Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Christmas Ornaments

In a previous post I noted that I had visited Trinidad and Tobago. Patty and I left on December 22nd and returned on December 31st. We were on Trinidad form the 22nd to the 28th, transferring that day to Tobago. After three days on Tobago we returned to Trinidad to return home.

While on Trinidad we stayed at the Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge, which is nestled in the Northern Range rain forest. We had signed up for a tour and were met at the airport by the Center staff and taken to the lodge to relax and enjoy the grounds.

The lodge has a veranda that overlooks the rain forest valley. More importantly, it overlooks a number of bird feeders which attract a bewildering number of colorful birds. Having never been birding in the tropics before it really was overwhelming.

And since we were there at Christmastime, and the birds were so colorful, and in trees, I saw it as a large Christmas tree with the birds as the ornaments.

So here are some of the ornaments. Look at them, noting the differences between sexes in the same species. And then imagine you're seeing all of them at the same time, flitting about, trying to make sense of it all. And that you woke up at 3:00 am to make your flight. and that with one exception, you've never seen any of these birds before.

Without the staff at the lodge, pointing out the different birds, it would have been impossible to make sense of it all.

Female Silver-beaked Tanager

Male Silver-beaked Tanager

Male Green Honeycreeper

Female Green Honeycreeper

Juvenile Green Honeycreeper

Male Purple Honeycreeper

Female Purple Honey Creeper

Juvenile Purple Honeycreeper

Crested Oropendola


Grey-fronted Dove

Golden-headed Manakin
(Manakins are the "Moon Walking" Birds)

White-bearded Manakin

White-necked Jacobin

Tufted Coquette
(The 2nd smallest Hummingbird on Earth)

White-chested Emerald

White-chested Emerald
(Note the apparent color difference base on how the light hits the feathers)

Cooper-rumped Hummingbird

Green Hermit

Great Kiskadee

Blue-grey Tanager

Green-backed Trogon

Tropical Mockingbird
(Even the familiar is different)

Male Violaceous Euphonia

Female Violaceous Euphonia

Female White-lined Tanager

Male White-lined Tanager

Turquoise Tanager

Trinidad Motmot

Female Barred Antshrike

Male Barred Antshrike

Spectacled Thrush

Northern Waterthrush
(The one bird I had seen before this trip)

Not everything was close, but they were still in view of the veranda.

Orange-winged Parrot
(These were very noisy, and would fly in very close but always land on the other side of the tree!)

Channel Billed Toucans
(These birds never came close)


This is not a complete list of what we saw at Asa Wright, as I wasn't able to shoot them all! On the trip overall I saw 186 species, 146 of which were life birds.

And what a civilized way to go about it. The veranda at Asa Wright had a bar, comfy chairs, a staff calling out any new arrivals, coffee in the morning, tea and pastries at three everyday, and the complimentary rum punch at seven each evening.

If they could just something about that humidity!

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