TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Trinidad & Tobago
The Millennium Trip

29 December 1999 - 9 January 2000


Leaders:
Neil Arnold
Ishmaelangelo Samad
Kenny Calderon
Martyn Kenefick
Adolphus James

INTRODUCTION

This was an unique venture, the first joint trip between The Travelling Naturalist and Wildwings. This was also the first time we have exceeded fourteen clients on a holiday and consequently used three local guides. Another unusual feature was the help of an additional guide in the shape of Martin, soon to become a resident of Trinidad.

My thanks go to all the guides and to David Hairston and his staff at Blue Waters Inn. Ishmael surprised us all when he met us at the airport on our return from Tobago, especially so as he had a present for all of us in the form of a tape recording of some Trinidadian birds. This was so kind of him and I know that we were all very thrilled - many thanks Ishmael!

My very special thanks go to Gerard and Oda at Pax who not only looked after us so well throughout our stay but made the Millennium Celebration the wonderful occasional we had hoped for. In fact the event far surpassed any possible expectation. The memory I will always retain with affection was joining the nuns and noviciates in prayers and a hymn in the early hours of the morning.

Finally I'd like to thank you all for your good company and many a laugh.

I hope we will all meet again in the coming years.

Best wishes,

Neil Arnold

January 2000

THE DIARY

Wednesday 29th December 1999

A pleasant flight to Trinidad via Antigua was enhanced by a wonderful view of the coast from Hayling Island to the Isles of Scilly. We also enjoyed views of the coast of Antigua. The initial warmth of Trinidad was only exceeded by that of the welcome at the Pax Guesthouse. We immediately felt like family friends in the home of our host Gerard and our hostess Oda.

Thursday 30th December 1999

Fine, sunny weather, increasing cloud cover. Breeze. Light shower late afternoon.

We started the day by meeting our local guides, Ishmael, Kenny and Martin. We soon came to admire their professional skills and to enjoy their company. We even managed to drag Gerard away from affairs of state to lead a walk for us! The day was spent watching from the garden of the guesthouse and on local walks.

The birds that made the greatest impact were undoubtedly the hummingbirds (ten species), the raptors (nine species) and a handful of exotic species including Orange-winged Parrots, Violaceous Trogon, Lineated Woodpecker and Purple Honeycreeper. A great deal of time was also spent watching tanagers.

One of the most memorable encounters, though, came towards the end of the day on the Donkey Trail when a Black-faced Antthrush called from thick trackside vegetation. Kenny then proceeded to call back to it. Eventually, little by little, the Antthrush emerged from hiding, making its way slowly down the hill towards us. We consequently had great views of this elusive creature. By contrast we also had excellent views of a bird eating spider that Kenny managed to persuade into view by enticing it onto the end of a twig!

Friday 31st December 1999

A wonderfully fine day with a cooling breeze.

Early in the morning we visited Wallerfield, an abandoned WWII airfield. En route some of us were lucky enough to see a Peregrine and a Merlin. At Wallerfield we noted a Channel-billed Toucan, Blue Dacnis, Grey Kingbird and Bran-coloured Flycatcher. After further searching we discovered Blue-headed Parrot, Sulphury Flycatcher, Green-winged Parrotlet and the scarce Common Ground-Dove.

Nearby we were shown a breeding colony of Yellow-rumped Cacique.

The Arena Forest appeared to be birdless but we soon discovered this was far from true. Fruiting trees yielded Green Honeycreeper and Blue Dacnis. Forest Elaenia and Boat-billed Flycatcher were also seen well. More delights included Golden-headed Manakin and White-throated Spadebill. As we made our way back to Pax, Martin spotted a Pearl Kite perched on a telephone wire, giving us wonderful views.

No birding trip is complete without a trip to a sewage farm, so we thought we'd better visit Trincity Ponds. On our arrival we immediately encountered a variety of waders, Wattled Jacana, American Purple Gallinule and Least Grebe. Overhead were Barn and White-winged Swallows together with Grey-breasted Martins. The wetland vegetation concealed Yellow-hooded Blackbirds and Pied-Water-Tyrant. Speckled Cayman were also present, rarely showing more than their snouts as they patrolled the ponds.

