School of Arts and Sciences, ‘14
St. Lucia is a British commonwealth in the Lesser Antilles, flanked by Martinique and St. Vincent. Renowned for the luxury resorts on its west coast, this mountainous and lush island is serving as a research base for Jennifer Mortensen, a Tufts PhD. candidate in biology, and me for two months this summer. We’re studying the white breasted thrasher, a small non-migrant bird that is found only on St. Lucia and Martinique. A west coast population of this critically endangered bird began to experience habitat loss six years ago to make way for a resort’s 18-hole golf course. Construction, however, has since halted on the fairways, allowing us to monitor how this small population has coped with the disruption. With the help of the St. Lucian Forestry Department, we will be surveying nests for reproductive success and population size and observing how certain behaviors exhibited by white breasted thrashers can help buffer the threat of extinction.
Started in thanks for TIE’s support of our research and in eagerness to share our adventures around the island, this blog is serving as a field report from the forest as well as from the life all around the island.
Postings will chronicle our research as well as provide commentary on our town’s latest fish fry disco and launch a diatribe or two at mosquitoes. It’ll show the four kinds of mango that are ripening in our yard, the turquoise whiptail lizard endemic to St. Lucian islands, the weary wooden houses in our town, and the abandoned luxury hotel that’s the cause of all the habitat fragmentation at our research site. St. Lucia is a colorful island, so come follow the birdwalk!
Follow Thea Mink’s blog: http://watchmehitmybirdwalk.wordpress.com/