|Little Blue Heron|
|Young birders discover a Boat-billed Heron|
|Birders modeling appropriate swamp gear. Note the stylish pants tucked into the socks. This supposedly helps keep chiggers off your body. It didn't work with me.|
|juvenile Purple Gallinule, note the blue shield|
Eventually we boarded our boat and headed down the mangrove highway into the open waters of the swamp. There we'd spy snakes and a few little Silky Anteaters all rolled up into a ball.
|the Trinidad tree boa is a common snake found resting in tree branches above the waters of the mangrove forests, the latin name is Dormilona(the sleeper) or Corallus ruschenbergerii|
As the mangrove opened up to us, I had to make a decision. My mouth dropped wide open. To the left, we spied American Flamingos and on the right, it was Scarlet Ibis city. And in between, there were life birds galore. I didn't know where to begin so I just did my best to document as best as I could. No where on my trip would I see these birds again as they were hidden well within the boundaries of the preserve.
Nelson was our group leader who has a lot of family history here at the Caroni Swamp. His Grandfather proposed to save the wetlands decades ago and was beaten for getting the movement started. People wanted(and continue) to poach this area for food, but the swamp was decimated by locals who had almost destroyed this fragile ecosystem. Sadly, years later, he died from brain injuries. His father continued with the conservation project until his death. And now, Nelson keeps an eye out and works within this very important wetlands. Recently, as of last year, American Flamingos had returned to the swamp. When word got out, all 6 of these rare-to-Trinidad flamingos were shot and killed for their special meat. What meat?! They are not endemic to the islands but they are protected as are the Scarlet Ibis.
|the subtle beauty of a Cocoi Heron|
And because of this government support and his efforts, over 100 hundred American Flamingos have returned to the swamp. I had originally thought that the Scarlet Ibis would steal the show but it was the free Flamingo that stole my heart. Have you ever seen a wild flamingo in flight?
Magis brought a nice cold bottle of rum punch with him and since I was on a boat full of kids, no one really touched the bottle. I let my guard down and just began to relax and watch the incredible show at sunset!
|juvenile Scarlet Ibis|
The scarlet red colors dotting the vibrant green vegetation reminded me of a Christmas tree. Instead of lights, there were red bows.
We parked our canoe boat as two flamingos flew over my head. They were pink batons with wings.
Some were very light pink while others were a darker rosy pink.
Then a huge red flush surrounded us as the Scarlet Ibis went to roost one final time.
As we headed back in the dark, I had a nice buzz. There was one last life bird that we spied on the way back. I thought I had seen this bird before but I took the pics anyway as he hung out near the nest. Come to find out I hadn't seen this bird! So I'm glad I focused a bit. The confusion? The more tropical you go, the more names and hyphens are added.
|Black-throated Mango female|
As we left the shallow waters, I glanced one last time upon these little islands to memorize the landscape. This will most likely be the last time I ever visit this place in my lifetime. I hope it stays protected and beautiful forever. For my reports, click on the "here" button for more pictures of birds not mentioned in this post.
For the new sewage treatment coordinates, click here.
For Caroni Swamp, click here.
In next week's report, we'll explore some of the superstars of the Trinidad birding world.