Day 1 - Trinidad to El Toro, Venezuela, in the Orinoco Delta Oct 25—Nov 08, 2004

Posted by Peter English

Peter-english

Peter English

Peter English became interested in birds while in the fourth grade. He graduated from Williams College in 1988 and received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Texa...

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Boarding the ship in the evening

Boarding the ship in the evening — Photo: Peter English

We all arrived last night in Trinidad on several different flights and were taken by bus to the Clipper Adventurer. After a quick processing onboard the ship (we all have coded ID badges and they even took our pictures for their files), we got a late dinner and settled into our cabins (which are really nice). The ship left port at about midnight last night, and we have spent most of the day today learning about the ship and the region that we will be visiting.

David Ascanio and Steve Hilty gave wonderful talks explaining the history and biogeography of the entire area that we will be visiting on this cruise, and putting into context tomorrow's visit to the gallery forest near El Toro. Then David Wolf gave an excellent talk about how to approach birding, what to look for in new species, and how to handle the overwhelming number of new species that we will all see on this trip.

David Wolf

David Wolf — Photo: Peter English

By Mid-afternoon the water turned whitish from silt flowing out from the Orinoco. The distance that this penetrates into the ocean is impressive. In the late afternoon we entered the mouth of the Orinoco Delta on what is known as "Rio Grande." Here in the delta, the Orinoco splits into many different smaller rivers and the Rio Grande is the largest and southernmost of these.

As we moved up the delta in the late afternoon light, we were able to get great looks at dozens of Large-billed Terns perching on buoys and flying past the ship.

Large-billed Terns

Large-billed Terns — Photo: Peter English

We saw a very large congregation of what were probably Orange-winged Parrots, but unfortunately they were a bit too far off to see well. Closer to the ship we saw a Laughing Falcon perched in a dead tree, a King Vulture fly down to its riverside roost, and had a pair of Blue-and-yellow Macaws fly right over the ship. After all this action, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset and a wonderful Captain's Welcome Dinner.