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Archive for the “st john flora and fauna” Category

St. John Flora: Wild Tamarind

Wild Tamarind Flower

On my website, I once wrote:

“I hate wild tamarind. They’re ugly, untidy and unruly. They spread rampantly and take over the place. They’re prejudiced and intolerant. They grow close together and won’t let any other plants live in their neighborhood.

They’re resilient and tenacious. Their sturdy taproot goes straight down into the earth and holds on tight. They can withstand drought, flood and even come back after a fire. There are no insects, predators or diseases that can cause them any significant harm.

They’re hard to get rid of. If you cut them down, they’ll grow right back. If you try and pull out the small one, you’d better have a lot of time and a lot of patience. If you try and dig out the big ones, you’d better have a good hoe-pick and a strong back.”

Nonetheless, their flower is kind of pretty!

The Ghost vs the Wild Tamarind

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Sahara Dust Impacts Territory
By Source Staff — May 28, 2014

Dust from the Sahara Desert has caused an air pollution alert to be issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Alicia Barnes, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

The dust causes the skies around the Virgin Islands to be hazy, reducing visibility and resulting in poor air quality, Barnes said in a statement issued Tuesday night.

The cloud is raised from dust storms in Africa and a rise in the warm air. These sandy dust particles are transported by prevailing winds from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.

Carlos Anselmi, a meteorology intern at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, confirmed that there are traces of Sahara dust over the territory and that the satellite indicates it will show a stronger presence over the next week.

While the haze may not be an immediate threat, people with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors when possible and consult their physicians or health care professional for further guidance, Barnes warned.

Sahara dust storms pass through the region several times a year, but mainly in the spring and summer months. While the dust can be a nuisance and even a health threat, it is also known to hamper the development of tropical storms…. read more

 St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
6:30 -9:30
340-201-1236

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00 pm – 2:00 am
340-777-3316

Coconut Coast
St. John Flutes
5:30 -7:00
340-776-6944

Cruz Bay Landing
T-Bird
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

High Tide
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
340-714-6169

Ocean Grill
David Laabs
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Pickles
Michael Beason Open Mic
6:00 – 9:00
340-776-6908

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade & the Sound
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck
Chris Carsel
7:00 – 10:00
340-693-5640

See Weekly Schedule

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Iguana burrowing in rocky soil – Chocolate Hole, St. John, Virgin Islands

On April 15, I wrote a blog in which I presented a photo of an iguana burrow, which I found in the sand by the boat ramps in Great Cruz Bay. At the time, I didn’t actually see the iguana making the hole.

Yesterday, however, I did catch an iguana in the act of burrowing and captured some of the project on video. This time it was in back of my house in Chocolate Hole, a more difficult endeavor for the iguana due to the rocky nature of the land. At one point it actually looked like the iguana was thinking about moving the big rock that was in its way.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
6:30 – 9:30
340-201-1236

Beach Bar
Watson Roc feat Andy
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
340-777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 9:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:30
340-776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
340-776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

See Weekly Schedule

St. John USVI Weather

Isolated showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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Pearly-eyed thrasher

Thrushie in Mango Tree

The t’rushie bird is a teef! (For those of you who don’t know the word, teef: it’s St. Johnian for the noun, thief, as in one who steals, like in the t’rushie’s a teef. It can also be used as a verb meaning to steal like in the t’rushie teefed my mangoes.)

Anyone familiar with the thrushie or pearly-eyed trasher, or scientifically, Margarops fuscatus, and who has a fruit tree in their yard knows what a teef the thrushie is. The bird will hang around open air restaurants and steal the food off your plate if you’re not looking. On St. John, the outdoor Caneel Bay Beach Restaurant and the Trunk Bay snack bar have lines and wires placed to discourage the thrushies, but that doesn’t mean that it’s 100% successful in preventing the larcenies.

Not only does the thrushie steal from people, but it also steals from other birds, like taking their nests or eggs.

Thrushies live on the smaller islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas and avoid the continent and the larger islands, with the exception of some remote areas of Puerto Rico. They are ugly. They build ugly sloppy, messy nests wherever they want, have an annoying sound and are general nuisances.

