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Trinidad & Tobago: Caroni Bird Sanctuary

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Caroni Bird Sanctuary | Trinidad & Tobago | Americas

[Visited: July 2001]

A short drive outside the capital Port of Spain lies the Caroni Swamp, an area of dense vegetation, many little canals and some lakes, and a rich fauna. The best time to arrive is at the end of the afternoon. At the entrance you can choose from several guides and take a boat ride along the swampy waters in search of the scarlet ibis. The first animal we saw, however, was a snake curled up on a branch just above our heads.

Picture of Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad & Tobago): Scarlet ibis in flight in Caroni, Trinidad

As we proceed through the woods, we saw an occasional glimpse of a scarlet ibis, as well as other birds. The green canals were a sight in themselves - a heaven of peace with the tranquil waters and dense plants and trees all around and over them. The only unfortunate thing was that some people in the boat saw it merely as a perfect spot to talk about latest developments in their families, neighbourhood and friendships. This changed when we parked the boat in the corner of a little lake.

Picture of Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad & Tobago): Caroni swamp landscape, Trinidad

The guide asked us to be quiet, and so we did. He explained that the scarlet ibis spends the day in Venezuela, and flies back home at the end of the afternoon, to spend the night in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary at around 6 pm. And indeed, in a very punctual way, at around that time flocks of scarlet ibisses were flying in, above the green carpet of trees. The colour combination of the bright red of the birds and the deep, fresh green (it was the rainy season) of the trees made this sight a very intense colour sensation.

Picture of Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad & Tobago): Snake in tree in Caroni, Trinidad
Picture of Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad & Tobago): Canal of Caroni, Trinidad
Picture of Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad & Tobago): Canal of Caroni, Trinidad
Picture of Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad & Tobago): Guide to Caroni, Trinidad

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