Monday, 17 March 2014

Nightjar turns Dayjar!

14th pm

Paul Smith (Zoologist) founder of Fauna Paraguay and Roberto arrived mid morning. Roberto a photographer had not visited Laguna Blanca before therefore there were life birds to see on the reserve.

At around 3pm the truck was loaded with snacks and the gang for a trip into the Cerrado to see these birds. The first species to make his life list was the White banded Tanager. The ultimate destination for the group was the aptly named Nightjar land with a stop off near a disused airstrip for the Lesser Nothura. This species had been heard here but to make it onto my life list I had to see it.
(White winged Nightjar)
En route to Nightjar land a White tailed hawk put in an appearance. A Savanna hawk was noted on arrival in the area. The gang disembarked and began wandering around the area and what happened next was a surprise to everyone. A male White winged Nightjar seen in flight during daylight! This bird attracted the attention of a Aplomado Falcon which caused considerable anxiety from within our group.
(White winged Nightjar)
The position of the White winged Nightjar was noted as it came to ground and Joe Nightjar catcher extraordinaire set to work in netting the bird. Once caught the bird was banded and measurements taken for the log. The bird was then taken back to the point of capture (a point is recorded on the GPS) so that it could sit safely away from the eyes of predators.
(Joe, Sagi and I, banding team)
Some of the area beyond the third fire break had been cleared and all that remained were piles of wood scattered across the ground. A group of Plumbeous Seedeaters and a Blue black Grassquit took advantage of these high rise perches.
(Gray Monjita)
As the evening closed in the group moved to the grassland near the airfield and saw a Grey Monjita perched on a bush. This was a rare sighting and a new bird for my Laguna Blanca list. On arrival at the airstrip the search began for the Lesser Nothura. A couple of birds were heard calling but once again we could not get near enough to see a bird. Three Red winged Tinamous were flushed during the search.

After dark I took on searchlight duties during which a second White winged Nightjar was spotted in the area. The bird a female was caught, banded and processed. This find could prove significant if Nightjar land falls foul of future development.
(Common Potoo)
During the drive back to the base the regular night species were observed including a Potoo at very close range.

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