Third birdwatching trip for 2018.
Last year, 2017, I met a wonderful couple David and Elizabeth and we had a couple of days of birding (day 1 & 2, day 3 and day 4 & 5). They promised to return this year and they kept their promise. This time they brought 9 others with them. Not only did we had boat trips, we also did some hikes and even added a night tour. Here is how it all went down.
Yes, trying to let the whole group see the same bird or animal was THE task of every day. But they were all in for some challenges so that made it even more fun. Some birds first call before they reveal themselves, like this Green-tailed Jacamar. He was spotted on the river and since the background kept him well hidden for quite some time we all finally managed to spot him after some minutes of pointing.
The Gray-lined Hawk on the other hand made it easy for the group as he is a resident nearby the lodge. Here he is seen basking during the morning.
Some decided to stay still and even wouldn't make any noise. Usually Variable Chachalaca's are well known to 'disturb' the mornings and afternoons. I guess when they are only as a group, when traveling alone, you won't hear a sound.
A couple of White-tailed Trogons were seen nesting near the pier; they were seen at an abandoned termite nest. The male had its back turned on us, but his partner was more kind and revealed herself.
We also had some monkey business to endure. Usually you will hear some chatter inside the dense vegetation and afterwards some movement in between. This time we met a large group of monkeys; Brown Capuchin Monkeys with a lot of Common Squirrel Monkeys. The Inga trees and Maripa Palms were their restaurants for the time being.
Early morning hikes let us see and hear antbirds and manakins. They gave you barely enough seconds to enjoy of their presence, so you had to be quick with the camera. I wasn't that fast with the White-bearded Manakin, but had more luck with the Mouse-coloured Antshrike and the Dot-winged Antwren.
When foraging for food, the majority of the birds are quiet. It took some minutes before we saw this Blue-throated Piping Guan. It was eating the fruits/berries and did not make any kind of noise, only the rustle of the leaves told us where it was heading too.
Reddish hermits are considered as one of the smallest hummingbirds. They are already fast ones and it even makes it more interesting when it is busy hawking for insects in mid air.
On the beach of the river cabin we spotted our common resident; the Rusty-margined flycatcher. We also spotted another guan in a Cecropia tree while it was preening its feathers early in the morning; the Spix's Guan.
Sometimes we did not have a lot of luck when it comes to great light. For instance: we spotted the Three-toed sloth hanging on a Cecropia tree early in the morning, but with the sunlight in the back this picture looks kind of greyish. When we spotted this Greater Yellow-headed Vulture in a tree, the sun just went down so it was more like a shadow vulture.
One that we saw so often were the Tropical Kingbird and the Anhinga. It was like they told their relatives to follow us instead the other way around.
Tiny birds were in abundance. The Brown Jacamar was often seen on the river, usually in Cecropia trees. At a monkey brush vine we noticed that a young Crimson Topaz is trying to demand his spot already. He still needs to grow its outer tail feathers but the beginning of his true colors had just started.
Some of the group members wanted to also do a night hike, so our adventure continued also during the night. Right after dinner we headed out to try the Beechcraft trail. How different one trail can look when the lights go out.
Interesting to know and see, is that butterflies get a good night rest too. They were seen sleeping on a dead and leafless branch.
We also spotted a Scorpion on a tree. It was a small one too by the way.
Birds that were active during the days tried to get a good night sleep. We spotted both male and female Great Antshrike near the path.
Black Spider Monkeys were seen moving in the highest trees. They were quite fast movers. This guy gave me a chance to finally have a 'decent' picture of this species.
And here is a new bird also spotted: the Crane Hawk. Seen perched in also a high tree, thanks to the zoom lens we were able to spot and identify him.
Somehow macaws and parrots can draw all the attention to themselves. Especially the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw. In flight they are already a 'picture' to be admired, but when perched and exposed in full view (complete with the right light), they make your day. And since nesting season has also started for both the macaws and parrots we got a quick look at where they are nesting too (a dead hollow tree).
We also saw the Mealy Amazon quite far but thanks to the telescope we were able to spot him too. Took this photo with my iPhone as this bird was way to far for my zoom lens.
This was just a little summary of what we saw together. It wasn't always easy as they sometimes wanted to look at different directions simultaneously too. But in the end it worked out quite fine.
Thank you David and Elizabeth and who can forget these wonderful people for stopping by in the middle of nowhere (Kabalebo).
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