Imagine the possibility of 37 raptor species in a territory smaller than Delaware, or one sixth the size of Belgium! The wonderful Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago have that many raptors on record. Not to mention the 400 or so bird species that make this nation a birding paradise.
I returned from a trip through Trinidad & Tobago with Caligo Ventures astounded by the wealth of bird species we saw – tropical rainforest passerines, hummingbirds, trogons – the list goes on. Trinidad & Tobago is a nation composed of two main islands and several islets no more than 13 miles from the coast of Venezuela. For its relatively small territory, the nation boasts a surprisingly diverse bird life.
Above is a field sketch of raptors seen from the Northern Range, overlooking the Arima Valley on June 11, 2012. The sketch includes Common Black Hawks, Turkey Vultures, a Zone-tailed Hawk, a Short-tailed Hawk and a Swallow-tailed Kite. Click image for a larger view.
The composition was done on a 7″ x 9″ sheet of 100 lb cold-pressed watercolor paper. Each bird was done as a pencil thumbnail directly from observation through binoculars (Leica Ultravid 8×32 HD), filling in the composition one by one during a fast paced day of birding. The watercolor was added later, with the rendition of the Arima valley done the next morning from the veranda at the Asa Wright Nature Center.
Above are details of the watercolor sketch, depicting the various species observed during a relatively brief stop at an overlook along the mountainous road. The thumbnail sketches range in size from less than half an inch to more than two inches. In each, I’ve made an earnest effort at capturing the flight attitude that differentiates the depicted species.
While the abundance of hummingbirds alone would have made the trip unforgettable, I was particularly excited about seeing any of the 37 diurnal raptor species documented from this archipelago nation. I was fortunate to observe 14, and I have also posted about one of my most memorable – the Bat Falcon, and interesting observations about the mud-covered legs of a Common Black Hawk.
This article was originally posted in the Florida Keys Hawkwatch blog on July 15, 2012.
TRINIDAD: NATURE & WILDLIFE ART WORKSHOP
FEBRUARY 23 – MARCH 1, 2017
To find our more about tours led by Rafael Galvez visit the
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours website.