• Trinidad and Tobago Nightjars

    A highlight of our Asa Wright stay was the very wet and slippery trek down to the Oilbird breeding cave. When we first started out, we got about 10 feet away when it started pouring buckets of rain. We backed off, but started out again an hour later and made it. These birds are some of the most interesting birds ever! I don't have many pictures, but the first one (albeit wonky) should help you understand why we found them fascinating! They eat FRUIT! They are LARGE! and they ECHOLOCATE! And they are HUGE when flying!

    We met up with some birds along the way.

    This next shot required more than a little luck, it being so wet and my camera so heavy and my desire to not fall on my keister so strong. Plus he only appeared for a brief moment. Lucky to get anything. Looks like he's carrying food...nesting?

    Here are the troops making their way down the trail. If the railing looks sturdy, well, think again. A couple of days before our trek the winds blew down trees which clobbered the railing in some places. We were still glad to have it.

    Speaking of the handrail...here's a tarantula inside.

    The rainforest floor

    Near the bottom

    Aaaand here's the cave opening

    Aaand, here's the bird. 

    And another two. They gave us a sampling of their characteristic loud squawking chatter which sounded something like asphalt removal was going on in there. If the whole colony had gotten noisy, we'd have needed hearing protection!

    So, that was weird and amazing. But we had other Nighthawk experiences. Here's a Potoo, although the lighting is rough.

    And a Common Pauraque.

    And, finally, over on Tobago, we had a fantastic experience with a White-tailed Nightjar that arrived each evening on the asphalt just outside our bedroom window off the patio. We really enjoyed watching it loop about acrobatically catching night insects, then return to the same spot after every foray.

    Isn't he sweet? See the white outer tail feathers?

    For those who were on the veranda at Asa Wright when we spotted the Short-tailed Nighthawks with their unusually wide wingspan flying out of the area at dusk for their evening feeding...I'll just mention it so you'll remember. It was awesome...but no pics. 

     

     

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