On arrival at Pax some of the group joined Ishmael on the Donkey Trail. Not only did they enjoy the Golden-headed Manakin lek, but en route they encountered White-flanked Antwren and Grey-throated Leaftosser, two of the most elusive local bird species.

The evening was then dedicated to the festivities. Dinner was served and then we had our usual callover. By ten o'clock we were enjoying a drink and nibbles to the strains of a small steel band. There followed a period of dancing, the styles varying considerably. Just before midnight we were invited into the 'top garden', offered Champagne and treated to a firework display. This was a wonderful way to enter the third millennium. Soon after midnight a fine buffet was produced, a feast later shared with a party of nuns and noviciates from the Carmelite house lower down the mountain. The dancing continued, only punctuated by a short period of prayer and hymn singing led by the senior nun.

Gerard and Oda and their team had given us a wonderful experience. Once again we felt part of the family.

Saturday 1st January 2000

A fine sunny day, cumulus building, a brief shower. A late breakfast at 08.30.

Before we went out for the day Pax was overflown by a Peregrine, a Common Black Hawk, a Chestnut-collared Swift and a Grey-rumped Swift.

By 10.20 we were at the Aripo Livestock Station. Here we were soon enjoying great views of Red-breasted Blackbirds, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant and Yellow-chinned Spinetail. We were then enchanted by one of the most attractive of the South American raptors, Savannah Hawk. Not only did we have wonderful views of this species at rest but also in flight. Solitary Sandpipers, least Sandpipers and Southern Lapwing were also encountered.

Lunch was enjoyed at Manzanilla Beach. This area held Pearl Kite, Broad-winged Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Common Black-Hawk and the elusive Bat Falcon.

Later in the afternoon we visited the Nariva Marsh. Although American Purple Gallinule was obvious we totally failed to find Azure Gallinule. The highlight of the visit though was the roost flight of Orange-winged and Yellow-crowned Parrots and up to forty Red-bellied Macaws.

On the way back to Pax we came across a sign that read ~

' If I die and Heaven don't want me

send me to Trinidad!'

Who could argue with that!

Sunday 2nd January 2000

Fine, sunny. Mid-day storm followed by afternoon showers.

By ten o'clock we were at the Asa Wright Nature Centre high on the Northern Ridge. Initially we spent time watching the birds on the bird tables; these included the stunning Purple Honeycreeper, White-necked Jacobin and a male Great Antshrike. We then took to the trails soon reaching the White-bearded Manakin lek which was full of displaying males, a delight. Throughout our walk we were conscious of a ringing sound similar to an anvil being struck by a hammer. This was the call of the Bearded Bellbird, but where were they? Before long, Kenny, who had worked for the nature centre in the past, had found a fine singing male which was seen well through the telescope.

After sheltering from the tropical downpour whilst eating lunch we boarded the vehicles and climbed to the ridge on the Blanchisseuse Road. The use of the vehicles enabled us to birdwatch and then shelter as the intermittent showers continued. A fine Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Bay-headed Tanager, Golden-crowned Warbler and a stunning pair of Hepatic Tanagers were our reward.

On returning, one of the party decided that it was definitely 'Beer o'clock': what a noble fellow!

Monday 3rd January 2000

Fine, hot day with some cumulus cloud and a refreshing breeze.

By 10.00 we were at Waterloo an area of tidal mud. The first impact was of 'wall- to-wall' Laughing Gulls, the first we had seen on the trip. With the gulls were some 60 Brown Pelicans. On scanning the open mud it became clear that there were a lot of herons and shorebirds to be identified. Eventually we established that there were good number of Snowy and Great White Egrets, Little Blue and Great Blue Herons. More endeavour revealed four Black Skimmers in the distance and a nearer Royal Tern. A close inspection of the waders on the open mud produced sightings of Willet, Turnstone, Whimbrel and Spotted Sandpiper. On moving to the south side of the elegant Hindu Temple on the point we discovered a flock of small waders, those known in the USA as 'peeps.' The Semipalmated Plovers were readily identified but only the birds closeness and confiding nature allowed us to separate the Western from the Semipalmated Sandpipers. As we watched Olivaceous Cormorants flew off shore and Ospreys overhead. The most surprising event of the morning, though, was the appearance of an adult and a juvenile Scarlet Ibis flying over the distant mangroves.

