All posts by Caligo Ventures

Our Trinidad and Tobago Birding Guides found 237 species in the “Off Season”

Their eBird Checklist Collaboration with Caligo Ventures Was a Win-Win-Win

Our Trinidad and Tobago birding guides found 237 species of birds in August & September during a win-win-win collaboration with Caligo Ventures that also benefits birders everywhere. They submitted 20 eBird checklists representing two dozen birding hotspots throughout the islands.

“We should all be encouraged by this outcome and for the impressive numbers of birds which we now know can be seen during what we generally consider our off season; including dozens of rarities and even a few lifers,” wrote Jason Radix, our longtime lead guide for Tobago, who coordinated the eBird checklist project. “This update can now be used as a reference list for future bird watching tours.”

To see what they saw on these unique and gorgeous islands, join one of Caligo Ventures’ guided group tours to Trinidad and Tobago.

Helping our guides cope with a loss of tourism income was the primary motivation for Caligo Ventures’ owner and founder of Naturalist Journeys Peg Abbott to create the eBird checklist incentive program. In a COVID-induced lull in eco-tourism she paid the guides a modest monthly stipend to keep getting out in the field and to keep their birding skills sharp, while contributing to important citizen science.

It is a bonus that their eBird checklists will be a great encouragement to birders who have begun to return to the just-opened country, as they demonstrate that a great variety of birds continue to proliferate in Trinidad and Tobago, even in what’s considered off-season. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the country shut to tourism for a long 16 months, during which, UNESCO named Northeast Tobago a Man and the Biosphere Reserve, underscoring just how precious it is to biodiversity.

In all, our guides visited more than two-dozen birding hotspots and submitted 20 eBird checklists. 

Surprising them both, our longtime Trinidad and Tobago birding guides actually recorded life birds during the project: Our Tobago expert Jason Radix saw his first Bran-colored Flycatcher, after many years of birding the islands, and Lester Nanan, a third-generation eco-tourism pioneer in Trinidad, saw his first Hook-billed Kite.

Their eBird checklists are especially important in the absence of reports from visiting birdwatchers. This bird data drought was observed all over the world, as described recently in the journal Biological Conservation, not only with birds but for all user-dependent collaborative nature data collection.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 followed by stay-at-home orders have definitely affected the quantity and quality of data collected by participants,” according to lead author Wesley Hochachka, a researcher at the Cornell Lab quoted in an article about the study on eBird’s website.

Studying eBird checklist data from New York, Spain, Portugal and California, “​​(o)ne of the biggest changes they noted was in the type of habitat the reports were coming from,” eBird wrote in its piece, Pandemic-related Changes in Birding may have Consequences for eBird Research. “With more people at home, more people reported birds around urban areas…Less common habitats, such as wetlands, may then be under-sampled because restrictions on human travel make it less likely that birdwatchers will go there.”

Our guides not only traveled to wetlands but to all the varied habitats our guests get to experience on our tours in Trinidad and Tobago. Below, enjoy descriptions of those habitats and see galleries representing the many wonderful birds that can be seen even in the “off season” with Trinidad and Tobago birding.

Caroni Swamp

In Caroni National Park, we moor up at a quiet spot in the mangroves to let the sunset show begin. Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of Scarlet Ibis cloud the sky as they fly in to roost, an experience you won’t soon forget.

Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Scarlet Ibis
Scarlet Ibis. Photo Credit: Hugh Simmons Photography
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Mask Cardinal
Masked Cardinal. Photo Credit: Hugh Simmons Photography
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Common Potoo
Common Potoo. Photo Credit: Carlos Sanchez

Waterloo

The best area for finding shorebirds in Trinidad is the extensive area of tidal mudflats along the west coast—an area locally known as “Waterloo”. We plan our departure time with tides in mind. Of significant interest are birds arriving from mainland South America.

Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Laughing Gull
Laughing Gulls. Photo Credit: Terry Peterson
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer. Photo Credit: Peg Abbott
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper. Photo Credit: Terry Peterson
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Tricolored Heron.
Tricolored Heron. Photo Credit: Mike Boyce
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Osprey
Osprey in flight. Photo Credit: Mike Boyce

Nariva Swamp

We bird the swamp formed where the Nariva River reaches the sea; freshwater environments of herbaceous swamp and mangrove swamp forest make for spectacular birding. This is a very full day with many stops and the discovery of species found nowhere else on the island.

Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Savannah Hawk
Savannah Hawks. Photo Credit Peg Abbott
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Yellow-hooded Blackbird.
Yellow-hooded Blackbird. Photo Credit Sandy Sorkin
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule. Photo Credit: Carlos Sanchez
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Pied Water Tyrant
Pied Water-Tyrant. Photo Credit: Mike Boyce
Pinnated Bittern. Photo Credit: Dave Ramlal

Yerette

We visit the hummingbird retreat called Yerettê, “Home of the Hummingbird.” Located in the Maracas Valley, this private home and lush garden attracts up to fourteen of the eighteen species of hummingbirds found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including White-tailed Sabrewing
White-tailed Sabrewing. Photo Credit: Peg Abbott
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Long-billed Starthroat
Long-billed Starthroat. Photo Credit: Hugh Simmons Photography
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Ruby Topaz.
Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. Photo Credit: Hugh Simmons Photography
Copper-rumped Hummingbird. Photo Credit: Buck Nelson
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Blue-Chinned Sapphire
Blue-chinned Sapphire. Photo Credit: Hugh Simmons Photography

Aripo/Arena Forest

A remnant of a once major lowland habitat, the seasonally-wet Aripo Savannah is surrounded by sugar cane fields. We explore the tropical birds unique to this habitat, as well as the distinctive flora that has adapted to the savannah’s harsh conditions—alternating from wet to dry.

Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Striated Heron.
Striated Heron. Photo Credit: Mike Boyce
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Red-bellied Macaw
Red-bellied Macaw. Photo Credit: Peg Abbott
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Orange-winged Macaw
Orange-winged Macaws (r) with bonus Yellow-crowned Parrot. Photo Credit: Hugh Simmons Photography
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Collared Trogon.
Collared Trogon. Photo Credit: Robert Martinez

Main Ridge Forest Reserve

We visit the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, tracing the spine of Tobago. Founded in 1776 and considered the first forest reserve created for a conservation purpose, it’s a great place to find furtive species.

Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Blue-backed Manakin.
Male (left) and female Blue-backed Manakin. Photo Credit: Mike Boyce
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist includingTrinidad Motmot.
Trinidad Motmot. Photo Credit: Mukesh Ramdass
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Olivaceous Woodcreeper. Photo Credit
Olivaceous Woodcreeper. Photo Credit: Cristina Heins
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including White-tailed Sabrewing
White-tailed Sabrewing. Photo Credit: Peg Abbott
Trinidad and Tobago birding can produce an impressive eBird checklist including Yellow-legged Thrush
Yellow-legged Thrush. Photo Credit: Dave Ramlal

Full List of Birds:

