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Purple Honeycreeper. Photo by Gina Nichol.TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Winter Getaway!

February 2 - 10, 2019

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The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago are considered the world’s best introduction to tropical birding and a must visit destination for every birder. Just off of South America, the island of Trinidad is the most ecologically diverse Caribbean island, with more than 430 species of birds found in tropical savannah, rainforest, and mangrove swamps.  Nearly 50 miles long and 37 miles wide, Trinidad’s interior is dominated by the Northern Range, which rises to about 3,000 feet and holds lush tropical rainforest with an exciting selection of colorful tropical birds. Trinidad, with its proximity to Venezuela, offers a variety of birds not usually seen on an island while Tobago is classic Caribbean with sandy beaches and blue waters. Together, these islands provide varied habitats that yield dramatic diversity.

Asa Wright Nature Centre inside the main lodge.The world-renowned Asa Wright Nature Centre is our home for the first five nights of our tour, with the Centre’s famed veranda offering the possibility to see forty species before breakfast! We’ll enjoy our final three nights at Tobago’s beachfront Blue Waters Inn in Speyside, in close proximity to the seabird colony on Little Tobago Island.


Frank Gallo of Sunrise Birding joins the legendary team of expert local guides in Trinidad and Tobago, ready to share their expertise in the unique natural areas of the islands. Our visit helps to support local communities, which support AWRC, and funds important conservation and education work at the Centre.

Don't miss this wonderful tropical adventure in warm,
birdy Trinidad & Tobago!


Day 1 - Arrive & Explore at the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC)

Copper-rumped Hummingbird (Photo: Gina Nichol)Welcome to Trinidad! We arrive at Port of Spain’s, Piarco International Airport (POS) in the bustling heart of the capitol. We will be met by an AWNC guide who will drive us from this busy metropolis to the quiet seclusion of the AWNC. It’s about an hour’s trip up into the Northern Range through the lush forests of the Arima Valley.


After settling in, we will gather on the Centre’s veranda, overlooking the lovely Arima Valley. The Centre’s feeders are renowned for attracting amazing birds, including, Tufted Coquette, White-necked Jacobin, Copper-rumped Hummingbird (Photo: Gina Nichol), and Blue-chinned Sapphire. From the veranda, it is possible to see Squirrel Cuckoo, Crested Oropendola, White-lined, Silver-beaked, and Turquoise Tanagers, Barred Antshrike, Violaceous Euphonia and both Purple and Green Honeycreepers. Even Ornate Hawk Eagle and Channel-billed Toucans are sometimes seen from the veranda. In addition to Frank, Centre naturalists are always on hand to help with spotting and identify species.

Steve enjoying a cocktail on the Asa Wright veranda.If we arrive early, the shaded entrance road is an easy walk, and offers chances to see Trinidad Motmot, Yellow-olive and Yellow-breasted Flycatchers, Little and Rufous-breasted Hermit many other species.


Tea Time is at 4:00 PM, followed by Rum Punch at 6:00 PM and then dinner, where we can mingle with fellow guests and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.


Additional Species seen from the Veranda: Common Black, Gray-lined, White, and Zone-tailed Hawks, Double-toothed Kite, Scaled Pigeon, Black-tailed Tityra, Piratic and Boat-billed Flycatchers, Tropical Pewee, Golden Tegu Lizard, and Red-rumped Agouti.


Day 2 - Introductory Walk into AWNC’s Forests / Night Bird Outing

Our first full day begins with 6:00 AM coffee and tea served on the veranda, where there is the possibility of seeing as many as 40 species before breakfast! It’s a beautiful start to the day.


After breakfast, we’ll enjoy an introductory walk on the Centre’s Discovery Trail, learning more about the forest and discovering additional species. One of our targets is the impressive Bearded Bellbird, whose distinctive “bonk!” echoes throughout the forest. Bellbirds display at a lek high in the trees. At AWNC, two species of manakins, Golden-headed (Photo: Gina Nichol), and White-bearded, also lek, but much Golden-headed Manakin (Photo: Gina Nichol)closer to the ground. We’ll visit their display grounds, as well.


After a delicious lunch at the Centre, our group will leave between 3:00 and 4:00 PM for an optional night bird excursion. We’ll take the requisite rum punch and a hot dinner with us. Our first stop will be at an abandoned airfield (pre-sunset) where our group once found Trinidad’s first record for Short-eared Owl, and the third record for Buff-breasted Sandpiper. We’ll then venture to the Aripo Livestock Station to enjoy dinner, prior to setting off on a slow drive for night birds. Common Pauraque, Tropical Screech-Owl, and Common Potoo are good possibilities for our efforts!

