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Capturing Life of the Macaw

by Ashleigh Holmes 13 days ago in camera

To camo or not to camo.

Capturing Life of the Macaw
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

The light streamed through a slit in the canvas as a slight breeze rustled the tent and woke Jacinta up. She had always been a heavy sleeper, but somehow in the Honduras forest every little noise, smell and twitch made her jump. As much as she loved camping, she preferred the seaside camping, not middle of a hot, steamy, subtropical forest camping. Unfortunately you suffer for your passion, and her passion had brought her here.

Back home in Brisbane, Australia an avid bird watcher, Jacinta had been drawn to trying to capture beautiful and unique birds on camera. When she had heard of the plight and looming extinction of the beautiful Scarlet Macaw, she knew she had to act. Booking her flight and enduring the seventeen and half hours by plane to Tegucigalpa, Honduras with only a backpack and her camera bag, Jacinta was unprepared but excited for her journey.

This wasn't her first time backpacking. She had done several trips across Australia and America in her quest to figure out her purpose in life. But normally she had planned carefully and not just gone on a whim. Unlike this trip, which brought her to the humidity ravaged Honduras forest, with her small pop up tent set up next to a tall tree partially obscured by foliage. Jacinta hated posed photography, her style was more candid, natural and unobtrusive and with avian photography, waiting for the right moment can take time.

She had only been here for a little over two days, and was slowly getting used to the heat. As she packed up her bedding and pushed it to the side of her tent, she grabbed her waterproof camera bag from the opposite corner and grabbed out her camera. For a few years now, she had learnt to never not have the camera around her neck, wherever she was. She had missed a few moments by having to dig it out of her bag. This had been a massive learning tool in growing with her passion. Except for sleeping and bathing or showering, her camera was always attached like a part of her body.

Taking a few moments to check the settings on her camera, she stood up and made her way out of her tent. The extra intensity of the humidity hit her and she felt beads of sweat on the back of her neck start to form and run. She slightly regretted not staying in a cabin out of the forest, but to get the kind of candid shots, she had chosen to go deep into the forest where a local had mentioned macaws had been spotted in the last few months. It'll be worth it, she kept telling herself.

Glancing up at the massive tree that she had set up camp next to, she stood silently to try and hear any bird sounds. Soft chirps came from higher up, but she didn't want to start climbing trees just yet, unless she had no other choice. It wasn't a thick forest, but the sounds could have come from any place and echoed to reach her ears. All of sudden she heard flapping, her eyes flicked to the direction as she saw a dart of red flitting through some trees about ten metres away. Oh my god, Jacinta thought, there it is.

Walking softly as to not make noise, but with purpose Jacinta kept her ears and eyes peeled for any sound or movement from ahead. She was now only a few metres away from a mid-sized tree with some lower branches that were slightly damp. Without a second though, she started to climb up, moving her camera strap around to across her chest, she moved swiftly. Another few flaps and some chirps pierced the quiet. Jacinta stopped in her tracks. It wasn't far away now. She glanced around and spotted a nest a few branches above her head, but on the next tree. Hmm, she thought if I can get the right angle, I will be happy. Climbing up one last branch, she perched herself on there, slightly wobbling so she had to brace herself with her left hand.

Swinging her camera around back to her chest with her right hand, she turned it on and bought it closer to her eyes, and waited. And waited she did for three hours, no movements. As she closed her eyes for a quick second, she heard a flap and thump. Her eyes flicked open. Sitting on her branch about a metre from her was this beautiful red macaw. Her presence had obviously attracted it, bringing her camera slowly to her eyes again she focused her lens, praying he would stay there for a minute. As she pressed the button, the macaw stood up and displayed its wings and plumage before taking off again into the forest. Glancing at the image on her camera she beamed and promptly erased it. It will be etched in my brain for me only she thought smiling. I got what I came here for.


Ashleigh Holmes

Married mother of an adorable little girl who keeps me on my toes. I love art, craft, photography and food. I love to write about parenting and the trials I have struggled with, and also photography as an outlet for lifelong anxiety.

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