Naturalist Journeys and Caligo Ventures announce our celebrity tour to the Asa Wright Nature Centre for 2018 with field guide author and butterfly expert, Robert Gallardo. Join Robert for a fantastic week at the Asa Wright Nature Centre and enjoy a fast-track study of butterfly identification, behavior, and ecology coupled with the Centre’s top-rate birding.

Explore a wide variety of habitats from montane forests to mangroves, and wetlands to working agricultural as you find a wide variety of species. Robert shares his expertise through field time, workshops, and presentations. Robert's dual passion for birds and butterflies has led him to write Birds of Honduras, he is currently working on a butterfly field guide.

Many birders have turned to butterfly watching as a stunning enrichment to their field time. There are many hours, particularly mid-day, when birds are resting and difficult to find. Insects are active, fun to photograph, and fascinating to watch and observe with complex behaviors that few notice. Their relationship to plants is complex and revealing. Our Centre naturalists know where to find many of the butterfly food and host plants and they help during our field excursions. We hope to have experts from the University of the West Indies join us for specific outings as well.

The Asa Wright Nature Centre is located at 1,200 feet in Trinidad’s Northern Range. Stay in comfortable cabins decorated with tropical fabrics and furnishings and dine in the main house of the former Springhill Estate. The Centre has a comfortable teaching space always in view of the Arima Valley vista and its myriad winged creatures – large and small. Tea and rum punch are served on the expansive Verandah from which up to 70 species of birds can be seen in a day! Trails radiate out from the main house, affording numerous other species, and there is a small, waterfall-fed natural swimming pool.

November is a good time for flowering and fruiting trees. Temperatures in November are cooler than high season and it is an excellent month to witness biodiversity brought on by summer rains. November's cooling rains come quickly and bird and butterfly activity resumes with vigor as the sun returns.

The continental origin and proximity of Trinidad to South America, along with its varied habitats, has resulted in an extremely diverse biota. Species lists for this island are impressive, including 97 native mammals, 400 birds, 55 reptiles, 25 amphibians, and 617 butterflies, as well as over 2,200 species of flowering plants. No other area in the West Indies, and few areas of comparable size in tropical America, can match this spectacular species diversity.

Tour Highlights

  • Spend time with experts! Expand your horizons, increase your skills and learn about Trinidad's winged wonders
  • Watch birds from the Asa Wright Nature Centre’s famed verandah and trails
  • Unpack just once for a full week at one of the world’s leading ecolodges (though if you want to spend extra time on Tobago, we'll help you arrange lodging)
  • Enjoy a behind the scenes tour of the Centre’s gardens, great for butterfly watching
  • Explore Caroni National Park by boat and witness scores of Scarlet Ibis returning to their roost
  • Visit the University of the West Indies campus; at the Angostura Distillery see the Barcant Butterfly collection
  • Search for elusive birds: Little Tinamou, White-bearded Bellbird, Cocoa and Plain-Brown Woodcreepers, White-bellied Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush on Centre trails.
  • Join Citizen Science efforts to catalog information on butterflies and birds

Photo credits: Banners: Channel-billed Toucan by Steve Wolfe; Butterfly by Bob Behrstock; Long-billed Startthroat by Hugh Simmons Photography; Scarlet Peacock by Peg Abbott; Bananaquit Feeding Frenzy by Hugh Simmons Photography; Butterfly by Mukesh Ramdass; Bearded Bellbird by Bob Rodrigues; Clear-winged Butterfly by Ray Mendez; White Peacock Butterfly by Buck Snelson; Tufted Coquette by Rich Wagner | WildNaturePhotos; Number 89 Butterfly by Mukesh Ramdass; Blue-chinned Sapphire by Steve Wolfe.