Plant Store or Birding Hotspot? – 10,000 Birds

The thickly forested central area of the island of Trinidad is not usually visited by birders who historically flocked to the Northern Vary by advantage of the Asa Wright Nature Heart (which remains to be closed in case you have been questioning); the furthest south one could have ventured on a weeklong sojourn probably can be the mudflats of Waterloo on the west coast. Due east from this level is a fertile belt of cocoa estates and intact forest, inside which lies La Vega Property.

Finest identified for its prowess as a plant peddler, this enlargement of land additionally serves as a nature park for individuals fascinated by nature-based recreation. As a birder, I’ve discovered this place to be an entire treasure trove for a lot of species tough to see elsewhere. Personally I’ve seen over 100 species over a number of birding journeys there, the general species record for the situation is roughly 160 – a tally that may solely improve.

With every go to La Vega serves up a special cadre of superstars, and our final go to some days in the past was no completely different. What strikes me in regards to the location is that all year long there’s by no means nothing to see. Even for a July journey – a time of yr infamous for quiet forests – we ended up with 63 species. Thoughts you, this was solely over a couple of hours in a single portion of the park. The rain ended our session prematurely however solely simply, as duties and different commitments have been looming anyway.

The morning started with a stroll to the very best level alongside a richly overgrown pathway to a lookout level with a damaged down statement deck. Barred Antshrikes known as from the undergrowth, as did a Golden-crowned Warbler. Because the solar hadn’t but broached the encircling hills, we did not make any try and pursue something we heard alongside that temporary ascent. On the prime, we rounded a nook and located not solely the solar in all its glory, however Orange-winged Parrots and what appeared to be an ever-increasing variety of Guianan Trogons.

A feminine Guianan Trogon sits between me and the rising solar, wanting coy as ever.

First there was one, then two. Then we thought we heard a 3rd. After we lastly acquired a visible, there have been no less than six Guianan Trogons calling from throughout us. A minimum of one grownup male, in all probability two grownup females, and several other juveniles. Making a short look was a lone Inexperienced-backed Trogon as effectively. Certainly, nevertheless, the smaller trogons stole the present for your complete morning session.

The grownup male Guianan Trogon has a placing yellow eye-ring.

Across the lookout level on the very prime of the hill there was a endless stream of passerines. Pairs of Violaceous Euphonia, Blue Dacnisand White-shouldered Tanager all made appearances. A small group of Turquoise Tanagers consumed fruiting cecropia, albeit briefly. A lone Streaked Xenops vocalized because it flew in, and a Rufous-browed Peppershrike gleaned some grubs from a department at eye-level. Naturally, as soon as I picked my digicam up, it hopped behind some leaves.

White-shouldered Tanager

Blue Dacnis

It was admittedly tough to focus on any single chook with trogons calling continuous. Nonetheless, the rasping name of a Squirrel Cuckoo acquired our consideration. Oftentimes they’re much simpler heard than seen, however with some work we managed to find one, sitting immobile within the sub-canopy. Excited, we basked in its delicate magnificence because it soaked within the morning sunshine. A couple of minutes later, some motion a couple of meters above this chook gave away the presence of a second Squirrel Cuckoo.

Squirrel Cuckoo

This huge and charismatic chook was certainly the chook of the journey. Even Channel-billed Toucans calling loudly within the distance could not tear me away from this pair. They are not uncommon birds by any means, however a leisurely view like this was with out comparability.

The presence of austral migrants makes T&T a lovely birding vacation spot all yr spherical. Each Plumbeous Kite and Fork-tailed Flycatcher are current for the southern winter, the previous breeds right here, the latter tends to carry their younger with them.

On our method again down we managed one other unbelievable view of one other chook that’s infamous for remaining obscured. A member of the “trilling” (and thrilling) subspecies group of the Lengthy-billed Gnatwren is current all through Trinidad, and is yet one more headache-inducing species. Think about a tiny chook that not solely loves the thickest of thickets, however can be keen on by no means sitting nonetheless. A pair of those diminutive dinosaurs appeared to be fascinated by constructing a nest close to to the trail we have been strolling, and so they have been as fascinated by us as we have been in them.

Lengthy-billed Gnatwren

By this time we have been anticipating some raptor sightings, however the approaching storm had different concepts. As an alternative, we occupied ourselves by discovering a number of Silver-beaked Tanagers hiding out within the bushes as an Euler’s Flycatcher vocalized from additional in. We had a short glimpse of a White-flanked Antwren because it hopped out of view just below a Blue-black Grassquit. A fast enterprise into one other path yielded a scarcely seen White-winged Becard together with extra Golden-crowned Warblers and one other pair of Barred Antshrikes.

The pond subsequent to which we had our breakfast was additionally the supply of breakfast for an Anhinga in addition to an Osprey. A Striated Hero flew throughout the pond to attempt its luck from one other financial institution. These crafty herons have been noticed utilizing small leaves and sticks as bait to lure fish nearer. Even human-discarded foodstuff has been utilized by these resourceful birds!

We drove out of the park in a torrential downpour. Extra birds could have been added however in the end they weren’t. You possibly can view the total record right here – I after all forgot to cease the monitor as per ordinary, please reassure me and inform me that I am not the one sufferer of this affliction.

Southern Tough-winged Swallow