My mango tree is full of mangoes and the t’rushies are lying in wait hoping to get the ripe ones before I do. It will soon be war.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Matt Mitruk
5:30 – 8:30
340-776 5336

Beach Bar
Loose Change
9:00
777-4220

Concordia
Open Mic with Johnny B & Lauren
3:30 – 5:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
Chris Carsel
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Virgin Fire
Instrumental Jazz
Rich Greengold & Greg Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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flowers-9parrotIts springtime in the Virgin Islands and my mango tree is in the fullest bloom I’ve ever seen since it was planted some ten years or so ago. There are little baby mangoes and flowers all over the tree.

It’s a special tree. Anyone who knows about it will testify to the fact that it bears the best or t least one of the best mangoes on St. John.

This morning I hear something (someone?) high up in the tree branches and there is this parrot and its eating the baby mangoes, maldito loro! I hope its allergic.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Lauren & Bo
3:30 – 6:30
340-776-5336

Asolare
David Laabs
5:30 -9:30.
340-779-4747

Beach Bar
John Sutton
9:00
340-777-4220

Concordia
Bo
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
693-5855

High Tide
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 7:00
340-714-6169

Miss Lucy’s
Sambacombo
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
693-5244

Ocean Grill
David Laabs
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club of Coral Bay
7:00 – 10:00
340-693-5640

Skinny Legs
Model Airplane
7:00
340-779-4982

Sun Dog
The Sunday Night Jam
Hosted by Patrick and friends
Dinner from 5:30 Music from 7-10 pm
340-693-8340

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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“Yellow bird,
Up high in banana tree,
Yellow bird,
You sit all alone like me…”

St John US Virgin Islands birds: bananaquitThe bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), also called yellow bird, banana bird and sugar bird, is a commonly seen St. John resident.

Bananaquits will suck the nectar from flowers with their curved beaks and will also eat fruit and small insects.

The local Virgin Islands name, “sugar bird,” comes from the fact that setting out bowls of sugar easily attracts them.

Bananaquit Audio

St. John News

Idaho Olympians: Meet Slalom Skier Jasmine Campbell
Boise State Public Radio
By Tom Banse

Jasmine_CampbellTwenty-two-year-old Hailey resident Jasmine Campbell is headed to the 2014 Winter Olympics to compete for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Campbell was born on the Caribbean island and moved to Idaho when she was nine.

Campbell is a student at Whitman College, but she’s taking the year off to train for the Games. “It’s just basically an 18 hour job where I’m always thinking about skiing,” Campbell told the Northwest News Network. “I wake up in the morning, before going upstairs, I watch a ski video. When I go to bed at night I watch a ski video. During the day, I have double training sessions.”

JASMINE CAMPBELL
Hometown:  Hailey, Idaho
Sport:  Alpine skiing
Events:  Slalom and Giant Slalom
Birthdate:  Nov. 8, 1991
Team: U.S. Virgin Islands

Stats: Campbell is the one and only representative of the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She is the first skier from the tropical Caribbean territory to reach the podium in an international ski race, finishing 2nd and 3rd in giant slalom races in China this past December. As of late January, she was ranked 1097 in giant slalom and 1295 in slalom on the worldwide list maintained by the International Ski Federation.

Campbell on the 2014 Sochi Games: “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to compete in the Olympics. I want to ensure that I ski to the best of my ability so that I may represent my birthplace in the most honorable way possible.  At Sochi, I want to perform in a way that makes my countrymen proud, and gives the sport the respect and dedication it deserves,” says Campbell.

Why will she carry the Virgin Islands flag?: Campbell was born in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her family left the Caribbean for Sun Valley when she was 9-years-old. She started skiing soon after her arrival to Idaho. Theoretically, Campbell could have pursued an Olympic berth on either the U.S. Ski Team or Virgin Islands team, though the latter offered a more realistic route to Sochi. Her father, John Campbell, skied for the Virgin Islands in the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

Campbell is taking a year off between her junior and senior years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington to pursue her Olympic dreams. At Whitman, she is double majoring in psychology and philosophy. “This Olympic odyssey may well have helped direct me to a potential career path in sports psychology,” Campbell says.

St. John Virgin Islands Events

Love City Live, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)Saturday, Jan. 25 – Beres Hammond “Live” in Concert at Winston Wells Ball Park (Cruz Bay – St. John) …also performing D Harmani, Unity Band, Fyah Train Band, Final Faze and The Echo People. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Live performances begin at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy the full line-up of performing artists and our festival-like atmosphere of arts & crafts vendors, Ital/vegan food, Caribbean food, fresh coconut and premium bars. Get there early and “indulge” in the full island-roots experience.

