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Day 4 - Thursday, 27th January

Botanical Gardens from the Forest

Forest Road

Tijuca Forest and Botanical Gardens at the base

Tarmac road through the forest

After some discussion with the organisers of the conference over the last few days, they managed to put me in touch with a chap called Al, who was able to organise a mornings birding in the Tijuca Forest. He and his driver picked us up in a jeep at 6am at the hotel. In the clearing rain, they took us on a half an hour ride to the forest, and we started to bird along one of the tarmacked tracks through the forest from our drop off point. The rain had now stopped, and under the cloud and sight of the Christ the Redeemer statue, a few birds started to show, the first being a trio of Green-headed Tanagers. As time went by, and the light quickly improved, bird parties started to appear with a vengeance. Most of these parties seemed to be in clearings over the track, and could be quite mixed bunches of species. Initially difficult to identify, but easy to see Flycatcher, turned out to be Sepia-capped, one or two of which were seen later on in the walk. The earlier Green-headed Tanagers were added to by very close and feeding Red-necked Tanagers, seemingly constantly backed up by Golden-crowned Warblers, feeding and calling continuously in small flocks. Small ant eating birds were represented by superb views of Sooretama Slaty-antshrike and almost at the end of the first walk a couple of Scaled Antbirds. All had been preceded by a very noisy but difficult to see Star-throated Antwren, which eventually showed well briefly but rewardingly. Just before being picked up by the jeep again, we found a few euphonias feeding on small fruiting trees next to the path (including a couple of male Chestnut-bellied Euphonias), and a Laughing Falcon was found perched on the other side of the valley. At the end of this walk, the rain started to fall in earnest again, and was to continue for almost all of the day.

Sepia-capped Flycatcher

Slaty-antshrike

Sepia-capped Flycatcher

Sooretama Slaty-antshrike

Green-headed Tanager

Chestnut-bellied Euphonia

Green-headed Tanager

Chestnut-bellied Euphonia

We were then taken to a quite spectacular waterfall in the forest. We were led through a short track to this, and saw only one bird well here -  a Buff-throated Saltator. At the waterfall, the rain continued to fall even harder, but was not sufficient to hide a small raptor just above the tumbling torrent – a Plumbeous Kite. While watching it, the bird left its perch and caught a lizard from next to the falls.

Waterfall

Plumbeous Kite

Waterfall in the forest

Plumbeous Kite in the rain!

Pool


 
The last stop with Al was at a small pool at the edge of the forest. He had optimistically promised duck here, but none were to be seen. This was more than made up by a brief view of a Rusty-margined Guan, which was high in the trees in a small clearing through the leaves. In addition to the numerous Social Flycatchers and Great Kiskadees, were Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, as well as a pair of Violaceous Euphonias seen just before we left for the Botanical Gardens, and a Streaked Flycatcher flew in and perched some way off at the opposite side of the pool.

Al had dropped us off at a different entrance to the gardens from that taken on Monday, since he told us of the best way to reach the forest margin of the gardens. After paying our fee, we were heading to the entrance of the gardens proper, but were diverted by a Cliff Flycatcher hawking insects from a house roof, and small numbers of Double-collared Seedeaters feeding on a lawn. After a tasty lunch of quiche at the café, we headed through the gardens in the rain to explore the lower slopes of the Tijuca Forest within the gardens. This proved to be quite a fruitless search, only turning up a Grey-necked Wood-rail and some distant passerines in the canopy. We spent a couple of hours searching the gardens again, and it was noticeable that activity was less than on Monday, when the weather was much brighter and more settled. Most obvious birds today were Tropical Kingbirds, Palm Tanagers, and Great Kiskadees. However, more Channel-billed Toucans were seen today, and even better and more static views of Swallow-tailed Hummingbird and a female Violet-capped Woodnymph. Roadside Hawk was also seen perched at the top of a conifer here, and as we left the gardens, a superb male Purple-throated Euphonia was in the area of the seedeaters and, naturally, a further pair of Masked Water-tyrants

Double-collared Seedeater male

Double-collared Seedeater female

Male Double-collared Seedeater

Female Double-collared Seedeater

Cliff Flycatcher

Masked Water-tyrant

Cliff Flycatcher

Masked Water-tyrant

Swallow-tailed Hummingbird

Channel-billed Toucan

Swallow-tailed Hummingbird

Channel-billed Toucan

Great White Egret

Great White Egret

Great White Egret

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