As some of you may know, my main introduction to Trinidad came after I won the Don Eckelberry award. My first trip in 2005 really inspired me, I focused on the nature in and around the Asa Wright Nature Center (AWNC), and only got a glimpse of the culture there. Since then I've been experienced a bit more and would like to share some of my thoughts on why I am drawn to the country comprised of two islands, Trinidad and Tobago.
First, the birds! Trinidad and Tobago are just fantastic, it's one of the easiest places to bird watch, they have more species of bird per square mile than any other country in the world!
If you stay at AWNC, you could see over 25 different species of bird from their veranda before you eat breakfast! My first trip I arrived at night, so I didn't really see that much on the drive up from the airport, but I can't express the overwhelming feeling of awe when I opened the door of my room in the morning! Birds of all kinds of colors, thick green leaves blowing in the tropical balmy breezes, vines and flowers, lizards, butterflies... to be honest I almost felt like crying I was so overwhelmed, instead I went right back in the room and immediately dug out my binoculars, camera, bird guide and sketch book and pencil... I thought I don't care what kind of geek I look like, I'm not going to miss anything! When I got to the veranda, I saw that I was not alone, I was among the bird geeks, and felt right at home... we were all pointing out different birds, sipping the organic AWNC home grown coffee, asking "what is that?", and there among people of different nationalities I felt right at home. I saw around 100 new bird species on that trip alone.
I've been going back to Trinidad as frequently as I can ever since, visiting Tobago as well. I just arrived back, and I have a plethora of materials for possible new paintings, the hardest part is deciding what to do first.
T&T Bird Facts:
- There are over 450 birds (including both migratory and residents) in Trinidad and Tobago
- There are 17 species of hummingbirds recorded between both islands: 16 in Trinidad and a different one in Tobago called the White tailed Sabrewing
Photo © Beatrice Bork, White-necked Jacobin and Purple Honeycreeper at a nectar feeder at AWNC