Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

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Caroline Brookes
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Caroline Brookes »

Hi Anthony
Glad your book arrived OK.

We have booked a nature trek at Cuffie River on our anniversary combined with lunch on a day when we have a jeep to get us there. It would be good to stay later in the day towards sundown to see the nightjar that is said to fly around the lights at Cufee River, but I am not sure whether it would be a good idea to drive back to Castara in the dark.

I think it might be a good idea to drive to Gilpin Trace also. Looks as if we shall need a guide though. From what I have read, guides are available at the beginning of Gilpin Trace, but might want to get one beforehand to meet us there. Not sure on this one. Any ideas?

Caroline
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Anthony Townsend »

Cuffie river is fantastic. The food is great and the guided walk is good too. Please say hello to Regina and Desmond for me. we stayed there for a few days last year. You may see Northern waterthrush and kingfishers at the river looking from the bridge. There are red-legged honeycreepers a short walk on. Desmond showed us a potoo, which was amazing. We didn't see nightjars at night, but if you go up the path from the house, you may disturb one on the path during the day. It will see you before you see it! There are motmots,loads of jacamars, lots of hummingbirds, white-fringed antwrens, woodcreepers, various warblers and more.

If you do the Gilpin Trace, Newton George is the man if you want to see birds and more. You won't be disappointed. See the review on the site.

Anthony.
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Gill O »

Hello Caroline,
If you are staying at Castara, you will be able to see a lot of nightjars if you take a short drive up Miss Mills Trace (a track on the right just before you get to Englishmans Bay)
We drove up one evening and the nightjars were all sitting on the track and flying up in the car headlights.
King David in Castara would take you for a guided walk at dawn to this trace, then you would feel more confident at finding it on your own in the evening
Gill
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Caroline Brookes »

Thanks Gill, wow you are an early bird, posting at 4 a.m. Thank you for the advice. Ted, my husband, wanted to see the nightjars, as he studied them at school, many moons ago, and the picture of nightjars has remained with him all this time. It will be very special to see them.

I have just been in touch with Newton George. I think he can take us to Gilpin Trace whilst we are in Castara. I have an overwhelming excitement at the moment. It's count down to going!!! I'm wishing my life away!!! And this website is fantastic. All the help that people give beforehand, will mean that those precious moments in Tobago will be all spent well.

Caroline
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Caroline

Gill is spot-on. The trail leading up into the Englishman's Bay estate is a reliable roosting spot for nightjars. If you read our review for Lookout Villa, a fascinating cabin high up on the estate and which is a stunning retreat for birders and others wanting total peace and relaxation, you will see I mention that fact that these pesky birds regularly tried to give me heart attacks by leaving it till the last minute before flying off before I drove over them. The trouble was that they're much the same colour as the road and you just can't see them on the road until the last minute when you're bouncing about down an unmade track.

Just one point. The Englishman's Bay estate is private property. There is a manned security point at the start of the road, but I would not advise anyone to go wandering up the road at night without having first contacted the estate managers and received permission. Rick Hayton is the owner/manager and having met him a few times, I am sure he would be more than obliging. Unfortunately, I can't find a contact number for them.

Incidentally, in response to Anthony's comments about not seeing nightjars at Cuffie River, I can confirm that one was there, at the back of the property, most nights when we last stayed there. The only trouble was that we had to share the experience with a large (and very unfriendly) party of 10-15 American birders who seemed to think that they had sole rights and effectively muscled everyone else out of the way.
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Steve Pitts »

Steve Wooler wrote:you will see I mention that fact that these pesky birds regularly tried to give me heart attacks by leaving it till the last minute before flying off before I drove over them. The trouble was that they're much the same colour as the road and you just can't see them on the road until the last minute when you're bouncing about down an unmade track.
Nightjar by name - nightjar by nature.

I have found the best time to see numbers of nightjars is early in the morning, around an hour before day-break. We see them all the time on our way out to go fishing.

I'm not sure what it is about roads and tracks that they like, but they do love to settle on tarmac and gravel paths. I imagine that it's either the latent heat that they enjoy, or the fact that flying insects may also be attracted to such areas, and they are easier to catch out in the open.

Nightjars also flit around swimming pools at night, if the underwater lights are left on. The lights attract moths and beetles, which act as a magnet for the birds. Last year we had 3 nightjars that came to our villa pool every evening between 9 - 10 pm.

Sometimes, to the untrained eye, they are easy to mistake for bats.
Which reminds me of a description made by a friend of ours when a bat came into the house in Lambeau some years ago. She declared that she was 'sore 'fraid o' dem black flappy tings'

Cheers
Steve
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Gill O »

Sorry Steve, I didn't mean to incite anybody to go tresspassing!
We drove up there to take the owners of the Look Out villa some freshly caught tuna, as they had been so hospitable when we called in with King David the morning before. We actually took a wrong turn and the guard on the gate was very helpful.
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Gill

No problem! I just thought it wise to pre-empt any complaints by making the point.
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Caroline Brookes »

Thanks Steve and Gill

I'll ask in the village to see if someone can give me the contact details of the owner, to arrange a visit up the track and back. I don't want to upset anyone. The description of the villa up the track sounds wonderful.

Caroline
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Gill O »

Hi Caroline,
The villa is wonderful; we had a guided tour of the house and the grounds. It's absolute heaven if you are a bird watcher.I tried tentatively to persuade my other half to stay there this trip, but he's a fishing nut ( no offence to Steve Pitts and any other fishermen!) and he loves being able to sit on the veranda, see a ripple in the sea, and run down the 10 yards to the sea's edge to try for another elusive tarpon!
I believe King David looks after the Look Out Villa; so maybe he could get you the contact details.
David has got quite a few photos that Shaun(aforementioned fishin nut husband) took while we were on trips with Newton George. They've come out pretty well for an amateur.
Gill
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Julia C. »

The contact details for the owners are on this site. :)
http://www.mytobago.info/accommodation2 ... _villa.htm
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Gill O »

Hi Julia, I think those contact details are for the owners of Look Out Villa rather than those of the estate owner/manager.
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Re: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago New Guide Book 2007

Post by Julia C. »

Ooopps! My mistake - I misunderstood. :)
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