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Birds in Paradise

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North & Middle Caicos, TCI, February 8, 2017 – Grab your binoculars for an Eco-adventure to the islands of North and Middle Caicos.  An archipelago of 40 islands and cays boasting the slogan, “Beautiful by Nature”, the Turks and Caicos is a dream come true for naturist. The two largest islands in the chain, North and Middle Caicos, are islands of abundant natural beauty. North and Middle Caicos have remained largely undeveloped, and retain a quiet, rural, village atmosphere.

On the northern coast, the islands feature a mixture of dramatic cliffs and caves interlaced by miles of stunningly beautiful and secluded beaches. In the heart of the islands, fertile soil gives birth to a lush vegetation of fruit trees, pine forests and farmland. To the south, one of the UK’s largest Ramsar sites for protected wetlands runs through a good portion of North, Middle and nearby East Caicos, resulting in approximately 210 square miles of uninhabited and unspoiled marine and terrestrial ecosystem, making these islands an Eco-adventurers paradise, with bird watching at its heart.

These areas host a variety of native and migrant bird species such as the rare whistling duck to sandpipers, plovers, osprey and pink flamingos.  In fact, North Caicos boasts the largest flock of flamingos in the Turks and Caicos Islands at the aptly named “Flamingo Pond Nature Reserve” where the pastel-colored birds frolic in their natural habitat.

Should you take a quick daytrip over to North and Middle Caicos via the TCI Ferry (only $50 round trip), be sure to take a binoculars and a camera to capture all the action. Whether you book a guided tour of the islands or rent a car and self-explore, here are a few stops recommended by Turks and Caicos National Museum for amazing bird finds:

North Caicos:

  • In Kew, the Government Farm is a good place for Anis, Cattle Egrets and migrants.
  • A walk in Oak Tree Park in the centre of Kew may reveal a variety of bird life, including warblers and Cuban Crows.
  • At Wades Green Plantation a number of land birds, including the Key West Quail-dove and migrating warblers can be seen.
  • At the eastern end of North Caicos, before the causeway to Middle Caicos, the road passes through an extensive marsh of low Red Mangrove bushes which offers good opportunities to see a variety of water birds, including White-cheeked Pintails.

Middle Caicos:

  • The Conch Bar Village Pond, part of the Conch Bar Caves Nature Reserve, attracts a family party of West Indian Whistling Ducks, a rare bird that gets its name from a distinctive whistling call.
  • Along the dramatic coast at Mudjin Harbour in Conch Bar, look out for Pelicans, Osprey, Kestrel and various scrub birds.
  • Bambarra Beach is another good place to see Pelicans
  • On a trip to Lorimers towards the residential end of Middle Caicos, you’ll come to Haulover Field Road which  passes through recovering tropical dry forest, and is a good place to spot the greater Antillean Bullfinch and Thick-billed Vireo endemic sub-species, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Bahama Woodstars, Bananaquits and other scrub birds.

Both North and Middle Caicos are the best also for spotting the Cuban Crow, a bird restricted to the Caicos Islands and Cuba, and the Bahama Woodstar, shared between Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas.

To assist your bird watching adventure while visiting the Turks and Caicos, grab a copy of the guide booklet, “Bird Watching in Paradise – Middle & North Caicos; Turks & Caicos Islands: A guide to bird watching and heritage sites”, with full color photographs of birds, maps and guiding text, can be purchased from the National Museum gift shop and other outlets on island. The guide series also features individual booklets for bird watching in Providenciales, South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.

#MagneticMediaNews #BirdWatchingTCI #BeautifulbyNature

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Omicron results in 267,000 case record for USA, eclipsing even Delta

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, December 31, 2021 – The US has broken its record for most daily coronavirus cases with a massive 267,000 cases recorded on Tuesday. The information was courtesy of data prepared by the New York Times about infection rates.

The Omicron variant now accounts for more than half of the cases in the country.

