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High Tea In The Jungle
by Thomas Schueneman

The jungle surroundings at Asa Wright Nature Centre 

Birders are a serious lot. And even if your level of birding at the start your visit to the Asa Wright Nature Centre is something like “Look at that pretty green bird!” you’ll come away in awe at the seemingly endless variety of colorful, exotic birds... You might even get a bird book and start your “life list”; just like a real birder...

Located in the tropical rainforest of Trinidad, at an elevation of 1200 feet in the mountains of the Northern Range, the Asa Wright Nature Centre and Bird Sanctuary is renowned as a destination for serious (and not so serious) birders and people interested in the study of tropical ecosystems... as well as those just wishing to enjoy the teeming life and verdant beauty of the rainforest. The Centre sits on a former cocoa-coffee-citrus plantation. The area is surrounded by rainforest with an upper canopy up to 150 feet. The property itself has been partially reclaimed by secondary forest, and the overall effect is one of warm and wet jungle, alive with exotic sights, smells, and sounds. Hiking around the grounds and out into the forest provides a glimpse of the abundant diversity found in the world’s tropical rainforest... Thick forest, dappled sunlight filtered through high canopy; the dense, moist air reverberating with both the lyrical and percussive sounds of the exotic and elusive bird life...

But not so elusive is the bird life right outside the railing of the great veranda of the Main House, where earnest birders and nature lovers gather each morning and afternoon to catch a glimpse of the variety of birds the come for the twice daily feeding... From the comfort of the great old house’s long veranda, you can enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea (or an afternoon rum punch) and get a close up view of a variety of exotic birds not found in much of the rest of the world – never mind the three foot long lizards standing watch on the proceedings!

Scattered around the main house are cozy cottages, each with their own private veranda, affording the quiet contemplation of the surrounding rainforest. In the mornings, wisps of clouds hang on the cliffs, like gray and white curtains, dawn breaks to an awakened cacophony of sound... the jungle rises.

Asa Wright Nature Centre is an ideal destination for eco-tourists, birders, nature lovers, and those seeking a quiet Garden of Eden. If you’ve never tried getting off the beaten path, Asa Wright is a great place to start; and if you’re an old hand, Asa Wright offers one of the most diverse flora and fauna of any habitat in the world, including the world famous Oilbird Cave.

So bring your field book, your hiking boots, your camera, and maybe a nice pair of binoculars. But most of all bring your tired, ragged modern-world soul, and renew that spirit in quiet solitude and abundant nature.



Tom lives in San Francisco and works as a sound engineer, freelance writer, and entrepreneur. He enjoys traveling, nature, reading, photography, and music.

 

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