Sunday, 28 April 2013

Rusty Margined Guan in the bag!

APRIL 28th
Sjouke and I continued carrying out census work in the Cerradon Cerrado this morning. This has been the most productive area so far and was keeping us both busy with our alternative method counts. Three quarters of the way round we encountered a snake which whizzed past me within a meter. I shouted “Snake!” as Sjouke was a couple of meters ahead and I didn’t want him turning around and stepping into the serpent. It turns out the snake was non poisonous but again it was not interested in our presence which is a relief as I think it would have outpaced both of us!

Rusty Margined Guan’s were being seen daily and close to the base as well. This species was becoming a bit of a bug bird for me with the added twist that I had heard one in the Atlantic Forest but could not count it as the bird was a lifer at the time and I also like to see the first species recorded on a site I am watching.

I helped Annie and Sjouke prepare lunch and Sean announced that the Guan’s had been seen earlier in the morning along the Arroyito trail which is at the back of the house. There was no time to waste I was off! I added that I wasn’t coming back until I had found them and so close to lunch time too!! This could turn out to be a long afternoon!

I walked into the trail and could hear Jays causing a commotion. This either means snake or raptor so I proceeded with care and within 30 metres there they were two Guan’s crashing about along the branches. At last and I could show my face for dinner!

Three Ash tailed Swift were seen passing over the trail and with the cloud this could mean a storm was brewing! Well the storm front came and went leaving about ten drops of rain behind and some impressive flashes of lightning but little else!

The Guan’s bring my Laguna Blanca total to 160 species of which 27 are lifers! 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Guan Out!

APRIL 25th
Sjouke and I were out in the Cerrado(Sensu Strictu) on a survey this morning which was going smoothly with no real suprises. Mid way through the second hour a long green backed hummingbird with a white front and black almost straight bill flew in front of us perched up for a few seconds and looked at us then beckoned us to follow it down the trail. The bird was a female Blue tufted Starthroat which is a new trip tick. We were unable to keep up with the bird and it disappeared from view.

Another addition from a photo and the Cerrado Census is a Pearly breasted Seedeater (formerly Capped Seedeater) which is a life bird for me. Just like London buses none for ages then two come along at once.! This record has been confirmed as a Laguna Blanca 1st woo hoo!
(Pearly breasted Seedeater)
Joe picked us up at the end of the survey and we returned to base. I had not got out of the car when Sean came bouncing across the sand camera in hand and said “Look what I got!” My face lit up and I shook his hand “Nice!” He had photographed a Rusty Margined Guan that had made an appearance at the base whilst I was out in the Cerrado. Two birds had been seen by JP hopping from tree to tree across Mbopi trail and out of sight. Sean had a dash into our room get his camera together and still had time to reel off some shots. Great work!! These birds must be more common than I thought! JP and Helen had seen three on the track the other night. I wonder if they will make an appearance for me. I have not added this species to my Laguna Blanca list as I had only heard one in the Atlantic forest.
(Rusty Margin Guan)
(Photograph by Sean Dee)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Laguna Blanca 1st visits camera trap!!

APRIL 24th

The weather remains constant and birding is quiet beyond the regular species. Sjouke and I have carried out some more survey work as well as search for the shyer species using playback. The pigeons and Doves are now forming mixed flocks before roosting. There seem to be more Pale vented Pigeons and Eared Dove around but they have flocked so they are easier to count with the usual White tipped flotilla of birds.

I photographed a bird today along the Mboijagua trail which could be one of two species White crested or Grey capped Tyrannulet so this will remain unidentified until I bump into it again!
(Tyrannulet Serpophaga)
The most exciting news in the last day is a pair of Collared Forest Falcon who visited a salt lick in the Atlantic Forest which was camera trapped therefore no one saw them!! This species is the first record for Laguna Blanca and a lifer for me if I get to see them! Sadly they have not visited the spot since the 16th but may still be in the forest.
(Collared forest Falcon)
The weather is due to change at the weekend so hopefully it will bring some new migrants in!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Snakes Alive!!