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Lauren Jones
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

Beach Bar
Don Dilego & Bree Sharp
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Brother Nature
777-3316

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Ocean Grill
T-Bird
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 77. East wind 16 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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turtle and remoras

Hawksbill turtle and remoras at Honeymoon Bay

Remoras and Sea Turtles
Some cultures use remoras to catch turtles. A cord or rope is fastened to the remora’s tail, and when a turtle is sighted, the fish is released from the boat; it usually heads directly for the turtle and fastens itself to the turtle’s shell, and then both remora and turtle are hauled in. Smaller turtles can be pulled completely into the boat by this method, while larger ones are hauled within harpooning range. This practice has been reported throughout the Indian Ocean, especially from eastern Africa near Zanzibar and Mozambique, and from northern Australia near Cape York and Torres Strait.

Similar reports come from Japan and from the Americas. Some of the first records of the “fishing fish” in the Western literature come from the accounts of the second voyage of Christopher Columbus. However, Leo Wiener considers the Columbus accounts to be apocryphal: what was taken for accounts of the Americas may have been, in fact, notes Columbus derived from accounts of the East Indies, his desired destination…. read more about remoras

 

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St. John Flora: flamboyant

It’s summertime on St. John and the flamboyant trees all over the island are in bloom. Although not native to the Virgin Islands, the flamboyant can be seen all over St. John including undeveloped hillsides within the Virgin Islands National Park. It’s easy to see why this beautiful colorful tree has been a popular landscaping addition, but how did it get far up on the mountainsides where probably even the early sugar planters didn’t venture? Not that they were concerned with planting flowering trees without any commercial value, just because they liked to see spectacular colors colors in the summer.

Old time Virgin Islanders tell me that once upon a time there was a visitor to St. John who was in love with flamboyant trees. This man hired an airplane and flew all over the island dropping flamboyant seeds from the cockpit of the plane and that’s why the tree can be found in so many inaccessible locations brightening up St. John’s verdant hillsides with sprays of red….read more

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St John Wildlife: Land Crab Cardisoma guanhumi

Land Crab Cardisoma guanhumi

(I found this character in my pump room, not its usual habitat. Surprised me!)

Land Crabs
Hunting land crabs for food is a part of St. John culture and probably has been so since the first human beings came here about 3,000 years ago. The primary use of the land crab is to provide the essential ingredient for the tasty West Indian dish known simply as crab and rice.

The large crabs called land crabs by Virgin Islanders, Cardisoma guanhumi by biologists, pond crabs by British Virgin Islanders and jueyes by Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, are the grayish-colored crabs that live in the network of holes found in low-lying areas near mangrove swamps, salt ponds, wetlands and marshes. They are rather large, growing to about four or five inches in diameter not including their formidable claws. During the day you may see them standing just outside a hole into which they will quickly descend as soon as they notice your approach.

Land crabs live inside these holes or burrows, which go down on an angle and lead to a larger living area, where the crab stores food for winter dry spell. Parts of the burrow go down to the water table and there will ultimately be one or more alternate openings to the surface. The crabs only venture away from their holes at night or when it’s raining in order to search for food. They eat just about anything they can find including their own young, dead things, garbage and worse. They are not effective predators, however, and as such their diet is usually limited to plants they find near their burrows…. read more

St. John Events

Tonight
St. John Film Society Presents:
Spotlight on Cuba
St. John School of the Arts

From the Traveling Caribbean Showcase of Films: 7:30 PM
“Old House”
by Lester Hamlet

Esteban’s return to Cuba to visit his dying father reveals truths and valuable life lessons for his entire family.

Preceded by the short animated film:

Cuban Missile Crisis
by Luciano

St. John and Virgin Island News

Kean Students Star at Art Show
By Lynda Lohr — May 6, 2013

When Bajo El Sol art gallery at Mongoose Junction on St. John holds its next art reception on Friday, works by close to 20 Ivanna Eudora Kean High School art students will join those of St. John artists Karen Samuel and Bill Stelzer in the gallery.

“It’s where the students can experience what it’s like to have their art work exhibited with and among professional artists,” Kean art teacher and professional artist Lisa Etre said.

