The Winston Nanan Caroni Bird Sanctuary’s vast biodiversity and pristine environmental conditions captured the attention of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Explorers earlier this week.
The 48-member group arrived in T&T last Saturday, visiting Yerette (home of the hummingbird) in Maracas, St Joseph, Hacienda Jacana in Talparo, the Central Experience and the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.
The explorers were taken through a three-hour long birdwatching journey by Nanan’s Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tours, a third-generation business now run by Allister Nanan.
They also run specialised expedition tours in Trinidad with birdwatching companies from across the globe.
While the media and explorers were only treated to viewing a portion of the 12,000-acre swamp, tour guides Nanan and Khemraj used their whistling, attracting the presence of a handful of the hundreds of species of birds that call the Bird Sanctuary their home.
The explorers, some in their twilight years, were treated to the sights of a red, white and black masked cardinal, which is on this country’s $50 bill, as well as multiple species of herons, the pygmy kingfisher, which is one of four species of kingfisher in the sanctuary, swallows, hawks, as well as a tropical screech owl nestled far away from the river paths.
The group also spotted the multiple silky anteaters and some of the crabs that fed on the lengthy mangrove tree roots.
The star of the show remained the evening arrival of the national bird, the Scarlet Ibis, sweeping in through the twilight skies.
Speaking about the visit, expedition leader Lucho Verdesoto said, “The whole point of coming to Trinidad is actually to show our guests this incredible environment, this pristine ecosystem that you have.”
Verdesoto added, “This is a spectacle that you don’t get to see many places in the world. It is pretty much unique. This is what we want to see. We want to see things that are being protected, and people care about these places.”
National Geographic Explorer documentary filmmaker and Colombian biologist Federico Pardo echoed his colleague’s sentiments, saying: “Thus far, I’m impressed. Not only by the warmth of the people but the diversity of the people. I was not expecting to see such a mix which makes it very appealing but also, it’s a Latin American country with great biodiversity.”
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic left T&T earlier this week on a world-class expedition ship, heading to Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil.
Carla Cupid, the interim chief executive officer of Tourism Trinidad, welcomed the visitors.
She said, “From all reports, the international explorers were captivated by our amazing flora, fauna, and unmatched biodiversity.”
Cupid added, “Trinidad continues to be an ideal destination for ecotourism and outdoor adventures, and we remain committed to attracting visitors from all corners of the globe to showcase our biodiversity and develop authentic and memorable experiences. Today’s visitors are looking for engaging and enriching travel with strong storytelling and immersive experiences, and Trinidad offers that and so much more.”
She commended Nanan’s Bird Sanctuary Tours, which was the official tour operator for the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, for their continued partnership with the group and “for their resilience and innovation in developing unique tour offerings that international visitors can place on their Trinidad bucket list.”