Nature Pictures from the Caribbean and Elsewhere
Bird Pictures can be found - Here
Trinidad offers such a wide variety of nature that it deserves a category by its self:
While most people think of the Asa Wright Nature Center as a place to see birds, there is so much else there.
The largest of all living turtles, the leatherback, comes ashore on beaches in Trinidad and Tobago to nest each year. In the late spring and summer, hundreds of leatherback turtles come ashore on the northeast coast of Trinidad to lay their eggs. a female may return as many as 9 times to lay more than 700 eggs on the sandy beaches above the high tide line. They come ashore at night to avoid predators. The young turtles hatch and return to the sea some weeks later.
The largest freshwater wetland in Trinidad and Tobago. it is home to two species of monkey as well as many other animals and a wide variety of birds.
The Caroni Swamp is the second largest mangrove wetland in Trinidad and Tobago. It is located on the west coast of Trinidad, south of Port of Spain and northwest of Chaguanas, where the Caroni River meets the Gulf of Paria.
The Caroni Swamp is an estuarine system comprising 5,611 hectares of mangrove forest and herbaceous marsh, interrupted by numerous channels, and brackish and saline lagoons, and with extensive inter-tidal mudflats on the seaward side. This swamp is an important wetland since it is ecologically diverse, consisting of marshes, mangrove swamp and tidal mudflats in close proximity. The wetland provides a variety of habitats for flora and fauna species and as such, supports a rich biodiversity. The Caroni Swamp runs along the banks of the Caroni River and contains numerous channels, brackish and saline lagoons with inter-tidal mudflats. The Caroni Swamp also contains fresh water and saltwater marshes and is also known as a bird sanctuary. The central section of the acreage is designated as a wildlife sanctuary and is the home of one of Trinidad and Tobago’s national bird, the Scarlet Ibis. The Caroni Swamp is the major roosting place for the Scarlet Ibis and is also the home of over 100 avian species.
My first impression when hearing of the pitch lake where they still mine pitch was thinking it would be an industrial site of little interest and no natural beauty. I was rather far from the mark. The lake is a home for a wide variety of birds and other living things. it has it own feel and is quite interesting.
Yerettê is a magical place. It was started to provide a place of peace and more quiet time for the owner. He started to feed the many hummingbirds in his garden. He was kind enough to open his garden to the public under strictly limited conditions. Today it stands as one of the top attractions in Trinidad and Tobago.
Botanical Gardens in Guadeloupe and Martinique
The Jardin Botanical Gardens, near Deshaies, Guadeloupe is one of the nicest botanical gardens i have visited anywhere. It is located about a mile from downtown Deshaies. it is a bit of a climb up from the town if you choose to walk, but with a phone call they will come and fetch you. The number of tropical plants on display is great and no matter what the season there are always a number in bloom.
Botanical Garden in Martinique
Jardin de Balata, Botanical Garden - heading north from the capital along the winding road through the rain forest, was the Jardin de Balatia, Botanical Garden. it is easy to miss on the winding road, but worth the stop.
Guyana is a unique place in the Caribbean. Yes, it considers itself a part of the Caribbean even though it is on the North coast of South America. It remains one of the least developed countries in the western hemisphere and is much like the rest of the Caribbean was 50 or more years ago, i suspect. With a population density of less than 1 person per square mile and rich in natural resources, it is ripe for exploitation. But, for the moment it is a wonderful natural place. it is difficult to explore as the country lacks any road infrastructure. Rivers are the principal means of transportation with air for those willing to pay the price. There are not many tourists that venture inland and those few usually visit one of the well appointed lodges.
Sailing up the river for 50 miles and anchoring off Baganara island, we were able to see the country from a prospective few see. Fewer than 2 dozen sailboats visit the country each year and most of those stop briefly on their way from Brazil to the Caribbean.
Dominica is known for it lush jungles and unspoiled beauty. It was badly damaged by Hurricane Erika in 2015, but it is now recovering. P.A.Y.S guides do many different island tours and for the more fit there the trail that runs the length of the island. Many guides have a very wide ranging knowledge of the environment and can point out and name most of the animals, birds and trees.
Elsewhere Around the World
While i have traveled widely both by boat and as part of my job, two place stand out as place to view wild life - Maine and the Florida Everglades.
The Everglades National Park -
My first visit to the park was in 1969 when i was briefly sent to Homestead, Florida to learn how to survive in the water. We traveled to visit the Everglades on weekend. I returned often when i kept my boat in Miami and visited most recently when i returned to the US and acquired a new lens for my camera. I thought the Everglades would be a great place to try it out.
The Coast of Maine -
I first visited Maine as a child on a family vacation. Then visited there several times before getting my boat. More recently i visited there two summers on my sailboat.