Thursday, 18 August 2016

Trinidad & Tobago Birding Trip 2016 - Day 1- Monday August 1st

Day 1 August 1st

Palm Tanager - Thraupis palmarum

Birding started even before the airplane stopped.  Cattle Egrets were on a fence on the grass fields around the runway; next I saw my first lifer and one of the most common birds on the island, Ruddy-ground Dove.  This dove resembles our Common Ground Dove but has a more reddish-brown colour.  Other lifers seen were Grey-Breasted Martins, which resembles our female Caribbean Martin, and White-winged Swallows.  Other birds seen at the airport were Great Kiskadee, which is also a very common bird for the island, and two familiar birds namely Carib Grackles and Shiny Cowbirds.
Blue-gray Tanager - Thraupis episcopus

We stayed at a guest house not far from the capital, Port of Spain.  Of course I continued my birding and landed a few more lifers at this location including my first bird of prey, a Zone-tailed Hawk.  This bird was soaring with a kettle of Black Vultures but stood out because of its banded tail.  The other new birds recorded were all lifers.  There were the Black Vulture, Tropical Kingbird, Blue-grey Tanager, the beautiful and colourful, Yellow Oriole and a Crested Oropendola

Spectacled Thrush - Turdus nudigenis
The family and I then spent the day at the local zoo (The Empire State Zoo) and the botanical gardens close by.  The zoo showcased a number of the island’s fauna along with a few imports.  We were mainly interested in seeing the imports especially the Giraffes and the big cats. There I recorded a few more lifers.  I saw for the first time the Spectacled Thrush, an interesting pair of Barred Antshrikes, my first swift for the trip, Fork-tailed Palm Swift, Palm Tanagers and a female White-lined Tanager.

Bat Falcon - Falco rufigularis
After concluding our visit to the Empire Zoo and Botanical gardens we took a stroll around the historic Queen’s Park Savannah, the largest open space in the capital.  The field was littered with Southern Lapwings.  Lapwings of all ages were all over the 260 acre property.  I recorded two lifers on that stroll around the Savannah: my first woodpecker, a Lineated Woodpecker and a Bat Falcon feeding on its prey.  This was the last bird recorded on Day 1.

Number of Species recorded: 26

Number of Lifers recorded: 16

List of birds and Locations

Piarco Airport: Cattle Egret, Ruddy Ground-dove, Great Kiskadee, Gray-breasted Martin, White-winged Swallow, Carib Grackle and Shiny Cowbird.

Maraval : Black Vulture, Zone-tailed Hawk, Tropical Kingbird, Blue-grey Tanager, Yellow Oriole and Crested Oropendola

Empire Zoo and the Royal Botanical Gardens: Striated Heron, Fork-tailed Palm Swift, Orange-winged Parrot, Barred Antshrike, Spectacled Thrush, Tropical Mockingbird, White-lined Tanager, Palm Tanager, Bananaquit.

Queen’s Park Savannah: Southern Lapwing, Smooth-billed Ani, Lineated Woodpecker, and Bat Falcon

Here are some of the images from Day 1

Yellow Oriole - Icterus nigrogularis

Blue-gray Tanager - Thraupis episcopus

White-lined Tanager - Tachyphonus rufus (F)

Barred Antshrike - Thamnophilus doliatus

Spectacled Thrush - Turdus nudigenis

Palm Tanager - Thraupis palmarum

Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus

Ruddy Ground-Dove - Columbina talpacoti

Bat Falcon - Falco rufigularis