The last few days have had consistent weather, cloudless skies with warm sunny days. These are not always ideal birding conditions as migrants make their journey to their wintering grounds.

Sjouke and I have been out carrying out surveys in the Cerrado and Plantations but there have not been any unusual sightings.  I have added one species to my trip list a Red winged Nothura which was disturbed at Nightjar land as we walked onto the old river bed which is now grassland.

Friday afternoon we had a treasure hunt where Sean and I teamed up against Sjouke Vikki and Annie in a quest to recover items the monkeys had removed whilst raiding the house! The competition was set by Helen and Becca and was a great team building exercise with a bit of skull-duggery thrown in! Sean and I bumped into a Bothrops whilst searching for a clue. This is the most deadly snake in Paraguay and it was not even phased by our presence. More evidence which shows if you leave them alone they will go about their daily business undisturbed!
The evening turned into a murder mystery challenge whereby everyone drew a name a weapon and a place where you had to commit the murder. I was killed off this morning by Sjouke with “Lobo!” in the bathroom! I didn’t see that one coming or the fact Sjouke was carrying the dog as he tapped me on the shoulder to indicate my demise!

Whilst out Saturday afternoon in the Sensu Strictu Cerrado I finally nailed a picture of the Flavescent Warbler which has proved to be a very difficult challenge in itself!
(Flavescent Warbler)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Survey Suprises!

APRIL 18th
After a bit of truck trouble this morning Sjouke and I headed for the Atlantic forest and the Corn field where Yellowish Pipit should be present. On the way four Great white Egret were seen flying over the lagoon.
We walked into Urukurea trail and out onto the main track which splits the Atlantic forest. Pair of Blue Dacnis was seen from the edge of the track. These are one of my favourite forest birds!

Once at the corn field we scanned the area for the pipit. Then playback was used with no response. An American Kestrel had been more successful catching its breakfast from within the field. Then the call of the Yellowish Pipit was heard from three different parts of the field!
One bird was located and observed flying high and dropping from the sky whilst calling! This species was a lifer for me and is a resident in this area. Thanks Paul we should have gone earlier!

Several regular species were noted during the walk back including Plain Antvirio which is a species we have heard on a regular basis but had not been seen!

This afternoon was spent completing project work with Sjouke in the Cerradon Cerrado. The two hours flew by with many species recorded including a couple of surprises:-
A Pauraque popped up during daylight hours from a trail and rested on a tree branch before re routing behind us.
Just before dusk a Nacunda Nighthawk was chased along the tree line by an Aplomoldo Falcon. It looked as if it escaped the falcons clutches though!

Becca went into Santa Barbera this afternoon via the Corn Field and described a Maguari Stork which was flying low over the field towards the lagoon. I wouldn’t have minded adding that to my Laguna Blanca list but you can’t be everywhere!

The truck has been wrapped up in a tarpaulin in an attempt to stop it getting damp under the bonnet overnight. Fingers crossed Sjouke and I will be Plantation bound in the morning!

Skimming the Lagoon!

APRIL 17th

Sean and I headed out early to put the gil nets in the centre of the lagoon which is around seven and a half metres deep. The skies were clear and the sun was beginning to warm the place up. The nets had been set when two large birds with floppy tern like flight were spied on the far bank of the lagoon. “What are those? “ Sean said. I paused and the front bird turned and dropped low skimming the water with its lower mandible near the reads. With binoculars raised I exclaimed “Skimmers!” I knew this was a Paraguay tick for me and although Black Skimmer have been recorded at Laguna Blanca before I did not expect to see them.

The first bird flew near the reed-bed and then flew off over the Atlantic forest. The second bird disappeared from view. My next thought was how to let Sjouke know. We were still near the middle of the lake! We started rowing back towards the beach and the second bird re appeared a few minutes later and flew close to the boat and then towards the E end of the lagoon.

The rowing hit top speed and we made it to shore a couple of minutes later. The boat was pulled up onto the beach and then it was a dash to the base to find Sjouke who was sat on the veranda drinking coffee!! I said “Skimmers grab the scope!”

