Tour 2: In Search of the Amazonas
Islands we will visit: St.Lucia, St.Vincent and Dominica (with optional extension to Trinidad)
About this tour
Join us as we explore the very best of what the Lesser Antilles has to offer. On our first leg of the trip we bird the three islands boasting the largest number of endemics and near endemics to be found in the region - each home to at least one critically endangered endemic Amazona parrot along with a wonderful supporting cast of warblers, tremblers, thrashers and hummingbirds found nowhere else on the planet. We stroll along some of the most stunning coastlines on the planet and delight in the aerial acrobatics of tropicbirds and the fishing forays of boobies and frigatebirds . We enjoy sunset dinners looking out across glittering bays and set sail on turquoise waters on a quest for ocean giants.
For the optional second half of the trip our lodging will be the internationally renowned Asa Wright Lodge on the island of Trinidad. Here mornings on the verandah provide unparalleled opportunities to be within arms-reach of an incredible 14 species of hummingbird, a plethora of south american tanagers, honeycreeers, and euphonias, while exploring the trails that traverse the Centre's 1,500 acres of tropical rainforest sees us enter a world dominated by the more secretive inhabitants to be found here such as antshrikes, tinamous, motmots, and leaftossers. Targeted outings from our lodge take us into the realm of the remarkable Bearded Bellbird and deep into the lair of the mysterious Oilbrd. In addition to all of this we also use Asa Wright as a base from which to launch birding excursions to various other habitats to be found in a country which is a must on any birders itinerary for the western hemisphere.
This truly is the perfect Caribbean and South American birding combo!
February 11th - 21st 2020: there are 4 places available on this trip. Please click here to contact us and express your interest in joining us
January 3rd - 13th 2021: we are now accepting bookings for this trip, please click here to express your interest
St. Lucia - "The Island of Extremes"
**Photos L to R (click on image to scroll): The majestic Gros Piton, one of two towering peaks which dominate the St.Lucian skyline; We enjoy an audience with the highy threatened White-breastd Thrasher(photo Keith Clarkson - Birding the Islands);The stunning St.Lucia Oriole is another of this island's endemics (photo Keith Clarkson - Birding the Islands); One of our scheduled stops is renowned for stunning sightings of Red-billed Tropicbird (photo Keith Clarkson - Birding the Islands); The most beautifully plumaged of the Amazonas and St.Lucia's national bird - the St.Lucia Parrot (Amazona versicolor) pictured here flying over the Des Cartiers Rainforest (photo © David Petts);Pilot Whales are one of 20 species of whale and dolphin that have been recorded off of St.Lucia (photo by the Bajan Birder)
There are few islands in the Caribbean with such a wondrous variety of diverse habitats as St. Lucia. From its mountainous interior and lush rainforest positively teeming with tropical flora and fauna, to its dry coastal woodlands and palm fringed coasts, despite its relatively small size, St.Lucia has much to discover. It's unique qualities even extend beyond the natural world to the intriguing mixed cultural and historical ancestry of its people, exemplified in the intriguing language of patois still spoken by many locals.
Exploring the islands breathtaking coastline at dawn and being treated to the spectacular aerial displays of a thriving colony of Red-billed Tropicbirds ; birding a remarkable ridgeline in the shadow of Les Pitons mountains and enjoying close encounters with dainty St. Lucia Warblers and splendid St. Lucia Orioles; setting sail in the rich waters of the Caribbean Sea on a quest for whales; exploring the coastal dry-forest for an audience with the near endemic and highly threatened White-breasted Thrasher and fully endemic St.Lucia Black Finch; delving into the sprawling expanse that is the Des Cartiers Rainforest in order to hone in on the country's national bird - the incredibly beautiful St. Lucia Parrot; entering the world’s only drive-thru volcano for an up close view of crystal clear sulphur springs and vast steaming vents of boiling mud bubbling just a few feet away; touring a local garden which offers stunning views of all three of the island’s hummingbird species (Green-throated Carib, Purple-throated Carib and Antillean Crested Hummingbird) and learning of the fascinating use of indigenous plants in local remedies for common afflictions.
Dominica - "Nature Isle of the Caribbean"
Photos L to R (click on image to scroll):The Jaco or Red-necked Parrot is one of two endangered species of Amazona on Dominica (photo©Birding the Islands client Steve Kornfeld); Framed in sunlight, the striking Red-legged Thrush (photo©Birding the Islands client Beatrice Henricot); This delightful Blue-headed Hummingbird (a near endemic known only to Dominica and Martinique)sat still for us (photo©Birding the Islands client Beatrice Henricot); Another near endemic, the Plumbeous Warbler is only found on Dominica and Guadeloupe (photo©Birding the Islands client Beatrice Henricot); The brazen Lesser Antilean Saltator gorging on a mango (photo©Birding the Islands client Beatrice Henricot)**
Dominica is an island renowned for it's outstanding natural beauty. With it's innumerable waterfalls and a river for every day of the year coursing through it's vast tracts of primary rainforest, Dominica offers a snapshot of what many of the more developed islands of the region would have looked like in years gone by.
