Green-rumped Parrotlet (Forpus passerinus)

The Green-rumped Parrotlet (Forpus passerinus) is a small Neotropical parrot. It is one of seven species in the genus Forpus and is found in Northeastern South America.

dscn3843a dscn3837a img_7066a

They are found in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, northern Brazil and the Caribbean island of Trinidad.  I was lucky enough to spot a few at Aripo Livestock Station in Trinidad.




World Parrot Trust


Neotropical Birds


These tiny little beauties can be hard to spot, look how they lend in with the trees!


Birding Aripo Livestock Station, Trinidad

One of Trinidad’s top birding spots is the Aripo Livestock Station.  Having wasted far too much time the day before getting lost, this time I was determined to get there early to maximize birding. Since we didn’t have a gps in the car I would have to research the location and handwrite the directions.  Google maps doesn’t have the location loaded but by using eBird’s hotspot, I was able to map out the route and make note of which exit came before so I would know where to turn.  From the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, turn left at the Demerara Road, then right on Eastern Main Road and look for the property on the left.


dscn3852 dscn3803

This sign is easy to spot.  Turn down the road and go past the guard point.dscn3851

Pull into the main building parking lot and they will register your presence and give you a visitor pass like the one below.  This is all routine and they are quite used to birders.dscn3850 dscn3804

From here it’s a matter of driving slowly around the property with your eyes and ears open.  Birds are everywhere!dscn3805 dscn3806 dscn3807

I was over the moon to see some Green-rumped Parrotlets in a tree not far from the entrance.  Parrotlets have always been a difficult bird to spot, see how well this little guy blends in!img_7050 img_7051a img_7062a img_7066a img_7073a dscn3808 dscn3810 dscn3825 dscn3837a dscn3843a

Lilac-rumped Parrotlets are also found here but I wasn’t lucky this time.  We drove around for about 90 minutes as we still had to get to Asa Wright’s before the morning tour started and picked up a fair few birds.  There were also Amazon Parrots flying overhead but I couldn’t tell which ones as we had been stopped for breakfast and didn’t grab the binoculars in time.dscn3845 dscn3846 dscn3848 dscn3849 img_7036 img_7038 img_7042

Southern Lapwingimg_7048

Ruddy Ground Doveimg_7086

Great Kiskadeeimg_7091a

Hummingbird, not sure which kindimg_7098a img_7110a

Rock Pigeonsimg_7115

Tropical Mockingbird



Amex Platinum Edge – My Secret For Earning Miles & Points

Many people wonder how I manage to do all these amazing trips on such a tight budget.  The #1 thing I do is to take advantage of any credit card promotions that come along.  We all have daily expenses – groceries, petrol, bills that have to be paid regardless so why not earn miles and points on them?

In Australia, the Amex Platinum Edge is the best card for normal everyday spend.


Here you can see the benefits of this card.  You may notice a 10,000 points bonus for applying but I can do better than that!

amex-plt-edge1 amex-plt-edge2

However if you use my referral link, you get 15,000 Membership Rewards points!  I also get a referral bonus……………….and then you will become eligible to refer people yourself so you can pick up some more points!

There are 9 airline transfer partners –  Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air New Zealand Airpoints, THAI Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.  Most of these transfer at 1:1 ratio.  You can also transfer to Starwood Preferred Guest at a ratio of 2 Amex = 1 SPG.  From SPG, you have access to over 20 airlines worldwide including American Airlines, British Airways, Flying Blue & more!  When you transfer from SPG to an airline, you should do so in blocks of 20,000 SPG to get a bonus 5000 miles in your airline account.

Earning Amex Membership Rewards is easier than you think!  First of all, your groceries not only get the 3 points per $ but you also get the Coles Flybuys or Woolworths Rewards by scanning your supermarket loyalty card.  Then you can buy gift cards to all kinds of stores like Bunnings, BCF, several clothing stores, Netflix, iTunes and more so almost all your purchases can earn 3x!  It all adds up and you soon will have enough points for your dream trip!

Amex T&Cs

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is a species of ibis in the bird family Threskiornithidae. It inhabits tropical South America and islands of the Caribbean. In form it resembles most of the other twenty-seven extant species of ibis, but its remarkably brilliant scarlet coloration makes it unmistakable. It is 1 of 2 national birds of Trinidad and Tobago.

In this series of photos I took at Caroni Bird Sanctuary, we see them flying in formation, arriving at the roost area and settling in for the night.  The bright scarlet colour is amazing, especially when you have 1000’s of these birds all together!

img_7020 img_6966 img_7031 dscn3793 dscn3778

The Scarlet Ibis has a huge range over Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Trinidad and several Caribbean islands.  You are virtually guaranteed to see them in the thousands at Caroni Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad.





Neotropical Birds


There is no shortage of videos of this spectacular bird online, many of which were filmed in Caroni so you get the idea of my experience.  Not to be missed!