Sjouke grabbed the telescope as Sean and I got cameras. The cameras were at the ready but a search of the lake could not re locate the second bird. I did however find a Yellow billed Tern on the far side of the lagoon who was fishing along the reeds. This was small consolation for Sjouke who stated Black Skimmer was one of his target birds for his trip! These birds don’t tend to stick around for too long on the lagoon.

Lagoon watch this evening produced a similar turn out of birds to the previous night. Three White backed Stilt and a flock of Great White Egret had a quick fly over but decided against stopping to roost!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Encarnacion Part 2.

On Sunday we met Roberto at Paul’s house and he kindly drove us to two sites Carmen del Parana and the Rice fields and wetlands at Isla Alta. The two target species at the latter were Saffron cowled Blackbird and the Pinnated Bittern.

A stop off in the area of Carmen del Parana produced a trip tick in the form of a Large billed Tern,
We stopped off at a pool on arrival at Isla Alta, Purple Gallinule and Common Gallinule were added to the trip list. Ducks have been very rare on this trip and I regularly get ribbed about mentioning them so here I go and four Brazilian Teal!

Further down the road the area was crawling with birds of all shapes and sizes. Paul was rattling off names and using playback on other species. My pen was working at full speed with time to observe the birds as they were called. South American Snipe were the first lifer of the day giving good views as they buzzed about around our heads. A Red crested Cardinal made a brief appearance in a bush. This spectacular bird showed long enough to be captured on the SLR.
(Red crested Cardinal)
Great Pampa Finch and White browed Blackbird make it onto the photo list which was small with all the activity that was going on. A Bearded Tachuri was probably one of the birds of the day.
(Great Pampa Finch)
A White banded Mockingbird finally made it onto my life list this was considered a reasonable record for the time of year. Further down the road by a bridge and stream a blackbird stake-out took place. There were plenty of other birds to see including a Yellow Chinned Spinetail but no sign of target species number one! 
(Lesser Yellow headed Vulture)
It was time to make our way back but one more stop at a rice field nailed the Pinnated Bittern Paul had spotted one from the moving vehicle and the telescope was quickly deployed. Three birds were observed before we returned to Paul’s house where we thanked Roberto and said adios!

We travelled back to Laguna Blanca overnight which had its interesting moments along the way! We landed at around 1pm.

A fantastic couple of days which was well worth the bus fare! A big thank you goes to Paul and his family for making the trip possible.

List of sightings:-
Neotropic Cormorant, Whistling Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Striated Heron, Pinnated Bittern, Wood Stork, Maguari Stork, Bare-faced Ibis, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture ,
Brazilian Teal, Snail Kite, Long-winged Harrier, Savanna Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Chimango Caracara, Limpkin, Ash-throated Crake, White-backed Stilt, South American Snipe, Picui Ground-dove , Monk Parakeet,Guira Cuckoo, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Ringed Kingfisher, Campo Flicker, Rufous Hornero, Chotoy Spinetail, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Greater Thornbird, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Bearded Tachuri, Cattle Tyrant, Great Kiskadee, White-rumped Swallow, Tawny-headed Swallow, White-banded Mockingbird, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Masked Yellowthroat, Grassland Sparrow, Saffron Finch, Great Pampa-finch, Red-crested Cardinal, Blue-black Grassquit, Rusty-collared Seedeater, Tawny-bellied Seedeater, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Chestnut-capped Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Marshbird, White-browed Blackbird, Roadside Hawk, American Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Southern Lapwing, Large-billed Tern, Ruddy Ground-dove, Lineated Woodpecker.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Encarnacion Part 1

APRIL 13th
Sean, Sjouke, Vikki and I went on a trip to Encarnacion to visit Paul and do some birding in the area. Friday and Monday was spent travelling which involved three bus journeys which totaled thirteen hours each way give or take the odd puddle and rickety bridge!

In Encarnacion we stayed at Casa de la Y Paul’s mother –in-laws Bed and Breakfast which is situated within walking distance of the beach along the Rio Parana and the border with Posadas Argentina. Our room was perfect and highly recommended should you be visiting the area. Vikki became a honorary boy for the weekend joining the banter in the boys room.

