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Sunday (Day 5)

With Cirilo (the guide) away for his second day of wedding duty, we again took the opportunity to do our own birding around the lodge and one of the local trails – the Theodoro. This proved to be one of the best day’s birding in a long while, both for quality of birds and also the constant appearance of something interesting. Add to that the fact that we were finding all of the birds ourselves for extra pleasure. The plan was to spend the whole morning around the lodge, have an early cooked lunch, and then be dropped off at the Theodoro Trail for the afternoon. With the usual start to the day around the gardens, we also wanted to devote most of the morning to the trails in the forest to the rear, and this proved to be an excellent choice.

This morning’s member of staff preparing breakfast didn’t understand the minutae of birding – you eat breakfast as early as possible and on the run when there are birds to be seen. She insisted on locking the dining room outer door until the clock struck 6am exactly, but hadn’t counted on my counter insurgency measures of sneaking in through the kitchen. Despite this, the regular Blond-crested Woodpecker managed to reach the bird table as the last mouthfuls of cake were still being chomped, but impressed nevertheless. The Slaty-breasted Wood Rail managed to creep into the scope view at the same time. First order of the day was to head back down to the stream. After passing the first Pale-breasted Thrushes of the trip, we quickly picked up the resident Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper in the vicinity of the bridge, this time in better light than the previous evening. During this time, I scanned the trees above and managed to pick out Crescent-chested Puffbird. We had waited many a long trip for our first of this family, and it was worth the wait! Back to the gardens, and both Long-billed & Southern House Wrens were found singing.  Before breaking for the trails, I scanned the valley from the swimming pool area, and managed to pick up Scaly-headed Parrot at the top of one of the distant trees – our first definite member of this species.

House Wren

Long-billed Wren

House Wren

Long-billed Wren

Brazilian Tanager

Pale-breasted Thrush

Brazilian Tanager

Pale-breasted Thrush

After spending about 2˝ hours doing the rounds, we headed for the trails. The aim was to cover all 3 in the three hours until lunch, but the lower trail to the water box (and only the first part of this) was easily the most productive, as well as the circular trail being blocked by a fallen tree, so most of the time was spent there. Activity was from the ground to the canopy, and there were few times, apart from when on the upper trails, when there was no activity. Things got off to a great start when we found a first year male Blue Manakin only metres into the walk, sporting a bright orange cap to augment his olive green coat. Just around the corner, a Black-goggled Tanager preceded a Whiskered Myiobius and Plain Antvireo directly over our heads. After completing most of the water box trail and turning back when we realised it was quiet, we managed to pin down two separate Star-throated Antwrens after some effort – they are noisy but elusive! In the canopy, the regular Plain Antvireos were joined by a couple of Spot-breasted Antvireos, sporting much more prominent spots than had been expected. As we turned up the steps to approach the upper trails, we were handed the prize of a stunning Black-cheeked Gnateater, one of our top hoped for birds. The extension trail was fairly quiet save for a Plain Antvireo and a couple of Rufous-browed Peppershrikes, so we headed back to the Gnateater spot. This was rewarded with even better views of the bird, this time stationery for some time. We celebrated this with a sit on the well worn, and overgrown, seat next to the trail, and even this was rewarded with a huge White-throated Woodcreeper nearby, and a passing wave of Red-necked & Green-headed Tanagers through the canopy to the front of our perch.

Black-cheeked Gnateater

Red-necked Tanager

Black-cheeked Gnateater

Red-necked Tanager

Theodoro TrailWe were dropped off at the barrier indicating access to the Theodoro trail after lunch, and after only a couple of minutes of passing through the pathway, came across our first bird wave. This consisted of Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Plain Antvireo, and a couple of Whiskered Myiobius. In addition, all were at almost eye level and next to the track – much easier than craned necks for the canopy. This set the style for the afternoon, since there were very few times when there was nothing to see or to hear, and the trail varied from very open to narrow and enclosed. This made for a very enjoyable forest birding experience. After passing a Planalto Woodcreeper hacking into a bromeliad for large insects, and a Variable Antshrike, we came upon a fairly open section. At the start of this, a smart White-throated Hummingbird was holding court, and the first of 4 large Hermits passed through. One of these seen later had the correct credentials for the sought after Scale-throated Hermit known to be here. Back into the enclosed forest track, and some patience following the source of unknown calls eventually dragged out the first of two Black-capped Foliage-gleaners, with a second subadult male Blue Manakin in attendance. Before the turn back point in the walk, we also saw Lesser Woodcreeper.

Coming back, one of the strangest sights of the day was a Brazilian Ruby bathing in a stream flooding over the path, totally unconcerned with our presence. Further bird parties were encountered on the return walk, the best containing Black-capped Foliage-gleaner, a pair Pallid Spinetails, White-browed Foliage-gleaner, and Plain Antvireo. Another had a pair of Lesser Woodcreepers in attendance with a second pair of Pallid Spinetails. A bird that gave us a lot of trouble was Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper. We had watched and listened to the lodge bird just that morning, but hearing and seeing the same features on a skulking bird which seemed to be nowhere near water totally threw us at the time. A White-rimmed Warbler on the path was also a little novel. When we reached the spot where the White-throated Hummingbird was still in attendance, a pair of unmatched birds on a log proved to be White-shouldered Fire-eyes – this was the best (yet brief) view we had of them, since they subsequently kept to the deep vegetation. Nearby, the second White-throated Woodcreeper of the day showed off just how big a bird it is when in flight.

White-throated Hummingbird

Brazilian Ruby

White-throated Hummingbird

Brazilian Ruby bathing

Home

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

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Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 Day 8

Species list

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