She said she expects most of the students, who hail from St. Thomas and St. John, to show up for the reception from 5 to 8 p.m. This will give those who attend the traditional art reception – with light beverages, appetizers and classical guitar music by David Laabs – a chance to chat with the artists…. read more

Prosser Wines Fetch Just Pennies On the Dollar
By Bill Kossler — May 6, 2013

Bankrupt former Vitelco owner Jeffrey Prosser’s St. Croix wine collection netted $15,739 at auction last month, roughly three percent of its estimated $491,000 value when first inventoried for Prosser’s bankruptcy.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court attributed the near-total loss to Prosser’s contempt for court orders.

Prosser purchased millions of dollars of wine with company money while owner of Innovative and Vitelco. He purchased $6 million in wine with one credit card, from one wholesaler, from 1999 to 2006, putting it on a company credit card in his name that was then paid off by New ICC – and ultimately by Vitelco and Innovative Cable TV ratepayers.

The wines sold last month were from Prosser’s Estate Shoys residence. A court ordered inventory in 2008 found 980 bottles with an estimated worth of about $491,000. In 2011, a second inventory found 453 bottles worth $139,000 missing. A wine expert tested six bottles of the must durable wines among the remaining 527 bottles and “testified that none of the wines located at the Shoys Estate were marketable or had any sale value,” according to the bankruptcy court’s opinion sanctioning Prosser for misconduct.

The wine was sold at auction April 6, fetching gross proceeds of $22,709. About $2,065 of that wen to pay the auctioneer’s feee and another $4,905 in expenses were subtracted from that total, leaving net proceeds to the bankruptcy estate of $15,739. The single largest expense was $1,607 for advertising the auction in the V.I. Daily News, followed by $1,597 for hotels and meals for the auctioneers, and $1,166 for airfare…. read more

St. John Weather

Partly cloudy with rain showers, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon
High of 86 degrees F with a heat index of 91 degrees F
Winds from the SE at 10 to 15 mph
Chance of rain 30%
Sunset: 6:42 PM AST

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Steven Sloan
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Beach Bar
Whistler and Wallace and Lockette
9:00
777-4220

Castaways
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

Driftwood David’s
Benn Marr
5:30 – 8:30
777-4015

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
714-6169

Island Blues
Karaoke & Open Mic
7:00
776-6800

La Tapa
Greg Kinslow
6:00 – 9:30
693-8141

Miss Lucy’s
David Reed
6:00 – 9:00
693-5254

Morgan’s Mango
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:00 – 9:30
693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Dave Gerard
7:00 – 10:00

Spyglass
T-Bird
5:00 – 8:00
776-1100

See Weekly Schedule

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St. John Birds: Great Egret

Great Egret

Great EgretFor the last few days, I’ve been seeing this tall white bird standing motionless on the side of Great Cruz Bay Road in more or less the same spot. Being that he or she was being so cooperative as a photographer’s model, I went home, got my camera.

I’ve seen these birds many times on St. John, usually in shallow waters near shore or in salt ponds, but I wasn’t too sure of its exact name. I thought it was a Snowy Egret (wrong) or a Great Heron (close but no cigar) It is in fact a Great Egret, identified by its black legs and yellow beak. The snowy egret has a black beak, black legs, but yellow feet. The Great Heron needs to be qualified. It’s either a Great Blue Heron or a Great White Heron.

Wikipedia to the rescue: “The Great Egret (Ardea alba), also known as Great White Egret, Common Egret, Large Egret or Great White Heron”

I also found out some other cool stuff. It stands still like that waiting for prey to come by. This could be fish if it were standing, but in this case I surmise that the egret was looking for lizards. When one comes near enough, the egret makes a lightning quick strike, spearing the poor lizard with its sharp beak.

The Great Egret is doing well as a species, but was almost wiped out in the late 1800s when their feathers became popular as a hat decoration, but was probably saved from extinction when the National Audubon Society chose the Great Egret in flight as its symbol.

Call of the Great Egret

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Hibiscus

I saw this beautiful hibiscus growing right alongside the road on Route 20 just west of Cinnamon Bay. It was so red and so perfect, I had to stop, get out and get a photo. The red hibiscus is native to St. John and just about every other tropical location. Not only does it produce an attractive flower, but the flower is edible and the tea made from the flower has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

St. John Live Music Schedule Thursday May 17

Banana Deck – Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5055
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Just Mike – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Island Blues – Ike – 7:00 – 10:00 – 776-6800
Miss Lucy’s – Jazz with Rich and Greg – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5354
Morgan’s Mango – Mark Wallace – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Slammin – 7:00 – 10:00
Skinny Legs – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:00 – 779-4982

Weekly Schedule

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)