Leon Moore Nature Experience
Birds and Wildlife Tour-March 2015 Trip Report
By: Leon Moore
Guyana is one of the best birding destinations in South America and is ranked one of the top 10 unspoiled places to visit by National Geographic. This amazing Country is very rich and diverse with over 900 different species of birds recorded and on this trip we had the opportunity to experience birding at its very best. Birding can be done anywhere in this Country and the people are really friendly and very keen to share their knowledge with you.
We only had two (2) Botanist clients on this tour; but their main interest were birds, plants and any other wildlife that could be seen on this tour. One person was more interested in plants while the other person was more interested in birds. It’s a challenge sometimes to conduct a tour where you have persons with different interest especially with a lager (group) and still be very successful like this one. This was surely one of the most amazing tours we’ve ever done across Guyana and one to repeat again…so if you’re a keen birder, an average birder, love wildlife or you just have a general interest for nature don’t allow this opportunity to slip by.
Our clients landed in Guyana during the morning, while on transfer from the airport to the hotel we had good an opportunity to nail Pied water-tyrants, Snail Kites, Great Kiskadees, Turkey Vultures, Herons and many other common bird species from the car, we took about 60 minutes to get to the hotel. Once settled in, an introductory talk was done by our tour leader Leon Moore which was followed by lunch. In the afternoon we went to the Botanical Gardens where we saw lots of Cattle and Great Egrets building nest, Snail Kites, Orange-winged, yellow-crowned, Mealy and the amazing Festive Parrots. We also had West Indian Manatees in the canals and while this was only the beginning trip our clients were already excited by the amount of birds we managed to see in the city. Just before we finished the afternoon birding we nailed a pair of Toco Toucans flying over, what a great introduction to the birds of Guyana.
The morning started very early in search of the Hoatzin, Rufous crab-Hawk and the brilliant and range restricted Blood-coloured Woodpecker. We departed our hotel at 5:00am and drive eastward along the coast of Georgetown to the Mahaica River, this area is dominated by mangrove forest, and cultivated rice fields so along the way as the sun started to take impact we had an amazing opportunity to watch many birds emerging from their roost sites including Cattle, Snowy and Great Egrets, Yellow-crowned Night-herons, Little-blue and Tricolored Herons, Snail Kites and many other species. By the time it got light over the rice fields we were able to see other common species including Great Kiskadees, Rusty-margined Flycatchers, Yellow-chinned Spinetails, Blue-black Grassquits also known as (Jumping Johnny) and Cocoi Herons also Ruddy ground-Doves. After a lovely drive from Georgetown we eventually got to the Mahaica River just in time to start our tour at 6:00am, here we met up with our boat captain and host for this leg of the tour, we were ready to set off on the river but they were too many birds calling and flying around us so we could not help but stay put for another 5 to 10 minutes while nailing a very photogenic couple of Spotted tody-Faycatchers, Wing-barred Seedeaters, Black-throated Mango, Barred Antshrike, Yellow-hooded Blackbirds, Green Kingfishers, and some great views of Yellow-chinned Spinetails feeding their chicks near our boat captain’s home. We eventually began our tour on the river and in no time we were able to mark off one of our targets of the day, Guyana’s national bird, the brilliant Hoatzin. Meanwhile a couple of Green-tailed Jacamars sitting in nicely.
Sunlight on a bamboo bush allowed us to sink in that brilliant iridescent green through our binoculars. A Silvered Antbird and Black-crested Antshrike continued to buzz in the low bushes at the river edge while Stripped Cuckoo flew in for a nice view. After an exciting session of birding we returned for some lovely traditional Indian breakfast at our host and boat captain’s home. After breakfast we continued to Abary in search of the Rufous Crab-Hawk and the Blood-
Coloured Woodpecker. Along the way to Abary we observed the rice farmers cutting their rice crops, meanwhile hundreds of Barn Swallows were flying through and around the machinery to catch whatever insects/bugs that were being flushed out of the rice crops, out of nowhere a fantastic Long-winged Harrier flew across the fields which allow us great binocular views. Eventually we arrived at Abary, a 500m stretch of mangrove forest near the seawall. In less than a minute we were able to mark off one of the targets here, the Rufous Crab-Hawk. We stop for a drink of water while our tour leader after a quick and very short playback called in the amazing and range restricted Blood-Colored Woodpecker. It came and perched nicely at eye level in front of us, you could not get a better view than that! We had great sightings of Osprey, Turquoise Tanagers, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, Short-crested Flycatcher and many other common species. On the way back to Georgetown we stopped at Hope Beach Seawall and in no time managed to nailed a couple of Bicolored Conebills a few waders like Semipalmated Plovers, Whimbrels, Least and Western Sandpipers and forging all over the mud-flats, was the brilliant Scarlet Ibis. We arrived in Georgetown for a well worth late Lunch. In the evening we celebrated the day’s success over a shot of Eldorado Guyanese Rum.
