Quarter in Review – Jan/Mar 2015

January

The new year began with our Annual General Meeting on 8 January where we reviewed the highlights of the year gone and some of the plans for the year to come. At this point we also held elections for the 2015 management committee and the results were as follows:

  • President: Kris Sookdeo
  • Vice President: Palaash Narase
  • Treasurer: Selwyn Gomes
  • Secretary: Amy Deacon
  • Assistant Secretary: Eddison Baptiste
  • Committee Member: Dan Jaggernauth
  • Committee Member: Renoir Auguste
  • Committee Member: Darshan Narang
The 2015/16 management committee

The 2015/16 management committee

The January field trip would see members overnighted on Chacachacare Island off the north-west coast. Several noteworthy observations were made of the island’s flora and fauna, particularly birds, fungi, butterflies and moths. Sadly, the condition of the old leprosarium (and related structures) continues to deteriorate.

The old nun's quarters and related structures.

The old nun’s quarters and related structures.

February

February started off with an excellent lecture by Lori Lee Lum of the Institute of Marine Affairs entitled “The Sargassum event and the RBG algae of T&T” in which we learned not just about the different species of algae that inhabit our waters but also on the extraordinary sargassum invasion affecting our coasts at present (link to lecture)

algae

The February field trip to the Tamana Caves was well attended and naturalists were able to see the caves and observe the surrounding forest. They were also rewarded by a sweeping view at the top of Mt Tamana of the plains below.

Cave entrance

Cave entrance

A small contingent of birders visited Gran Couva on Carnival Sunday to look for raptors and other birds. A massive Ficus shumacheri was in fruit and attracted scores of forest birds including toucans and tanagers. The highlight of the day was an immature black hawk eagle.

March

The lecture for the month of March highlighted the work of the bug group in Christopher K. Starr’s presentation “Colony Cycles and What do they Mean”.

Following February’s lecture on algae, the botany group decided to capitalize on what they learned by visiting Saline Bay in search of algae. They were led by Professor Julian Duncan (UWI) and Lori Lee Lum (IMA).

The botany group examines a specimen.

The botany group examines a specimen.

The schedule March trip to Madamas was changed to facilitate the horticultural society’s show on that day. Instead, members visited La Laja Waterfall.

The bird group overnighted in Brasso Seco in March. The area offers sweeping views of the forest and allowed us to record several species of raptors. The night was unusually quiet and not a single night bird was heard or seen (save for an early flying short-tailed nighthawk). The birders were not the only ones about that night as two light traps were operated and we were able to record in excess of 125 species of moths.

Quarter in Review: October-December

October

Our lecture for the month of October was a fascinating account of the first modern circumnavigation of Trinidad in a kayak. The presenter was our very own Glenn Wilkes, who related the adventure which saw Michael Robertson and himself, journeying around the island in 14 days.

Glenn relates his adventure.

Glenn relates his adventure.

The club trip for October was a visit to Morne Bleu. Heavy rains that morning resulted in a relatively uneventful trip.

The highlight for October was the highly anticipated BioBlitz 2014 Nariva Swamp which saw about 100 participants combing the swamp and finding a total of (approximately) 742 species! The end of day count was 215 vertebrates, 266 invertebrates, 15 diatoms, 15 fungi and 231 plants. See https://www.facebook.com/TandTBioblitz for more details.

Bioblitz

Participants at the 2014 Nariva Swamp BioBlitz

November

A last minute change to our schedule saw members journeying down to Moruga for November’s field trip – our annual geology trip. The destination was the Marac mud/oil volcanoes and the Marac quarry. Despite the rain, members had an excellent time exploring this fascinating area. Members also had the opportunity to stop at the St Vincent Ferrer Society Moruga Museum which celebrated its 1 year anniversary.

The mud/oil volcano at Marac.

The mud/oil volcano at Marac.

The lecture for November was entitled “Human Impacts on Mangrove Wetland Systems in T&T” and was presented by Erin Mangal of Biosphere Consulting Services Ltd. Members learnt about several threats to mangrove systems.

The Art group visited the UWI Zoology Museum during the month for its most recent activity. Members captured the museum’s exhibits via paint, charcoal, photographs or whatever other media they preferred.

Butterflies by Annelise Randall.

Butterflies by Annelise Randall.

December

December marks the end of the Club’s activities for the year. Our final event was the year end luncheon, held once again at the Caroni Swamp Visitor Centre, which allowed members and non-members a chance to have a great time, unwind, reminisce and plan for the future. Several members also opted for a trip into the swamp afterwards with Madoo’s Bird Sanctuary Tours.

Members enjoy the swamp as a crab looks on.

Members enjoy the swamp as a crab looks on.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck during the month with the news of Victor Quesnel’s passing. Victor was an integral part of the Club and helped to shape the organization over the years. He will be missed.