It only took about 10 minutes by boat to travel from the pier at the Blue Waters Inn to the nature reserve that is Little Tobago Island. Magnificent Frigatebirds hovered, looking for a free meal.....
Accompanied by our guide (Newton George), we climbed the “mini-mountain” that covers the island, and learned a bit about the history of this one-of-a-kind place. Birds-of-Paradise, brought here by a man concerned for their survival in their native country, once roamed the island. However, a tornado in 1963 destroyed much of Little Tobago Island, and these birds were never able to make a comeback.
Trails have been forged through the jungle (Newton helped to create these trails), making it possible for small groups of people to enjoy the abundance of flora and fauna that has returned to the island, and also enabling dedicated people to carry fresh water to small troughs for the birds to drink during dry seasons.
On the way up the hill, there was a large Hermit Crab in its pretty shell-home scuttling along the path.
Near the top, there is a lookout, where we stood and watched the surrounding cliffs and blue sky come alive with Red-billed Tropicbirds.
They would soar and swoop and fish, then be attacked by the waiting Frigatebirds; these bullies would grab the smaller white birds and shake them until a meal was regurgitated! We saw several Tropicbirds with tails shortened by Frigatebird attacks. Here 2 Frigatebirds are battling for the rights to a meal, while the “lunch box” flies away.
Red-billed Tropicbirds are lovely, elegant creatures, with their long tail feathers and graceful flight patterns. They also like to fly very quickly by, and don’t seem to want to pose for portraits! I managed to sneak a few.....
This photo is one of my favourites, with the wild Atlantic waves dashing against the rocks of the island, and the Red-billed Tropicbirds sailing effortlessly into the wind.....
Along the cliffs, Boobies rest and nest. Can you see the 2 white dots in the upper left corner??
Of course, Newton knew where we could find a nesting bird that was a bit closer. We took turns, in small groups, quietly peeking at a Red-billed Tropicbird on her nest on the forest floor.
Eventually, we made our way back down the steep trail to our waiting boat. As we pulled away and skirted the island, we could see Brown Boobies resting in their cactus gardens.
Gotta love these faces!
On our way back to Tobago, we stopped to snorkel in the clear, warm waters, then headed back to the Blue Waters Inn. This beautiful crab was clinging to the pier,
and Ruddy Turnstones were present along the shore at the inn, foraging in the seaweed that arrives with the tide.
They were thrilled to find a coconut that was open and free for the taking.
Only problem was that the waves kept coming in and interrupting their meal. One enterprising bird figured it out.....
And another beautiful day on Tobago drew to a close. So many wonderful things to see and experience!