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Eye catching

February 13, 2017

Looking for a diversion from boat chores we headed to the mountainous interior of Trinidad for a one night break from Sage.

We chose the Asa Wright Nature Centre for Conservation. It’s focus is as a centre for bird watchers and research of indigenous bird species. The centre features a lodge with an incredible balcony overlooking the Arima Valley and the main dining area for people who are staying at the centre.

On the balcony at Asa Wright Centre

On the balcony at Asa Wright Centre

From the balcony in the early morning hours and in the late afternoon the balcony offers magnificent views of the valley and the hundreds of birds that come to the garden to feed off the plants and flowers planted to attract various bird species of which include toucans, humming birds, honey creepers, tanagiers, mannakins, bearded bell birds etc You get the picture.

There is nothing like sitting on the balcony sipping on locally grown and roasted coffee at 0600hrs as the light is increasing to see the change in species feeding at the feeding tables and insects. Slowly the sunrise reveals the valley and the bird species start to change.




One could sit on the balcony all day to watch the various bird species but heading out an a walk through the forested areas with a guide reveals so many more species but more difficult to see. The centre has miles of trains scattered through their 1500 acres of property.

Chlorophanesspiza (green honeycreeper)

Chlorophanes  spiza (green honeycreeper)

We could have spent more nights there as the accommodation was excellent. With three meals a day plus morning coffee on the balcony and a late afternoon rum punch we thought we were in the lap of luxury – which when you look at it we were!

There was one more stop before heading back for more boat chores and that was the Coroni Bird Sanctuary. Yes, another birding adventure but this time on the water. The sanctuary is primarily a series of mangrove channels with numerous open lake type areas where the main feature is the scarlet ibis.

Getting out to the scarlet ibis roosts takes one through the numerous mangrove channels where one can see dozens of egrets as well as snakes that are curled around the branches above the boats that take people out to see the ibises.

Just one portion of the many channels that make up the Coroni Sanctuary

            One portion of the many channels that make up the Coroni Sanctuary

This has to be one of the most incredible natural sights to see.  My top three natural sites are the sand dunes of the Namibian Desert, the Alaska Peninsula on a sunny day(!) and number three is the scarlet ibises.

One can go early in the morning (0430hrs) or late in the afternoon (1600-1830hrs). One has to go out by boat so we joined a boat holding about 20 people. Motoring out through the mangrove channels we stopped numerous times for different birds and snakes. Finally we arrived at a rather large expanse of open water within the mangroves and tied up to a stake placed in the water.

Just one of the snakes sleeping in the branches above the boat

                  Just one of the snakes sleeping in the branches above the boat

Initially, there were no scarlet ibises to be seen but there were a few great herons and egrets all in white standing out against the mangrove forested background. Around 1730hrs a lone scarlets ibis flew in to roost on the island in front of us. Okay, we were impressed but where were the others? Slowly individual ibises appeared increasing the population on the higher levels of the treetops.

A lone ibis

                                                                       A lone ibis

At around 1800hrs larger flocks started to appear. Coming in low over the water from the west they swooped across the waters edge, made a few turns around the island to make sure their roost was available and then started to paint the island orange.



                  Flocks of several hundred at a time would sweep across the lake

Can't compete with this equipment display. These people were also at the Asa Wright centre

Can’t compete with this equipment display. These people were also at the Asa Wright centre

Unfortunately, I didn’t have either the camera equipment nor the presence of mind to think of what was needed for photo taking at this site. I would love to return with a better idea of what is needed for photographing this natural phenomena.

By the end we were just gobsmacked at the number of scarlett ibises. I only wished we had Sage sitting in the middle of the lagoon to stay all night to see them leave in the morning. Instead we had to leave the lake before dark but as we motored back to the beginning the ibises continued to come straight toward the boat we were in as we motored along the mangrove channels.


For 20 minutes we sat in the boat watching grouping after grouping flying in for the night. Eventually the island was painted orange.

All I can say is that it’s worth coming to Trinidad just to see this natural event. And if you stay  you can attend Carnival…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne Boldt permalink
    February 13, 2017 14:03

    Wow Tony, Those are pretty impressive pics. I don’t know anything about Trinidad so this is and insightful blog!
    Annie B. in Palm Springs now.

  2. February 13, 2017 14:20

    Tony, Connie:
    Outstanding!!! Incredible photos. you’ve added a trip to my bucket list. Good for you.
    Thanks, Fred

  3. February 13, 2017 16:40

    Thanks so much, Tony and Connie, for sharing a glimpse of your big, beautiful world. Much love,

  4. MaryLynne Rimer permalink
    February 13, 2017 17:34

    Hey you two vagabonds! Thank you for sharing your adventures and the incredible pics. Safe travels! Hugs, MaryLynne

  5. Wayno permalink
    February 13, 2017 23:46

    One word: FUCKINGAWESOMEMATE! Thank you so much Tony.

  6. Penny Goldrick permalink
    February 15, 2017 02:00

    We love your blog. What an amazing experience. The colourful birds, especially the ibises, are so beautiful. I will have to be satisfied with the sparrows, juncos,chickadees,northern flickers etc eating at my bird feeder.

  7. Judi K permalink
    April 20, 2017 07:36

    Red Ibis…would that be Ibae as plural ???
    Thanks for sharing

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