Thursday, April 14, 2016


RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD on nest with chick
After our walk along Gilpin Trace, we continued east, then north up Tobago's coast to the Blue Waters Inn, where we spent our last two nights on the island. The inn is in a secluded cove, about a short boat ride from Little Tobago Island, the main birding attraction for us. The five of us gathered in a little wooden boat, and after the formalities, a rousing rendition of The Theme to Gilligan's Island ("A 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour"), we were off across the turquoise waters. 

If I ever need reinforcement on my refusal to do pelagics, the 20 minute boat ride across relatively smooth waters is it. I wasn't heaving over the side sick, but I wanted my feet on land soonest. Eventually we got there and a quick 450 foot walk up a combination of steep staircases and dirt trails brought us to a stirring view from the top, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. On the cliffs below us, Brown Boobies and RED-FOOTED BOOBIES were nesting. RED-BILLED TROPICBIRDS and boobies flew below our outlook. Magnficent Frigatebirds hovered overhead, looking to steal a meal. After we were done viewing and taking an inordinate amount of photos, the guide showed led us about 30 feet down the path from the lookout, where we saw the Tropicbird on nest with its chick. I try not to anthropomorphize, but the chick did not seemed pleased to be seen.  
Photo: Shari Zirlin
Brown Booby
Photo: Shari Zirlin
It was worth the queasiness to see, but on the way back to the pier, when the glass-bottomed boat hovered over a coral reef where many colorful fishes were pointed out, I kept my eyes nailed to the horizon.
16 species
Magnificent Frigatebird  10
Brown Booby  25
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1     Heard
Willet  1     Large shorebird with diagnostic W on wings when it flew
Laughing Gull  75
Pale-vented Pigeon  1
Short-tailed Swift  2
Brown-crested Flycatcher  1     Heard
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Spectacled Thrush  1
Tropical Mockingbird  1
Blue-gray Tanager  1
Crested Oropendola  1

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