A Travellerspoint blog

Little Tobago

Birds with knitting needles in their bums, mid-flight thieves and a few boobies.

View Bird watching, snorkelling and sunbathing. Sunbathing? Tobago & Trinidad 2012 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Happy birthday to my friend Penny!

Having been asleep before 22;00 last night, it was no surpise that I was awake at 06;00 this morning. A good time of day to take a hike around some of the 46 acres of ground around the hotel to see what else is up early. I was rewarded with a few of the usual birds, a sleeping dog eyeing me very suspiciously, cheery greetings from the staff arriving for duty and as I ventured away from the inhabited area into the rain forest, I was delighted to spot the shy and elusive agouti. Result!

By the time I got back to the room, David was up too, so we played around with my new waterproof camera in the pool for a while. An awesome place to be during a tropical rain shower – the visibility was greatly reduced and the rain drops splashed noisily on the surface of the water. Great fun.


After a breakfast of saltfish and buljol, I went for a walk along the beach, photographing the ruddy turnstones feeding in the water line, while David chilled in a hammock.



You don't have to go far here to see birds – as we were sitting on the balcony, a family of chachalacas passed by, along with a few turnstones and the odd bananaquit. And , of course, right by the rooms there are hummingbird feeders.


The rest of the morning was spent walking on the beach and dodging the rain showers.


A couple of people kept asking us if we were really going across to Little Tobago this afternoon in that weather. Of course we are, what's a 'little' rain? We packed lots of plastic bags, and fortunately my camera bag and David's backpack both have built in rain covers, so at least the equipment will be dry, and if we get wet, we get wet. It is not worth wearing a rain cape, as we would get just as wet from the inside. We'd been warned that it gets very hot on Little Tobago (and it isn't hot here?), and to take plenty of water.

When Newton turned up at 14:00, he promised us it wouldn't rain. Oh, so he's a weather man now as well? We travelled across to the island with a few snorkellers as well as Jonathan. You had to catch the swell just right getting in and out of the boat, as the sea is still a little rough.


The very hot trek up to the top of the island is well worth it for the view of literally hundreds of long tailed tropicbirds. They're quite amazing looking birds, with their long white tails looking like they have two knitting needles stuck up their bum. They swoop so fast around and around the bay, fishing and trying to avoid the frigatebirds who will attack them, and hold them in their talons until they regurgitate the food at which point their captors will release them and grab the food mid-air. The frigatebirds cannot get their wings wet, hence they can't do their own fishing – they rely on the tropicbirds to do it for them, plus they skim the surface of the sea to try and catch some flying fish.

Newton, our trusty birding guide

It's a rubbish photo, but it does show the frigatebird holding the tropicbird, with his mate ready to catch the regurgitated food.

Around that area was also a couple of birds of prey, and some boobies. There were white, brown and white, and brown red footed boobies.

The tropicbirds were right little buggers to photograph, they are extremely quick. Unfortunately I got a little carried away trying to capture them in mid-flight, and upset my shoulder severely. By the time we walked back down all those steps and steep slopes to the jetty, the pain had spread to my lower back and I really struggled to lift one leg in front of the other. Unfortunately this meant I wasn't able to do the snorkelling at Angel Reef on the way back as planned.

Posted by Grete Howard 16:21 Archived in Trinidad and Tobago

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We got 'your' rainstorm later on during the day!
Hope your back is feeling better... don't overexert, just some easy swimming and relaxing in the water might help.

by ilona

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