Little Tinamou
Common Ground Dove
Ruddy Ground Dove
White-tipped Dove
Eared Dove
Pale-vented Pigeon
Gray-fronted Dove
Scaled Pigeon
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Scaly-naped Pigeon
Ringed Kingfisher
American Pygmy Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Green Heron
Striated Heron
Tricolored Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White-bearded Manakin
Golden-headed Manakin
Blue-backed Manakin
Striped Cuckoo
Squirrel Cuckoo
Smooth-billed Ani
Greater Ani
Osprey
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
White Hawk
Common Black Hawk
Zone-tailed Hawk
Savanna Hawk
Gray-lined Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Great Black Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Yellow-headed Caracara
Plumbeous Kite
Long-winged Harrier
Apolmado Falcon
Pearl Kite
Crane Hawk
Hook-billed Kite
Black-hawk Eagle
Tropical Pewee
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Olive-striped Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Gray Kingbird
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Forest Elaenia
Bran-coloured Flycatcher
Slaty-capped Flycatcher
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Euler’s Flycatcher
White-throated Spadebill 
Streaked Flycatcher
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Fuscous Flycatcher
Sulphury Flycatcher
Bran-colored Flycatcher
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Trinidad Motmot
Wilson’s Snipe
Western Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs
Wattled Jacana
Southern Lapwing
Ruddy Turnstone
Willet
Whimbrel
Stilt Sandpiper
Semipalmated Plover
American Golden-Plover
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Sanderling
Black-necked Stilt
Masked Cardinal
American Flamingo
Scarlet Ibis
Hudsonian Godwit
Rufous-vented Chachalaca
White-headed Marsh Tyrant
Pied Water-Tyrant
Green-backed Trogon
Guianan Trogon
Collared Trogon
Magnificent Frigatebird
Brown Pelican
Red-billed Tropicbird
Laughing Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Large-billed Tern
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Bridled Tern
Yellow-billed Tern
Common Tern
Gull-billed Tern
Brown Noddy
Brown Booby
Red-footed Booby 
Audubon’s Shearwater
Black Skimmer
Bicolored Conebill
Bananaquit
Blue Dacnis
Turquoise Tanager
Bay-headed Tanager
Swallow Tanager
Speckled Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Hepatic Tanager
White-lined Tanager
Silver-beaked Tanager
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager
White-shouldered Tanager
Trinidad Euphonia
Violaceous Euphonia
Purple Honeycreeper
Green Honeycreeper
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Grassland Yellow-Finch
Saffron Finch
Blue-black Grassquit
Blue-faced Grassquit
Sooty Grassquit
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater
Tricolored Munia 
Common Waxbill
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Red-rumped Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Red-crowned Woodpecker
Lilac-tailed Parrotlet
Green-rumped Parrotlet
Orange-winged Parrot
Blue-headed Parrot
Red-bellied Macaw
Bearded Bellbird
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
White-cheeked Pintail
Tropical Mockingbird
White-necked Jacobin
Rufous-breasted Hermit
Green Hermit
Little Hermit
Copper-rumped Hummingbird
White-chested Emerald
Ruby-topaz Hummingbird
Black-throated Mango
Blue-chinned Sapphire
Green-throated Mango
White-tailed Goldenthroat
Gray-breasted Martin
Caribbean Martin
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
White-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow 
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift
Band-rumped Swift
Gray-rumped Swift
Short-tailed Swift
Masked Yellowthroat
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Golden-fronted Greenlet
Scrub Greenlet
Chivi Vireo
Tropical Parula
Golden-crowned Warbler
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
Long-billed Gnatwren
House Wren
Rufous-breasted Wren
Grayish Saltator
Olivaceous/Blue-gray Saltator
Plain Antvireo
White-bellied Antbird
Black-faced Antthrush
Black-crested Antshrike
Barred Antshrike
White-fringed Antwren
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Olivaceous Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Channel-billed Toucan
Least Grebe
Anhinga
Limpkin
Pinnated Bittern
Least Bittern
Blue-and-yellow Macaw
Tropical Mockingbird
Cocoa Thrush
White-necked Thrush
Spectacled Thrush
Northern Waterthrush
Yellow-chinned Spinetail
Pale-breasted Spinetail
Striped-breasted Spinetail
Streaked Xenops
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Barn Owl
Sora 
Grey-necked Wood Rail
Yellow-breasted Crake
Red-breasted Meadowlark
Yellow-rumped Cacique
Yellow Oriole
Giant Cowbird
Carib Grackle
Yellow-hooded Blackbird
Shiny Cowbird
Crested Oropendola

TOBAGO ECOTOURISM GETS A PRESTIGIOUS BOOST WITH UNESCO BIOSPHERE RESERVE DESIGNATION

Northeast Tobago Earns Valuable ‘Man and the Biosphere’ Recognition

Last October, as Trinidad and Tobago were in the midst of a 16-month COVID-19 lockdown, UNESCO declared a large swath of Northeast Tobago a “Man and the Biosphere” reserve, a prestigious designation that is expected to help the tourism sector recover and continue to develop sustainably.

“By joining the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the community aims to revitalize cultural and spiritual bonds between people and nature and boost the preservation of this fragile and remarkable human and natural landscape,” UNESCO wrote in its declaration.

One of now 714 UNESCO Nature Reserves, among Caribbean sites only Guadalupe Island’s reserve is larger.

Fifteen communities and 10,000 people live inside the massive terrestrial and marine reserve, which envisions them working sustainably to develop Tobago while preserving its biodiversity.