Bearded Bellbird (Photo: Gina Nichol)

Morning Birding Possibilities: Trinidad Motmot, Bearded Bellbird (Photo: Gina Nichol), Gray-fronted Dove, White-bearded and Golden-headed Manakins, Green-backed and Guianan Trogons, Channel-billed Toucan, Chestnut Woodpecker, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, both Turquoise and Bay-headed Tanagers, Green Hermit, Tufted Coquette, and Black-throated Mango, Forest Elaenia, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Rufous-breasted Wren, White-flanked Antwren, Long-billed Gnatwren, Cocoa, Spectacled and White-necked Thrushes, and Yellow Oriole.

Night Bird Targets: White-tailed Nightjar, Common Pauraque, Common Potoo, Tropical Screech-Owl, Barn and Spectacled Owls (with luck), Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Sulphury Flycatcher, and Moriche Oriole (extremely rare).


Day 3 Birding Trinidad’s Northern Range
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Photo: Gina Nichol) On today’s scenic, day-long journey, we explore the Blanchisseuse Road, which bisects Trinidad’s high Northern Range, and is known for its picturesque beauty and abundant bird life. It is home to such beauties as Bat Falcons, Collared Trogons, and Swallow-tailed Kites. We’ll make frequent birding stops to search for goodies such as Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Speckled Tanagers, Rufous-breasted Wren, and a host of other species, before enjoying a picnic lunch in Brasso Seco, a picturesque mountain village, where members of a local cooperative have built a covered ramada next to a small handicrafts store. Tall trees along our route make excellent perches for Collared Trogon, Golden-olive, Red-rumped and Chestnut Woodpeckers. Calls may alert us to Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Photo: Gina Nichol) and Stripe-breasted Spinetail. Afterwards, we continue through the mountains to Morne la Croix village, to enjoy afternoon tea and cakes, while ogling Blue-headed and Orange-winged Parrots returning to roost.


Speckled Tanager (Photo: Gina Nichol) The verdant village gardens here attract Dusky-capped, Slaty-capped, and Rufous-breasted Wrens, Long-billed Gnatwren, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Speckled and Hepatic Tanagers, and noisy Yellow-rumped Caciques. We may also get to experience the fascinating worlds of leaf-cutter and army ants.


Today’s Birding Possibilities: Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Common Black Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bat Falcon, Collared Trogon, Channel-billed Toucan, Trinidad Piping Guan (rare), Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-winged and Blue-headed Parrots, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Golden-olive, Red-rumped, and Chestnut Woodpeckers, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Cocoa and Plain-Brown Woodcreepers, Streaked, Euler’s, Slaty-capped Flycatchers, Rufous-breasted Wrens, Long-billed Gnatwren, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Speckled (Photo: Gina Nichol) and Hepatic Tanagers, and Yellow-rumped Cacique.

Day 4: Nariva Swamp /Atlantic Coast / Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary
Wattled Jacana (Photo: Gina Nichol)This morning we depart for the lowlands of the Aripo Agricultural Station where the open countryside and fallow pastures offer many new bird species, including Cocoi Heron, Gray-headed Kite, Savannah Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Wattled Jacana (Photo: Gina Nichol), Southern Lapwing, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Pied Water-Tyrant, Green and American Pygmy Kingfisher, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, and the spectacular Red-breasted Meadowlark, among many others. After exploring the Station, we’ll drive to the Atlantic Coast, for a picnic lunch and to look for seabirds on the beach at Manzanilla. The area is home to Magnificent Frigatebirds, Brown Pelicans, and a variety of shorebirds and waders. We continue on through the beachside habitat of “Coconut Alley”, were Crested Caracara reside, before entering Nariva Swamp, home to Pinnated Bittern, Purple and Azure (rare) Gallinules, and Long-winged Harrier. Here, were Nariva River reaches the sea, the combination of freshwater swamp and mangrove swamp forest make for spectacular birding. Common Black Hawk, Silvered Antbird, and Pearl Kite are all possible here!


Towards Sunset, as a prefect end to our day, we’ll search for two lovely species of large macaws, Red-bellied and Blue-and-Yellow near their roost by Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary. Red Howler and White-faced Capuchin Monkeys are also a possibility. This is a day full of opportunities to see species found nowhere else on the island.