A Boat Trip To Caroni Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad

After a very full day of rushing around in the car, getting lost and seeing some amazing birds, we were ready for a nice relaxing boat ride in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.  As usual, we arrived late after getting lost but another couple also arrived late so we shared a boat all to ourselves.  The crew at Nanan’s were very friendly and the guide found a few water birds along the route even though we were an hour late.

dscn3798 img_6945 img_6944 dscn3757 dscn3760 dscn3761

Only one other couple on the boat.dscn3762

Great Blue Heron

dscn3763 dscn3764 dscn3766 dscn3767 dscn3768

Emerging into the main lake.dscn3769

We cruised around the lake slowly as the Scarlet Ibises and Egrets flew to their roosts in several small groups at a time.  Despite having lots of trees and islets to choose from, tey all chose to roost together in one area.  There were so many bird the trees looked like they had tons of white and red flowers!dscn3770 dscn3778 dscn3779

Another tour groupdscn3780 dscn3782 dscn3786 dscn3789 dscn3792 dscn3793 img_6966 img_7024 img_7020 img_6990 img_6978 img_6973 img_7026 img_7028 img_7031 img_6952

Finally the specacle was over and the birds settled in for the night.  All boats started heading back to the docks……………………dscn3797

…………..but not before we watched the sun set over the swamp!dscn3795 dscn3796

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

The Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) is a mainly South American hummingbird species.

img_6938a dscn3688 dscn3641

They have a huge range from Venezuela and the Guyanas, south to central Brazil,  Peru, Ecuador and northern Bolivia; also from Colombia into southern PanamaYerette in Trinidad is a good place to see them.





Neotropical Birds


Why is everyone looking at me?


Quick visit to a feeder

Yerette Hummingbird Sanctuary, Trinidad

Theo & Gloria Fergusson, the owners of Yerette must have one of the best lifestyles in the world!  Their beautiful home high atop a hill in the lush Maracas Valley in Trinidad is a sanctuary for 1000’s of brilliant glittering hummingbirds!  Out of all the bird species we don’t have in Australia, hummingbirds are the one I miss the most so I like to take any opportunity to see them overseas.  The general consensus on Trip Advisor is “magic” and I have to agree!

The word “Yerette” means hummingbird  in the original Amerindian language.Trinidad even features them on the national Coat of Arms, currency and passport, as the hummingbird is an important symbol of the country.  Caribbean Airlines has the hummingbird as their logo as well.

At Yerette, visitors are able to see and observe 13 of the 17 hummingbird species recorded in this country, of hummingbirds at a very close range. These include:

1.Black-throated Mango

2.Blue-chinned Sapphire

3.Brown Violetear

4.Copper-rumped Hummingbird

5.Green Hermit

6.Green-throated Mango

7.Little Hermit

8.Long-billed Starthroat

9.Ruby Topaz

10.Rufous-breasted Hermit

11.Tufted Coquette

12.White-chested Emerald

13.White-necked Jacobin

I managed to see 10 out of the 13 (bolding) and did my best to identify the photos below but many are too dark or blurry.  I did get Tufted Coquette at Asa Wright’s so it’s really necessary to visit both places to see as many Trindadian hummingbirds as possible.

The price of admission is $TT150, and includes a light meal, interesting presentation by Theo on the hummingbirds and access to all the hummingbird feeders in the garden where you can TRY to take photos of these rapidly flittering flying jewels.  Theo has photos for sale which are better quality than most people will get on their own.  You need to book in advance by calling 1-868-663-2623 as there are sessions at different times of day.  They will email you precise directions when you book.  It doesn’t matter which session you choose as hummingbirds must feed every 10 minutes throughout the day.

The area where Yerette is located.


Entering Yerette and the hummingbird garden.dscn3622 dscn3623 dscn3624 dscn3625 dscn3626 dscn3627

Theo’s presentation on the hummingbirds.dscn3646 dscn3628 dscn3633

Green-throated Mango dscn3639a dscn3641

Green-throated Mango dscn3650 dscn3658

White-necked Jacobin dscn3661

Copper-rumped Hummingbird dscn3670

Little Hermit dscn3684

Black-throated Mango dscn3688

Rufous-breasted Hermit dscn3692 dscn3699

Ruby Topaz dscn3702

Ruby Topaz dscn3702a

Ruby Topaz dscn3703a

White-chested Emerald dscn3704

White-chested Emerald dscn3705a

Brown Violetear dscn3708 dscn3710 dscn3715

Purple Honeycreeper


Green-throated Mango dscn3724 dscn3727 dscn3732

Ruby Topaz Hummingbird? dscn3740a

Blue-chinned Sapphire dscn3744

Black-throated Mango img_6938a

Ruby Topaz Hummingbird? img_6927 img_6925 img_6918 img_6911

White-necked Jacobin img_6898aYellow Oriole img_6856 img_6851

Blue-chinned Sapphire dscn3749 img_6840 dscn3747

It started raining as we headed back down the steep hill, you can see how high it is.


Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus)

The Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus), commonly referred to simply as the Ruby topaz, is a small bird that breeds in the Lesser Antilles and tropical northern South America. It is the only member of the genus Chrysolampis.  This stunning little beauty is a seasonal migrant, although its movements are not well understood.  I took these photos at Yerette in Trinidad.  Better photos are in the links below.

dscn3702a dscn3703a dscn3740a img_6911 img_6925 img_6927

They have a huge range from Venezuela and the Guyanas, south to central Brazil and northern Bolivia; also from Colombia into southern PanamaYerette in Trinidad is a good place to see them.





Neotropical Birds

American Bird Conservancy


Watch how his colours change in the light as he moves!


A very lucky group of birders have found some Ruby-topazes in the wild, see the little guys in action!

Sound of the Ruby-topaz

Orange-winged Amazon Parrot (Amazona amazonica)

The Orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica), also known locally as Orange-winged Parrot, Curica and Loro Guaro, is a large amazon parrot. Its habitat is forest and semi-open country.  I took these photos in Nariva Swamp.

img_6806a img_6807a

They have a huge range from Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago south to Peru, Bolivia and central Brazil.  I have seen them in the Pantanal, on Parrot Island near Belem and Nariva Swamp in Trinidad.




World Parrot Trust



I had to wade through a lot of pet bird videos to find these wild birds!