Thrush-like Antpittas are quite common here in Kabalebo. But, it is a bird that you seldom see but quite often hear. A couple of years ago I recorded one antpitta's call and used that as a playback. The result: one shy bird looking through some vegetation. I managed to only capture its upper body. Here, I heard the same kind of antpitta and used a different sound. I had to wait for quite a while because this bird wasn't given in. Suspicious and curious at the same time. Just when I was about to give up, this little bird came out in the open. There it was, facing me and fully exposed for a short amount of time.
I was so surprised of the result and wasn't expecting this, so anxious and excited at once I took this picture. My hands were shaking to tell you the least. An encounter that I surely won't forget so easily.
This one used to be called the Northern Caracara. Nowadays it is known as the Crested caracara. The Crested caracara is one bird I don't see very often. It doesn't stay long enough to be called a resident of Kabalebo. More like a migrant bird. Usually when Caracara's are flying by they are accompanied by smaller birds, like tanagers or flycatchers since Caracara's are not quite welcome in the neighborhood. This one also had the same experience.
One of the first birds of prey I photographed was a Great Black Hawk. It was also the first big bird I was able to identify all by myself. I've taken dozens and dozens of pictures of this predator, either as an immature, juvenile or as an adult. A couple of times I've seen them as a couple and with prey. So I thought that I've seen it all with this Hawk, but I was wrong. This is the first time that I see a Great Black Hawk sunbathing. I thought it was injured at first but he was just having a great time.
This young Spectacled Owl kept calling one night near the lodge. Since the call was so loud I decided to look for this young owl. He was still uncertain about his new role in his young life so he kept flying from one tree to the next. This meant that I had to move along just so I could keep up with him. And when I finally saw him, I noticed that I was alone and had a weak flashlight. So this is the result of holding your camera and a weak flashlight all at once.
Guianan-streaked Antwrens are those small fast moving and shy birds in Kabalebo. A mouthful but that is how you best describe them. First you will notice some movements in the thick growing bushes and suddenly one small black and white bird will jump out. I followed this little bird for a while and while he was jumping from branch to branch he managed to grab a little snack too along the way.
The Black-eared Fairy has a funny way of hovering. They are almost in horizontal pose when they are right in front of a flower or blossoming tree. But it could also be that it was in the moment. The Black-eared Fairy seldom gives me enough time to take my shot.
When I took this shot of the Fork-tailed Woodnymph, I accidentally shot the little bee too. A nice way to show you how little the Woodnymph is. Also you can see why they are called Fork-tailed, just check the tail.
This bird reminded me again why I don't take long distance hike. It was already late in the afternoon when we heard the antbirds calling. This one in particular was hopping nearby from branch to branch. Dense spot and poor light. But because I wanted to take a photo of him so bad, I really had to make some effort to succeed. It took me at least 30 minutes to get this photo. Most of the time I was just turning with my camera from left to right and sometimes I even made a full circle. In the end I was drenched in sweat, burned some calories but I was content. Afterwards we had to move a bit faster because it started to get late too.
This was my lucky day, seeing a King Vulture perched on a branch. This is something that seldom happens. They usually like to soar high above the sky. This King Vulture was seen with 2 other King Vultures late in the afternoon. At first they had their wings spread open and after a while they were preening themselves too. Beautiful large birds.
Some encounters are quite friendly and fun. This was one example. I was at the River Cabin area looking for some birds to photograph. When I turned around I looked straight at this Red-brocket Deer. At first I hadn't seen her but she was in the gutter and walked her way up. We were both a bit surprised to figure out we were not alone at that time. The stare down lasted a couple of minutes. Enough time for me take a nice photo.
When I spotted this Eared Dove walking on the ground, I noticed a second one too. At one point they passed right in front of me and when I looked back at this photo it looked like I was seeing a mirror image but it were just two Eared Doves passing by.
When I saw this Common Monkey Lizard (Polychrus marmoratus), the color on his skin was first brown. This made sure that he could blend in with the stick he was sitting on. I tried to photograph him without disturbing him but somehow he noticed my presence. The color on his skin started to change slowly from brown into green. The change started from his head and slowly moved to his tail. After the color change he left the branch.
This Golden Tegu was seen enjoying the afternoon sun. It was having such a great time that my presence wasn't even noticed by this Tegu. I tried to get as leveled as possible just to get a nice profile picture.
This Green Thornytail or Uracentron azureum was seen on a sunny day. It was first walking on the grass and stones before heading into one of the trees. Here it came a bit lower, bobbing its head and posed for a couple of seconds before departing. It was my lucky day as I don't often see this Thornytail this low on a perfect spot.
It looks like she was fully exposed to the outside world, but in reality she was hiding behind some branches near the Kabalebo river. I zoomed in with my lens and I was lucky enough that the sun was shining right on top of her and even more lucky when she rested her head on top of her body. 9 out of 10 times you would only see parts of the Anaconda while the head was underneath the body or branches. The rest of her body what isn't seen in this photo was still in her hiding spot.
And here is a photo of the female White-bearded Manakin. Quite shy and also likes to hide between the green foliage. When I passed by I saw some movements between the leaves and decided to wait a bit. After several minutes she looked through from her hiding spot to see if I have left. She wasn't fully exposed but she gave me enough exposure to photograph her.
A Wood Stork is one of those birds that you won't see very often in Kabalebo. And when they show up, it is always a solitary bird that isn't even mingling with other birds. Usually they stay for a couple of days before departing again. This young Wood Stork was seen several days on the airstrip before moving closer to the river. Afterwards it left our area.
What do you do when you see a ripe soursop in plain view? You just go and grab what your small hands can handle and eat as much as possible. That is what this Golden-handed Tamarin had in mind. He was in a small group enjoying from this fruit but when I saw them, he was the only one who was still holding onto this fruit. Like he didn't want to let go. All I did was grab my camera and shoot this whole ordeal.
Here I spotted Brutus, the tapir, relaxing with some of his Giant Cowbird friends. They were taking care of the tics at hard-to-reach-places, which is everywhere for Brutus. From time to time he was rolling from one side to the other just so his friends won't miss a spot. Extraordinary friendship.
During one of our night hikes we came across this slender looking tree snake; known as Imantodes cenchoa cenchoa or Common Blunt-headed Tree Snake. Light venomous but perfectly harmless.
Most of the time they are lying motionless on top of a branch or leaf, seldom do they move quickly unless disturbed.
Here we noticed that it was already moving to the next level by extending its body to reach the next branch.
The White-bearded Manakin has been active quite frequently at the airstrip edge. Either during the mornings or late in the afternoon. They are either recognized by their sounds they make with their wings or their appearance.
Especially the male has a beautiful plumage display. Black and white in perfect harmony.
Whenever I see a Lesser Anteater, they are always on the move. Either in trees or on the ground. So it is always crucial to take advantage of the minutes or seconds they give you. Most of the time they don't always stand or walk in a position that is great to photograph. So imagine how surprised I was when we saw this anteater in a total rest mode high up in a tree. It was so relaxed that after I took several shots of this rest mode, it still didn't move at all. In the end I even wished I could relax like him.
This Gray-lined Hawk is also a resident of the area. One you can see on a daily basis and one that I never get bored of taking pictures. Today it looked a bit grumpy but since the sunlight was shining perfectly on him I couldn't resist to shoot him.... with my camera.