The highlight of a birding trip to St Vincent is undoubtably the lush tropical Vermont Trail. Most people of good fitness seem to make it up to the Parrot Lookout in an hour of steady hiking. Being of poor fitness, it took me about 2.5 hours!
From the Beachcomber’s Hotel, I took a minibus to the market. It was a Saturday morning so they weren’t as frequent and despite my early start, it was 7:30 by the time I arrived at the market. I was alone, my husband needed a rest day by the pool. I waited another half hour for the minibus to the start of the Vermont Trail. I would have had to walk up another hill from the main road so I paid the driver to take me all the way to the entrance.
It costs $5 to enter but there weren’t any staff on hand so I just walked in. I did pay on the way out. They seem used to birders doing this.
HIKING THE TRAIL
It starts out as a pretty well-marked trail with a gradual ascent. The trail gets more challenging as you keep going up. They do have signs to point the way.
There were some parts where I could barely tell which way to go.
Rest area about halfway up.
Finally you reach the parrot lookout. This is the best place to stop and just listen and wait. They fly back and forth the valley. You will hear them first, then try to find them!
Along the trail, I saw both Purple & Green-throated Carib Hummingbirds. Unfortunately I couldn’t get them in decent light.
I was at the Parrot Lookout by around 10am. They kept me waiting almost 2 hours and I was getting worried I hiked all the way up there for nothing. Thankfully they appeared and started swooping the valley before noon. It is really hard to get a good shot unless you are lucky enough to have them perch near you (which I wasn’t). When they flew against the sky all I got were silhouettes, when they flew against the trees I couldn’t get them in focus – green bird against green tree background and I don’t have that good aim!
They stopped swooping after around half an hour so I walked back down to the office, paid the $5 fee and looked around their displays.
I wish they would have had smaller ones like this for sale!
Of course there were no taxis or buses to take me back down. Many people will pre-book one but I had no idea what time I would finish as I wasn’t going to leave until I saw the parrots even if it took all day! Finally a car came and dropped off a staff member and I got a ride back to the main road. From there I got a minibus back to town.