Blue-and-Yellow Macaws (Photo: Diego Calderon)Note: Anyone who wishes to remain at Asa Wright to relax, may join Centre naturalists on walks close to home, and enjoy birding from AWNC’s veranda. Please let your leader know if you choose to opt out of the Nariva outing.


Birding Targets at the Aripo Agricultural Station:
Cocoi Heron, Savannah Hawk, Gray-headed Kite, Yellow-headed Caracara, Wattled Jacana, Southern Lapwing, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, White-winged Swallow, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Pied Water-Tyrant, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Short-tailed Swift, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, Carib Grackle, Red-breasted Meadowlark, Grassland Yellow-Finch, and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater.


Possible Seabirds:
Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Pelican, Leach’s Petrel (rare).

South Towards Nariva:
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Common Black-Hawk, Long-winged Harrier, Savannah Hawk, Pearl Kite, Gray-lined Hawk, Plumbeous Kite, Yellow-headed and Crested Caracaras, Pinnated Bittern, Purple Gallinule, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Green and American Pygmy Kingfishers, Yellow-crowned Parrot, and Red-bellied, Blue-and-Yellow Macaws
(Photo: Diego Calderon), Black-crested Antshrike, Silvered Antbird, Brown-crested Flycatcher, and Yellow-hooded Blackbird.

Day 5: Oilbird Cave / The Scarlet Ibis of Caroni National Park
We’ll enjoy breakfast on the veranda, before taking a morning walk on a short but steep path to Dunston Cave, one of the world’s most accessible nesting colonies of Oilbirds (Photo: Gina Nichol), rather unusual nocturnal fruit-eating birds that breed here. On our walk, we may see some of the secretive birds of the deep forest such as Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Black-faced Antthrush, White-bellied Antbird, and Gray-throated Leaftosser.

After lunch, we depart for the Visitor’s Center and docks at Caroni National Park for a boat tour of Caroni Swamp, making stops to bird along the way. Caroni is world renowned as the site of one of the world’s birding pageants, the incredible parade of Scarlet Ibis coming to roost. Our tour arrives at the peak of the Scarlet Ibis season. From the docks, we’ll bird by boat through lush mangrove forest, which hold such treats as Boat-billed Heron, Bicolored Conebill, Green-throated Mango, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Common Potoo (we’ll watch for Ruschenberger’s Tree Boa and Silky Anteater, too), before anchoring in a strategic location to take in the sunset show. Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of Scarlet Ibis traverse the sky as they arrive to bed down in the mangroves, joined by Tri-colored and Little Blue Herons and a host of egrets. Tonight’s experience is one to remember and has long been a highlight of Trinidad’s many wonders.


Possibilities on the Oilbird Excursion: Oilbird, Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Black-faced Antthrush, White-bellied Antbird, and Gray-throated Leaftosser.

Additional possibilities for our boat tour: White-cheeked Pintail, Boat-billed and Striated Herons, Long-winged Harrier, Large-billed Tern (uncommon), Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Pied Water-Tyrant, Black-crested Antshrike, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, and Masked (Red-capped) Cardinal.

Day 6: Early Morning Walk / Flight to Tobago /Blue Waters Inn
Scenic Tobago Coast by Peg Abbott.This morning, before we say goodbye to AWNC wonderful staff and embark on the journey to Tobago, we’ll enjoy a morning exploring the Asa Wright Nature Centre 200 acres of grounds. We’ll be able to round out our bird list within the serenity of the rainforest.


We’ll head to the airport to transfer to Tobago before lunch. You can choose to buy lunch at the airport or carry a sack lunch from the Centre (ask the night before). For those who like to try local foods, the doubles, a local favorite, come highly recommended — we’ll ask our local guide where to find them at the airport. We’ll eat your lunch at the airport as we wait for your flight to Tobago. Generally, check in is quick and there is plenty of time.


Once we land in Tobago, our local birding guide will greet us in an air-conditioned bus, and welcome us to the distinctly Caribbean and laid-back Tobago. We will travel through vibrantly-colored hillside villages to the Blue Waters Inn, a delightful and small hotel right on the beach. We’ll make a few stops for birding, en route to the Inn, so be prepared with close-toed shoes, sunscreen, hat, and binoculars.



Rufous-vented Chachalaca (Photo: Dan Berard)

Blue Waters Inn offers many seaside amenities, including swimming, kayaking, casual snorkeling, and diving. The hotel restaurant’s signature dishes include fresh-caught lobster and kingfish, crisp coconut shrimp salad and distinctly Caribbean flying fish wraps. Seaside hammocks, a pool, and the sea await!


