Thursday, April 14, 2016

Piarco International Airport 4/13--SAFFRON FINCH

SAFFRON FINCHES in the grass outside the airport terminal
From the moment I made our airline reservations, I had a bad feeling about making the connection for our return flight after flying back to Trinidad from Tobago. The times between our arrival on Trinidad and our flight out seem way too tight. It turns out I was right, for the wrong reason. Because the airports are so small and not very heavily trafficked, under the usual circumstances we'd have had plenty of time to make our flight. But, April 12 was the day that the AATT (Aviation Authority of Trinidad & Tobago) decided to have a "disaster drill" at Tobago Airport, shutting it down for 2 hours and in those two hours our flight was scheduled to leave. No one could get into the airport and the sight of soldiers with sub-machine guns discouraged any arguments.

Our cab pulled over into a parking lot, along with 30 other vehicles and we waited. While we waited, Kim got on the phone, called our airline, and very patiently and coolly rescheduled our flights for the next afternoon with no penalties and then got us a room for the night at the Holiday Inn in Piarco where started the vacation. Better to have a screw-up at the end of a vacation then the beginning. We eventually got to Trinidad, but much too late to make our flight.

The next day we got to the airport around 11:30, checked our bags, then took a walk to see if the local food court offered anything better than Subway and KFC. One look around and I told Shari I didn't trust any of that food. On the way back into the terminal, in a grassy patch along the sidewalk, with a few grackles and Ruddy Ground Doves, Shari spotted a couple of yellow birds, which I knew immediately were SAFFRON FINCHES. I had in mind that when Greg was there last year, he told me they were his first birds on the island; for us they were our final lifers, number 134 and 171st species of the trip.

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