It’s been a crazy few days here in the tropical paradise of T&T to be honest. Let’s just say that there is a single, well-known place where one can comfortably see all three of our resident trogon species, a place which many of you may have visited in the past and more still would surely be dreaming of. Technically I should say was however. Yes, my friends. The mighty Asa Wright Nature Centre announced this week that it is now closed for the foreseeable future.
View from the world-famous veranda of the Asa Wright Nature Centre courtesy Joanne Husain.
Crushing news to everyone, certainly. Which is why I’m trying to distract you (myself) with gaudy, colorful tropical cousins to the quetzals of the mainland.
Starting with the smallest – our tiny Guianan Trogon (formerly Violaceous) can often be heard within almost any forested area on Trinidad. Males have a striking yellow eye-ring, and both sexes often vocalize continuously throughout the day.
Guianan Trogon (male)
Guianan Trogon (female)
The largest of the three trogons is the Green-backed Trogon (formerly White-tailed). In the event that the size difference between this and the Guianan Trogon isn’t immediately apparent, males of this species have a beautiful blue eye-ring and a pure white tail.
Green-backed Trogon (male)
Green-backed Trogon (female)
Many may claim that I’m saving the best for last – and as much as I’d like to disagree and state categorically that all birds are equal, there is just something magical about witnessing a Collared Trogon in the forest. It could be the fact that it’s a restricted resident of higher elevation forest. It could be due to it being our only trogon that can be found on both Trinidad and Tobago. Or it could simply be that rich, vivid red. What do you think?
Collared Trogon (male)
Collared Trogon (female)
Please forgive me for my brevity in this post but I’m certain many of you would be as flabbergasted as can be given the news in the opening paragraph. There is still hope, as the ownership and protection of the land remains.
Also, for those of you with any questions about birding in T&T – I’m delivering a free webinar next week Thursday (28th) on birding here. I’d love to take you on a tour – even if it must be virtual for now!
Well, that is unwelcome news…
Faraaz, do you know if the Oilbirds ever returned to their cave?
Hey Michael, Oilbirds have returned.
Asa Wright was my first photography trip abroad in 2018 and it was every bit as magical as I hoped. This is very sad news, but after listening to an interview with a board member, it doesn’t feel like the end of the line. I have faith that the center can find a financially sustainable path forward post-pandemic. After all, they have done eco-tourism longer than anyone else, so they should know how to do it. A place that iconic and beautiful shouldn’t be hidden away from the public. I want to believe that I can sit on that veranda again someday.
I am interested in your webinar. Re. Asa W., are they closing till the borders reopen and tourism resumes, or..? Always dreamed of that place…
You can copy and paste this link to register for the webinar: https://learnthebirds.com/event/wild/
From what they have released to the press, they are closed indefinitely. All staff have been fired. If/when they do resume operations, I assume there would be a process of hiring new staff (or possibly rehiring the retrenched staff) – either way I will be sure to let everyone here know as soon as the information is available.
Hey John, happy you enjoyed your time here. It surely is not the end of the line, but time for a drastic change. We shall see how it plays out!
Very distressing news for the nature and the staff. I hope they can hold on. Hopefully this will be rectified in the near future.