The garden where we took breakfast and an ensado on the last evening was beautifully arranged and attracted Bananaquit, Glittering Bellied Hummingbird, Gilded Sapphire and House Sparrow to get our eyes focused for the days birding. We were joined on both days by Roberto a photographer and birding friend of Paul’s.

Saturday was spent at Hotel Tirol which is a small area of dense Atlantic Forest which surrounds the hotel.
(Hotel Tirol)
Paul and Roberto identified birds on a single call and playback was used to lure the trickier species into view. Sepia Capped Flycatcher was the first bird to join my trip list.
(Sepia Capped Flycatcher)
A Red Crowned Ant Tanager was the first lifer of the day followed by dip of the day in the form of a Forked Tailed Woodnymph a lifer I managed to miss on three occasions!!

A flurry of lifers followed in quick succession Ruby Crowned Tanager, Black Goggled Tanager and Yellow Tyrannulet. The trails are not used too often and some areas were difficult to negotiate but usually there were rewards waiting on the other side of the obstacle or high grass.
(Yellow Tyrannulet)
A Chestnut headed Tanager and a very obliging White Spotted Woodpecker joined the growing list of lifers. 
(Green barred Woodpecker)
We took lunch at the Hotel restaurant and then debated (Not sure there was any debate really!) whether to spend a couple of hours in the upper grounds or return to the B & B. The birds in the upper grounds did not disappoint with Green Barred Woodpecker, Purple Fronted Euphonia, Blue Naped Chlorophonia, Rufous bellied Thrush, Chestnut bellied Aracari and a bird which I had heard and seen on camera trap images at Laguna Blanca. The Rusty Margined Guan who caused major excitement and exclamation by Paul and I before it disappeared up and along a branch of a tree. Fantastic this bird had eluded me several times in the past!

A great start to the birding weekend! Part two to follow after some sleep!

List of sightings:-
Tataupa Tinamou, Neotropic Cormorant, Black Vulture 6, Roadside Hawk, Southern Caracara,
Rusty-margined Guan, White-tipped Dove, Monk Parakeet 2, Chestnut-eared Aracari 3, White-spotted Woodpecker, Green-barred Woodpecker, Grey-bellied Spinetail, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Variable Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Rufous-winged Antwren,
Blue Manakin, Yellow Tyrannulet, Sepia-capped Flycatcher Eared Pygmy-tyrant, Boat-billed Flycatcher, House Wren,Pale-breasted Thrush, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Tropical Parula, Golden-crowned Warbler, White-rimmed Warbler, Chestnut-headed Tanager, Black-goggled Tanager,Ruby-crowned Tanager, Guira Tanager,Chestnut-vented Conebill, Purple-throated Euphonia, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Red-crowned Ant-tanager. Squirrel Cuckoo, Ochre Collared Piculet (Heard), Brown Tinamou (Heard), Fork Taled Woodnymph, Blue Dacnis.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Terrified Tanager!

APRIL 11th
Today was very windy and sunny for most of the day. I took an early walk along the Arroyito trail where Red legged Seriema were heard but once again no sign of the birds. I then made my way to the Kurupayty trail which is a mixture of tracks with forest and low bushes where you can at one point look over a farm.
A Planalto Woodcreeper was the first addition to the trip list planting itself on a tree in front of me along the second half of the trail.
(Planalto Woodcreeper)
A Hooded Tanager was identified in the forest section of the trail. The birds are high up in the canopy along this stretch of forest and can be tricky to identify.
(Hooded Tanager)
I returned to base and spoke with Joe who was heading out to the Cerrado to collect some clothes he had left on a fence. The PLT dogs had chased the truck a few days earlier and had gone missing for a couple of days! This happens from time to time but happily they were found yesterday having been cared for by local people. I had also dropped my water bottle in a Plantation and it was a good opportunity to look for it.

