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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birds, Lizards, Beaches, Nightlife

First, a little rant:
The internet here is terrible. AT&T used to offer a $20/month service and even though you had to repeatedly log in after it knocked you off if you let it sit idle for a few minutes,  it still was workable. 

AT&T has now eliminated that offering. Now, unless you have a home line or your hotel offers complimentary Internet, you are on your own. We are in a rental condo and condo building, so no complimentary Internet. I have tried to use my Verizon Mobile Hotspot, but it is excruciatingly slow (remember dialup service? 2400 baud?). AT&T offers Internet now for $12.95 a day or $69.95 a week. That's crazy. But, we are stuck so I bought a day's worth of AT&T to enjoy faster service for a day without lugging the laptop to the Starbucks or other hotspot) and will struggle through with the Verizon service. No telling what we'll have when we leave San Juan for our trip to the Carnaval at Ponce.

End of rant. 

Back to photography. For my photography friends, I am shooting with my new Canon 7D and three lenses this trip: 10-20mm (16mm-38mm equivalent on this camera), 24-105mm (38mm-168mm equivalent), and 300mm (480mm equivalent), and a 1.4x converter. This camera, known as a crop-sensor camera, with the 300mm, lens and converter, gives me an effective reach of a 672mm lens, and in bright sun, I can hand hold this lens and shoot at no more than ISO 400 at 1/1000th of a second, giving me nice crisp images most of the time. I can explain this further if anyone wants to ask. 

This week we visited Luquillo, a beautiful beach 30 minutes east of San Juan, where I did find some of the rarely visible wildlife here on the island, in-between floating in the gentle aqua waters of the Atlantic. The water was extremely calm because the beach is inside a well protected cove. Here's what the scene looks like (click on all the following images to get a larger view):

Luquillo Beach
On my trek inland seeking out some photo ops, I found two birds I hadn't seen before and a lizard.

The first three are of the Red-legged Thrush, a bird a bit larger than an American Robin. I really liked that orange circle around the eye. This bird reminded of the robin but was more secretive and shy.

Red-legged Thrush

Red-legged Thrush

Red-legged Thrush

This is the Grey Kingbird, also known as a Pitirre. He is of a group of birds known as "tyrant flycatchers" because of the way they capture insects.

Grey kingbird

Grey kingbird

Finally, here's a little guy that caught my eye scurrying around on a tree. While watching him, he surprised me with that little yellow throat sac that suddenly appeared as I was looking at him through my lens. It is a common lizard you see quite often here.

Puerto Rican Lizard

I looked up what exposing that throat sac meant, and found either he was protecting his territory or he wanted to mate. I didn't see any girl lizards around, so I assume it was a protective display.

Here he is again, different angle:

Puerto Rican Lizard

This is a Royal Tern. He was very far out in the water, thus the roughness of the image, but I still thought it was worth posting because he had a great facial expression.

Royal Tern

Here is a butterfly that just caught my attention because of the great pattern and colors. I couldn't identify it however. You need a good book on butterflies to do that because there are so many variations. This one was small, about three inches across.


It really couldn't have been a more perfect day: 82 degrees; soft breezes through the palm trees; sky as blue as you could ever imagine; calm, warm aqua-colored ocean waters. 

Luquillo Beach is famous for the long row of "kiosks" which include restaurants serving all kinds of foods, and retail stores selling all the typical beachy knick-knacks, tchotchkies, and beach wear. We went to "La Parilla" for dinner, and both had  these enormous 1 1/2 pound split and grilled local lobsters stuffed with shrimp and fish, red beans and rice, salad and the local beer, Magna. What a treat.

Leaving the restaurant, I spotted this "smiling" Red Snapper in the case. His little friend below him didn't look so happy.

More coming soon.


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