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St Lucia Trinidad and Tobago


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NSY

Jan/Feb 2019

31st Day 1 Fly Manchester to St Lucia (Hotel Fox Grove Inn)

1st Day 2 St Lucia (Fox Grove Inn)

2nd Day 3 St Lucia (Fox Grove Inn) 

3rd Day 5 St Lucia (Fox Grove Inn)

4th Day 6 Fly St Lucia to Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

5th Day 7 Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

6th Day 8 Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

7th Day 9 Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

8th Day 10 Fly Trinidad to Tobago (Blue Water Inn)

9th Day 11 Tobago (Blue Water Inn)

10th Day 12 Fly Tobago to Manchester

 

Day 1 Fly Manchester to St Lucia (Hotel Fox Grove Inn)

Fly Thomas Cook Manchester direct to St Lucia 10.00-17.00 Then we have a short ½ hour transfer to Fox Grove Inn. The Inn looks in need of TLC but is in a nice spot. The owners Esther and Franz & staff are very helpful & the food is excellent 

 

Day 2 St Lucia (Fox Grove Inn)

Mamiku gardens & estate is a half hour walk from Inn this morning we walk down quite lanes to gardens the car park was empty so not busy today. There are extensive grounds with various seating about & a snack bar.

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St Lucia Warbler (endemic)

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Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

 

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St Lucian Pewee (endemic)

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Trembler Grey 

 

The estate was originally acquired in 1766 by Baron de Micoud. The botanical garden has over 200 varieties of plants and lots of birdlife about.  

 

 

After our very nice evening meal owner Franz starts giving out free rum samples

 

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egilio

Nice! I have good memories of St Lucia, I spent 8 months there a long time ago. See any white-breasted thrashers or St Lucia wrens?

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NSY

Hi egilio 

 

We did see the white-breasted thrashers but not the wrens816148813_ThrasherWhiteBrested.JPG.77c70c8215b753b9b5179fe4f7ca783c.JPG

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egilio

That looks like a grey trembler to me? Wrong picture?

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NSY

Think I got it wrong on that one. Need to go on a trip & practice more. What I would give for 8 months in Caribbean now 

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NSY

Day 3 St Lucia (Fox Grove Inn)

 

There are 4 of us on a day tour with Vision, a guide from Adams Toussaint. The first stop is on the shoreline looking for waders.

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Royal Terns only here

 

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Then we drive to Soufriere where

We stop to check out mouth of the river seeing 3 different types of heron. 

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There is an incredible view of the Pitons from here.

 

We then drive uphill and turn off on a track for a few hundred metres and park. Wandering not far from the vehicle we see another handful of birds. Then return to Soufriere for a bar lunch, great food and a cold beer and another fantastic view over the Pitons.

 

1332045618_FlycatcherlesserAntillean.JPG.18ba08c2e837ca3fd51014684dee843f.JPG 

Flycatcher lesser Antillean

 

After driving past Fox grove inn we stop at the roadside and walk up a small forest path looking for the endemic White Breasted Thresher. 

The evening brings another delicious meal, then Franz has us sampling various American Bourbon, we are getting used to different drinks testing each night!  

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NSY
Posted (edited)

Day 5 St Lucia (Fox Grove Inn) 

Today there are 3 of us walking up easy angled forest tracks into St Lucia interior into the central rain forest looking for the endemic St Lucia Parrot. We do see some, about 10 but all some distance away. The trail is 6miles long but easy walking.

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St Lucia Parrot not much of a photo but it was a long distance shot 

St Lucia 

48 bird’s species seen

5 endemic

9 Lesser Antilles endemic

Edited by NSY
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NSY

Day 6:  Fly St Lucia to Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

As we are leaving St Lucia later today we limit ourselves to an early morning walk on the track near the Inn.

 

A taxi transfers to airport, we are joining a BA b777 flight from Gatwick to Trinidad via St Lucia; 90 of the passengers disembark in St Lucia. 12 passengers join the flight to Trinidad and it seems very strange to have this massive plane with so few passengers.  We are told to sit in any empty seats and off we go to Trinidad. The airport is large and modern and it takes a while to find the guy from Hacienda who is collecting us. By the time we set off in the car, it becomes apparent it is rush hour in Port of Spain. Soon we join an eight lane highway that is nose to tail with traffic. After an hour of this we head east from the airport and turn off onto the back roads and it soon becomes a wild land.

At Hacienda the chalet is a good size with a balcony overlooking one of the lakes in the grounds.  At this stage we did not know there were caiman in the lake. The Hacienda provides a home cooked 3 course meal delivered to chalet in the evening and our first one was absolutely scrumptious!

 

Day 7: Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

Yesterday we arrived in the dark so it is only this morning we see how wild and beautiful the Hacienda grounds are. A lazy start having breakfast on the balcony watching birdlife & lizards

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Later we explore grounds & discover there are Caiman in the lakes.

 

Today we opted for a lazy day with no outing & spend the day exploring the extensive grounds. As the day warms up Hummingbirds appear on the bird feeders that are filled with sugar water.  There is also a small swimming pool in grounds & canoes to take on lake.

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Birds seen in grounds included Guianan Trogon, Gallinule Purple & common, Giant Cowbird, Streaked Flycatcher, White Hawk, Green Throated Mango, Copper Rumped Hummingbirds, Little Hermit, Ruby Topaz, Green Kingfisher, Golden Headed Manakin, Tropical Pewee, Tanager Palm, Blue Grey, & Silver Beaked, Green Backed Trogan,  Channel Billed Toucan, Grey Headed Wood Rail, & lots more all within a couple of hundred yards of chalet. There are 4 chalets in the grounds plus the owner’s house.  There was just our chalet occupied during out time there. 