Exploring one of the most remote and untouched rainforests in the Caribbean in search of the threatened Red-necked Parrot and the critically endangered national bird of Dominica - the majestic Imperial Parrot; enjoying stunning views of near endemics such as the glorious Blue-headed Hummingbird and regional endemics such as Scaly-breasted Thrashers and Brown Tremblers; traveling up a mangrove-lined river by boat in search of a host of wetland dwelling species; entering the Carib Territories (eight villages deep in the heart of the island) in order to be given an insight into the way of life of some of the original inhabitants of the Lesser Antilles; We stroll along some of the island's black volcanic sand beaches on the lookout for turtle nests, scan overhanging tree limbs for basking Lesser Antillean Iguanas and explore tranquil saline lagoons - often hotspots for waterfowl and a host of overwintering North American shorebirds. We drive along little known trails in order to access spectacular montane and elfin forests, harbouring such gems as the endearing Plumbeous Warbler, brazen Lesser Antillean Saltator, Red-legged Thrush, Antillean Euphonia, and the inquisitive local race of House Wren.
St. Vincent - "Land of the volcano"
Photos L to R (click on image to scroll): This dry river bed always produces spectacular sightings - hence the smiles! (photo taken on Birding the Islands Every Endemic trip March 2018); Among the rarest birds on the planet - a pair of St.Vincent Parrots leaving their roost at dawn (photo © The Bajan Birder) The forests of St.Vincent are punctuated by spectacular flowering plants like this heliconia; The plucky and highly territorial Whistling Warbler can be found in the forsts that line the slopes of La Soufriere (photo compliments Ministry of Tourism of St. Vincent and the Grenadines); the colours on the St.Vincent Parrot are like no other parrot in the world ((photo compliments Ministry of Tourism of St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
St. Vincent, the gateway to the Grenadines and the southern isles of the Lesser Antilles, is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, black volcanic sand beaches and lush mountainous terrain. These densely forested hillsides protect the last remaining populations of some of the rarest species of birds we will see on the entire trip.
Standing atop a fern-lined ridgeway at dawn and watching in awe as dozens of majestic St.Vincent Parrots leave their roosts dotted throughout a verdent forested hillside and make for favoured fruiting trees; strolling the trails that wind their way along the slopes of majestic La Soufriere, all the while listening for the tell-tale call of the aptly named Whistling Warbler - among the rarest warblers in the Caribbean and endemic to this tiny island-nation; negotiating a dry river bed scything it's way along a valley whose trees are home to Lesser Antillean Tanagers , near endemic Grenada Flycatchers, Brown Tremblers, and Spectacled Thrush and whose skies are patrolled by St.Vincent's local race of powerful Common Black Hawk; snorkelling in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea while staying at our family-run beachside hotel; dining at sunset with a backdrop of the swaying masts of moored yachts and enjoying flybys of Brown Pelican, Little Blues, Brown Noddy and Brown Booby
Trinidad - "The South American Island of the Caribbean"
Photos L to R (click on image to scroll): Surely one of South America's iconic species - the Channel-billed Toucan (photo ©Sam Barone); The dazzling Green Honeycreeper is regularly seen from the verandah of Asa Wright Lodge - (photo ©John Dyson); Violaceous Euphonias flit amongst the trees outside our cottages (photo ©Sam Barone); The Silver-beaked Tanager is one of 13 species of tanager in Trinidad (photo ©Sam Barone); A striking bird - the Red-capped Cardinal (photo ©John Dyson); The site of hundreds of Scarlet Ibis coming in to roost in Caroni Swamp is unforgettable (photo ©John Dyson)
Trinidad is truly fabulous - the only place where West Indian birds and animals overlap the ranges of Amazonian species. The island's proximity to South America, coupled with the fact that in the past it was physically a part of the landmass of the continent, helps explain the huge variety of South American species which can be seen here, and nowhere else in the Caribbean. It is a very very special island indeed.
Breakfasting on the balcony of the Asa Wright Eco-Lodge and scanning the surrounding Arima Rainforest for Channel-billed Toucans, Bearded Bellbirds, White Hawks and Blue-headed Parrots; being at arms-length from as many as 14 species of hummingbirds attracted to the vibrant tropical flowering plants of the Lodge Gardens; exploring rainforest trails in search of manakin leks and stepping back in time by entering a stream-fed cave - home to a colony of prehistoric Oilbirds; sitting on the deck of a flat canvas boat, enjoying a cocktail, or a cup of tea and watching in astonishment as the dark green hues of surrounding mangroves are slowly transformed into pastel pinks and vibrant reds as wave upon wave of Scarlet Ibis return at dusk to join flocks of American Flamingo in the heart of the Caroni Swamp.
To find out more about this tour including Detailed Itinerary and Pricing, please click here