At vantage points where there are breaks in the forest you will have a beautiful view of the valley below you, and the mountain range as it spreads before you. As this area is the windward side of the Northern Range there are serious up drafts. Cruising on these up drafts are several Swifts, Vultures, and birds of prey, such as Ornate Hawk-Eagles, Gray Hawks, and Black Hawks.
Drive down to the North Coast at Blanchisseuse and have a lovely lunch there in a restaurant near to the beach. After that take a short time to relax. Then do some birding along the Marianne river mouth where you may see a Silvered Antbird or a Green Kingfisher. Absorb the beauty of Trinidad’s rugged North Coast as you see Pelicans, Terns, and the Magnificent Frigatebird.
Ease your way back on the Arima/Blanchisseuse Road, along the way stop at any opportune place to see any birds that may appear as they do their evening feeding.
· CARONI WETLANDS:
Head off to the flat lands of central Trinidad. Visit the fragrant but rich in birdlife, Trincity sewer ponds, featuring a huge gathering of herons and shorebirds, Least Grebe, Sandpipers. Then the Caroni rice fields to see many Herons, Egrets, Savanna Hawks, Masked Yellowthroats, Least Bittern, Pintails, Yellow-hooded Blackbirds, Swallows and much more. Here you may also see Ospreys fishing, Caimans cruising, as the beautiful Wattled Jacana hops from lily to lily, along side the exquisite Purple Gallinule. After this we head to Waterloo for lunch and shore birds, lots of Terns, Gulls, Whimbrils, Skimmers and the like.
Spend the evening in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. A sturdy boat will take you through the swamp, where you will see many beautiful birds, such as Snowy Egrets, several types of Herons, and possibly a Common Potoo or a Rail. If you are lucky you may see a Silky Anteater or a Tree Boa. With the setting sun, the boat stops as thousands of the exquisite Scarlet Ibis fly overhead to land in a clump of red mangrove trees to roost for the night. A never to be forgotten spectacle! Not to be overlooked are Green Kingfishers, Bicolored Conebill, and Neotropic Cormorant.
The walks are easy and a sturdy boat will carry you through the swamp.
Located deep in the rainforests of Trinidad’s Northern Range, on the Marianne River, five miles from Blanchisseuse, Avocat is a small agricultural community where you park and access the Marianne River. At Avocat instead of going straight to the Marianne River head off into the forest. This trail is a circuit where we hike over some short hills to see and experience the forest and its wildlife, firsthand. While walking you will see, experience and learn of the natural history of this magnificent rainforest. Highlights will be seeing leafcutter ants, termites and beetles at work while Emperor and other butterflies flit by. Forest birds such as Trogons, Honeycreepers and Manakins at their lek are abundant. The trail leads to an enchanting stream with an abundance of anthuriums and heliconias on its banks, it will take us to the Marianne River.
The walk ends at a gorgeous seventy-foot waterfall, where a revitalizing swim in the small pool at the base of the falls is our objective. Relax while getting a natural drumming massage as you sit at the base of the falls.
The walk is about one and quarter hours in and is fairly easy. An easy 30-minute walk in the enchanting Marianne River through forest is the way out.
Head off along the North Coast to Blanchisseuse. At the mouth of the Marianne River where the placid river waters meet the turbulent waters of the Caribbean Sea board either single or double kayaks. This part of the river is tidal and is used by many marine creatures as a spawning or hiding ground. As you glide along, gentle breezes blow around you carrying Swifts and Swallows dashing about collecting insects on the wing. Further into the river system impossibly long bamboos arc over your head spilling into the river. As you navigate around obstacles in the river Kingfishers, Silvered Antbirds and Sandpipers flit about, Mullet and Gobies swim away and crabs dive into their holes as they see the strange looking creatures (that’s you) invade their habitat.
Travelling deeper into the forest the river gets shallower as you move from pool to pool and eventually we have to stop kayaking and start walking. While walking, view and learn about the flora, fauna and history of the rain forest. You will see many enchanting birds of the forest such as the Golden Headed Manakin (displaying for their mates), Woodpeckers, Greenlets, and all sorts of wonderfully interesting insects.
This kayak is fairly easy and in very calm water. Departure from your hotel is between 8:00am, and return between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. For those coming from Tobago, I suggest that you take the first flight in at 7:00am and return on the 8:00pm flight to Tobago.
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