Information the Times released said, “The country is averaging more than 260,000 new cases a day, surpassing the peak levels from last winter. Infection rates are especially high in parts of the Northeast and Midwest. Though breakthrough infections are common with Omicron, scientists say vaccinated people, especially those who have received booster shots, have protection against severe cases and death.”

Despite the steep increase there is a silver lining. The same data that shows the increase also shows that hospitalizations and deaths remain at a steady rate and that rate is much lower than variants like Delta.

Amidst the drastic increase the Centers for Disease Control has slashed its recommendations for quarantine days in half, after which a COVID patient may leave quarantine without testing. There has been much controversy surrounding the issue with accusations of capitalism being slung toward the entity.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky defended the decision saying, “What we do know is about 85 percent to 90 percent of viral transmission happens in those first five days, which is why we really want people to stay home during that period of time.”

She said masks should be worn for five days after quarantine to prevent the final 10 per cent to 15 per cent of possible transmission.

Walensky did not explain the efficiency of a 10 quarantine vs the new five day quarantine or say if this was expected to lead to an uptick in cases.

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Deadly Salad Mix Recall in US; TCI seems unaffected

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#December 24, 2021 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating an outbreak related to packaged salads that have killed about three people, and 22 have been hospitalised due to fears over Listeria infection.

As a result, Fresh Express has recalled salad products from approximately 19 states on Monday.

Recalls were made in Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Massachusetts.

The brands recalled are Fresh Express, Bowl & Basket, Giant Eagle, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, O Organics, Signature Farms, Simply Nature, Weis Fresh from the Field, and Wellsley Farms Organic.

The CDC advised that anyone who has purchased the recalled items should discard them and properly sanitise their refrigerators to avoid contracting the associated bacteria called listeria.

Listeria may cause headaches, stiff neck, confusion, and fever.

Local grocer, Sunny Foods confirmed that the recall does not impact his store and it may be the same for others in country.

The TCI Government had not replied up to news time to a query about whether the recall affects this market.

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TC Reef Fund gives a Financial & Projects Report

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, the local environmental non-profit, announced a successful fiscal year.  Approximately $114,058 dollars was raised in 2021. The expenses of the organization, however, outweighed the revenues. For the fiscal year, it was about $128,984 dollars.

The largest source of revenue came from donations designated for specific projects. Nearly half of the fiscal year’s revenue came from individual donations and memberships.  Don Stark, Chairman of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, said the ongoing success of fund-raising contributed to hiring their first full-time Executive Director in 2021, Mrs. Alizée Zimmermann.

“I have been very happy to become a major part of the TCRF as the Executive Director,” said Alizée Zimmermann. “TCRF has accomplished so much since 2010 and I hope that we will continue to be a leader in environmental advocacy not only in the TCI, but also regionally. We are already considered a regional leader in the battle with SCTLD. I am also happy to say that in 2021 we have expanded our volunteer network to over 100 residents who donate their time to assist TCRF with our various projects.  We could not accomplish the things we do without the support we receive from these generous volunteers.”

Since 2010, when the organization was founded, $1.4 million dollars have been raised without the government’s contribution.  About $924,000, which is, 67 per cent of the money, has been used to support environmental projects in the TCI.

Its largest project, which started in 2012, is installing and maintaining dive and snorkel boat moorings. Stark said the project’s cost is now at 287 thousand dollars.

“That’s $287,000 that TCRF has essentially donated to the TCIG, since once we install a mooring in a marine park, it becomes Government property,” said Stark.

He added that over $43, 000 had been invested in education and outreach programs.

Alizée Zimmermann, Executive Director of the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, said they expanded their volunteer network to over 100 residents.

The Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease project, which dominated the expenses, came to almost $37,000. Also, moorings which were over $24,000 accounted for a large part of the project expense.

The third-largest project expense was the Smith’s Reef Rehabilitation and Improvements project. It was about $10,585 dollars for the year.

 

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