No luck with the water bottle, but as we were driving back I was talking to Joe about Sjouke not having seen Red legged Seriema and how I hoped he saw one to add to his Rhea this morning. No sooner had I finished speaking two Seriema came into view and were sprinting down the track in front of us. No time to stop the truck so pictures were taken on the move with surprisingly good results! Sjouke was not with us though damn it!
(Red legged Seriema)
After lunch is internet time of the day but this was playing up so Sjouke wandered off to the lagoon a few metres away. He called me over a few minutes later having seen a Tanager with a black head and bib. We attempted to re locate the bird but were not successful at first.

Sjouke got his bird book from the house and a discussion about the identity of the bird ensued. We both returned to the edge of the lagoon hoping the bird was still there. This part of the lagoon has a small line of bushes and trees at the back of the reeds.
(Black Faced Tanager)
A Black Faced Tanager suddenly appears in a small tree! The SLR rattles off two shots before a Pale breasted Thrush obviously on security patrol swoops into the bush! Uh oh here we go again thrush chasing migrant scenario!!
(Black Faced Tanager)
The Thrush did its job chasing the Tanager along the lagoon and then into the higher trees and it was lost to sight. But unlike the Yellow billed Cuckoo I had a couple of shots phew!! Excitement was in the air as this could be another addition to the Laguna Blanca list. Hot off the press this is the 2nd record for Paraguay! Woo hoo nice one Sjouke!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Solitary bird!

This morning was to be the start of Sjouke’s project comparing birdlife in the various Eucalyptus plantations to different Cerrado habitats. I had to collect the truck from the tourist side of the lagoon and was accompanied by PLT’s new dog! Who promptly put a Sandpiper skyward near to the bridge over the stream. OH NO!

I went off into Nightjar land with Sjouke and made a note to self to check the lagoon on my return! The survey was completed and then some birding by the stream. Every day different species are turning up in these areas. Tropical Kingbird, Chestnut Eared Aracari were the hi-lights until Sharp tailed Grass-tyrant popped up near us as we were stood in the grass.

Back at the base Sean said he had heard a Sandpiper at the stream this morning. A mini twitch ensued with a quick step to the beach where the exhausted birders bird stood on a small area by the reeds. The Solitary Sandpiper was nervous so distance was kept and another dash for my Digi-scoping equipment took place. The Vermilion Flycatcher made an appearance whilst I was away.
(Solitary Sandpiper)
This afternoon Sjouke and I were off to the Campo-limpio Cerrado to carry out another survey. Both of us were still burning off the lactic acid from the night before and were glad of the walk!! The reward for this effort was a Wedged tailed Grass-finch along with a few usual suspects.

They think its all over!!

The power has just come back on as a result of recent storms!

The last couple of days have been quiet on the birding front. I decided to have a walk in the Atlantic Forest. All was quiet so I joined Becca who was on her regular monkey hunt. The walk along the new trails produced a pair of Pale breasted Spinetail and along the main track Chestnut Eared Aracari and a Little Woodpecker.

The afternoon was spent lagoon side at soccer camp as the PLT 6-a-side team were to feature in a competition in Santa Barbara! No problems there as the teams were mixed and some were oldies!
We arrived at the 6-a-side soccer pitch which had its own lighting around it and looked on at the opposition who were mainly in soccer kit and wearing football boots. This looks serious! But we had a kit and had been training during the afternoon right! Fatima joined our team to make up the six. We were the only mixed team and the competition winners would receive a pig! This is doubly serious! Our opponents were drawn champions League style and we were playing the Speedy Gonzales VI! This could be tricky! A few tactical changes were discussed and we set about the job in hand. 
(Pre-match Team talk!)
Line up as follows:-                                                                     
GK: Myself
DEF: Sean DEF: Joe
MID: Sjouke MID: Fatima
ATT: Becca
(Preparing for battle!)
The only way I can describe the game was FC Barcelona v Chelsea in the Camp Nou last year. We kept the youngsters at bay for the first five minutes of the seven minute half. The defending and goalkeeping was desperate but superb! There was a claim for a penalty at the other end as Fatima was clearly brought down by their goalkeeper! The opposition were clearly getting frustrated as the other teams on the sidelines cheered as every save or ball was cleared by PLT! But sadly it did not last with the “Cat” finally beaten from close range near halftime!

