No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Field Trips

June 18, 2015

 photo 056_zpsbskeiyz9.jpg 

 photo 171_zpsikcvwqo6.jpg

 photo 369_zps4l2xdikm.jpg

 photo 358_zpsgtesmlua.jpg

 photo 471_zps3spvhsap.jpg

Field Trips

Though we spent most of our five days in Trinidad at the Asa Wright Nature Center, we did venture out on occasion to visit some other famous nature sites around the island. These field trips took us out into the countryside, to the shore and deep in to a mangrove swamp. Each trip was with a fabulous personal guide supplied by Asa Wright and Caligo Ventures and each one was special in its own right.

 photo 077_zpseyh4m7ub.jpg

 photo 072_zpsujcococq.jpg 

 photo 248_zpskmhsnole.jpg

Our first trip was to the Aripo Livestock Station in the Aripo Valley about 30 minutes from Asa Wright. The government run livestock station is basically just a wide-open series of fields that are home to a portion of the nation’s livestock, mostly cattle. The wide-open fields, criss-crossed with streams and drainage ditches provide a prime habitat for many of the marsh and open area birds that are found in Trinidad.

 photo 090_zpslwd8lty0.jpg

 photo 398_zpset941g4a.jpg

 photo 376_zps1hzmukrz.jpg

 photo 061_zpslfhcyjom.jpg

There are literally hundreds of birds to be spotted on this spot, making it a favorite of the birding community. Personally I found the cattle and friendly dog we saw there just about as interesting, but there were a number of colorful and supposedly rare birds that were pointed out by our guide.

 photo 095_zpsk3rdlviq.jpg

 photo 218_zps2h1l2snb.jpg

 photo 411_zpsodyjqkk2.jpg 

 photo 096_zpsp3kp3t7f.jpg

Our second stop was at the famed Matura Beach which is one of the primary beach communities in Trinidad where endangered sea turtles emerge from the ocean each night during the nesting season to lay their eggs in the soft sand. Matura Beach is one of the most active in the country and one of the largest concentration of the rare Leatherback Sea Turtle nests anywhere.

 photo 113_zpsbgy7nlt6.jpg

 photo 102_zpstqwo3t48.jpg

 photo 209_zps5hvghc0s.jpg 

 photo 146_zpsgkvnoxug.jpg

 photo 106_zpsgx26nksg.jpg

 photo 144_zpsorekjeue.jpg

Thankfully the beach, which was once heavily poached for both turtle eggs and the turtles themselves, is now federally protected and thanks to the work of the NGO Nature Seekers, the instances of poaching have dropped to near zero at this beach. Each night during the season, staff and volunteers from nature seekers scour the beach, identifying nesting turtles and leading guided tours for tourists to watch the female turtles as they build their nests. At times, hundreds of turtles come ashore in a single evening and then there is the very, very rare instance when no turtles nest- which sadly was the case on our visit. Still it was a lot of fun and very educational and we certainly plan to return.

 photo 213_zpsa9ji7z5m.jpg

 photo 152_zps48mfpa2n.jpg 

 photo 178_zpsuule9v3e.jpg

 photo 157_zpsb3wpzfxx.jpg

 photo 176_zpstmjklth6.jpg

Our final field trip away from Asa Wright was to the Caroni Swamp which is home to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.  The Caroni Swamp is the second largest mangrove swamp in Trinidad and includes the mangrove ecosystem along with a large marsh expanse, numerous channels, and brackish and saline lagoons, and with extensive intertidal mudflats on the seaward side. 

 photo 130_zpsefehdemh.jpg

 photo 383_zpsgtvqsool.jpg

 photo 017_zpsqlxuf068.jpg

 photo 043_zpsqjskccl5.jpg

The boat tour of the swamp traverses the mangrove channels where a large variety of birds and wildlife can be seen. The main attraction is the large nesting colony of one of the National birds of Trinidad the beautiful Scarlet Ibis. These bright red birds return each evening to their roosts in the mangroves and we were able to witness the spectacle of thousands of the birds returning, literally turning the green mangroves into a bright red speckled panorama. 

 photo 134_zpsuhln8xs7.jpg

 photo 139_zpshd1j1xti.jpg

 photo 452_zpseeobz6se.jpg

 photo 473_zpsd0bo74z5.jpg

The field trips were a great way to explore the biodiversity of the island and to get a better understanding of the rich natural history and beauty that is found there. I always enjoy being out in the natural environment and witnessing things like the amazing gathering of scarlet ibis is just incredible.

 photo 180_zpsja1ddhyh.jpg

 photo 407_zpsqd3ry6qt.jpg

 photo 004_zpsdulq0fv7.jpg

 photo 019_zpsuksa0n9c.jpg 

 photo 126_zpsnh7pidaz.jpg


Post a Comment

<< Home