New World

The last two weeks of 2017 I spent on a cruise. It was a great way to celebrate Christmas. Not my average way to celebrate, but it sure made for some great memories on board this cruise ship. No worries on what’s on for dinner. All is taken care of. It for sure was the most relaxed Christmas I’ve ever had. And wearing shorts the whole two weeks as well.

On this cruise we went ashore 9 times. And one of those visits was to Trinidad. My first visit to the South-American continent and was really looking forward to it. Months before I had made arrangements to go with a guide to tour the Caroni Swamp, the home place of the Scarlet Ibis.

When we got there we saw the small boats we were heading on and soon we were on our way through the swamp.

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On our way we saw a fisher man speeding by making waves, but then soon we came in more quiet waters. The mangrove trees were amazing here. Much higher than the ones I’ve seen in the Everglades. It was absolutely stunning at times.

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Like floating through a movie set. So pretty.

IMG_1250-1 from petraG on Vimeo.

The roots of all those mangrove trees were absolutely stunning and have made a lot of pictures of them. Loved the still water and therefor wonderful reflections on them. The slideshow below shows some in my preferred setting, B&W. They were so dramatic!

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Just so pretty. But there was so much more to see. Of course I was on the lookout of those Scarlet Ibis, but it turned out to be full of other birds as well.

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The little Blue Heron

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The green heron.

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White Egret

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The spotted Sand Piper

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Sand Pipers on a snag.

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This bird, a woodcreeper, caught a nice meal. A mangrove crab, which were everywhere so I understand there were so many birds. Lots of food up for grabs.

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Such interesting little fast moving creatures. In the small boat we were in we had some close encounters with them. They moved along the banks and on the roots of the mangrove trees.

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These were around as well in abundance. Bright orange colored. Couldn’t find the name of these dragon fly on this picture. But was glad I managed to make a picture of it while gliding by in the boat.

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We also ran into this one. A ‘huge’ tree boa called Dormilona. The guide spotted him far away and it was still asleep. But then our boat nudged one of trees nearby and it woke up. Pretty cool, although our boat was underneath now. Which could get interesting if it fell in 🙂 But luckily it didn’t.

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It did gave us the look of why we interfered his morning nap. Apparently a bite won’t kill you according to the guide, it would hurt, he mentioned afterwards. Always a good fact to hear afterwards back in safety.

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This was something I had never seen before. It is a huge Termite nest. Maybe 1,5 yards in length. Interesting housing I thought…. While the guide was explaining about the Termite nest he also said that the Caroni swamp houses caiman. One person of the group grabbed a bright red feather of a Scarlet Ibis floating in the water, for keeps. Which, could not be the smartest thing to do, knowing there are Caiman crocodiles swimming around. But he said, we don’t always see them. Yet on the next turn in the swamp canals, I saw one swim by in the distance. How about that! A Caiman!

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We also saw a huge flock of egrets take of the trees there. Such a beautiful sight.

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In it also a Scarlet Ibis. Bright red, just like the Cardinals back home. Can’t easily miss them.

 

Soon we saw several of them left and right. About to take of for the day. Such magnificent bright colored birds with an enormous beak. Their color make them easy to spot.  Yet they liked their distance to humans. But what a wonderful sight. They are the bird where Caroni Swamp in Trinidad is known for as they roost there every night. Trees are full of them in evenings. Then fly to Venezuela during the day and head back at sunset. Unfortunately our schedule didn’t make that timing available, but was so glad I was able to see them. As I was of the rest of the Caroni swamp. The Mangroves, the boa, the Caiman and Scarlet Ibis so different. What a special place on earth! Like a new world indeed.

I seemed to have reached a new world, so wild a place…far away from human society.

~Henry David Thoreau

 

 

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