Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caroni Swamp in Trinidad

The Caroni Swamp is located just outside of the capital, Port-of-Spain. The biggest draw to the swamp is the Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad. A large red bird with a curved bill, a little like the color of a flamingo, but much darker. The red color comes from the pigment in the tree crab and shrimp that it eats. I hear people can turn orange if they eat enough carrots, but I am not ready to give it a try. (Top- Canal in the mangroves, Left- Two Scarlet Ibis)

Our tour to Caroni began with a van pick up at our Port-of Spain hotel. The drive to the swamp gave us a very real idea of how bad the traffic is in the city and it wasn't even yet rush hour! The tour through the swamp begins around 4pm. Once at the swamp, we boarded a boat to weave though the canals to reach an area where the birds come to settle in for the night. (Right-Mangrove Roots)

The Scarlet Ibis fly in from Venezuela where they've been feeding all day to rest for the night. They favor an island of mangroves. It is quite the site to see as bird after bird flies in and roosts in the trees. A white Egret here and there will perch as well. Soon the trees begin to look as though they've been decorated for Christmas. The sunset was gorgeous too. (Left- Sunset and the birds coming to perch)

It is important to note that you are far from the island to protect the birds. You will need good binoculars. The kids got bored after awhile of sitting and watching the birds fly in, but the birders and parents enjoyed it a lot, so peaceful! Moving around in the boat through the mangroves seeing crabs, birds, snakes and even some Scarlet Ibis up close was a bigger thrill for the kids. Oh, don't forget the bug spray too, it is a swamp after all! (Right- Tree snake; Bottom- View from Caroni Swamp)


  1. Hi Shania! Caroni Swamp is really amazing. I didn't get a great photo of all the Scarlet Ibis, you have to see it in person, but they slowly fill up all the trees so they looked like Christmas trees with all the red and green. Gina