We then moved on to the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust. This involved a trip through a huge oil refinery. Once at the trust we walked the paths around the ponds which held both captive and wild birds. The highlight of this part of the trip were two male Red-capped Cardinals, a briefly viewed Ringed Kingfisher, Saffron Finches and eighteen Black-crowned Night-Heron. Lunch consisted of locally bought roti, vegetables or chicken and potato wrapped in a thin pancake.

The excitement building ,we made for the Caroni Swamp. We boarded the boat at the quay and set off along the narrow channels leading to more open mangrove fringed tidal lakes. En route we were shown a Cook's Tree Boa, a Common Potoo, an iguana and, briefly, a Bicoloured Conebill. The first Scarlet Ibis flock was seen against the backdrop of the mountains, at one stage against a distant view of Mount St Benedict. In order to enjoy this spectacle we'd climbed the new wooden tower which gave us a wonderful vista above the mangroves.

Soon we were at the roost site, beer in hand, watching one of the great birding spectacles of the World. Over 2500 ibis flew into roost accompanied by a wealth of herons. The splash of scarlet against the dark green of the mangroves has to be seen to be believed!

Tuesday 4th January 2000

Fine, showers in the mountains.

Today we're going to be tourists. We started off the day with shopping in Port of Spain. Kenny took us to a series of small malls in the centre of the city. After a shopping bonanza we made for the coast. The drive along the scenic north coast to Maracas Bay was briefly interrupted at a coastal vista by the singing of a calypso man who managed to dedicate a verse to each of us. At Maracas Bay we lunched on 'bake and shark', a mixture of floured shark and freshly fried 'bake', a sort of pancake roll. To this can be added salad and a variety of condiments, some of which would put the average Brit into orbit! After swimming we drove to Blanchisseuse. En route we came across a noisy Orange-winged Parrot roost. We had great views of this spectacular bird. Later we saw a smart Lineated Woodpecker and a Green Kingfisher. We returned to Pax via the Northern Ridge.

A small group managed to reject the temptations of shopping and swimming and made for Cumaca. Here they walked for two hours to the famous caves. En route they made contact with a Fer de Lance, but thankfully not literally. At the caves they experienced another of the world's great birding experiences, watching Oilbirds at roost. The group came back in a state of high excitement, for not only had they seen the Oilbirds but many other bird species as well.

Wednesday 5th January 2000

Heavy rain overnight. Steady rain until it cleared at mid-day.

Having said our good-byes at Pax we flew to Tobago. There we were met by Adolphus James who took us to the nearby Grafton Estate. This was once an estate dedicated to cocoa but since abandoned. Not only is it a fine forest habitat but birds are tame because they are regularly fed. While we ate lunch we were able to watch very tame Rufous-vented Chachalacas, Barred Antshrikes and a Blue-crowned Motmot. After lunch we set off on a walk in the forest. Here we were lucky enough to gain wonderful views of the spectacular Blue-backed Manakin, a pair of White-fringed Antwren, a Fuscous Flycatcher, a Red-crowned Woodpecker and Rufous-tailed Jacamars.

By 15.00 we were at Buccoo Marsh, another area of abandoned cocoa plantation. The muddy conditions made walking difficult but suited the wetland species very well. Before long we were watching a small group of White-cheeked Pintail and Blue-winged Teal. Nearby were a number of waders and Wattled Jacana. Overlooking the whole scene was a female Merlin. The prize bird in the deeper water was a Caribbean Coot, an uncommon species.

The trip along the winding coastal road to Speyside was wonderfully scenic. Despite that we were all pleased to arrive at Blue Waters, our haven for the rest of the holiday.

Thursday 6th January 2000

Heavy showers with the odd sunny spell.

Once again the group decided to opt for a relaxing day on the coast or a somewhat less relaxing day on the Main Ridge. As it happened some of the clients walked to Charlotteville, interesting but perhaps not to be described as total relaxation!

