Trinidad Day Two: A Visit to Caroni Swamp Home Of The Famous Scarlet Ibis.
After my first lunch at the Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge, I joined three other guests on a tour to the Caroni Swamp. The Caroni Swamp is a large wetland and mangrove forest located on the west side of the island, just south of the capital city of Port of Spain. It is noted for its wildlife, including many species of birds, including the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago, the scarlet ibis. Our diver and guide arrived at 1;30 p.m. It is only about 25 miles from the lodge but took about an hour to get there because of the winding mountain roads and heavy traffic.
The skies became overcast and threatened rain as we drove through the lush mountain rain forest. The views, even on this cloudy day, were spectacular. We came upon small towns and villages as descended the winding roads. The mountain road met the main east-west highway in Trinidad near the city of Arima. We now found ourselves in some heavy traffic as we drove west toward the swamp. As we drove, our guide provided us with information about the people of Trinidad as well as the birds and animals living in the swamp we were going to visit.
As we neared the west coast our guide stopped at a small wetland where we were able to observe a number of birds species, including this pied water tyrant.
We also saw a wattled jacana ,
and a number of juvenile wattled Jacana nearby. They don’t look a lot like their parents.
Overhead we saw a pair of green-rumped parrotlets. We saw a number of other species, which I wasn’t able to photograph, and the name of which I am sorry to say I have forgotten. I am trying to learn from my birder friends, but there are just too many species of birds for an old timer like me to remember. Still they are beautiful to see.
We then continued our drive through the busy afternoon traffic.
Our guide made a few more stops to search for native birds and we were able to observe this colorful red-breasted blackbird
and this beautiful masked cardinal.
We soon entered the Caroni Swamp National park. Our guide explained the different type of mangrove trees that grew here and how they were so important to the natural environment . The skies grew darker as we waited and it began to rain as we boarded our boat to explore the swamp and observe the scarlet ibis.
The light rain didn’t dampen my excitement. We saw many interesting and exotic critters as we motored down one of the many canals in the swamp. One of the most unusual was a silky anteater curled up in a furry ball.
We also encountered a snake, some type of boa, hanging out on a tree above our boat.
Our guides pointed out many species of birds on our voyage including boat herons, this crested heron
and the flamingos who have just recently started visiting the swamp.
There were also many of this large land crabs watching us from the banks of the canal as we motored past.
The light rain had stopped when we entered the large lake where the scarlet ibis roost for the night.
We awaited their arrival and they did not disappoint us. The first birds started to arrive.
They were soon followed by flocks of these brilliantly colored birds. Some perched in the trees along the lake,
while others landed on the waters of the lake. It was an experience I would not forget, I wish the skies were clear. It would have allowed me to share better photographs but I was still grateful just be here to see this beautiful nightly ritual. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my trip. Trinidad Day Two Caroni Swamp birds. April 25 2019.
We waited until almost dark when our guide returned us to our van. We were provided with a glass of the famous Asa Wright lodge rum punch. It was good but a little too much rum for this old-timer. I slept most of the way back to the lodge. We arrived back around 7;30 p.m. and I enjoyed a nice buffet dinner of local foods. It was a long day and I soon retired to my cottage, I feel asleep enjoying the sounds of the rainforest. Here is a link to some more photographs from my trip to Caroni Swamp . Trinidad Day Two Caroni swamp. April 26 2019.
For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine. Janine M. Benyus