Category Archives: Travel Journal

CBC The Homestretch: Trinidad Birdwatching Recap

Brian Keating returns from Trinidad and Tobago and tells the CBC about seeing over 300 species of hummingbirds.


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Bird Watching in Trinidad: Common Potoo

It was after dinner when the haunting call permeated the night air! The Common potoo!  The descending 5 or 6 notes sounded absolutely bizarre, and without question was one of the strangest bird calls we have ever heard. I carry my tiny policeman’s flashlight in my video case, all kept close at hand tonight in case this bird did show, and within moments, we were set up on the 2nd floor balcony, within 10 meters of the bird.  This is the resulting photograph. It would call every few minutes, pumping his body with enthusiasm as if playing some kind of musical pipe with each note emitted.  Often the bird would sally forth to catch an insect, returning to the same branch.
Have a listen to one of the strangest bird calls I have ever heard:
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Bird Watching in Trinidad: Red-Crowned Woodpecker

Brian was just finishing his own lunch when he noticed a very surprising guest at the hummingbirds’ lunch table! Yes, you are seeing this correctly: a Red-crowned woodpecker landed on the feeder and enjoyed a long sip of some sweet energy, a bit like a mid-afternoon Tim Horton’s coffee or perhaps a bird’s equivalent of a RedBull!

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Bird Watching in Trinidad: Hummingbirds

Brian just reported that he identified his 11th species of hummingbird in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ruby Topaz. He was able to photograph this beautiful male at a feeder right outside of his room. At times there were several species of hummers arguing over feeding rights! These avian jewels have been a constant highlight on these rich Caribbean islands!
Ruby Topaz
Copper-Rumped Hummingbird
Purple Honeycreepers
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CBC The Homestretch: Oilbirds

Even a naturalist like Brian Keating has wildlife viewing items on his bucket list! This week on the CBC The Homestretch, Brian talks about his first encounter with Oilbirds.

“We could hear the throaty calls of the birds, and as soon as we entered the cave, we saw some fluttering at the far end where a shaft of light permeated the canyon. The echolocation clicking was also audible. Several birds were perched on nests right above us, and with the assistance of our guides flashlight, I was able to get a few very good photographs.”

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Bird Watching in Trinidad: Tropic Birds

After a steamy ascent through the thick forest on the small island, we descended down the far side where we were met with a pleasant ocean breeze. And then, right beside the trail, we came upon a tropic-bird on her ground nest with a near-fully grown chick! The young appeared to have more body weight than the parent bird! They were not the least bit fussed by our presence. Two more adult birds, likely on eggs or chicks, were found further along the trail. Normally tropic birds nest on inaccessible cliffs, so this was a rare treat indeed and I was able to full frame the bird with my iPad! In all our tropical travels, we have never encountered this incredibly beautiful bird in such proximity. IMG_1958

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Bird Flocks in Trinidad

And then the show really began. We left the dark mangrove channels and entered a large brackish lake. A huge island with towering trees had a few flocks of herons and egrets flying towards it and landing on the branches. But within moments after getting there, flock after flock of Scarlet ibis came in! At first a few dozen, but soon flocks of 50 or more began to arrive. The green wall of tall trees soon looked as if decorated by Christmas ornaments! By the time we needed to head back, the island had no less that 3,000 birds. It was astounding. At one point the birds spooked and flew up and around, eventually alighting back onto the island. All this with the towering pink clouds behind them as a result of a superb sunset. The low light from the setting sun appeared to make the ibis glow from within to a rich velvet red.
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CBC The Homestretch: Brian Keating in Trinidad

Wildlife columnist Brian Keating speaks to the CBC about bird watching from Trinidad.




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CBC The Homestretch: Brian Keating on Bird Feeding

This week on The Homestretch, Naturalist Brian Keating shares his bird feeding strategy with the CBC, and expresses his great appreciation for these feathered friends.

crossbills red on feeder small 2013

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An Unusual Thank you in Banff!




A group of ‘gorillas’ were part of the ‘thank-you’ team when Brian recently presented the lunchtime keynote at the RemTech Conference at the Banff Springs. The unusual lunch guests were the ESAA members of the Kenya\/Rwanda Safari guests that Brian toured via Civilized Adventures earlier this year. Brian’s presentation featured his live-narrated video of their adventures which included trekking into the high mountains of Rwanda, where they observed several family groups of Mountain gorilla.

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