Birding Trinidad and Tobago – Asa Wright Nature Center, Part 2

Linda Rockwell is a nature photographer based in New Mexico. We’re very excited that she’s agreed to share the story of her trip to Asa Wright Nature Centre and her adventures in birding Trinidad with us.

If you have read Part 1 of this series on my trip to Trinidad and Tobago, you have seen honeycreepers and hummingbirds that I saw from the Asa Wright veranda. I hope I didn’t leave the impression that there was nothing else to see from the veranda. There were multiple species of beautiful birds. Many colorful tanagers appeared at the feeding tables below the veranda.

Silver-beaked Tanagers on feeder

Silver-beaked Tanagers

Male White-lined and Silver-beaked Tanagers on feeder

Male White-lined and Silver-beaked Tanagers

Violaceous Euphonias were frequent visitors to the feeding tables as well.

Violaceious Euphonia on feeder

Violaceious Euphonia

There were birds in the trees around the feeding area, waiting for their turn at the feeders.

Yellow Oriole

Yellow Oriole

Tropical Mockingbird

Tropical Mockingbird

Blue-gray Tanager

Blue-gray Tanager

Male White-lined Tanager

Male White-lined Tanager

Female White-lined Tanager

Female White-lined Tanager

Male Silver-beaked Tanager

Male Silver-beaked Tanager

Female Silver-beaked Tanager

Female Silver-beaked Tanager

I enjoyed watching a pair of Palm Tanagers as they played in the trees …

Palm Tanagers

Palm Tanagers

… and then came down to the bird bath for a splash.

Palm Tanagers bathing

Palm Tanagers bathing

There were often Spectacled Thrushes and antpittas beneath the feeding tables. I was able to get a photo of a Spectacled Thrush.

Spectacled Thrush

Spectacled Thrush

Unfortunately, I was never quick enough with my camera to get a satisfactory photo of any of the antpittas.

Common Agoutis, large members of the rat family similar to Capybaras, wandered beneath the feeders looking for anything that had fallen to the ground. It was fun to watch them sit on their hind legs while daintily holding food in their paws.

Common Agouti

Common Agouti

Tegu lizards would scavenge under the table feeds for scraps as well. I loved watching these large, beautiful lizards!

Tegu Lizard

Tegu Lizard

Tegu Lizard, full view

Tegu Lizard, full view

A highlight of my stay at Asa Wright was the walk to Dunston Cave to see the Oilbirds. Oilbirds have a very interesting history, and you might want to read about it here. On our way to Dunston Cave we were fortunate to see a Green-backed Trogon and Golden-headed Manakin. Because of the rain and the slippery trail, I did not have my good camera with me. My manakin photos look like little yellow blobs, but I did get an almost-recognizable photo of the trogon.

Green-backed Trogon

Green-backed Trogon

If you walk to Dunston Cave, you will get wet. As I did not have Wellies with me on the trip, I wore capri-length pants and Keen hiking sandals. It was a good choice. The entrance to the Cave is though a shallow running stream.

Entrance to Dunston Cave

Entrance to Dunston Cave

At last we were taken into the cave, two at a time, by our guide. She shined her light carefully on the birds so that we could take a few photos. We were not allowed to use flash photography in the cave, as it would have disturbed the birds too much.

Oilbirds in Dunston Cave

Oilbirds in Dunston Cave

Asa Wright gave us a lovely Christmas celebration. They brought in Trini Parang singers for Christmas Eve on the veranda, and they had us all singing and dancing. For some reason, I cannot locate my photos and videos of this evening except for this one:

Trini Parang singers

Trini Parang singers

The next day the centre prepared a lovely Christmas lunch with many Trini specialties including, ham, turkey, pasteles, sorrel sauce, and black cake. It was a delicious feast!

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