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Wednesday (Day 8)

The rain of yesterday was now a memory, with the sun rising over the mountains this morning, although there was a worryingly increasing mist over the valleys as we made our way towards the wetlands. Since this was our last day, and we only had the morning to go out before leaving for the airport, we had asked Andy to break with custom and leave at 6.30am. This meant that early morning mist was still lying in the lowlands, but it still lifted fairly soon. We had asked to stop at a garage in one of the towns to film the resident Burrowing Owls, but the trio that awaited us when we stopped next to some open pasture near to the reserve were in much more appealing surroundings, with the mountains peering above the layer of mist to the rear. There was also an offering of more birds here, with singing Band-tailed Hornero singing in a bush above the road, and three Black-necked Aracaris in the trees on the opposite side of one of the fields. On fence posts to the rear of the open pasture, and trees to the side, a busy group of Yellow-headed Caracaras were either perched or chasing, with a more static brace of Savannah Hawks looking on.

Open farmland

Burrowing Owl

Savannah Hawk

Burrowing Owl

Savannah Hawk

After Cirilo had made conversation with the workers, we headed into the forest trail, and spent some time just a little way in. This is because various antbirds were good to see here, and we succeeded in finding the three on offer Ė White-flanked Antwren, then Sooretama Slaty Antshrike, followed by a more elusive Chestnut-backed Antshrike. Small parties of almost wholly female type Blue Dacnis seemed everywhere, with noisy Red-rumped Caciques more vocal than visible. A Common Tody-Flycatcher was the first of the trip, since it has a preference for the lower altitudes. The track became a little more winding and more enclosed, with a slight increase in the scourge that is the mosquito, when we had a very vocal Moustached Wren flying between the bushes around us, notoriously keeping to the shadows. Shortly after this, it was good to see open space again, with the mountains and valley below being lit by the mid-morning light. It didnít take long here to admire an Eye-ringed Tody-Flycatcher showing very well just above eye level, but full marks must go to the small lek of White-bearded Manakins further down the slope. The clicking and buzzing was unusual, and it was a pleasure to see our first ever lekking Manakins of any species. Just above these birds, as well as a White-flanked Antwren, we tried to pin down a flycatcher showing ochre underparts and darker olive/grey head, but didnít have good enough views to specifically identify either Grey-hooded or Ochre-bellied Flycatcher. The trail through the forest then met up with a larger track, which wasnít far from the lagoons. This area was particularly enjoyable, however, since a male White-bearded Manakin chaperoning a young bird preceded a second active lek (more manic even than the first), and a pair of Chestnut-backed Antshrikes were followed in the open for some time.

Trail

Valley

Forest trail

Open valley

White-flanked Antwren

Chestnut-backed Antshrike

White-flanked Antwren

Chestnut-backed Antshrike

So then to the wetlands. During the whole week of the trip, this was the first time that this type of habitat had been encountered, so we were looking forward to seeing a different mix of birds. The lagoons and surrounding area didnít disappoint. The track we were on bisected what must be the two most interesting pools, which for all their youth, look well established and well fed with accompanying vegetation. This gives ample opportunity for birds to hide if necessary (is this why no eclipse Masked Duck were seen?), although many birds obliged in the open. Most obvious bird is the ubiquitous Common Gallinule, followed by Wattled Jacana and Purple Gallinule. All were very obvious by their open water preference. Picked out amongst these were a few Least Grebes, Brazilian Teal, and White-faced Whistling Duck. The prized bird which we had been hoping for, Capped Heron, was first seen flying over the open water and landing to the rear up high, but persistence paid with much closer views of birds feeding out in the open further round. Within the reeds, a single White-headed Marsh Tyrant hawked in the middle of the lagoon, but 2 pairs of Yellow-chinned Spinetails were much closer, if not always confiding. Over the spot, a small flock of White-collared Swifts was followed by a more distant kettle of Vultures, which also harboured a thermalling Black-and White Hawk-Eagle. A Ringed Kingfisher was picked out flying along the lagoon edge, with a Striated Heron in the bushes. Just before we had to leave, a stunning adult Rufescent Tiger Heron flew from the shallows to a tree in the centre of the lagoons, then to subsequently pose with wings folded back while sunning itself.

Lagoon

Lagoon

 

 

Capped Heron

Common Gallinule

Capped Heron

Common Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

Yellow-chinned Spinetail

Purple Gallinule

Yellow-chinned Spinetail

Rufescent Tiger Heron

Rufescent Tiger Heron

Rufescent Tiger Heron

Rufescent Tiger Heron sunning itself

Home

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Introduction

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Day 7 Day 8

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