Birding Trinidad & Tobago 2005
Journal: 30 Jan 05, Asa Wright Nature Center/Central Plain




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Bird Photos

Trip List


Four Lilac-tailed Parrotlets
Aripo, Trinidad
An early start south out of the slopes of the North Range to the central plain of Trinidad. The area is extensively developed - farm lands, pasture, some industrialization, dozens of small chicken ranches. There's not a lot of undisturbed habitat left. But there are a lot of birds.

We birded the Arena Forest, a bit of the Arima area, and the Aripo Savannah, including the former Waller Field, a US World War II army air force base. We heard two Grey-necked Woodrails on the drive down, just above Arima, but despite a serious effort, never found the bird. But on the central plain we did find a Parasitic Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Masked Yellowthroat, Yellow-bellied Elaenia as well as the "usual" feeder birds.

At Waller Field the birding was quite good, including a Yellow Oriole, Barred Antshrike, Yellow Warbler, Red-breasted Blackbird, Fork-tailed Palm Swift and Sulfury Flycatcher. We had excellent views of a Grey-headed Kite and a Pearl Kite as well.

At Aripo Savannah, we found Lilac-tailed Parrotlets and Green-rumped Parrotlets 50 meters apart, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Grayish Saltator, Streaked Xenops and very nice views of a Linneated Woodpecker.

Perhaps it is the British heritage, but the cars drive on the left in Trinidad, with all the crazed lunacy of Mexico. A right hand corner is a scary experience, and the front seat of the bus - to the left of the driver, of course, has its moments of terror. An additional challenge for us was one of our group who never really got the concept of high speed traffic from the "wrong" direction. She had some very close calls, and at main highway pullouts, we spent as much time watching out for her as watching for birds.

Despite traffic hazards and distracted birders, we also found a Golden-fronted Greenlet, a Plain Brown Woodcreeper, a Bran-colored Flycatcher and a Short-tailed Hawk.

Linneated Woodpecker
Aripo Savannah, Trinidad

Photo by Ron Teel
Streaked Flycatcher
Waller Field, Trinidad
In the evening, we drove back down to Waller Field for some evening birding. While there was still daylight, we spotted a Long-billed Gnatwren, about 35 Red-bellied Macaws, a Blue Dacnis and a Merlin. We had dinner on a long-abandoned taxiway, and then chased a Tropical Screech Owl for nearly an hour without ever seeing it. We did, however, find a Common Pauraque, a White-tailed Nightjar and a Common Potoo. This was my first experience with night birding, which seems to involve very large spotlights, reflected light from bird eyes, and slow approaches in the bus. But that may have been the rum punch.

Photo by Ron Teel
Birding with Rum Punch - Jim and Jeff
Waller Field, Trinidad

Photo by Ron Teel
Waller Field, Trinidad

Updated Sat, Mar 5, 2005