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 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.
First time when I spotted a Fasciated Antshrike was on the Misty Mountain in 2011. Dark undergrowth, lots of vine tangles and I was concentrating on reaching the top. That's were a female appeared in front of me. Never have I seen both male and female traveling together. This was also one example. The male was silently foraging and catching caterpillars during his lunchbreak. He was alone and was also kind of curious who I was. So we had a great afternoon after all.
There are some birds that you hear first before seeing. Sometimes it even takes years before they let you see them. This is one of them; the Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis). This is a solitary ground-dwelling bird that seldom comes out in the open. This one I spotted crossing a piece that was not surrounded by dense vegetation. I guess it took a wrong turn. It quickly recovered from its mistake 'cause seconds after I took this shot, it flew directly into the bushes.
I have heard the Cinereous Antshrike countless times and several times I have seen them via a binocular, but this is the first time that the male was posing several seconds for me. I was following a mixed flock and while photographing some members of the flock, he just appeared from behind the bushes unannounced. He made my day.
A small active bird of merely 12 cm long; the Guianan Warbling-Antbird (Hypocnemis cantator). Frequently heard in the morning near dense bushes and logs. It seems like they want to play hide-and-seek since they only sit still for a split of a second and barely gives you the chance to photograph them. To make it even more challenging for you, they like to appear where the sun isn't really shining through and where you can also find a lot of mosquitoes. So it is safe to say that the Guianan Warbling-Antbird is one that likes to challenge you.
Even though the Amazonian Antshrike (Thamnophilus amazonicus) is a common bird of Kabalebo, they still succeed in making you put a lot of effort to just see them. Hearing them calling is the easy part. The challenge starts when you want to really photograph them. Somehow they have a talent to go to spots where either the light is not on your side or where a bunch of leaves is standing in the way. Here is one sample of it. Here you see the female Amazonian Antshrike that just caught an insect. I only had a split second to photograph her. Resulting in not a perfect photo but since it was my first photo of this Antshrike I am not complaining, since I am a birder in the first place.
This male Black-crested Antshrike (Sakephorus canadensis) was looking for his girl. They have been around for quite some time and countless times I have been following them just to get the perfect picture. Most of the time I failed. But he rewarded me this time by coming out in the open and sit still for a brief second. But well worth it.
Around 2012 I first encountered this antbird in Kabalebo. I was with a small group of birders and Otte Ottema checking the area of the Misty Mountain. I first heard this bird calling but couldn't see it and when Otte told me to stay still and look in front of me, I was at the same time surprised and mesmerized. On the ground I saw this small brown bird with the remarkable blue around its eyes and he was walking as if I was not even there. Since it was my first time meeting this antbird I completely forgot to take out my camera but it was also that I was afraid to make any sudden moves and chase it away.
Fast forward nowadays. The Ferruginous-backed Antbird (Myrmeciza ferruginea) is a common antbird in Kabalebo. Most of the time heard instead of seen. You really got to have a lot of patience to meet this bird. It took me at least 1 hour to take several pictures of this bird. Most of the time he was walking right behind leaves, branches or sticks that were standing in the way. Second, this bird doesn't know any hiking trail in the forest so I had to manage my way through a lot of obstacles before being successful.
I finally managed to 'shoot' the Black-crested Antshrike; both male and female.
This is the (Guianan) Warbling Antbird. One you can see on a daily basis, but to agile to stay still on one spot.