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Birding Spots

Both Trinidad and Tobago abound with birds and at almost every turn an avian spectacle can be observed.  Throughout this web site, the location of each photograph has been given and that provides an indication of the spread of the birding population on both islands. There are however certain places that are particularly noteworthy for either the diversity or abundance of birds. Below are photographs of a few of those birding hotspots and a synopsis of the information on birding hotspots that is provided on the bird identification CD, Discovering the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

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Grafton Bird Sanctuary, Tobago

This is a former cocoa and coconut estate that was destroyed by Hurricane Flora in 1963 and as a result was converted into a wildlife sanctuary. It is approximately 200 acres in size and is covered in secondary forest. It is located along Grafton Road on the southern side of the road. There is a small weathered sign indicating the entrance to the sanctuary and a short uphill secondary road that leads to the reserve. Even before one reaches the reserve, along the entrance road there is good birding. A restaurant was previously operated on the site but is now closed, however the restaurant building still exists with tables and benches and can be used for resting during the day. There are toilets in the building that are maintained. There are three main forest trails. As you enter, the first trail on the right leads downhill and is relatively short. The second trail on the left also gradually leads downhill and then eventually climbs uphill. The main trail, which is directly facing the entrance, leads uphill and winds past several abandoned estate buildings and stables.

 

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Entrance to Caroni Swamp Center

The area known as the Caroni Swamp  is located approximately 30 minutes outside the capital city of Port of Spain and is a 15,000 acre area of marshland, mangrove swamp, brackish and saline lagoons, and tidal mudflats. The area is home to over 186 species of birds that includes  cattle egrets, snowy egrets, ospreys, herons, plovers, and jacanas. In addition there are 32 species of bats, mammals including red howler monkeys and white-fronted capuchin monkeys, along with various types of caimans. The highlight however of any visit to the Caroni Swamp is the sight of the Scarlet Ibis coming in thousands to roost during the last two hours of day light. Guided boat tours are available daily.

 

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Grand Icacos Lagoon, Cedros

Located on the south-western tip of Trinidad, just seven miles from Venezuela, this lagoon is an estuarine basin mangrove of approximately 330 hectares. While the entire peninsula is a bird watching experience, there are three prime hotspots; Fullarton Swamp, Los Banquilles Swamp and the Grand Icacos Lagoon. The Fullarton Swamp is ideal for the armchair birdwatcher. The road from Fullarton Village to Icacos Village runs through the center of the Swamp and so it is possible to literally view the birds without leaving your vehicle.

 

 

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Mucurapo Mudflats, Port of Spain

Located on the western outskirts of Port of Spain, these mudflats are easily accessible being alongside the Audrey Jeffers Highway. The mudflats are fronted by the Gulf of Paria, backed by mangrove swamps and bisected by a river. Many of the migratory birds that visit Trinidad can be seen in this area, including Whimbrel, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Hudsonian Godwit, Snowy Plover, Semi-palmated Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper.

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Mucurapo Mudflats, Port of Spain

 

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Waterloo Mudflats

The Waterloo Mudflats are an easily accessible area in Central Trinidad, at the end of a main road. The various species that would be seen in this area include: Little Blue Heron, Large-billed Terns, Ruddy Turnstone, Scarlet Ibis, Black Skimmers, Brown Pelicans, Blue-black Grassquit, Laughing Gull.

 

Bon Accord Wetlands, Tobago
T
he wetlands lie just north of Milford road and adjacent to Pigeon Point. They offered a range of habitats from mangroves fringing the Bon Accord lagoon, to freshwater marsh, drainage channels and four large ponds in the water treatment works. It is an excellent site for waterbirds and waders especially. At the water treatment ponds can usually be seen Great Egrets, Anhingas, Black-crowned Night-herons, Tricoloured Herons,  Green Herons, Snowy Egret, Little Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Black-bellied Whistling-ducks, White-cheeked Pintails, Least Grebe.

 

Some other notable birding spots in Trinidad and Tobago include:

Asa Wright Nature Sanctuary
Pointe-A-Pierre Wildfowl Trust
Trincity Sewerage Treatment Ponds
Aripo Research Station
Nariva
Oropouche Lagoon
Adventure Farm, Tobago
Bon Accord Lagoon, Tobago
Little Tobago Island, off Tobago
Kilgwyn Swamp, Tobago
Main Ridge Forest Reserve, Tobago
Gilpin Trace, Tobago
Mount St. Catherine, Chaguaramas
Chaguaramas peninsula in general

 

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All photographs (unless otherwise stated) are the property of Brian Ramsey. No portion of the material on this site, including the photographs, may be reproduced without the express written consent of Outdoor Business Group Limited and Brian Ramsey. The permission of the other owners of the photographs must also be obtained for use.   

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Last modified: November 11, 2008