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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a lifer for me, the Black-throated Trogon. First we saw the female but she was so shy that she left the area before I could even raise my camera. Luckily the male wasn't that shy but he was so difficult to stay still on one spot. I had to walk around the area just to find the right spot where the sunlight was shining through. This was so far the best shot of him.
This is the Black-tailed Trogon. One that I don't see very often but is a resident from Kabalebo. You just got to get lucky to see him out in the open. I was on my way to the River Cabins when this Trogon landed on this branch in full view. I won't get a better shot.
The Guianan Trogon used to be known as the Amazonian Violaceous Trogon, so sometimes I am still using the old name. Unlike the Green-backed Trogon, the Guianan Trogon has yellow eye rings and 'barred' stripes on his tail. Also a common bird seen in Kabalebo.
It was my lucky day when this Green-backed Trogon landed on that branch. The sunlight and the open space between the avocado leaves was perfect. Trogons usually like to sit in the shades and with some lights in the back. A common Trogon seen often in Kabalebo.
When I saw some movements in this tree, I first saw tanagers, Pigeons and the Dusky Purpletufts. But what also caught my eye was a small light brown bird that kept moving from one place to the other. It was the Ochre-bellied Flycatcher who wasn't intimidated by other birds their size. It just kept eating the small seeds.
First thing that I noticed were the white eyebrows on this small flycatcher. I've seen it foraging on different kind of branches near the lodge. Doesn't quite sit still so you as photographer have to adapt to its lifestyle.
This small flycatcher was spotted on the Beechcraft trail. It wasn't joining a mixed flock but moved solitary through the vine tangles. It stopped for a brief moment before moving again and that was my moment to photograph this small bird. After several unfortunate attempts I finally got a decent photo of this tiny bird where its pretty eyes stood out.
One of the most common birds I've known so far besides vultures and tanagers. The Rufous-browed Peppershrike is one that is first heard before seen. Small and secretive. One that is joining other tanagers, euphonia's and flycatchers. When sitting exposed, you get only several seconds to photograph it or observe it, 'cause afterwards it disappears into the dense vegetation. Still one of those birds that I am willing to put some extra effort to see and photograph again and again. Can't get enough of its brown brows.
This was a lifer but I am pretty sure that I've missed it several times since it resembles a Swallow-winged Puffbird from a distance. Only when you pay more attention to this overall dark bird you will notice the white stripe on its chest. After I finally met them, I also noticed that they like to sit on top of the canopy. They favor small seeds and will come back to the same spot if there is more to be found.
I saw this Common Potoo a couple years ago but wasn't in the beginning quite certain if it was the Great or the Common Potoo. The description in the birdbooks weren't quite clear so I had to do some research just to be certain. Especially since it didn't make any noise at all or opened it's eyes completely. But finally, here is the Common Potoo of Kabalebo. I've heard it calling several times during the night and the first time when I heard it, I was just wondering which kind of bird was making such a weird sound. Here it stands, motionless, on top of branch. During the night it will go out and hunt.
This small bird let me work to just get a photo of him. This is the third time that I've seen him but the first when I finally succeeded in taking a picture. Not shy at all but he kept moving straight back into the dense bushes. Since he is a small bird, he had no problem but meanwhile I had to crawl my way through the vegetation. But I am very happy with the result.
Some birds like to play hide and seek. Let you know where they might be, by calling from time to time. This Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner is one of them. On this day I heard two calling but this one was closer to the open area. I waited several minutes before it appeared right in front of me but when it showed up I only got several seconds to photograph it. That difficult bird it was, but happy to have met him.
This is the Wing-barred Piprites. It is not a lifer for me BUT these are my first pictures that I managed to take from this strange bird. It was moving above me, about 3 meters high, but since it was a in the shades I only saw movements. When the bird sat still for some seconds I decided to take several shots first. After it flew away I checked the photos and my first thought was that it is a weird bird. Colors were seen divided on different places. Glad to have finally shot him.
This small flycatcher is best known for its call; 'free beer". Likes to play hide and seek between the branches and from time to time you will see one looking at you. But what is even more difficult to see, is their yellow crown patch. Most of the time it is concealed and makes you sometimes wonder if you have the right bird. Today this Tyrannulet was nice enough to reveal the yellow patch to me. It was also that we were at almost the same level.
The Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet is already a small flycatcher. So imagine my surprise when I noticed a juvenile Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet. Smaller in size but also look at the plumage. It was sitting pretty quiet while both parents kept coming back to feed it.
It just stopped raining when I went out to see if I could photograph anything right before darkness. Just when I wanted to return back I noticed these 3 Black Curassows close to each other on top of a branch, soaking wet. At least they got a nice shower for the day.
This photo was taking during a rainy day. It was a bit misty too and not a lot of sunlight. But these 3 Capped Herons did brighten up my day. Perfectly aligned on top of this log. Not sure if they were siblings or just 3 strangers that could get along with each other.
The Rufous Potoo is the smallest Potoo of the Nyctibiidae Family and are in general a rare bird. Suriname finally can join the club that also inhabits this poorly known small nightbird. This is the story:
This rare bird was first spotted and photographed on October the 6, 2021 by Keiran and Simon. When we noticed that the Rufous Potoo wasn't even mentioned in the Fieldguide of Suriname, we were excited to share about this 'discovery. To confirm a new bird species you need either photo or audio proof. Well, did we take more than enough photos. Here you see an adult female resting on top of a stick, but later it was revealed that she was actually sitting on a nest. A new bird for Suriname that is also nesting!! Since there wasn't much known about the whole nesting process of the Rufous Potoo, I decided to observe her this whole time, by visiting the area once per week and using trap cams during my absence.
On October 18, 2021 I went back with Keiran right before nightfall. When darkness appeared she disappeared for several minutes. Probably taking a break. And the moment she left the stick we both saw one blotched egg resting on top of the stick. Amazing to see a Rufous Potoos egg for real. How did she manage to lay the egg perfectly into that tiny hole?
Every week I went to check on the egg if it had hatched. That meant that I had to go there by boat, walk at least 15 minutes before it got dark, wait on the spot until she would leave. Whenever we saw the egg, we left immediately, but finally on November 14, 2021 we saw one little hatchling sitting on the stick after the mother left. Camera photos revealed that it was actually born on November 10, 2021. The mother didn't give me enough time to take a great picture because after 3 or 4 minutes she sat down on top of the hatchling. Great to know is that the father is also in the neighborhood. The mother is doing all the sitting and feeding while the father is keeping an eye out. Whenever she left, she made like a light butterfly like fluttering with her wings.
On November 25, 2021 I went back to check on both of them. By this time the nestling was 15 days old. Since it was revealed that the egg had hatched I didn't had to go back during the night. Here I visited them in the afternoon. Both mother and baby were on the stick. Try to find the nestling. I know that there is something odd on her left side but if you didn't know better you would think that her plumage had grown out a bit weird.
On December 1, 2021 the nestling has grown up so fast that there wasn't room for both him and his mother. But when I checked on the trapcams I did see that the mom was still sitting with her baby during nighttime. I guess that during daytime she is resting on a nearby branch keeping watch. It would have made them both visible and vulnerable when she was there daytime. I also noticed that the nestling is only fed during nighttime. Here it was 21 days old.
On December 17, 2021, I went back to check how the nestling was doing. It started to get the same color just like his mother and finally a tail started to grow too. Here he was 37 days old.
On December 24, 2021, I went to check on the Potoo again. 44 days old and I already started to mentally prepare myself the day he will fly out of the nest. When I arrived he was sleeping but right before 18.00 he woke up and looked straight through the lens. My heart melted when I saw this. This is the reason why I went back to check on him. Seeing this potoo grow up is a great experience.
On December 31, 2021, the last day of the year 2021 I went to check on him again. A little panic when I saw an empty nest. Where is the potoo? Was I too late? He was 51 days old that day. Luckily it was his first day out of the nest, so when I looked up, I saw him balancing on a thin vine. All grown up with a nice long tail just like his mother. Still a bit curly and insecure but a big world is waiting for him. I felt a bit sad and happy when I took this photo. Sad because this wonderful experience came to an end but happy because I witnessed something unique. A new confirmed bird for Suriname and I was able to follow the whole nesting process.
Hopefully I will be able to find him and his parents again and see where they roost.
This is a Black-tailed Tityra. A bird quite often seen in Kabalebo. These birds have also a recognizable sound; a quacking sound heard high in the trees. When I photographed this Tityra it was right in front of his nest. The eggs had already hatched and he was feeding the hatchlings with insects. By the time you read this article, the hatchlings already fled out and already young adults.