23rd to 26th June 2014 - Trinidad Part 2

The second part of our stay in Trinidad was spent in the central West area of the country.  The next day we headed back up past Asa Wright to work our way up the Blanchieuesse Road.  The first stop produced a new bird immediately, the Black-tailed Tityra.  He was joined by a colourful cast of Turquoise Tanager and Violaceous Euphonia.  A little further up the road and we encountered our first Zone-tailed Hawk, flying with a Common Black Hawk. Ten Blue-headed Parrot flew over and a few hummingbirds suddenly decided to appear, including White-chested Emerald, Black-throated Mango and Rufous-breasted Hermit

Bird. I'm too sleepy to remember which.

Rufous-tailed Jacamar



Our next target, Golden-fronted Greenlet, was a little further along the road and although we could hear them, they didn't show for a while then put on a tremendous show in a tree right next to us.  We then sat for a brief lunch, where I saw a Chestnut Woodpecker briefly – the only sighting of the trip.  The place we sat in was surrounded by Cocoa Woodcreeper and Plain-brown Woodcreeper, making a lot of noise.  A Euler’s Flycatcher and Ochre-bellied Flycatcher added to the list with a Swallow-tailed Kite soaring in the distance as we headed home.

Southern Rough-winged Swallow

Yellow-headed Caracara
This stuff is amazing
Nariva Swamp was on the cards for the next day.  It was also getting hotter and hotter so it was a pretty uncomfortable trip in the minibus.  We took a walk through the vines into the swamp and had a look around but it was very quiet.  Whilst our guide went to chat to someone, we waited in the swamp and eventually a pair of Red-rumped Woodpecker arrived.  We watched them for a while then our guide returned to tell us he had negotiated a boat trip on a small boat through the swamp to the island in the middle.  Even though it was blazing sun, this sounded like a great idea so the three of us and the owner of the boat piled in and off we set.  Within seconds we had seen a Green Kingfisher and Ringed Kingfisher, with the previously elusive Striated Heron popping up seemingly every minute!  A Cocoi Heron flew in front of the boat and a Common Black Hawk was perched right beside the water.  We walked around the island to try and find some Macaws, but instead we attracted the attention of the local White-fronted Capuchin and Red Howler Monkey population.  These were the first monkey species I had ever seen in the wild and I was impressed with what a racket the Howlers could make.  The Capuchins have the most adorable faces but I bet they’re incredibly cheeky things. 

Capuchin

Red Howler

Limpkin
We returned to dry land and were kindly given some fresh mangoes by the boatman.  We headed a little further round into the swamp, passing our guide’s nephew who was taking round an American father and son and had just given up on searching for their target bird, the Pinnated Bittern.  Apparently they’d been looking all afternoon but there was no sign so they were headed back to Asa Wright.  We left them heading the other way and rounded a corner, for me to see a long neck sticking out of the ditch.  PINNATED BITTERN!  Roodal frantically called his nephew, who turned around and bombed it back.  We could see them turning the corner and clearly the bird did too, as he took off and flew into the fields!  Luckily they saw him and followed to where they could see him landed.  We carried on further and I saw an odd looking bird, which the other two dismissed as something common.  I made them have a proper look and it turned out to be a Limpkin, a bird I had really wanted to see so I was very pleased with that.  After he posed for a bit then wandered off into a bush, we finished the day with sightings of plenty of Red-bellied Macaw flying and a low soaring Savanna Hawk.

Pinnated Bittern

Pinnated Bittern

Hahahaha Bittern are so silly!
On the final day we had hoped to find the Moriche Oriole and a couple of other species that live in the same area, but the site is on a conference park and the prime minister was kindly visiting that day, meaning the area was on high security alert and we weren’t allowed in.  Nonetheless, we had a lovely day in the surrounding Aripo Savannah.  At Cumuto, whilst it was very quiet, we had great views of a perched Striped Cuckoo and Plumbeous Kite.  In another part of the Savannah, we stopped, got out the car and a pair of very very loud Masked Yellowthroat came to investigate, brilliant little birds.  We finally saw a pair of Boat-billed Flycatcher after we’d spent the whole holiday investigating every Kiskadee we had seen and our final new bird on Trinidad was a tiny Southern Beardless Tyrranulet which (annoyingly, given I hadn’t taken my camera) perched a metre from my face and seemed to be trying to make friends.  I wanted to take him home but apparently that’s not allowed or something. 

Lulu the cat

Striped Cuckoo

Plumbeous Kite

Southern Lapwing

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