Day 1 (Sunday March 17)
Arrive to Trinidad and transfer to Asa Wright
Day 2 (Monday March 18)
Morning at Asa Wright afternoon at Blanchisseuse Rd
Day 3 (Tuesday March 19)
All day at Asa Wright
Day 4 (Wednesday March 20)
Day 5 (Thursday March 21)
Day 6 (Friday March 22)
Morning at Waterloo, afternoon at Caroni
Day 7 (Saturday March 23)
After breakfast visit Yerette Hummingbird House, afternoon at Asa Wright night transfer to airport and off to USA.
Asa Wright Nature Centre: At an elevation of around 1200 ft in the Northern Range of Trinidad the Nature Centre is in the middle of Evergreen Seasonal Forest. The estate was previously a coffee/cocoa/citrus plantation that has largely been allowed to return to its natural state though there are still coffee, cocoa and citrus plants maintained on the property. The second growth forest is full of vines and epiphytes and has the general feel of a tropical rain forest.
This will be our home base for the trip. The rooms are basic but clean and comfortable and the food is great. There are many fruit and nectar feeders in front of the veranda that will provide lots of photo opportunities. Some of the common birds around the feeders and nearby fruiting trees include Bananaquit, Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Turquoise Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Silver-beaked Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Tropical Mockingbird, Crested Oropendola, Barred Antshrike, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, White-chested Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, Copper-rumped Hummingbird, Blue-chinned Sapphire, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Green Hermit and the amazing Tufted Coquette.
Around the grounds we might encounter species including Bat Falcon, White Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Common Black Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Orange-winged Parrot, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Channel-billed Toucan, Little Hermit, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Collared Trogon, Green-backed Trogon, Guianan Trogon, Ferruginout Pygmy-Owl, Boat-billed Flycatcher, White-bearded Manakin, Golden-headed Manakin, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Streaked Xenops, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Forest Elaenia, Bright-rumped Attila, Great Antshrike, White-flanked Antwren, White-bellied Antbird, Spectacled Thrush, Cocoa Thrush, Streaked Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Scaled Pigeon, House Wren, Rufous-breasted Wren, Black-tailed Tityra, Violaceous Euphonia, Yellow Oriole and the iconic Bearded Bellbird.
Aside from the beautiful birds at Asa Wright we will also have a chance to see other creatures including the Spiny Tree-lizard, Gold Tegu, Varigated Gecko, Rubber-tree Frog, Trinidad Chevron Tarantula, land crabs, harvestmen, whip scorpion and rivulus fish among others. Many of which we will see during optional night walks.
During our time at Asa Wright Nature Centre we will spend one morning hiking out to the Dunston Cave to see and photograph the bizarre Oilbird. The hike is a little bit challenging but we will take out time so it should be manageable.
Northern Range / Blanchisseuse Road: The winding mountain road to the village of Blanchisseuse provides opportunities to get to some of the higher elevations (around 2200’) of the Northern Range which is an extension of the coastal mountains of Venezuela. The drive is quite scenic and offers an opportunity to try to look out onto the ocean below were we might see raptors as they ride the thermals up from the forest. Birds seen during this outing include all three trogons, Speckled Tanager, swifts, Gray-breasted Martin, Blue-headed Parrot, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Piratic Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Trinidad Euphonia, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Smooth-billed Ani, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Carib Grackle, Squirrel Cuckoo in addition of many of the species that can be found around the Asa Wright Nature Centre.
Caroni Swamp: The swamp covers about 6000 hectares or protected area and is mainly made of mangrove forest. On the way to the swamp we will pass through some open grasslands/rice fields around the airport where we might encounter species like Blue-black Grassquit, Long-winged Harrier, Savanna Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Carib Grackle, Red-breasted Blackbird and Yellow-hooded Blackbird.
At the swamp we will have chances to look for birds including the Mangrove subspecies of Yellow Warbler, Red-capped Cardinal, Mangrove Rail, Black-crested Antshrike, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Striated Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Bicolored Conebill, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Northern Waterthrush, Tropical Screech-Owl and of course the beautiful Scarlet Ibis.
Other species we might encounter include tree-climbing crabs, Cooks Tree Boa, Silky Anteater and others.
Nariva Swamp: This is a large freshwater wetland (6234 hectares) created where the Nariva River empties into the sea on the east coast of the island. There are some patches of mangroves around Bush Bush Creek as well as stands of Moriche Palms but is mostly open country.
Some of the birds we hope to encounter on this outing include Short-tailed Swift, Tropical Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Carib Grackle, Cocoi Heron, Savanna Hawk, Gray-headed Kite, Yellow-headed Caracara, Wattled Jacana, Aplomado Falcon, Southern Lapwing, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, White-winged Swallow, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Pied Water-Tyrant, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Red-breasted Blackbird, Grassland Yellow-Finch and others. Further in we could encounter Plumbeous Kite, Gray Hawk, Silvered Antbird, Yellow-hooded Blackbird and others. Some of the trickier to find species possible in this area include Pinnated Bittern, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Long-winged Harrier, Yellow-crowned Parrot, Red-bellied Macaw, and Azure Gallinule.
Waterloo: Waterloo is a large tidal mudflat on the west coast that offers a great chance to photograph waders, shorebirds and possibly a chance to photograph the Scarlet Ibis. There is also a small chance that we could see a Rufous Crab-Hawk in this area.
Yerette Hummingbird House: This outing will take us to a private residence with tons of hummingbird feeders where we can photograph some of the hummingbird species that are less frequently seen at the other locations on the trip. The sheer number of hummingbirds at this location is particularly impressive. The species we will look for here are mainly the Ruby Topaz and the Brown Violetear though 13 species of hummers are possible here.