day in the field.
But upon arriving in Abaco, he sends me a note. A few days ago, the Bahamas National Trust had contacted him asking him to check out some reports that locals had been making in various villages about an unusual oriole they had been seeing.
Somebody with some naturalism experience in the Abacos might know that Greater Antillean Orioles had once inhabited this part of Abaco. But the last sighting of this oriole species was about 20 years ago, while American ornithologists were running field studies in Abaco National Park.