A Temporary Return to Trinidad – 10,000 Birds

For individuals who have been following my posts right here, some months in the past I swapped islands and moved to Tobago. Having spent all my life in Trinidad, it was the primary time I’d be stationed away from the island of my start. Dwelling on a unique island is attention-grabbing and thrilling – however what I had been anticipating vastly was the return. What would it not be like? Would I all of a sudden flip right into a customer? After I contact down, would I really feel like I am returning house or not? House is an idea at finest, the place I’ve all the time felt most relaxed has been in nature – and this additional fueled my curiosity. Final month I took the boat again to Trinidad as I used to be booked to information a visit there for per week and a half.

Each Trinidad and Tobago share over 100 species however throughout the combine are many which are discovered on one island and never the opposite. For these of us who journey and see completely different birds, I am positive you’d agree that there are completely different levels of novelty. The disparity in species could possibly be stark, for instance if one had been to fowl on completely different sides of the planet. It is also refined – as it’s right here between Trinidad and Tobago – the place the final soundscape and habitat is analogous however there are remoted but important variations.

The extra I thought of it was the stronger the urge to hunt out these variations. The raucous vocalizations of a Nice Kiskadee and the wealthy which-chur of an Olivaceous Saltator jumped out at me from the primary day of the tour. From this second onward I discovered myself gravitating to species like these, regardless that we had been having fun with every discover to the fullest. It was an act of the inquiring thoughts; what would I really feel experiencing these birds that now lived on a unique island?

Over the course of the following ten days we visited many places with which those that have already visited Trinidad for birding would already be acquainted. I do not maintain lists however one in every of my friends did and the ultimate tally was 166 species.

That apart, what I felt compelled to throw some consideration towards was the subset of birds discovered on Trinidad however not on Tobago. So this can be a unusual, and really area of interest model of a visit report!

The primary full day was spent at a neighborhood hummingbird backyard, and instantly upon arrival my eyes fell upon a lone Brown Violetear soaking within the morning solar. There have been many White-chested Emeralds round on the feeders additionally – a vivid Yellow Oriole hopped round a bit additional off, and stressed motion within the treetops additional nonetheless was a Squirrel Cuckoo. In no way species I ever took with no consideration, however I need to admit that the joy was a bit completely different from earlier than.

The primary trogon we noticed effectively was a beautiful Collared Trogon on a fully dreamy afternoon, however I used to be way more desirous to get an excellent view of a Guianan Trogon the next day. It is humorous what a shift in perspective can do. We had a small group of three or 4 repeatedly calling and posturing as they moved by way of the cover.

Guianan Trogon (feminine above, male under)

At this identical location there was a lone White Hawk perched within the distance.

The next day within the distant northeast of the island we had been in a position to see each White-bearded and Golden-headed Manakins. Each had been proving tough to find within the dense foliage, the previous ended up being way more cooperative than the latter.

Golden-headed Manakin

This White-bearded Manakin stored returning to the identical perch repeatedly, permitting us to soak in her magnificence at leisure.

Even kinder than these was an adult-juvenile pair of Tropical Pewees that sat lengthy sufficient for us to tire and get lost.

For the keen-eyed reader conscious of the topography of Trinidad, you’d in all probability expect one of many specialties of this northeast area – the Critically Endangered endemic Trinidad Piping-Guan. We noticed a number of in opposition to the golden setting solar, and much more at ultra-close vary the next morning.

Trinidad Piping-Guan

Additionally in attendance was a pair of Turquoise Tanagers within the course of of creating extra of themselves. This explicit tree was one in every of two used as a vantage level by many species: Black-tailed Tityra, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Blue Dacnis, Silver-beaked Tanagerand plenty of different Trinidad specialties.

Turquoise Tanagers

There have been many younger birds round, like this Channel-billed Toucan – in time its invoice would increase appreciable.

In some decrease altitude habitat the shrill calls of White-bellied Antbird and Silvered Antbird tempted us however visuals had been fleeting at finest and solely with the previous.

Quite a few households exist on Trinidad however not Tobago. Most notably the household of New World Vultures. Each Black and Turkey Vultures dominates the skies on the bigger island; any vulture seen on Tobago is a reportable species.

Alongside Trinidad’s rugged northern coast denuded, windswept bushes are perfect for sitting out gloomy climate. Right here, a Black Vulture is perched on the zenith, uninterested within the digicam. The Turkey Vulture at its decrease proper appears bemused on the antics of a displaying Crested Oropendola (which in contrast to the remainder of birds talked about on this article, can also be discovered on Tobago).

A Lengthy-billed Gnatwren does not appear that long-billed from this angle. This fowl types a part of the “trilling” group of subspecies, and a few already confer with it as Trilling Gnatwren.

A Nice Kiskadee is not only a flycatcher, but in addition eats fruit, berries, and vertebrate prey.

One of many notable birds of the journey was this Crane Hawk that was flying backwards and forwards looking for an acceptable perch upon which to munch its dinner.

Trinidad has two species of Leptotila doves, one in every of which additionally happens on Tobago. The Grey-fronted Dove pictured right here might be recognized by voice and its supposed apparent grey forecrown. Nearer appears can reveal a purple eye-ring.

Though Plumbeous Kites are sporadically seen on Tobago they continue to be dependable on the bigger island.

The reality is many individuals go to right here for the tiniest birds – hummingbirds. The smallest of that are solely discovered on Trinidad and satirically are typically the largest attractors.

Any Tufted Coquette can steal the present. On our final morning we stood in a backyard with about 5 (may’ve been six) of those bee-sized birds feeding round us because the horizon brightened. And for a cut up second we had been gifted by the presence of a single immature Amethyst Woodstar that whisked everybody right into a frenzy.

It is actually powerful to high even a fleeting glimpse of a woodstar. However as soon as we departed from that backyard we headed to a wetland within the south of the island and had been greater than blown away by Pink-breasted Meadowlarks and a pair of Noticed Tody-Flycatchers at nearly level clean vary.

Eclipsing all that was seen beforehand on the journey (for me no less than) was this breeding plumage Stripe-backed Bittern. No bitterns have ever been seen on Tobago, however Trinidad has three. In case you’re questioning if I mistook an out of focus cow for a bittern, look slightly below and left of middle. For those who nonetheless do not see it, you may simply need to belief me on this.

We concluded our journey with a ship trip within the Caroni Swamp. The hundreds of Scarlet Ibis have dwindled to a couple hundred as they’re nesting deeper throughout the swamp – full disclosure right here – there’s additionally a large downside with poaching which has additionally negatively impacted the expertise. We had been nonetheless nonetheless in a position to see a number of pairs of Close to Threatened Bicolored Conebills in addition to about twenty American Flamingoes.

American Flamingo

Now, again in Tobago penning this, a number of hummingbirds jostle for place on the two feeders we now have up. It nearly appears as if we’re in Trinidad – White-necked Jacobins push back shy Rufous-breasted Hermitsa feisty Ruby-topaz Hummingbird twitters because it will get in on the motion and a Black-throated Mango makes a quick look. However all of them scatter when the huge White-tailed Sabrewing reveals up, making certain that we stay conscious that we’re in Tobago. Remoted, however important variations.