The Spot-winged Antshrike is one of those challenging birds I've met in Kabalebo. Even though you hear them calling, it takes a while to spot them. Mainly because they like to hide between thick leaves right above you. This time I was lucky because the leaves weren't that thick and he was standing right in front of me.
This Olive Whip Snake (Chironius Fuscus Fuscus) was peeking through some leaves right in front of a log. I've almost missed it because of its tiny and slender appearance. It stood still for quite a while so I was able to take a decent shot of this big eyed snake.
On the spot: Turquoise Tanager
The Turquoise Tanager is one of those birds that never sits still on a suitable spot for me. Either they are sitting too high or under the shades of a tree. Agile small birds that like to move all at once. So imagine how happy I was when I spotted this one out in the open at eye level on a sunny day. It lasted only seconds but long enough for me to take this photo.
This tiny snake was seen during one of our night hikes in Kabalebo, Suriname. It was so tiny that we almost missed it. This Tawny Forest Racer was all curled up on a small leaf. After I took this photo I realized that I had actually seen this snake in different stages of his life.
In this picture you can see that the colors started to change too into something more radiant and the black stripes started to become more visible. Still a tiny snake here.
And here you see the adult version. I met this one during one of my Misty Mountain hike. At least 3 people had already passed him when I saw this snake. Same big eyes but notice how the colors had changed on its body. Remarkable stripes and colors and when it breathes you can even see the gold coming through the scales.
The Fork-tailed Woodnymph is seen on a daily basis in Kabalebo. But to catch the radiant color on this small gem is another story. Most of the time you will see a small dark hummingbird near blossoming branches. Even when the sun is out, you won't always see his bright colors. I guess it is all up to this little guy if he wants to show it. When I saw this Woodnymph resting on a Monkey brush vine, it was playing time. One moment you will see just dark colors and the next you will see green and purple. I surely had fun photographing this little guy.
So the Bright-rumped Attila is one bird that I hear on a regular basis when I am on a hiking trail, but this bird is one of the most stubborn bird I've met so far. You hear them calling, but they don't give you hints where they are hiding. No moving leaves or sticks. Just the sound that you hear, calling from the dense vegetation. One day I decided to take my chances and waited. I used playback too but wasn't that successful. They flew by very quickly so taking my shot wasn't that easy. So after at least an hour of waiting and with the company of mosquitoes I saw this secretive bird coming out in the open for a short while. And when you waited that long you just take your chance. The Bright-rumped Attila wasn't a lifer but this was my first photo of this Attila.
The Yellow-tufted Woodpecker is a small woodpecker that likes to move constantly. The best way to succeed is to just stay at one spot and wait until they are in clear view. Sometimes I see them as a couple or in a small group on one tree.
I heard these Mealy Amazons first before I spotted them. I was ready to shoot them when at the last moment they decided to change their course. Here you definitely can clearly see the different colors on them and the red patch on their wings. One of them even had a little snack for along the way.
The Golden-winged Parakeets are so tiny that when they fly over you see dark figures passing by. It is only their calls that let you know that those tiny birds are Golden-winged Parakeets. When they are resting, it is usually high up in the trees so binoculars are a must.
So imagine my excitement when this pair decided to rest on a lower part of a branch. Fully exposed and in no need to leave the area.
Finally got my shot.
The Ringed Woodpecker usually gives me a hard time to succeed in my mission; trying to get a decent shot from them. They have a hidden talent to be at places where the light isn't in your favor. But finally luck was by my side. I saw a couple climbing their way up this tree. They even stayed at the same tree when I tried to take a photo of them. This male even rewarded me for my perseverance and patience. Love this guy.
This Red-necked Woodpecker was seen alone on this tree and when it just stood still for a second I couldn't resist to take a shot. Glad I did because afterwards it went to check the other side of this tree.
White-flanked Antwren nesting
The White-flanked Antwren is one that is heard quite often inside the rainforest. Sometimes you can also see them moving through the dense vegetation. Small agile birds. This time I was able to follow one couple while they were nesting between Augustus and September 2021.
One day I decided to go off-track and went a bit further away from the trail. A couple of meters further, there was some commotion. I saw two birds always going to one spot and seconds later leave again. When I got closer I saw that they were gathering nest material and were busy building a nest. It was made out of fine threads and dry leaves. They made a small hanging pouch like nest inside a young prickly palm about 30 cm above the ground.
A couple of days later it was quiet near the nest and when I zoomed in with my camera, I could barely see a bird. It was the female sitting inside the nest. Her head and tail almost exposed.
A couple of days later I went back to check on them. Neither the male or female were near or inside the nest. So I took my chance and had a quick glance. Inside the tiny nest there were 2 oval shaped blotched eggs. I took a quick photo and left the scenery before they appeared again from their break.
Here you can see that it's the males turn to sit inside the nest. So this confirmed that both male and female are actively involved during nesting time.
After nearly 3 weeks I went back again and noticed that the female was sitting a bit higher than usual. So it was possible that the eggs had hatched.
Days later I returned again and saw that none of the parents were sitting inside the nest. This was my chance again and when I looked inside, there were 2 tiny antwrens. Barely enough space for the both of them. They already started to grow feathers so within days they would leave the nest.
The next time when I checked on this tiny family, they were gone. Successful nesting.
I spotted this raptor pure by accident. I was on the cabana trail trying to photograph antbirds or hummingbirds when I suddenly saw some movement from the corner of my eye. I went to check what it was and when I looked up, I saw this Black-faced Hawk staring back at me standing between the dense vegetation. Sometimes it happens that I miss some birds because of this strategy; standing still between the foliage green and not moving at all. That's wildlife.
This is why I still like birding. So many bird species to look at. This is the Yellow-throated Woodpecker for instance. Yellowish - Green and it has 'speckles' on the front. Quietly she was moving from branch to branch. I was following her to get a nice shot when the sunlight came out to help me out.
Laughing Falcon at large
This predator likes to stay in the neighborhood and quite often you can hear him calling. Like its laughing, no wonder its called the Laughing Falcon. Most of the time I've seen this bird perched high up in a tree. This is one of the few moments that I've seen the Laughing Falcon so close.
Tawny-bellied Screech Owl
From all the owls that I've seen in Kabalebo, the Tawny-bellied Screech Owl is the silent one. All the other owls I've heard calling but this one never gave a sound. But on the other hand they are territorial and have a certain spot where they hide and rest during the day. The first hide out wasn't a great pick as there is a tree nearby where guides and tourists were hitting a telephone tree just for the sound. This of course made sure that this Screech Owl went looking for a different hide out and found one, not very far from its original spot.
But since it is a smart bird, this time it pick a tree that is not right next to the trail and you have got to know which tree you have to look at.
The Lemon-chested Greenlet is a common bird of Kabalebo, but somehow I missed this small bird all these years. I think because it is a tiny and agile one and likes to move quickly between the green foliage before disappearing into the bushes. When the light is bad, you can barely see this small bird but when the sun is up, it is one remarkable bird. This time I caught it upside down.
I had fun with this bird. It didn't call at all but was moving between the leaves and sticks. Suddenly it was just standing on this short stick before moving again. The Buff-breasted Wren is the most common wren in Kabalebo, but one that likes to be heard rather than been seen.
Two young Crimson Topazes perched on a small branch. Both still lacking the two extended tail feathers. One still developing some facial feathers. When the sun wasn't fully exposed it even looked like they had dark and brown colors, which is an illusion. First time too that I've seen two young males sitting together.
Thrush-like Antpitta out in the open
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.
Great-Black Hawk sunbathing
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.
A young Spectacled Owl
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.