A Fast Drive – 10,000 Birds

Final weekend we headed into the mountains of northern Trinidad – the idea of mountains is definitely a relative one, though it’s the highest conglomeration of hills within the nation (and the northernmost outcrop of the Andes) the Northern Vary by no means crosses 1,000m above sea stage. Whereas cloud forest exists above 700m, nearly all of the mid-elevation forest is humid montane rainforest. The Arima-Blanchisseuse Highway bisects this mountain vary from sea stage as much as simply above 600m. Ascending additional requires a hike – required to see some high-elevation species absent from elsewhere on the island.

For us on an informal Sunday drive nonetheless, we selected to stay to the highway. Laziness positively performed a component within the resolution however reality be advised we have been comfortable to easily be within the presence of the forest because it has been many moons since that occurred. We left residence slightly later than deliberate, and subsequently started the climb about half an hour after dawn. I used to be re-learning the best way to navigate a guide car, sipping espresso, and having fun with the crisp air thick with the scent of the mature rainforest. For a lot of a second I contemplated doing an eBird listing however I by no means began it for worry of getting our day find yourself being one more flurry of exercise. It was extra of a remedy session than anything.

These of you who’ve ever traversed this highway know of the large quarrying operation underway. Large swathes of mountain have been blasted away with dynamite and there may be an infinite stream of vehicles and heavy gear toting the earth to quite a few mega-projects at numerous locations within the nation. After the quarries, the highway narrows considerably and snakes round tight corners. On one facet of the highway there may be thick vegetation with Rufous-breasted Wrens belting their candy music, the opposite facet offers method to a precipitous drop. A couple of minutes later the vacant Asa Wright Nature Centre comes into view from throughout the valley, one can cease and consider the silent verandah with a half-decent pair of binoculars. No birders inside, no feeders overflowing with hummingbirds and honeycreepers exterior.

The eerie entrance to Asa Wright, a feeble whimper of what as soon as was.

About quarter-hour later, we pulled off the highway on the crest of the hill to have breakfast. The machine-gun drumming of a Chestnut Woodpecker greeted us as soon as we alighted from the car. No visible on the woodpecker, sadly – a number of Scaled Pigeons bolted from the treetops as we searched, although. Nearly then I noticed that I had forgotten to pack spoons when packing breakfast. I wasn’t amused, neither was my spouse. However necessity is the mom of invention and a few digicam battery covers doubled up as spoons to make sure that our stomachs might cease their grumbling!

A vocalizing Cocoa Woodcreeper flew in on its foraging route.

There have been a number of Golden-olive Woodpeckers round, earlier than we left this explicit location we additionally obtained a very good view of a Lineated Woodpecker drumming on a dried piece of bamboo.

There have been quite a few different passerines I hadn’t seen in months flitting about: Violaceous Euphonia and Golden-fronted Greenlet have been by far probably the most ubiquitous. A Nice Antshrike known as from deeper inside the forest. Even additional off I heard the plaintive wail of a Little Tinamou and the delicate whistle of a Black-faced Antthrush. Channel-billed Toucans have been calling from a brief distance away and a Bearded Bellbird bonked in an adjoining valley. I felt as if I used to be reacquainting myself with outdated buddies.

Golden-fronted Greenlet

This unusual wanting hummingbird turned out to be a Rufous-breasted Hermit with some aberrant plumage.

After our breakfast settled we drove additional north alongside the Arima-Blanchisseuse Highway, crawling alongside as we had our eyes and ears out. As we rounded a nook Joanne noticed a pair of Slaty-capped Flycatchers perched in conjunction with the highway. I pulled over, however they flew virtually immediately overhead. I used to be trying to get a view on them from about 100m away when she whisper-yelled “Speckled Tanager behind you” – let’s simply say that I’ve to attend some extra time till I get {a photograph} of any Slaty-capped Flycatcher.

Speckled Tanager

That spot the place we pulled over turned out to be notably productive. Various Stripe-breasted Spinetails known as and known as from obscured perches. One flew from one thicket to a different the place it flushed a Plain Antvireo from its hiding place.

Plain Antvireo

Each White-bearded and Golden-headed Manakins have been round in good quantity. An Euler’s Flycatcher made a short look as effectively.

White-bearded Manakin

Euler’s Flycatcher

If the motion inside the vegetation wasn’t sufficient, a pair of White Hawks was circling overhead. Shortly thereafter we additionally noticed a Frequent Black Hawk, probably driving the identical thermal.

White Hawk

A couple of minutes later, exercise at this spot fell quiet, so we continued on our journey. Stopped briefly at a small roadside waterfall the place we loved observing a medium-sized centipede methodically hunt, lastly being rewarded for its efforts after roughly quarter-hour.

By this time, the solar was nearing its zenith, and we have been searching for a spot to have lunch. Sure, meals are a excessive precedence for us after we’re going birding! It simply was coincidental that our chosen lunch spot was additionally abuzz with avian exercise.

One in every of a small group of Yellow-legged Thrushes we noticed feeding within the timber.

We ended up heading again to civilization not too lengthy after lunch as obligations beckoned. It was already early afternoon and exercise was on a lull anyway. I promise to return there quickly – subsequent time I’ll be sure you eBird it!


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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