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Grey Headed Wood Rail 

 

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Guianan Trogon 

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Channel Billed Tucan 

 

In the evening as the meal is delivered I notice a large snake above the door. It turns out to be an 8ft Rainbow Boa. The lodge owners offer to get their son to move it but as it is not poisonous I told them to leave it, but my wife did make sure all the windows were shut at night!

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They told us it had been around for a few days and normally spent the night in the swimming pool changing hut.  It could be a shock for people getting changed. Over the next 3 days we find it climbs up for the night at dusk & slithers off just after dawn.

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NSY

Day 8: Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

 

A day to remember.

 

We start the day with breakfast on the balcony, seeing Golden Tegu Lizards fighting just below.

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Then it is time for our pick up by Winston of Nanan Tours for the day out. This starts with a drive to Asa Wright centre and a walk round the grounds. We hear and then see Bearded Bellbird also Manikins, Hummingbirds, etc.

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Bearded Bellbird

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Purple Honeycreeper

 

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Green Honeycreeper

 

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Female Green Honeycreeper 

 

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Violaceous Euphonia  

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Hummingbird White Necked Jacobin

 

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Spectacled Thrush 

 

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Red Rumped Aguti 

 

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Another Golden Tegu Lizard

 

There is a nice lunch served and then after watching birds on the feeders, we leave for a drive via Port of Spain to Caroni Swamps.

We stop by at the river at edge of the golf course. It is not a place to go looking for lost balls by the river as there are some large Caiman about, also hundreds of birds including an Osprey having a bath.

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Osprey just before it fly's off

 

We also stop by some waste ground and see Red Breasted Blackbird and by an untidy pond see Water Tyrants.

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Once at Caroni swamp we drive past to a parking spot and see Red Capped Cardinal – enticed into the open by the lure of cake crumbs.

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Then it is time to take to the boats and motor out through the mangrove channels. We see two Cooks tree snakes and then a large Boa Constrictor also Silky Anteaters and a pair of Screech Owls, cuddled up together sleeping.

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Silky Anteater 

 

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Cooks Tree Boa 

 

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Boa Constrictor 

 

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Tropical Screech Owls 

 

Once in the open it is time to wait for Scarlet Ibis returning to roost. They seem to be a bit later than normal as already motoring back when the sky seems to turn red with Scarlet Ibis, among them are Herons and Flamingos.  This must be one of the most spectacular bird sightings – the colour of the Ibis was something to behold.

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On way back to the Hacienda, Winston drops at a bar to buy a few beers to take back to chalet. The counter is all sealed in with steel bars, after buying beers we turn to walk out and a drunken local man tries to grab me but I side step as though he is a charging rhino and he flies past and crashed over a table like John Wayne in a fight.  It is Time for a hasty exit!

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TonyQ

The Scarlet Ibis are stunning!

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NSY

They are Tony. Pity I did not get some decent photos of them. At times we could see 500 or more in the distance 

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NSY

Day 9: Trinidad (Hacienda Jacana)

 

Today Winston comes to Hacienda & walks us through grounds finding different birds. With hindsight we should have done this on the first day.  Then we would be trained for next two days birding.

 

 

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Lineated Woodpecker 

 

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Southern Lapwing 

 

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Great Kiskadee

 

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Turkey Vulture

 

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Interesting insect not sure what it is 

 

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xelas

It was 2011 when Zvezda and I have visited St.Lucia, and we have not seen half of the birds you have! However, we did have something in common: The Fox Grove Inn. We are happy to hear that Esther and Franz are keeping their place at the same high standard as we have also experienced.

 

Trinidad is a birding mecca, and I am especially interesting to see what Tobago offered to you.

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NSY

Day 10: Fly Trinidad to Tobago (Blue Water Inn)

Time to move on to Tobago via Caribbean Airlines this is only a 30min flight

Once landed in Tobago there is a 2 hour taxi transfer to The Blue Waters Inn. On the drive we see how scenic the island is, we can’t wait to start exploring.

The hotel is in a great spot overlooking little Tobago island but not really a favourite hotel for us and the promised steel band we were looking forward to never materialised.

 

Day 11: Tobago (Blue Water Inn)

Today it’s a rainforest birding tour with the excellent and much in demand, Newton George.  The tour walks onto the main ridge forest reserve, the oldest rainforest in the western hemisphere. It is home to some of Tobago’s most colourful species of birds. The Blue backed Manakin, White Tailed Sabrewing hummingbird, Yellow Legged Thrush, Fuscous flycatcher and many others.  It was a great walk.

 

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Trinidad Motmot 

 

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Yellow Legged Thrush 

 

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A different spot for a nest

 

Newton then drives the 6 of us over the island to Castara spotting various birds on the way.  He really is the best!

 

Day 12:  Fly Tobago to Manchester via Barbados

Today it is a long trip home. Flying to Barbados then on to Manchester

This was with Thomas Cook airlines a service we will miss.

 

It was a brilliant trip, fantastic to see all the different birds and so colourful.  It’s definitely a recommend to anyone and a must see for birders, especially Trinidad and Tobago.

The islands are extremely beautiful; The Pitons on St Lucia are incredible and the people on the three islands genuinely friendly. 

I think we will always remember the Scarlet Ibis; the exceptional hospitality encountered at the Hacienda and of course our friend the Rainbow Boa.

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TonyQ

Thank you for the report, it sounds like a great trip.

I had not heard of the Hacienda before, it sounds like a good option.

Were there any things in particular you didn’t like about Blue WAter Inn?

You saw and photographed some beautiful birds.

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Treepol

Thank you for such an interesting report from the Caribbean - an area we don't hear much about.

 

My favourite photo was the one of the Scarlet Ibis (such a stunning bird) with the flamingos.

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shazdwn

Wow those scarlet ibis are incredible, thanks for an interesting report

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