Most of us made for the Roxborough - Parletuvier Road. Constant rainfall made birding difficult but we managed to find Red-legged Honeycreeper, Red-crowned Woodpecker and Plain Antvireo. Later we walked the Gilpin Trace, a narrow muddy track into virgin forest. The highlights here were Golden-olive Woodpecker, White-throated Spadebill and the stunning White-tailed Sabrewing. Once out on the road again we discovered two Great Black-Hawks and a Yellow-legged Thrush. As we made our way back via Speyside we were attracted to a flowering 'Flame of the Forest' which was full of birds including a variety of hummingbirds. On reaching the stream on the way to Blue Waters we had great views of Green Kingfisher and a Little Blue Heron.

Friday 7th January 2000

Cloudy with sunny spells. A storm at 16.00.

As we prepared to board the glass bottomed boat for Little Tobago an Osprey soared overhead. The run out to Goat Island was a little choppy but we were soon over the reef enjoying the antics of a myriad of tropical fish. After a while it was time to move on to Little Tobago, a forested island famous for its sea bird colonies. As we approached we were overflown by Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds. On landing, Leroy, the local guide, gave us a tour of the island telling us of its history and especially of its medicinal plants. On reaching the breeding grounds we were captivated by the grace and beauty of the Red-billed Tropicbirds as they wheeled overhead. We then crept through the undergrowth to a spot where we could observe Tropicbirds on their nests at a range of just a few metres. The birds remained totally unruffled by our closeness, probably because the site was in constant use by tourists. At a greater distance we observed nesting Brown and Red-footed Boobies whilst Frigatebirds constantly flew overhead towards their breeding colony on St. Giles. As we left the island we were thrilled to spot a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on the sea shore. On the return trip the crew of the boat were astonished when we all burst into song, the renderings including 'Rule Britannia' and 'On Ilkley Moor bar t'at'. Mind you, it kept those with a propensity for sea sickness out of mischief!

The rest of the day was spent in relaxation. A few of us went back to the reef to snorkel. It was my first attempt and I think I probably earned a mark of about three out of ten - and swallowed about half of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite that I enjoyed it and did manage to appreciate the beauty of the fish, all be it in short bursts!

Saturday 8th January 2000

Why is it that the last day of a trip is always sunny?

At 06.45 we ventured out onto the track above the hotel, that is except for the intrepid four who set off for St. Giles in what seemed to the rest to be a very tiny boat.

The highlights of the walk included sightings of Osprey, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin, a number of Black-faced Grassquit and a pair of White-fringed Antwren, a good haul for the last morning.

The mariners returned with tales of huge waves and their inability to reach the boobies because of the sea state. It was all rather disappointing, unless that is , like some, you were a true seaman, always at home on the ocean!

The ride to the airport only rubbed in the fact that we were about to leave paradise.

On reaching Trinidad we were met by Ishmael who gave me the tapes as we rushed to register for our flight home. Unfortunately in the rush Ishmael misunderstood our situation and left us. This was ironic as the flight was delayed by an hour! I'm sure that we'll make amends with our letters and faxes!

The flight home was once again enhanced by wonderful views of the South Coast of England.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip as much as I did.

Neil Arnold

January 2000

CHECKLISTS

BIRDS

T = Trinidad

To = Tobago

TINAMOUS

Little Tinamou - Heard in forests on six days (T).

GREBES

Least Grebe - Two at Trincity Ponds (T).

TROPICBIRDS

Red-billed Tropicbird - This superb seabird seen from Little Tobago and the St. Giles Island trip (To).

BOOBIES

Red-footed Booby - Breeding on Little Tobago and St Giles Islands (To).

Brown Booby - Common in eastern Tobago. Breeds Little Tobago and St.Giles Islands, where seen well. (To).

CORMORANTS

Neotropic Cormorant - At Waterloo and the Wildfowl Trust (T), and at Buccoo (To).

ANHINGAS OR DARTERS

Anhinga - Ten records at the Wildfowl Trust and Waterloo (T) and one at Buccoo (To).

PELICANS

Brown Pelican - Widespread offshore (T & To). Very numerous off Waterloo and off Blue Waters.

FRIGATEBIRDS

Magnificent Frigatebird - A few at various sites (T). Breeds St Giles and Little Tobago (To).

HERONS

Great White Egret - A few at Nariva, Caroni and Waterloo (T). One at Buccoo (To).

Snowy Egret - At least five hundred Caroni Swamp, (T).

Cattle Egret - Widespread with livestock (T & To).

