See the famed scarlet ibis roosting in the Caroni swamp in Trinidad home to a variety of birds, snakes and other creatures.
What began with his father taking prominent local and visiting families on wildlife tours in the 1920s and 1930s quickly grew to become a lucrative business. “He was the first naturalist to put the Scarlet Ibis on the map and asked the government to set up a sanctuary. The idea took root and he became the first game warden,” Winston Nanan says of his father Simon Oudit.
Today scientists, students, birders and visitors come to the Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary to see the National Bird of Trinidad. On the day I visit as part of Nanan’s Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tour, Nanan narrates as we glide through the mangrove swamp, a mix of salt and fresh water. We spot a blue heron, a Cook’s tree boa, tropical screech owls, honeycreepers, crab, and egrets along narrow channels before making our way to the site where the crimson birds come to roost. It is the same sight that captivated Nanan in his boyhood.
“I would park the boat waiting for the scarlet ibis and 2 or 3 at first would fly over. Then they would arrive in greater numbers, like poinsettia flowers or baubles on a Christmas tree.” (868) 645 1305.
Update: “Dad passed away on 22nd April this year  suddenly,” wrote Lisa Nanan, Winston Nanan’s daughter in an email to City Style and Living Magazine (CSL). “As a tribute for his lifetime work and preservation of the Caroni Swamp, the government of Trinidad and Tobago renamed the swamp in his honor…The Caroni Bird Sanctuary is now known in perpetuity as the Winston Nanan Caroni Bird Santuary.”
This original article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.