Explore and Wander | The Caroni Bird Sanctuary
According to our tour from the Nanan's Bird Sanctuary Tours, the Caroni Swamp is located approximately 10 miles south-west of Port-Of-Spain off the North South Uriah Butler Highway.
We sat in a boat, fully bathed in bug replant, my camera in hand and I carried a sweater for later down in the evening when the temperatures were guaranteed to drop and were off. The Caroni Bird Sanctuary is an amazing lagoon that extends itself South of Port of Spain along the western shoreline of Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago. it covers about 40 sq miles of wetland. The boundaries are: to the North the Caroni River; to the East the Uriah Butler Highway; to the West the Gulf of Paria and to the South the Madame Espagnol River.
In 1921 the Caroni Swamp was dissected into a network of channels to reclaim part of it for rice and sugar cultivation. However the significance of he swamp as an important ecological area resulted in 3179 hectares being declared the Caroni swamp Forest Reserve in 1939.
At the same time, 136 hectares were proclaimed the Caroni Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary to offer protection to the Scarlet Ibis. Recently the Caroni Swamp was declared a wetland of international importance under the RAMSAR Convention.
In the Sanctuary there are reptiles including the Cook's Tree Boa, Spectacled Caiman, and Iguanas.
There are birds of which there are 186 species including the Blue Heron, Egret, Cardinal, Kingfishers, Jacanas and the Scarlet Ibis.
While the Caroni Swamp is rich in shrubs, grasses, water hyacinth, birds of paradise, sedges, and ferns the main vegetation is the mangrove of which there are four groups- White (Laguncularia Racemosa), Red (Rhizophora Mangle) Black (Avicenna Germinans) and Button (Canocarpus Erectus).
In addition to the reptiles and birds in the Sanctuary, there are insects, crabs, the Silky Anteaters and Fishes (Groupers, Mullet, Snook, Snapper, Tarpon, Catfish and Tilapia) in the Swamp.
About two hours in after meandering through the mangroves, taking in the extreme silence and occasional sounds of nature we stopped for the arrival of the Scarlet Ibis and enjoyed the sunset back.
The resident population of the Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus Ruber), in the Caroni Swamp is made up of several thousands. They are a sight to behold.
The young Ibis is usually grayish-brown. The plumage turns pink between 6-12 months and then develops a scarlet colour in 3 years. In 1962, The Government of Trinidad and Tobago names the Scarlet Ibis, the National Bird of Trinidad. The Scarlet Ibis is protected by law.