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!!

No comments:

Post a Comment