Speedy Gonzales VI won the match 3 – 0 and I wondered if I would every walk again but the match was great fun and was a great advert for PLT community involvement

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Fall of firsts!

The weather is continually changing and some days are complete washouts. But with this brings in new birds and today there was definitely something in the air apart from tonnes of bugs! Sjouke and I returned to Nightjar land which had been so quiet the other morning!

Today was different the rain had freshened the air, filled the stream at the lower end of Nightjar land. The birds were active and having a feast! This is the first time so much activity had been seen around this area. We chose three locations along the old river bed to watch the near bank of the stream.

A Vermilion Flycatcher was the first addition to the trip list. I never tire of seeing this beautifully coloured flycatcher. Three birds would be found during our travels. The lagoon and the Arroyito trail would also hold single birds.
(Vermilion Flycatcher)
Yellow rumped Marshbird, Streamer tailed Tyrant and an Amazon Kingfisher were seen along the margins of the stream. Plumbeous Seedeater was the next new species to come into view but the sight of a Toco Toucan perched on a dead tree took our attention. A single bird gave crippling views through the scope from midway up the far bank. This session was definitely making the grade!

Sjouke and I then moved up to the areas of Eucalyptus Plantations to run some time tests walking through and area which was seven years old. The trees were tall and their lower branches had been trimmed. There was a sparse covering of green foliage and a layer of crispy leaf litter. I was not expecting to see a great deal of bird life in the 17.18ha area but I did not expect to see a life bird either. A Striped Cuckoo was disturbed by Sjouke as we walked the diagonal. Fortunately we were not far from the truck and the dash was a short one to get my camera. 
(Striped Cuckoo)
The bird who seemed as shocked to see us inside the plantation as we were to find it there froze in a reasonably open area allowing pictures to be taken! The truck journey back was full of excited chattering with the odd woo hoo thrown in as well! We carried out a similar test on a patch of Cerrado on the way back to base.

The hype continued over lunch and a decision to carry on birding throughout the afternoon was reached. Normally it is too hot and the birds are quiet during the early part of the day but conditions seemed perfect. Sean having had a good catch of fish that morning decided to join us and we headed off onto the Arroyito trail.

The Arroyito trail has served us well during the time here and is at the back of the base. There is an open area with a dried stream bed a couple of hundred meters into it. The stream now runs from the lagoon along a part manufactured course further on behind the old river course. Many of the flowering shrubs had now bloomed as a result of the rain.

To say this area was alive with small birds and hummingbirds was no exaggeration. The team of three worked together to identify log and photograph the birds in this area. Sean was noticeably gripped by the amount of activity and celebrated with us as the lifers and new birds appeared.

A female Black throated Mango was my first lifer to appear. The black and white stripes on the chest were clear as it whizzed into a flowering bush fed and flew off. Glistening bellied Emerald and Guilded Sapphire chased each other around this spot. Two Purple Throated Euphonias appeared in a nearby tree followed by a pair of Little Woodpecker who were speeding up thick branches of trees.
(Little Woodpecker)
The day list was mounting up and Helen had suggested at lunch that we should continue birding and not return until the day list had reached 69 species!! Hmm! We were close to it so off we went to the Atlantic Forest to give ourselves a chance of reaching the total. Some banter over this subject with Becca and Vikki along the way and the boys left the monkey crew preferring the path to the forest.

The path was quieter but produced a pair of Blue Dacnis the male is sea blue in colour with a black chin and the female mainly green! Fantastic can the day get any better?!
(Blue Dacnis)
The last port of call was the Urukurea trail into the forest. The total was very close now and a calling Taitapu Tinamou was added. THEN a strange semi barking howling like a monkey was heard from nearby. Sjouke and Sean looked at me and said “What the .... was that?!” Paul Smith had mentioned how the call of the Rusty Margined Guan would scare the life out of you if heard in the forest. It was nearly dusk and it had certainly done that! Once the heart-rate had settled I used playback in an attempt to lure this bird into the open. This bird is a lifer for me and has to be seen to be added to my life list! The bird did not play ball and was to be the only disappointment in an action packed day!