Common Tobago Species seen en route to Blue Waters Inn: White-cheeked Pintail, Short-tailed Swifts, Trinidad Motmot, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Green Kingfisher, and Spectacled Caiman.


Species common at Blue Waters Inn: Black-faced Grassquit, Rufous-vented Chachalaca (Photo: Dan Berard), Trinidad Motmot, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Brown Pelican, Ruddy Turnstone. If out walking, White- fringed Antwren.


Day 7: Little Tobago Island’s Birds / Glass- Bottom Boat Tour / Free Afternoon
Red-billed Tropicbird (Photo: Dan Berard)This morning (or afternoon, depending on water conditions) we board a glass-bottom boat for a lovely excursion to nearby Little Tobago Island. The island, one of Tobago’s most significant wildlife sanctuaries, is known for its breathtaking views and as home to rare seabirds, including Red-billed Tropicbird (Photo: Dan Berard) and Brown Boobies. Seabirds can be seen, both from the boat, and by walking a trail up to a lookout where Tropical Dry Forest occurs.


After our seabird island tour, the captain will head towards adjacent Goat Island (sea conditions permitting) to look for colorful fish, and possibly Hawksbill Sea Turtles, near a former coral garden. Sadly, the Atlantic side of the island has experienced extensive coral bleaching and while still excellent for divers, snorkeling is not what it once was.

We’ll return for a delicious lunch at the Inn. The afternoon is free to enjoy any number of activities, from snorkeling, diving, or kayaking in private Batteaux Bay, to poolside lounging, birding on your own, or perhaps a seaside hammock beckons.

A few of today’s possibilities: Brown Noddy, Red-billed Tropicbird, Red-footed and Brown Boobies, Sooty Tern, Chivi Vireo, Brown-crested Flycatcher, and Pale-vented and Scaly-naped Pigeons.


Group at Gilpin Trace by Dan Berard.Day 8: Birding Gilpin Trace Tobago’s Main Ridge Preserve
Today we enjoy a scenic drive into the mountains to the historic Tobago Main Ridge Forest Preserve, the world’s oldest legally protected forest, and home to 210 species of birds. Scientific American once declared that “the protection of Tobago’s forest was the first act in the modern environmental movement.”


We’ll walk Gilpin Trace, a forested interior trail famous for hosting many of Tobago’s bird specialties. Our targets include Blue-backed Manakin, Yellow-legged Thrush, Red-crowned Woodpecker, White-fringed Antwren, and the stunning, and secretive, White-tailed Sabrewing, a heafty hummingbird once thought to be extinct, that was rediscovered after a hurricane in the 1960s. 


We will return to Blue Waters Inn with time to enjoy the beach, a final dinner with our traveling companions, and a chance to reminisce about our wonderful adventures on these delightful tropical islands.

Day 9: Return to Port of Spain & Departure
Today we return to Port of Spain (POS) in Trinidad to catch our international flights, so our departure from Blue Waters Inn is timed accordingly. Our local guide will confirm timing with us the day before. If you have a later flight, lunch will be arranged, and if possible, a late checkout. Remember, departing flights cannot be made before 10AM from POS on most airlines. An afternoon flight affords you a leisurely morning.


Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to weather, road condition, access and other real-world factors. The order of the trips may also change. Should a location or region become unavailable, we will make every effort to visit an equivalent location or region.


Leader: Frank Gallo and local guides.

Trinidad Motmot by Dan Berard.TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
February 2 - 10, 2019
Registration Form>    
Contact to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE:  $2995 per person based on double occupancy from Port of Spain, Trinidad (Airport code: POS).
Single supplement: $695 per person, subject to availability.

Deposit: $500.00 per person per tour. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment. 

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 8 and maximum 12.

Included in cost: Accommodation in double / twin en suite rooms with full board, group transportation on arrival, detailed pre-trip materials and checklists, services of local guide and tour leaders throughout the trip.

Not included: International flight, luggage charges, passport/visa fees, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with all day birding. No particular strenuous walks are planned but there are some uphill treks.  Birding is mostly from open roads, wide tracks and even boats. To see a good amount of specialties you need to be prepared for full days. We will generally start early and either have an early breakfast or return for breakfast. Lunches will be either picnic or at the lodges depending on our schedule.


RESERVATIONS: Contact to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $500 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 

Final payment is due by October 2, 2018. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). 


**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724