Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tobago – wherein we say goodbye to Roger and muck about on our own for 2 days!

Yes, I’m winding down my trip report!  What can I say, we did a lot the time we were there.  You can probably guess, we don’t like sitting around too much!

Our last day with Roger started early-ish (7:30?). We had breakfast on a balcony and found out that Castara Bliss has it’s own habituated birds that visit you in the hopes of a hand out!  Including the Blue crowned Mot-mot that we had worked so hard to see in wild.  It’s always fun to have wild birds come close to you, but there really is something to be said for colorful tropical birds coming the deck railing for bread crumbs!

The itinerary for the day was a whirlwind tour of birding spots of the southwest portion of Tobago before Roger had to catch his flight.  In some ways these are a little hard to describe, but if you are a birder, the areas we went are completely typical.  They included a brief stop at Cuffie River Nature Retreat’s grounds, drainage ditches around Canaan, small bit of mangroves, fishing pier, a sewage lagoon, and Tobago Plantations (which was a swamp, but now is a development – although it looks like they are having uphill work beating nature back!).

A particularly scenic roadside waterway.
A particularly scenic roadside waterway.
On the Tobago Plantations property.  I find this quite hilarious, since part of the development is golf course.  Not being a golfer, I find a lot of humor in the idea of a REAL water hazard!
On the Tobago Plantations property. I find this quite hilarious, since part of the development is golf course. Not being a golfer, I find a lot of humor in the idea of a REAL water hazard!

I got to see a lot of new species of birds in these different areas, including some that are more difficult to see (just because of their behaviour).  As well, Roger parked Scott at the hummingbird feeders at Cuffie River so he could practice shooting really zippy birds!  We saw a few migrants, from North America, who were having a little tropical vacation themselves.

At one of the ditches, we also got to see Roger get super excited (and you may recall he’s an enthusiastic guy) because we happened upon a Glossy Ibis and a Little Egret standing side by side in the ditch.  Which, for you non-birders is pretty fantastic.  Both of these species of waders are considered occasional visitors to TnT, and to see them standing together is a (real) long shot.  Roger was excited about the Little Egret, he was hoping it might be around but didn’t really expect it.  The Little Egret is an “old-world” species (Africa, S Europe, S Asia, with one subspecies in Australia) that seems to be slowly expanding it’s range north and west.  The Ibis flew off rather quickly, but the Egret allowed a few photos (it was very skittish and all shots were done using the car as a blind).

Then, suddenly, it was time for a quick lunch so that Roger could get us back to Castara and he could catch his plane.  Of course, there’s no super highway direct route back, so we got to see even more gorgeous scenery.

The most beautiful view in the world, please don't trash it.  View point over Castara.
The most beautiful view in the world, please don’t trash it. View point over Castara.
View down into Castara Bay.
View down into Castara Bay.
A fruiting palm at the view point.
A fruiting palm at the view point.
Roger and Scott at the Castara Bay viewpoint.
Roger and Scott at the Castara Bay viewpoint.

We spent the last two days exploring Castara, which as i said is very small so this wasn’t onerous. Breakfast on the deck, wander up to the waterfall pool for a swim, more birding and photography, walk some of the hilly streets, try out most of the cafes, live music night with dinner, laze around the beach and swim in the ocean, and enjoy a fantastic steel band on our last night!

Castara Bliss from the soccer field.
Castara Bliss from the soccer field.
Inspiration for the players!
Inspiration for the players!
Before we went on our walk, Scott spotted this Green Heron trying his luck in the stream.
Before we went on our walk, Scott spotted this Green Heron trying his luck in the stream.  (photo by Scott Walker)
We also saw this Red Crowned Woodpecker doing his thing on a snag along the path.
We also saw this male Red Crowned Woodpecker doing his thing on a snag along the path.  (photo Scott Walker)
This is actually my favorite Red crowned Woodpecker shot - I love the action!
This is actually my favorite Red crowned Woodpecker shot – I love the action!  He had been calling.  (photo Scott Walker)
This is the stream that goes through Castara, along the path to the rock pool.
This is the stream that goes through Castara, along the path to the rock pool.
Of course I had to swim in the waterfall pool!
Of course I had to swim in the waterfall pool!
As with many of the villages on Tobago, Castara is a fishing village.  Here they are cleaning out the nets on the larger beach.
As with many of the villages on Tobago, Castara is a fishing village. Here they are cleaning out the nets on the larger beach.
I know, not Scott Walker quality, but I didn't expect to see the Magnificent Frigatebirds right at the beach.  They are such agile fliers, they just swoop down and pick up the fish from the beach without missing a beat.
I know, not Scott Walker quality, but I didn’t expect to see the Magnificent Frigatebirds right at the beach. They are such agile fliers, they just swoop down and pick up the fish from the beach without missing a beat.
This is the smaller beach that we swam at.
This is the smaller beach that we swam at.

But, now it’s time to say good-bye to Castara and TnT!

 

Our last sunset at Castara.
Our last sunset at Castara.

Sigh…..

 

Until next time,

Valerie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tobago!

Well, yes we’ve made it to Tobago.  This was the last 4 days/5 nights of our whirlwind trip to TnT!  As I said before we stayed in Castara, which a small picturesque fishing village.  We arrived after dark the night before, so we didn’t see the view (properly) from our balcony until the next morning:… Continue Reading

Trinidad – Nariva Swamp

As I foreshadowed in the TnT teaser post (here), we had to be off by 5 am so that we could drive across the island to Nariva Swamp.  We did stop for doubles again (yay!) plus we had our nice boxed breakfast from Thanna’s.  Oh, as well, we had to take all of our luggage… Continue Reading

Trinidad – day 1

Alright, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming!  Scott helped me with my technical difficulties with the very large photo files and I’m done the show.  So – let’s talk Trinidad and Tobago! As I mentioned, we found Roger Neckles on the internet and decided that he would be a good choice for a guide… Continue Reading

Come visit on Saturday!

This Saturday (March 15), I’ll be at the Toronto Indie Arts Market Spring Fashion Extravaganza!!  What could be more fun than supporting your local independent artists and updating your spring wardrobe as well.  I can guarantee it will be better than sitting at home watching the snow melt!!   I’ll be taking a range of… Continue Reading