I may be biased but I think Trinidad has a beautiful national bird – the Scarlet Ibis. One of the most important habitats for the Scarlet Ibis in the world can be found in Trinidad, at the wetland reserve of Caroni Swamp. This reserve has existed since 1953 and it was created specifically to provide a habitat for the Scarlet Ibis. A visit to see this bird is a remarkable experience, which would explain why I have been to the reserve three times now!
The chance of seeing actual wildlife along the shoreline is slim. The only things I have seen in my three trips have been snakes. And at least one of those is a fake! How do I know? Well, the guide makes a joke saying one particular snake may or may be not real. Also, it is the same looking snake in the exact same spot the three times I’ve gone! If you have a quiet boat, cruising down the waterway is pretty cool. The thick bush and mangroves that surround you make you feel like you’re exploring an Amazonian tributary! It’s beautiful. You may pass by a pile of lumber on one stretch of shore line – this used to be a viewing tower and I have vague memories of climbing it as a kid. It is too bad it wasn’t up kept.
Eventually, as the sun starts to set, you pull into a “lake” and the boat settles into waiting for the arrival of the main event: the Scarlet Ibis. Flamingos may be in the area as well, so you and your camera will be well occupied by them. But as sunset draws even closer, flamingos will be a secondary thought as flashes of deep reds catch your attention. They fly in ones, twos, threes, wheeling high above your head. And then a giant flock of deep reds glowing in the setting sun appears, making everyone around you cry out in delight. The Scarlet Ibis truly is an amazing sight.