We hitched a lift back to base on the aptly nicknamed Formula One Frogs!!

Needless to say the total was surpassed and the only way to celebrate this on my moth-light duty night was to consume Rocklets (Smarties) and a few beers!

What a fantastic days birding with several records broken:-

The highest number of species in a day since I arrived = 70/1 (One to be identified). See LB daily for full list.

Highest number of new birds added to trip list in a day 8! (Discounting initial days logging)

Most habitats covered in a day!

The most beer I have consumed since I arrived!! Good job I had beer goggles on!
(There were 50 of them?!)
There is even talk of a bird race day with three teams of two consisting of one birder and one non birder! Draw could be made Champions league style very soon! Stand by your blogs!!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Terning around!


The storm had cleared but rain clouds were lingering. It was time to venture out with Joe and Sjouke onto Nightjar land to see what goes on during daylight hours! The area is very sandy and the rain had turned some areas into quick sand! Skilful driving from Joe prevented the truck sinking in the mire! Good job Joe!

The first bird on Nightjar land was a Toco Toucan I was some distance away from Joe and Sjouke and called the bird which entered Sjouke’s book of woo hoo’s! The morning was interspersed with showers which may have explained the lack of activity in the grassy areas. The lack of seedeaters was surprising though! 

Two Cerrado specials made an appearance the White-rumped Tanager and the White-banded Tanager! I stood myself right next to a Burrowing Owl whilst looking at the mixture of the Cerrado specials. I am not sure who was more suprised!
(Burrowing Owl)
After lunch it was Lagoon watch. I was convinced something would pass over as it re-orientates itself as a result of the storms. Sjouke joined me lagoon side and it was not long before he called two terns. The scope sprang into action and Yellow-billed Tern were observed before they made a hasty exit NE. Ashy-throated Swift were next to appear heading rapidly NW.

The reason for the hurry was revealed in the form of heavy rain clouds which threatened to swallow up anything in their path! It did not rain until much later though!

The weather was good enough in the evening to go out looking for Scissor-tailed Nightjar but there were a distinct lack of nightjars around with only a Little Nightjar located on the way back to camp. Potoo and Burrowing owls were seen and plenty of bats hawking insects.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Batten Down the Hatches!


The plan this morning was to go to Nightjar land but there was a horrendous storm last night. A storm that I slept through to the amazement of my room-mates! The rain was still falling this morning therefore I kept one eye on the lagoon hoping for another gull or something equally as good!

A single Barn Swallow was the only notable migrant that passed through the Lagoon. Another storm hit Laguna Blanca during the evening. Surely there will something good tomorrow!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Trip Round-Up!

A quiet day today Dan and Sam are leaving tomorrow and an Asado and a few beers were consumed the night before. I have updated my Wildlife Recorder and have had the following:-

Rusty-backed Antwren (Formicivora rufa)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
Planalto Hermit (Phaethornis pretrei)
Grey Elaenia (Myiopagis caniceps)
Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea)
Long-tailed Tyrant(Colonia colonus)
Ash-throated Crake (Porzana albicollis)
Spot-billed Toucanet (Selenidera maculirostris)
Pale-vented Pigeon (Patagioenas cayennensis)
Streamer-tailed Tyrant (Gubernetes yetapa)
Grey-capped Tyrannulet (Phyllomyias griseocapilla)
White-crested Elaenia  (Elaenia albiceps)
Scissor-tailed Nightjar (Hydropsalis torquata)
Grey-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis)
White-rumped Hawk (Buteo leucorrhous)
Gilded Sapphire (Hylocharis chrysura)
Red-breasted Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus)
Chestnut-bellied Seed-finch (Oryzoborus angolensis)
Rufous-capped Spinetail (Synallaxis ruficapilla)
Pileated Parrot (Pionopsitta pileata)
Variegated Flycatcher(Empidonomus varius)
Robust Woodpecker (Campephilus robustus)

My Paraguay life list now stands at 308 having added 26 species to this. My Trip List stands at 134 species. My overall life list stands at 1584 species!

Time is flying by here I have just over a month to go and I hope April brings some more good birds!