Of course nature tourists, and especially birders, knew all about Trinidad and Tobago’s natural wonders well before the UNESCO biosphere designation. Caligo Ventures guests have been coming to Trinidad and Tobago for decades, and we’ve long worked with trusted local partners to sustainably explore areas inside the new biosphere boundaries.

Both our 10-day Classic and 12-day Ultimate 2-Island tours visit the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, one of the most compelling natural features cited in the UNESCO designation. The marine portion of the UNESCO nature reserve also encircles Little Tobago, where our guests discover awesome pelagics like the Magnificent Frigatebird, Red-billed Tropicbird and many others.

Red-billed Tropicbird

Forming the spine at the heart of Tobago, Main Ridge is famously the oldest protected tropical rainforest in the world, older even than the United States. It is home to 210 species of birds, according to UNESCO, “the most outstanding being the bird species Campylopterus ensipennis – the White-tailed Sabrewing Hummingbird – that is both rare and endemic to Tobago.”

The White-Tailed Sabrewing is a Tobago endemic that lives in the newly designated UNESCO nature reserve.
White-tailed Sabrewing. Photo Credit: Peg Abbott

As other Caribbean Islands saw forests clear cut for sugarcane plantations during the colonial period, in 1776, Main Ridge was set aside “for the purpose of attracting frequent showers of rain upon which the fertility of lands in these climates doth entirely depend.”

It was the culmination of an 11-year lobbying campaign by an enlightened member of Parliament, Soame Jenyns, who was influenced by the work of English scientist Stephen Hales linking rainfall and forests.

The protection was remarkable, but sadly an outlier. Only 10 percent of Caribbean forests remain intact, noted UNESCO in its biosphere reserve designation.

Although Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest nations in the Caribbean, its tourism sector is much smaller and less developed than its neighbors.

The Caribbean is often called “the most tourism dependent region in the world,” with 14 percent of collective GDP generated by visitors. By contrast, just 2 to 3 percent of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy comes from tourism, while 40 percent of GDP and 80 percent of exports are tied to vast fossil fuel deposits, including oil and natural gas.

The hope and the expectation is that the UNESCO nature reserve designation will help focus more investment not just in sustainable tourism, but in diversified industries that are compatible with protecting its biodiversity.

“Some of the expected benefits to Trinidad and Tobago include the generation of sustainable green and blue economic activities beyond tourism, including fisheries, agriculture, cultural heritage promotion, scientific research and education, among others,” according to the UNESCO nature reserve declaration.

Below, longtime guide Jason Radix speaks about the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, and the birds we expect to see there.

Embiids at the Asa Wright Nature Centre

Asa Wright Nature Centre Board Member, Raymond Mendez, delivers a fascinating insight into Embiids, or Webspinners – often found at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad.

Embiids in Trinidad
Embiids by Raymond Mendez

“I first became aware of Embiids or Webspinners in Trinidad, at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, where tree trunks are often covered with their homes. The top webs make a protective covering for the silk tunnels that the adults run, breed, and feed under. A web spinner is actually what Spider-Man should have been!

They shoot silk from their front legs, just like he does in the movies. The females are wingless and primitively social in that they care for their young; the young live in the mother’s web system until they are almost adults.”

Embiids in Trinidad
Adventures from the Asa Wright Nature Centre

“The male Embiids at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, or Webspinners are a different story. They have wings, fly, and search out the females’ webs. They are small, dark individuals reminiscent of termites. When they land on the web, they have to make an opening and dig into the system at high speed. Looking a lot like termites during mating flights, the little fellows are prone to becoming someone’s meal. The most fascinating part of his adaptations is the ability (remember he has to catch the female to mate) to run as fast backwards as forwards. However, his wings might catch in the web and the female would get away. To compensate, his wings are hinged in the middle, and he can fold them over his head so they don’t slow him down. If he runs forward they just flip back.”

caligo.com | info@caligo.com | (520) 558-7781

Global Big Day 2020 from the Asa Wright Nature Centre

Global Big Day was a little different at the Asa Wright Nature Centre during the current global pandemic. AWNC board member Martyn Kenefick, describes his eventful experience below.

Martyn at the Asa Wright Nature Centre
Author Martyn Kenefick at the Asa Wright Nature Centre
Global pandemic restrictions and social distancing—how could I match the two on Global Big Day?

