Trinidad And Tobago Day Two: Exploring The Asa Wright Nature Center And Lodge.
A chorus of exotic birds woke me up before sunrise my first morning at the Asa Wright Nature Center And Lodge. I slept well in the modest but comfortable room. There was no air conditioning. But there was an overhead fan. I was surprised how effective it was at cooling the warm tropical air. I left my small cottage and, after a quick walk around the grounds, soon made my way to the main building. Here I found freshly brewed coffee and this magnificent view of the mountains and rainforest.
The lodge has become a world-famous birding sight. It was once a plantation that fell into disrepair.In the 1936 it was acquired by Newcombe and Asa Wright. Located in the mountains, and surrounded by rainforest, it attracted the interest of naturalists from around the world. After the death of her husband Asa Wright welcomed naturalists and birders to the property . After her death sold the plantation to a trust which established one of the first nature centers in the region. The trust acquired lodge tracts of the nearby forests and also a neighboring plantation which included a cave where a secretive oil bird colony was located. The numerous species of insects, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds attracted nature lovers and birders from around the world. I was one of them.
I stood on the veranda, sipping my coffee, and enjoying the view. There were already a few hummingbirds feeding on the flowers beneath the veranda.
The lighting was still poor for photography so I decided to walk the drive way from the main road before breakfast.
The road winded around the hills of the old plantation and had many flowers blooming along the way.
As the sun rose in the sky the birds became more active but still difficult to photograph in the lush tropical vegetation. The strange cries of the crested Oropendola could be heard from the treetops. These birds build hanging nest and live in colonies. I was able to photograph this one flying overhead.
I continued my walk and came to a stairs which I followed and came to the pool filled by a mountain stream.
I heard some parrots squawking overhead. Parrots mate for life and you will usually find them in pairs.
The road continued to wind through the hills and valleys for about a half mile. I walked to the entrance of the Asa Wright center and returned to the lodge.
At the lodge I waited for breakfast on the veranda. I was joined by a group of birders from England as well as my English friends I met at the airport. The flowers, fruit trees and hummingbird feeders attracted a multitude of beautifully colored birds, including this male,
and female purple honeycreeper.
There were dozens of hummingbirds darting between the feeders and flowers and trees.
I admired the beauty of this delicate creatures. At 7;30 the breakfast bell rang announcing to the guest at the lodge that breakfast was served. I enjoyed a hearty breakfast including a freshly made omelet.I joined my new friends and other guest for a discussion about this wonderful nature preserve. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. Trinidad Day Two morning walk. April 25 2019.
We learned more after breakfast when we were taken on an orientation walk with a guide from the lodge. Our guide Barry was the son of our driver from the airport., He soon introduced us to this large tiger lizard that walked across our path,
He gave us a history of the nature center as he introduced us to some of the trees, plants and flowers. Some were native and other like the beautiful Hawaiian torch flower were introduced.
We walked down the Discovery trail where we saw wo of the local birds, a white bearded manakin and
the noisy bell bird. This bird has a call like the clanging of a bell and is the loudest bird on the planet. It was a good, informative hike. It was getting hot so we hiked back to the lodge in time for lunch. We enjoyed some more good conversation on the way. Here is a link to some more photographs from our orientation hike. Trinidad Day Two. Orientation hike April 25 2019.
I had arranged a tour to the Caroni swamp after lunch, The tour left at 1;30 so I had about an hour to observe the birds feeding beneath the veranda. Even though it was overcast, and threatened rain, it was still hot and humid with temperatures in the mid-80’s. The hot temperatures were not ideal for bird activity but there were still plenty of birds visiting the flowers and feeders below the veranda, including a number of white-necked Jacobin hummingbirds.
There were also purple honeycreepers and many other species of birds fluttering about. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on the veranda. Trinidad Day two afternoon veranda April 25 2019.
“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
—John Paul II