Birding Trinidad & Tobago 2005
Journal: 02 Feb 05, Cuffie River Nature Retreat




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Bird Photos

Trip List


Birding the Forest Trail,
Cuffie River, Tobago Island
A late breakfast and late start for birders. We hit the trail at 10:00 AM or so, guided by Desmond. We walked back along the gravel road towards Moriah for about half a mile, and then took a trail mostly west up into the hills. Portions of trail were obviously an overgrown road, with nice stone bridges across stream courses; other parts were a scramble up the noses of ridges. But as we climbed up a little higher we left the introduced species behind, and entered mostly native forest. I suppose it was necessarily second growth, but the trees on the upper stretches were much larger. Strangler vines were bigger than any tree in interior Alaska. And the birding got much better.
It was mostly flycatchers on the lower stretches: Grey Kingbird, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher and Fuscous Flycatcher. On the upper stretches, especially above a fairly tough scramble up a dirt slope, we found some of the Tobago specialties: Collared Trogon, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Chivi Vireo, and Blue-backed Manakin. None of the birds were especially cooperative. We had decent views, but not the kind of views that lend themselves to photographs. The Collared Trogon was especially frustrating, never facing us and always turning back to watch us, usually tilting his head in that odd way Trogons do.

We also picked up a Broad-winged Hawk and very nice views of a White-fringed Antwren.

And it was very warm. It's just as well we didn't have a thermometer along. There was an intermittent breeze, but along the sunny parts of the trail it was a steam bath.

Collared Trogon, Forest Trail
Cuffie River, Tobago

Photo by Ron Teel
Blue-backed Manakin
Cuffie River, Tobago
On the walk out, about halfway back along the gravel road to the Lodge, we were delighted to meet up with Tricia Roderigues and two of her colleagues on Tobago. Tricia worked in the summer of 2004 for Alaska Bird Observatory and Camp Denali, banding birds. We knew she was banding on Tobago, and had tried to get a message to her, but had no expectation she would be able to catch up to us. It was a treat to meet up with her.

Over the course of the late afternoon and early evening, perhap 200 Orange-winged Parrots flew overhead, stopping to feed on tree blossoms and, for all I could tell, catch up on gossip. Between the Orange-winged Parrots, Rufous-vented Chachalacas and Rufous-tailed Jacamars, the forest was raucous with the calls of birds.

Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Cuffie River, Tobago

Organge-winged Parrot
Cuffie River, Tobago

Updated Sat, Mar 5, 2005