Fortunately, I am on the Board of the Asa Wright Nature Centre here in Trinidad. In the last few weeks, it has become my 2nd home. So on the Global Big Day 2020, together with a couple of fellow Board members, between us we census’d for just under 14 hours—always keeping at least 10 feet apart, some walking trails, others watching from the verandah. And how did we do? A magnificent 84 species were seen and heard, including more than a couple of surprises!

Bearded Bellbird at the Asa Wright Nature Centre Global Big Day 2020
Bearded Bellbird by Doug Greenberg

It started well before dawn, when I walked up into a clearing—the top parking lot for those of you who know our geography at the Centre. Mottled, Spectacled and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls were all making occasional noise together, with a Common Potoo, and a couple of Little Tinamou.

Tufted Coquette at the Asa Wright Nature Centre Global Big Day 2020
Tufted Coquette by Doug Greenberg
Table feeders were stocked with fruit, and hummingbird feeders with sugar water, so we settled down to begin the daylight vigil.

During the day, hummingbirds were obviously a major attraction. We found 11 species, including males of Ruby Topaz and Tufted Coquette, a couple of Brown Violetears, and a quick stop and drink by a timid Long-billed Starthroat. A fruiting Ficus tree, just off of the verandah, played host to continual visits of both Turquoise and Bay-headed Tanagers and a couple of Guianan Trogons.

Ruby Topaz at the Asa Wright Nature Centre Global Big Day 2020
Ruby Topaz by Doug Greenberg

Bearded Bellbirds were perched out in the open. Surprisingly Channel-billed Toucans, which are so often very conspicuous, were shy by comparison. My colleagues walked down to our Oilbird cave to carry out the monthly census. 18 birds on Global Big Day, which, bearing in mind this has been a very harsh dry season, is a respectable total. They also heard both Gray-throated Leaftosser and Black-faced Antthrush.

Oilbird at the Asa Wright Nature Centre Global Big Day 2020
Oilbird by Doug Greenberg
It took a while for birds of prey to enjoy the warm air.

We started off with a pair of White Hawks soaring over the valley and a dark morph Short-tailed Hawk. A very noisy adult Black Hawk-Eagle repeatedly drifted over the Main House. Then, our only ‘non-birder’ Board Member pointed out the best raptor view, if not quite the best raptor of the day. Flying at eye level and closing to no more than 25 metres from us was a superb Swallow-tailed Kite.

Swallow-tailed Kite at the Asa Wright Nature Centre Global Big Day 2020
Swallow-tailed Kite by Greg Smith

Obviously, the middle of the day heat takes its toll on both birds and birders alike. But the vigil was more or less maintained, and we were rewarded with an immature male Swallow Tanager appearing in a Yellow Poui tree. This is a scarce breeding visitor to Trinidad, and one we do not find on the estate every year.

By mid-afternoon, resolve was waning and a couple of us were half-heartedly trying to identify silhouetted Chaetura swifts flying distantly in the valley below—a tough and often thankless task even when you are wide awake. By 4.00 p.m., the others left.

Turquoise Tanager at the Asa Wright Nature Centre Global Big Day 2020
Turquoise Tanager by Doug Greenberg
The valley looked magnificent in the late afternoon sun.

At around 5.30 p.m., my attention was drawn to a noise I hadn’t heard at the Asa Wright Nature Centre for weeks. A party of some 10 Lilac-tailed Parrotlets had descended into a Mango tree. I was able to watch them (frame filling my telescope) delicately clean their bills on bare snags for about 10 minutes.

As the light began to fade, I decided to return to the top parking lot, hoping a Short-tailed Nighthawk would make at least a fly by. Unfortunately, no such luck. However, all of a sudden, a Bat Falcon flew straight towards me. It swooped down and then reappeared with a bat in its talons. Less than five minutes later, it, or its mate, did exactly the same thing and was again successful.

Bat Falcon at the Asa Wright Nature Centre
Bat Falcon by Hugh Simmons Photography

Then the darkness set in on the annual Global Big Day. It all started with a Little Tinamou mournfully wailing and it ended in same manner. Boy, that bottle of beer tasted good! I cannot wait for the world to return to some form of normality so that others can share this beautiful place.

