The islands of the Lesser Antilles and the island of Trinidad

The optimum geographical location of the Lesser Antilles and Trinidad allows those of you booking onto either Tour 1 or Tour 2 the unique opportunity to delight in the company of both Caribbean and South American species on the same birding trip!

 

The Lesser Antilles

South Coast of Barbados

South Coast of Barbados

Three words which conjure up images of turquoise waters, miles of white sandy beaches, palm trees, and year-round warm weather   - the idyllic vacation destination. But for those of us interested in birds and other wildlife, travel to this region also promises to offer so much more.

With the exception of the coral island of Barbados, all of the Lesser Antilles are of volcanic origin, and form a semi-circular arc stretching from The Virgin Islands in the north to Grenada in the south. Isolated from continents, the majority of these gems of the Caribbean Sea support a plethora of species found nowhere else on the planet. These endemics abound in the lush tropical forests, open grasslands, mangrove wetlands and rugged coastlines of the islands. 

Imperial Parrot (photo by Bertrand Baptiste)

Imperial Parrot (photo by Bertrand Baptiste)

From my homeland of Barbados, with it's coral bedrock, spectacular beaches and sugar cane plantations to the lush rainforests, 365 rivers and black volcanic shorelines of Dominica and the spectacular twin peaks of The Pitons rising 2600 ft out of the brilliant turquoise waters of St.Lucia's shoreline, these islands are as wonderfully diverse as they are beautiful.

The warm ocean currents, gentle trade winds and peace and tranquility of the region is reflected in a largelylaid back and relaxed atmosphere on each island. Yes these countries have their major ports and bustling capital cities, but on these tours we'll be travelling far from here, into the quiet rural landscapes and vast expanses of wilderness which provide a window into a way of life in the Caribbean which is refreshingly resisting the advances of the modern world.  Nestled within this protective buffer, are the many endemics and indigenous regional specialties which make the Lesser Antilles a fascinating destination for any bird/nature enthusiast.

 

Trinidad

Tropical Rainforest (photo by Ryan Chenery)

Tropical Rainforest (photo by Ryan Chenery)

Trinidad is a very special island indeed. Having broken away from the South American continent between 1,500 and 3,000 years ago, this tiny Republic is the only island in the Caribbean where the ranges of South American species overlap those of the West Indies. The island is regalled in birding circles as one of the best countries in the world to enjoy reliable sightings of a phenomenal variety of tropical species.

 

 

Silver-beaked Tanager © Sam Barone

Silver-beaked Tanager © Sam Barone

By staying at the world-famous Asa Wright Eco Lodge we spend a significant portion of our time deep within the heart of one of the island's most beautiful forests.   With a surrounding network of well-maintained roads we will also be able to easily and effortlessly access a range of other nearby habitats, thereby giving ourselves the best possible opportunity to enjoy the greatest variety of dazzling, weird and wonderful species this remarkable country has to offer. With the promise of everything from tanagers, manakins, antshrikes and macaws, to bellbirds, oilbirds, caiman, and agoutis our visit to Trinidad really does promise to be a visit to "the South American island of the Caribbean".