Great Blue Heron - Eight Waterloo (T).

Little Blue Heron - Widespread in wetlands (T & To), peak count 90 Waterloo(T).

Tricolored Heron - On Trinidad only at Caroni Marsh - 400 peak count, and at the Wildfowl Trust.

Striated Heron - This South American species (or race if you prefer) is only found on Trinidad. Noted widely in wet areas : Aripo Research Station, Nariva, Caroni, Waterloo

Green-backed Heron - The former's North American counterpart, only found on Tobago. One Buccoo. (To).

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - One on the beach near the quay, Little Tobago(To).

Black-crowned Night Heron - Twenty at the Wildfowl Trust (T) and two juveniles at Buccoo (To)

IBISES & SPOONBILLS

Scarlet Ibis - over 2500 counted at the roost Caroni Swamp.

DUCKS

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck - One Nariva Swamp (T). 20 Buccoo Marsh(To).

White-cheeked Pintail - Nine Buccoo Marsh(To).

Blue-winged Teal - Three at Buccoo (To)

AMERICAN VULTURES

Black Vulture - Abundant Trinidad.

Turkey Vulture - Common Trinidad.

KITES, HAWKS & EAGLES

Gray-headed Kite - One Arena Forest, three at Pax and one at Cumaca.(T).

Pearl Kite - One in the Nariva area and one in the Aripo area(T).

Double-toothed Kite - Two sightings at Pax and four birds on the Cumaca walk.

White Hawk - Eight sightings, mainly at Pax (T).

Common Black-hawk - Five sightings - at Pax, Manzanilla, Blanchisseuse Road, Caroni Swamp and Cumaca. (T).

Great Black-hawk - No confusion between these two species here, as the former is only found on Trinidad, and this one only on Tobago. Two over the Main Ridge (To)

Gray Hawk - Four records involving at least two birds, Pax(T).

Broad-winged Hawk - Two over Main Ridge (To).

Short-tailed Hawk - Three at Pax, one on the Blanchisseuse Road and one at the Wildfowl Trust. (T).

Zone-tailed Hawk - Ten records at Pax, involving at least four birds possibly six.(T).

Savanna Hawk - At least five at the Aripo Research Station and two other records in that area(T).

OSPREY

Osprey - One at Nariva, four at Waterloo, and five at the Wildfowl Trust.(T) Two at Blue Waters (To).

CARACARAS & FALCONS

Yellow-headed Caracara - Three at Pax, one at Wallerfield and two at Manzanilla. (T).

Merlin - Two records of single birds at Pax, one at Waterloo and one at Cumaca (T). A male at Blue Waters.

Bat Falcon - One at Manzanilla.

Peregrine Falcon - Seven widespread records (T & To).

GUANS & CHACHALACAS

Rufous-vented Chachalaca - Only on Tobago, excellent views Grafton Estate and at Blue Waters, where its raucous calls were a notable feature of the early mornings.

RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS

Purple Gallinule - Common Nariva Marsh; also at Trincity Ponds and the Wildfowl Trust(T), one Buccoo Marsh (To).

Common Moorhen - Several Nariva, Trincity Ponds and the Wildfowl Trust(T); abundant Buccoo Marsh (To).

Caribbean Coot - One at Buccoo Marsh (To)

STILTS AND AVOCETS

Black-necked Stilt - Ten at Trincity Ponds (T).

JACANAS

Wattled Jacana - Common at the Aripo Research Station, Nariva, Caroni Swamp and Trincity Ponds(T). Also noted at Buccoo Marsh (To).

PLOVERS

Semipalmated Plover - Twenty five at Waterloo (T)

Southern Lapwing - Two at Trincity Ponds and six at Aripo (T). At least 50 at Buccoo Marshes (To).

SANDPIPERS

Whimbrel - Nine Waterloo (T). Two at Buccoo (To).

Greater Yellowlegs - Two at Trincity Ponds, one at Waterloo (T) and one at Buccoo Marsh (To).

Lesser Yellowlegs - Four at Trincity Ponds (T) and four at Buccoo (To).

Solitary Sandpiper - Four at Trincity Ponds and ten at Aripo (T).

Spotted Sandpiper - Common at suitable wetlands and coastal sites. (T & To)

Willet - Ten at Waterloo and four at Coroni Swamp. (T).

