One of Tobago's
visitor attractions is birding. The small size of the island means that it is very easy to
include birdwatching as an outdoor recreation activity while on vacation in Tobago. Below
are some of the birdwatching hotspots in Tobago.
Grafton Bird Sanctuary, Tobago
This is a former cocoa and coconut estate that was destroyed by Hurricane Flora in 1963
and as a result was converted into a wildlife sanctuary.
It is approximately 200 acres in size and is covered in secondary forest.
It is located along Grafton Road on the southern side of the road. There is a small
weathered sign indicating the entrance to the sanctuary and a short uphill secondary road
that leads to the reserve. Even before one reaches the reserve, along the entrance road
there is good birding. A restaurant was previously operated on the site but is now closed,
however the restaurant building still exists with tables and benches and can be used for
resting during the day. There are toilets in the building that are maintained. There are
three main forest trails. As you enter, the first trail on the right leads downhill and is
relatively short. The second trail on the left also gradually leads downhill and then
eventually climbs uphill. The main trail, which is directly facing the entrance, leads
uphill and winds past several abandoned estate buildings and stables.
Bon Accord Wetlands, Tobago
The wetlands lie just north of Milford road and adjacent
to Pigeon Point. They offered a range of habitats from mangroves fringing the Bon Accord
lagoon, to freshwater marsh, drainage channels and four large ponds in the water treatment
works. It is an excellent site for waterbirds and waders especially. At the water
treatment ponds can usually be seen Great Egrets, Anhingas, Black-crowned
Herons, Green Herons, Snowy Egret, Little Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Black-bellied
Whistling-ducks, White-cheeked Pintails, Least Grebe, Eared Doves.
Pigeon Point Roadway
The road leading into Pigeon Point is bordered on one side by the sea and by a
mangrove swamp on the other side. This swamp is actually a continuation of the Bon Accord
wetlands. The birdlife that is visible from along this roadway is not as prolific as would
be seen by visiting the Bon Accord area. One species however that is almost always found
along this road is the Brown-crested Flycatcher while on the seaside can be seen Laughing
Gulls and Brown Pelicans.
The road into Kilgwyn Swamp lies at the eastern end of Store Bay Local Road.
Store Bay Local Road can be accessed from its western end at the intersection just outside
the Crown Point Airport or by heading south on any of the roads leading off from Milford
Road up to Real Valu Supermarket. The road into the swamp often has a metal barrier placed
across to prevent vehicle access but pedestrians can easily walk under the barrier. The
road through the swamp leads to a beautiful beach so that in addition to seeing swamp
species such as herons, egrets, jacanas, flycatchers and hummingbirds, you can also see a
variety of shore line birds such as martins, sanderlings, sandpipers, plovers and terns.
The Adventure Farm & Eco Reserve is just outside the village of Plymouth on the
Arnos Vale Road. The farm is planted with a variety of fruit trees but parts of the farm
have been left with the natural tropical vegetation. There is one main trail that winds
through the property. A variety of birds can be seen on the Farm including Tropical
Mockingbirds, Blue-crowned Motmot, White-tipped Dove, Eared Dove, White-necked Jacobin,
Rufous-breasted Hermit, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Bared-eyed Thrush, White-lined Tanagers,
Blue-Gray Tanagers, Blue-black Grassquit, Bananaquit, Pale-vented Pigeon and Woodcreepers.
The owners of the Farm live on the property and there is an entrance fee of TT $20. An
interesting feature of the farm is that visitors can place fruit and seeds in the feeders,
then ring a brass bell. Within minutes of ringing the bell various species come to the
feeders. Along the side of the main house are hummingbird feeders with the hummingbirds
Arnos Vale Hotel, Tobago
The grounds of the Arnos Vale Hotel and the beach front are a good site for easy
birding. For even easier bird watching you can take part in their daily afternoon tea at
4pm when the hotel staff fill the bird feeders and numerous species flock to the verandah.
Among the birds you will likely see at Arnos Vale are:
Brown Pelican; Brown Booby; Magnificent Frigatebird; Great Egret Little Blue Heron;
Green Heron; Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Merlin; Rufous-vented Chachalaca
("Cocrico."); Whimbrel; Least and Spotted Sandpipers; Ruddy Turnstone; Laughing
Gull; Common and Royal Terns; Eared and White-tipped Doves; Ruddy Ground-Dove;
Pale-vented Pigeon .
Little Tobago Island
Little Tobago Island is a bird sanctuary located off of Speyside village. To visit the
sanctuary you must take a tour with tours usually departing at 10am and 2pm each day. The
highlight of a visit to this island is the sight of the red-billed tropicbirds. Between
October and June these birds visit this island to breed. In between the red-billed you can
also see white-tailed tropic birds. Little Tobago island also offers the opportunity to
see a number of other seabirds, including three species of booby (blue-faced or masked,
brown and red-footed).
Some other notable birding spots in Tobago include: