Caroni Swamp

A couple of days ago we had a trip to Caroni Swamp, another bird watchers paradise here in Trindad. But not until we had undertaken a tramp around Bellbird Trail here at Asa Wright. Didn’t seen any bellbirds but we heard plenty of them. But we were lucky to see them yesterday and so here’s a slightly blurry photo of a Bearded Bellbird from yesterday. But at least you can see his beard.

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I’m having a fantastic time here, there is so much to see. But because of this many of the non- bird wildlife is us recorded and the guides are at a loss to tell me what I’ve photographed at times. But that’s not stopping me from asking! Like these beautiful bracket fungi growing on the dead trees.

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The water theme really took off in the afternoon with a trip to Caroni Swamp. Trinidad roads being what they are we had to stop on the way to get the tyres fixed.

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On the way to Caroni Swaps we stopped off to have a look at a power substation where apparently there are lots of birds. But the Challinor Jink worked and the place was deserted! Nothing to be seen for miles.

We finally reached the swamps we were ready for the toilet. The only problem was that the visitor centre and toilets were closed because of a lack of water. ironic in the middle of a swamp. So we pleaded to the security guard to let us in, which he did readily enough, but I think he regretted it as he has to chase everyone out five minutes later. The place was full of stereotypical images of swamps with abandoned and dilapidated boats scattered around.

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I love the mangrove swamps. These areas are fascinating in the variety of life. What does grab me is the way the mangrove trees grow out of the water as if on stilts. Our guide pointed out the three types of mangrove trees that gown on Trinidad. The red mangrove grows with its roots acting as scaffolding poles at it fights to reach the sun.

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The roots of white mangrove are completely different and stick up out of the water like hundreds of needles just above the high water line.

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We were lucky enough to see a lot on our way to see the Scarlet Ibis roost. A highlight was a great view of a Pootoo, which is a nocturnal bird that remains motionless during the day.

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Being a swamp there must be a snake somewhere. And there was. This is a Cook’s Tree Boa.

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However the real delight of the trip was watching the Scarlet Ibis coming into roost at the end of the day. There is a single roost on an island in the swamp, and if the mangrove forest encroaches on this area they move roost. The current roost has been used for the past 5 years or so.

The scarlet colour is obtained from their main food source tree crabs, which seem to be everywhere in the swamp.

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As the Ibis came into to roost and their wings caught the sun the colours were fantastic.

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A great end to the day.

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