Ruddy Turnstone - Twenty one at Waterloo (T). Up to 21 at Blue Waters, some of which were hand fed by clients. Some even frequented the bar, but suffered by total uncreditworthiness. (To).

Semipalmated Sandpiper - Excellent views of about 25 at Waterloo.(T).

Western Sandpiper - At least fifty seen well at Waterloo (T).

Least Sandpiper - Four at Aripo (T)

GULLS & TERNS

Laughing Gull - Hundreds at Waterloo (T)

Royal Tern - One at Waterloo (T).

SKIMMERS

Black Skimmer - Four at Waterloo (T).

PIGEONS & DOVES

Scaled Pigeon - Small flocks Blanchisseuse Road , Pax and Cumaca. (T).

Pale-vented Pigeon - One Blanchisseuse Road (T) and two Grafton. (To).

Eared Dove - Only at Buccoo Marsh and Blue Waters (To).

Common Ground-dove - Four at Wallerfield. (T).

Ruddy Ground-Dove - Very common and widespread, although not seen at Speyside (T & To).

White-tipped Dove - Only at Aripo and the Wildfowl Trust (T), also at Blue Waters and Little Tobago. (To).

MACAWS, PARROTS & PARAKEETS

Red-bellied Macaw - Up to 40 at the roost in Nariva Marsh.(T).

Green-rumped Parrotlet - One Aripo (T). Two at Buccoo and five near Gilpin Trace. (To).

Lilac-tailed Parrotlet - Two flocks of up to twenty, Pax. (T).

Blue-headed Parrot - Four in the Arena Forest and two Blanchisseuse Road. Twelve were seen at Cumaca. (T).

Yellow-crowned Parrot - Six at Nariva Swamp (T).

Orange-winged Parrot - Noted daily on Trinidad. Seen Speyside and Main Ridge (To).

CUCKOOS

Squirrel Cuckoo - One near Blanchisseuse. (T).

ANIS

Smooth-billed Ani - Noted regularly in both Trinidad and Tobago.

GROUND-CUCKOOS

Striped Cuckoo - One heard Aripo (T).

OWLS

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - Heard at Pax (T).

OILBIRDS

Oilbird - At least thirty birds were seen at roost at Cumaca(T).

POTOOS

Common Potoo - One roosting by day, Caroni Swamp (T)

SWIFTS

Chestnut-collared Swift - One Pax (T).

Band-rumped Swift - Five on the Blanchisseuse Road (T).

Gray-rumped Swift - Noted at Aripo, Asa Wright and Cumaca (T). Present on the Main Ridge (To).

Short-tailed Swift - Widespread, especially in coastal lowlands (T) & Main Ridge (To).

Fork-tailed Palm-Swift - Common at Wallerfield. One or two other isolated records. (T).

HUMMINGBIRDS

Rufous-breasted Hermit - On both Trinidad and Tobago. Noted almost daily at Pax (T). One Gilpin Trace (To).

Green Hermit - At Pax and Arena Forest.(T).

Little Hermit - At Pax, Wallerfield and Asa Wright.(T).

White-tailed Sabrewing - Three seen at Gilpin Trace in the Main Ridge Forest (To).

White-necked Jacobin - At Asa Wright and Cumaca.(T). Two at Speyside (To).

Black-throated Mango - Seen daily at Pax (T). Noted at Gilpin Trace and Blue Waters (To).

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird - A pair at Pax and male at Wallerfield and the Wildfowl Trust. (T).

Tufted Coquette - A pair at Pax gave stunning views. Also at Asa Wright.(T).

Blue-chinned Sapphire - At Pax and Wallerfield (T). Also at Blue Waters.

White-chested Emerald - Regularly noted at Pax and Asa Wright. (T).

Copper-rumped Hummingbird - Widespread on both islands (T & To).

Long-billed Starthroat - At Pax ,Wallerfield and Asa Wright. (T).

TROGONS

White-tailed Trogon - Two at Arena Forest(T).

Violaceous Trogon - Noted at Pax, Arena Forest and Cumaca.(T).

KINGFISHERS

Ringed Kingfisher - One at the Wildfowl Trust (T).

