Most birding tours to Trinidad and Tobago visit Tobago for only 2-3 days, and indeed, three days is sufficient for most birders to find the key target species of the island. Today was our day to transfer to Trinidad for 6 nights based at the Asa Wright Nature Center. On the way to the airport we drove through two areas that were hoped to contain new species for our trip; the Magdalena Grand Resort grounds and the Bon Accord drainage ditches. The resort charges birders for complete access to their grounds, but drive-through of a portion of the grounds is possible. Here we found species such as Least Grebe, Black-bellied Whistling-ducks, Black-crowned Night-herons, Tricolored herons, and Black Skimmers, but no new lifers. We next drove through the Bon Accord area, which contains drainage ditches and wet areas within a housing development that can contain species such as White-cheeked Pintail and Masked Duck, but it was here that we found a different rarity, a Western Reef-heron. This bird had been seen in the area earlier this year, but with no recent reports. Western Reef-heron looks a bit like a Great Blue Heron but with a white throat and greenish feet. It is fairly easily recognized even from a distance by its intermediate size between Little Blue and Great Blue Herons. What a great find to end our stay in Tobago!
After our flight back to Trinidad and a ~1 hr drive up into the highlands, we arrive at the renowned Asa Wright Nature Center just in time for their traditional nightly 6pm rum punch. Yum yum. Asa Wright is situated ~1,000 ft above sea level in the upper Arima Valley, in preserved mid-level rain forest. After a good night’s sleep we’ll be ready to explore the Center’s trails tomorrow morning.