“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.”
“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.”
2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the famed Asa Wright Nature Centre, and we are so excited! We can think of no better way to commemorate this incredible milestone than by celebrating with author Scott Weidensaul in a style that is completely in sync with the mission of this unique non-profit: Inviting YOU to visit, learn, bird, and enjoy — Trini-style!
So, what could be better than a late-winter trip to Trinidad and Tobago? How about a late-winter trip to this warm, bird-full island nation with a birding celebrity? Author, researcher, and educator Scott Weidensaul visits the Asa Wright Nature Centre March 18 – 25, 2017, and you’re invited to join him. Continue reading Join Scott Weidensaul at the Asa Wright Nature Centre→
We came to the Asa Wright Nature Centre for the birds, but little did we know we were in for a sweet treat — a chocolate making demonstration!
A guest blog post by Kimberly Vetter.
Do you like chocolate? I know I do and was pleasantly surprised when I learned I would be visiting a bona fide cacao farm during my stay at Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad for a chocolate making demonstration. (A special treat, this agro-tour is a regular feature on Caligo Venture’s all-day Blanchisseuse Road field trip in the Northern Range.) Although the island country has been growing cacao for more than 100 years, it was only recently that local growers started making actual chocolate. Continue reading Chocolate Making at Brasso Seco Paria→
Asa Wright Nature Centre: Where the birding is only surpassed by the staff.
By guest blogger Kimberly Vetter
Let me start with a disclaimer: I am a casual birder. I enjoy adding new finds to my life list and I don’t mind going the extra mile to do so as long as I have a guide to help me – OK hold my hand – along the way.
I guess the format of 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 and document the number of species you see or hear. This year, the event took place on the weekend of 8 – 9 October. We chose the Saturday. Continue reading The Big Sit! 2016 at the AWNC→
By Martyn Kenefick, author of Birds of Trinidad & Tobago
Once again it was time to participate in The Big Sit! at the Asa Wright Nature Centre verandah. Last October, the sometimes lonely vigil was maintained by Ann and myself, with occasional help from other members of staff. This year we were joined by Conservation Officer Kimberly and had periodic help from trail guides Mukesh, Barry, Brandon, and Elsa together with visitors Dan and Danielle from Massachusetts and not forgetting continual encouragement from the 26 member contingent of Saw Mill River Audubon Society, New York. We certainly were not lonely. Continue reading The Big Sit! 2015 at the Asa Wright Nature Centre→
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