Green Kingfisher - One at Caroni Swamp and one near Blanchisseuse (T). Two records of a single bird, Blue Waters. (To).

MOTMOTS

Blue-crowned Motmot - Common and very approachable - actually roosting on some clients' balconies at Blue Waters !(T & To).

JACAMARS

Rufous-tailed Jacamar - Good views at the Blanchisseuse Road and Cumaca (T), Grafton, Gilpin Trace and Little Tobago.( To).

TOUCANS

Channel-billed Toucan - Single encounters at Wallerfield and Asa Wright.(T).

WOODPECKERS

Red-crowned Woodpecker - At Grafton and in the Main Ridge Forest (To).

Golden-olive Woodpecker - Two at Main Ridge Forest (To)

Lineated Woodpecker - Only at Pax and Cumaca. (T)

WOODCREEPERS

Pale-brown Woodcreeper - Seen Asa Wright and Cumaca. (T) Two more records in the Main Ridge Forest and at Blue Waters.(To).

Cocoa/Buff-throated Woodcreeper - Noted 2 days (T), 3 days (To).

OVENBIRD

Yellow-chinned Spinetail - Four at the Aripo Research Centre.(T).

Grey-throated Leaftosser - One at Pax (T).

ANTBIRDS

Great Antshrike - A male at Asa Wright and a female at Cumaca.(T)

Barred Antshrike - Common in scrub and woodland (T & To).

Plain Antvireo - Two in the Main Ridge Forest (To).

White-flanked Antwren - One at Pax (T).

White-fringed Antwren - Only on Tobago at Speyside and Grafton (To).

Black-faced Antthrush - Seen well at Pax. (T).

COTINGAS

Bearded Bellbird - Constantly heard. Good views once persistent, Asa Wright (T).

MANAKINS

Golden-headed Manakin - At Asa Wright and other mountain sites (T).

Blue-backed Manakin - Excellent views of two at Grafton.(To).

White-bearded Manakin - Wonderful views at Asa Wright. Others at Pax and Cumaca.(T).

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher - Two at Asa Wright (T)

S. Beardless Tyrannulet - Noted on two days at Pax. (T).

Forest Elaenia - One at Pax and one at Asa Wright. (T).

Yellow-bellied Elaenia - Seen at Pax, Asa Wright and Cumaca (T). One at Grafton (To).

Yellow-breasted Flycatcher - One at Pax (T).

White-throated Spadebill - One at the Arena Forest (T) and two on the Gilpin Trace (To).

Bran-coloured Flycatcher - One at Wallerfield (T).

Fuscous Flycatcher - One at Grafton (To)

Euler's' Flycatcher - One on the Blanchisseuse Road (T).

Tropical Pewee - Single records Asa Wright, Cumaca and Grafton (T&To).

Pied Water-Tyrant - In wet grasslands (T).

White-headed Marsh-Tyrant - In wetlands (T).

Brown-crested Flycatcher - Only noted at Grafton and Blue Waters(To).

Tropical Kingbird - Widespread and common (T & To).

Gray Kingbird - Several records (T&To).

Sulphury Flycatcher - One at Wallerfield (T).

Boat-billed Flycatcher - Common Trinidad. (T)

Great Kiskadee - Common on Trinidad. Noted two days Speyside (To).

SWALLOWS

White-winged Swallow - In the lowlands of Trinidad (T)

Grey-breasted Martin - Common in Trinidad.

S. Rough-winged Swallow - Several at Pax (T).

Barn Swallow - Five records in the lowlands (T).

WRENS

Rufous-breasted Wren - Scattered records on both islands.

House Wren - Common and widespread (T). Seen Blue Waters and Grafton Estate (To).

MOCKINGBIRDS

Tropical Mockingbird - Common on both islands in the lowlands.(T & To).

THRUSHES

Yellow-legged Thrush - A single record near Gilpin Trace (T).

Cocoa Thrush - Common in Trinidad. (T). One at Grafton.

Bare-eyed Thrush - Noted daily in Trinidad and Tobago. (T & To)

White-necked Thrush - Only seen at the Arena Forest and Cumaca (T).

OLD WORLD WARBLERS & GNATCATCHERS

Long-billed Gnatwren - One at Pax, one at Asa Wright, one on the Blanchisseuse Road and two at Cumaca (T).