Written by Martyn Kenefick, author of Birds of Trinidad & Tobago

caligo.com | info@caligo.com | (520) 558-7781

Asa Wright Nature Centre with David Allen Sibley

Renowned field guide author and illustrator David Allen Sibley spent time with Caligo Ventures’ groups at the Asa Wright Nature Centre to celebrate the Centre’s 50th Anniversary.

A special thanks to Carol Comeau, who hosted the two groups and Steve Wolfe who photographed the birds and the good times throughout the week. Thank you to Carol and Steve who worked together to write this guest blog. And finally, thank you to David Allen Sibley for joining us at the Centre. Continue reading Asa Wright Nature Centre with David Allen Sibley

The Big Sit: October 7, 2017

Every year, a group of locals and travelers participate in The Big Sit at the Asa Wright Nature Centre.

The Big Sit
“Sitting” on the Asa Wright Nature Centre’s Verandah by Jeane Azen

Birdwatcher’s Digest‘s The Big Sit! worldwide bird survey is pretty well known by now. On one designated day every year, you bird-watch from dawn till dusk at one particular site, never straying outside of a five meter radius, documenting the number of species you see or hear.

This year, like many other years, field guide author Martyn Kenefick participated in The Big Sit. Caligo Venture‘s group was lucky enough to be at the Centre during the event … the following is Martyn’s account of the big day.

Continue reading The Big Sit: October 7, 2017

Birding Trinidad at the Asa Wright Nature Centre

Long-time friends of Caligo Ventures’ owner Peg Abbott enjoy birding Trinidad on their first trip to the Asa Wright Nature Centre.

Birding Trinidad
Carol & John Exploring

By Guest Bloggers Carol Comeau & John Roser

For several years, we have been encouraged by friends to visit the Asa Wright Nature Center located in the Arima Valley of Trindad’s Northern Range. We finally had the opportunity to enjoy birding Trinidad and booked a 5-night Independent Birding Venture (IBV) through Caligo Ventures in April of 2017, and we found it to be one of the best trips we have taken. We appreciated how easy it was to make our travel arrangements. We booked our flights, and Caligo Ventures took care of the rest. To prepare, we received a detailed clothing and gear recommendation list, a bird list, and luggage tags. After flying to Trinidad from California, it was wonderful to arrive in Port of Spain and be warmly greeted at the airport by Asa Wright Nature Centre staff. Continue reading Birding Trinidad at the Asa Wright Nature Centre

Custom Birding Tours to Belize

Did you know? Caligo Ventures offers custom birding tours to Belize and other Central American countries.

Custom Birding Tours
Chan Chich Lodge, courtesy chanchich.com

Caligo Ventures is best known as the exclusive North American booking agent for the world-famous Asa Wright Nature Centre on Trinidad. But did you know that Caligo also arranges custom birding tours — we call them Independent Birding Ventures — to not only Trinidad and Tobago, but also to many other Central American countries like Belize.

Continue reading Custom Birding Tours to Belize

How did you begin your birding hobby?

Caligo Ventures‘ client Sandy Sorkin details how he began his birding hobby.

A birding hobby has to start somewhere … and we know that often a casual birding hobby can become more of a lifestyle! Below is a guest blog by one of our long-time clients, Sandy Sorkin, all about how he got his start birding. And for Sandy, his birding hobby couples with his love of photography (a bonus for us!). Read on to hear Sandy’s start up story and to see some of his stunning photos.

Continue reading How did you begin your birding hobby?

Edward Rooks is Artist in Residence at Asa Wright Nature Centre

Join Trinidadian artist Edward Rooks for a week of wildlife and creativity at the Asa Wright Nature Centre.

Edward Rooks
Janice Edgerly-Rooks & Edward Rooks, courtesy Edward Rooks

Indulge your creative side with a special art and nature learning vacation this June! Going a step beyond our well-known Trinidad tropical nature and birding tours, Caligo Ventures has designed an in-depth summer session with June’s Artist in Residence Edward Rooks to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Asa Wright Nature Centre.
Continue reading Edward Rooks is Artist in Residence at Asa Wright Nature Centre