I can’t remember a time when the island of Bermuda didn’t charm me so, that I always cried when I had to leave it to return home to New York. I always say if I can’t live in Bermuda, I sure as heck wouldn’t mind dying there. Bermuda is a stopover along the arduous journey of life, a veritable candy land full of surprises.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, there came the longtail. We’ve been returning for 20 years and only in recently, we discovered yet one more captivating delight: The longtail.
Grace took flight and became a symbol of a country and everything that is beautiful.
We discovered the longtail quite by chance at Sandy’s Bay when the regal white creatures glided overhead. We marveled at how their underbellies reflected and took on the aquamarine color of the ocean below. We then saw then at Horseshoe Bay and Stone Hole in Warwick.
The longtails apparently like the summer months in Bermuda as well. They return every year to mate and lay eggs and their arrival signals the beginning of spring.
These mysterious wonder-winged, intriguing and aerodynamic beauties
leave the island to what is believed to be out to the Sargasso Sea, unseen, until their return.
In recent decades, their population decreased due to storms, global warming, sea pollution and coastal development. There is buzz around the island that Bermuda is thinking about allowing more hotel or resort development and introducing casinos, something that they prohibited in the past. Bermuda was always our quiet island and there are nooks and crannies we found that seem to be just for us. But we also hear that tourism has fallen off. The hordes of people flock to the other islands for gambling.
Like the longtails, we cherish our aloneness and being one with the unique nature around us with its rocky sights, lush vegetation, blue skies and waters, sunny days and fragrant smells that is Bermuda.
The beloved longtail has been provided for with longtail igloos on Nonsuch Island from environmental groups and government that consist of special protective concrete housing that mimics cliff rock, and against the elements that threaten their population and peace.
Most recently, at Pompano Beach Club shores, we saw them once again along the cliffs that hug the beaches. We saw them outside our patio overlooking the ocean and they greeted us every morning, circling overhead, under, around and touching each other in flight. We heard the sounds they make when communicating among themselves as they fly, sounds that sound like a child’s squeeze toy in quick, short, but gentle, bursts.
Once we ventured out under the cliffs, we felt like intruders. After all, we were in their home turf and were trespassers.
Every time my husband and I nestled in a little private alcove strip of pink beach nested between cavernous rock from millions of years ago and the words of defunct volcanoes, the longtails circled us with concern. When we laid our heads down, they flew away, so far away that you couldn’t see them. When we sat up and our heads were visible over rock, the two longtails came back, as if they appeared out of nowhere, materializing in our presence. We realized at once that they were protecting their nests that probably held eggs.
They flew directly over our heads when we started wading through the knee and waist-deep waters—ever so low enough so that they made eye contact with us, looking straight in the eye, orange beak and black trimmed wings soaring so close to us and just gliding passed us.
“I love you birdies!” I called out to them, “I won’t hurt your babies,” I assured them and then we left their area along the cliff, to give them peace.
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