PEPPERSHRIKES & VIREOS

Rufous-browed Peppershrike - Heard at Wallerfield and at the Wildfowl Trust (T)

Golden Fronted Greenlet - Several records at Pax and Cumaca (T).

Scrub Greenlet - Only on Tobago, where seen Blue Waters and Grafton (To).

NEW WORLD WARBLERS

Tropical Parula - One Pax, (T)

Yellow Warbler - Widespread (T)

Northern Waterthrush - Several records (T & To).

Golden-crowned Warbler - One heard at Wallerfield (T).

Golden-crowned Warbler - Several records (T).

BANANAQUITS

Bananaquit - Very common, frequenting forests, bars and restaurants ! (T & To).

TANAGERS AND HONEYCREEPERS

Bicolored Conebill - One male, Caroni Swamp (T).

White-shouldered Tanager - At Pax and Cumaca(T).

White-lined Tanager - Common, noted each day on Trinidad and Tobago (T & To).

Red-crowned Ant-Tanager - Seen at Asa Wright, Pax and Cumaca (T).

Hepatic Tanager - A pair seen well on the Blanchisseuse Road (T).

Silver-beaked Tanager - Common on Trinidad (T).

Blue-grey Tanager - Very common (T & To).

Palm Tanager - Common and widespread. Noted each day. (T & To).

Violaceous Euphonia - Widespread in the hills (T).

Turquoise Tanager - Widespread (T).

Bay-headed Tanager - A large flock on the Blanchisseuse Road and a few at Cumaca (T).

Blue Dacnis - Regularly seen in the forests (T).

Green Honeycreeper - Seen the Arena Forest and at Asa Wright. (T)

Purple Honeycreeper - Seen daily on Trinidad, mainly at Pax. (T)

Red-legged Honeycreeper - Two near Roxborough (To).

BUNTINGS & NEW WORLD SPARROWS

Red-capped Cardinal - Two males at the Wildfowl Trust (T).

FINCHES, SEEDEATERS & GROSBEAKS

Saffron Finch - Two males at the Wildfowl Trust (T).

Blue-black Grassquit - "Johnny Jump-up" locally . More common on Trinidad, but seen regularly Tobago (T & To).

Black-faced Grassquit - Scattered records on Tobago. (To).

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater - A pair at Aripo Research Station (T).

Grayish Saltator - Only at Pax and the Wildfowl Trust (T).

AMERICAN ORIOLES & BLACKBIRDS

Crested Oropendola - Common (T & To).

Yellow-rumped Cacique - Only in the Aripo area(T).

Yellow Oriole - Common Trinidad. (T).

Yellow-hooded Blackbird - In wetlands (T)

Red-breasted Blackbird - At the Aripo station, Nariva Swamp and the Wildfowl Trust (T).

Carib Grackle - Common in the lowlands. (T & To).

Shiny Cowbird - Widespread (T & To).

Giant Cowbird - Up to twenty Nariva Swamp (T).

MAMMALS

Red-tailed Squirrel - Single records in forests (T & To).

Red-rumped Agouti - One record Asa Wright (T).

Sac-winged bat sp. - Probably these seen hunting by day in forests. Roosting at Asa Wright. (T)

Greater Leafnosed Bat - One Pax (T).

OTHER GROUPS

Fer de Lance - One at Cumaca admired at what was thought by some to be close enough!

Cook's Tree Boa - One shown to us by boatman, Caroni Swamp. (T)

Spectacled Cayman - Several Trincity, Waterloo and Caroni (T)

Iguana sp - One on a tree in the Coroni Swamp and at Pax (T).

Golden Tegu Lizard - The prehistoric-looking creature seen coming to food at Asa Wright. (T)

Gecko - Among lots of unidentified lizards, geckos were often seen at Pax. (T)

Four-eyed Fish - A shoal of this Caribbean peculiarity cruising offshore at Waterloo. (T)

BUTTERFLIES

Handkerchief

Coolie

Donkey Eye

Biscuit

Cattle Heart

Common Yellow

Cracker

Flambeau

Postman

Emperor

King Page

Monarch

Gulf Fritillary

Malachite

Bamboo Page

Black Page - Tobago


© The Travelling Naturalist 2000