The roosters have been crowing since 430am. I did not get much sleep, I was excited about the day ahead. So I got up, showered and packed my camera bag, then sat outside on the balcony, as I watched out towards the Gulf of Paria as the night transitioned to daybreak.
Today’s adventure: I introduce my family to birding, I took them on a road trip to the Asa Wright Nature Center. This would be my family’s first trip to the nature center and an introduction to birding.
The main house at Asa Wright Nature Center was constructed over 100 years ago by Charles William Meyer who built it with hardwood grown on the estate. The Center is named in honour of Asa Gudmundsdottir Wright, an Icelander who migrated to Trinidad in the 1940s with her husband, Henry Newcome Wright. The couple spent their retirement years amid Spring Hill Estate’s fields of cocoa, coffee and citrus with its clean, fresh air. Asa Wright Nature Centre was established in 1967 with the mission to “protect part of the Arima Valley in a natural state and to create a conservation and study area for the protection of wildlife and for the enjoyment of all.” The grounds are home to a visitor center and nature lodge “Spring Hill Estate” the conservatory of approximately 2.03 sq miles of forested land in the Northern Range along the Arima and Aripo valleys.
The Nature Centre’s land is legally protected and will be retained under forest cover in perpetuity for the conservation and preservation of the natural life that it supports and for the enjoyment of all future generations. Logging, hunting, squatting and quarrying are strictly forbidden to ensure that the land remains a safe habitat for wildlife.
Spring Hill is home to over 170 species of birds including 14 species of hummingbirds, as well as various mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
The green honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza) is a small bird in the tanager family. It is found in the tropical New World from southern Mexico south to Brazil, and on Trinidad. It is the only member of the genus Chlorophanes.
White-bearded Manakin (Manacus manacus) is a widespread species in northern South America from Colombia to northern Argentina. Males of the species gather at communal leks to display for females.
The only bellbird resident on the island of Trinidad, the male Bearded Bellbird is arguably the most exquisite and bizarre of the four species of Procnias. The display songs of the male Bearded Bellbird are very loud and ventriloquial, as is typical of the genus. The primary song is a single note.
Click the play button below to hear the vocalization:
This tanager is endemic to South America; its range stretches from Eastern Colombia and Venezuela south to Paraguay and Central Brazil. They are also found on Trinidad – the southernmost island in the Caribbean.
The Purple Honeycreeper, Cyanerpes caeruleus, is a small bird in the tanager family. It is found in the tropical New World from Colombia and Venezuela south to Brazil, and Trinidad. A few, possibly introduced birds have been recorded in Tobago.
The Trinidadian variety C. c. longirostris has a longer bill than the mainland forms. The call of Purple Honeycreeper is a thin high-pitched zree.
From a birding/photographer’s perspective, Asa Wright Nature Center did not disappoint.
Until the next adventure and thank you for stopping by!
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