Birding Trinidad & Tobago 2005
Journal: 1 Feb 05, Cuffie River Nature Retreat




Jan 26
Jan 27
Jan 28
Jan 29
Jan 30
Jan 31
Feb 01
Feb 02
Feb 03


Bird Photos

Trip List


Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Sewage Lagoons, Tobago Island
This morning we flew British West Indies Airways - "Beewee" - on a 20 minute flight from Piarco Int'l on Trinidad to Tobago. Tobago seems to be set up as the tourism destination to Trinidad's more agricultural and industrial development.

Our intended guide had been involved in a pretty serious accident a few days before, so our driver was a non-birder, working with a cell phone for instructions from her father. But we managed to find a few good birding spots. As always, sewage treatment lagoons were good, with Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, White-cheeked Pintails, Southern Lapwings, a Limpkin, and an Anhinga. Also Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret, and Striated, Little and Great Blue Heron.

Prowling around a bit we found a Black-faced Grassquit, a Greater Yellowlegs and a Spotted Sandpiper as well.

From the sewage lagoons, we went to two ponds on the grounds of the Tobago Hilton. We found a rare (for these parts) Ring-necked Duck, several Least Grebes and a Spotted Sandpiper. After a stop for cold drinks at a nice supermarket, we made the fairly long drive out to Cuffie River Nature Retreat, located a few miles outside of Moriah and a few miles away from the Carribean. The area is a mix of older growth and second growth. The lodge itself is gorgeous, situated on a hilltop overlooking the Cuffie River. The rooms are open air, the lodge is immaculate and the food is excellent. That afternoon, from the lodge we watched Orange-winged Parrots, Rufous-vented Chachalacas and Rufous-tailed Jacamars.

Sewage Lagoons, Tobago

White-tailed Nightjar
Cuffie River, Tobago
The hummingbird feeders attracted a White-tailed Sabrewing, a dozen or more White-necked Jacobin, a Black-throated Mango and a Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. That evening, a White-tailed Nightjar hawked bugs in the valley over the river.

Did I mention the swimming pool? The water is delightfully cool, and just the thing after an overheated afternoon birdwalk.

There are very few mosquitoes at Cuffie River. We sat comfortably on the back deck, watching and listening to Nightjars calling and geckos chirping, while drinking Chilean white wine. If you are from Alaska, as we are, there is a strange joy in having it be both warm and dark. The stars are strange, too, with Orion directly overhead instead of low on the horizon. All in all, Cuffie River is a fine place to end a vacation; relaxing and refereshing.

Blue-crowned Motmot
Cuffie River, Tobago

Tropical Kingbird
Cuffie River, Tobago

Updated Sat, Mar 5, 2005