Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bird of the Day - The Scarlet Ibis

scarletibis, originally uploaded by C.B. Cebulski.

So we went birdwatching.

Now I'll pause for a second so that can sink in...

Yes, I went birdwatching.

And you know what, it was pretty fun. We hopped in a boat and headed out into the mysterious Caroni Swamp in Trinidad. Along the way we saw a silky anteater, boa constrictors, tree crabs and a whole mess of different birds - eggrets and herons and wrens and things.

However, the main focus of the trip was to get a look at the Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad, the only place in the world that it lives. Everyday, before sunrise, flocks of these Ibises head out from the swamps in search of food, then around sunset, they flock back in to roost. As it was nesting season, they weren't out in full force, but we did manage to see a few. These birds are the reddest creatures I have ever seen. They are so red it hurts your eyes. They really are beautiful. And Caroni Swamp is the only place you can see them. Yes, there are a few in captivity but they quickly wither to a pinkish color when they are not out in the wild.

There are 465 native speicies of birds to Trinidad. Many of the tourists who travel there are birdwatchers. Seeing the Scarlet Ibis gave me a little more appreciation of their hobby.

But I'm sure the birdwatchers still make fun of us comic geeks.

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