380 bird species recorded in 12 Days!
Group lifers, favorites, shield endemics and rare species
OTHER SPECIES SEEN
This day we continued on our journey to Atta Rainforest Lodge after an early breakfast at the Hotel. We had a short drive to the smaller Ogle International Airport where we boarded our 12-seater Cessna Caravan and flew to the interior. Indeed Guyana has over 75% forest cover. On the flight in we had patches where we could see rivers and endless rainforest for many miles. A few small areas showed sign of Gold mining. Meanwhile after flying over vast rainforest the landscape opened up to natural savannahs and beautiful mountains, the Rupununi River in the East and the Pakarima Mountains to the West. After arriving at the airstrip in Annai near the Rock View Lodge we then board our 4×4 and drive North towards Atta Lodge. They were White-tailed Hawks and Crested Caracara seen among other common species.
It was amazing to see the natural separation between the Rainforest and the open Savanna. Once in the Rainforest, the sounds of Screaming Pihas, Channel-billed Toucan, Mealy Parrot and the Golden-winged Parakeet calling while Coraya and Guianan-streaked Antwren can be heard in the forest along the road. We arrived just in time for lunch and settle into our rooms for the next 3 nights, this amazing Lodge is ideal for good forest birding so our small group was very excited to explore the surrounding. Later that afternoon we went off to the highly anticipated Canopy Walkway and boy did it live up to its expectation; we saw Dusky, Mealy and the endangered Blue-cheeked Parrots, meanwhile Pompadour Cotinga, Purple-breasted Cotinga perched nicely for us in the tree canopy. Amazonian Motmot, Ringed, Lineated and Waved Woodpecker was heard from the walkway.
At dusked Short-tailed Nighthawk, Long-tailed Potoo, Northern Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl and the RARE and MUST SEE BIRD White-winged Potoo heard calling, our tour leader Leon got very excited when he heard the Potoo from the platform and with a short playback we had a very close view of this spectacular species.
At dawn after breakfast we were up and out along the trail to the Walkway, It was still too dark to see Amazonian-barred, Wedge-billed, Chestnut-rumped and Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Spotted Antpitta along with an early forest flock of Gray, Long-winged, Rufous-bellied, Brown-bellied and Spot-tailed Antwren calling. We also heard Dusky-throated, Cinereous and Mouse-colored Antshrike passing through the understory.
From the walkway a close view of Red Howler Monkeys foraging the nearby canopy while Black Spider Monkeys heard in the distance. Long-tailed Tyrant and now a great view of Waved Woodpecker helped in by play-back, Lineated Woodcreeper, both Spot-tailed and Todd’s Antwren came in among the trees, buff-cheeked Greenlet and the Poorly known Dusky Purpletuft allowed us grate binocular views, while Black Spotted Barbets, Golden-sided Euphonia, Guianan Tyrannulet , A group of Scarlet Macaw and Blue-cheeked flew by and a few minutes after heard Red-fan, Caica, the more common Blue-headed, Orange-winged, plus Mealy Parrots. A few more wide spread species seen from the walkway included Blue Dacnis, White-throated Toucan, Lineated Woodpecker, Band-rumped Swifts, Black-necked Aracari, Gray Antbird and more. After a nice afternoon on the walkway we heard back to the Lodge for dinner.
After a very successful morning on the Walkway we head back to the Lodge for breakfast. Mid-morning we spend some time around the clearing at the Lodge in anticipation of the MUST SEE Crimson Fruitcrow but unfortunately it was not seen, meanwhile Yellow-backed, Flame-crested and Fulvous-crested Tanager and other members of a canopy flock came in including Black-face Dacnis, Pygmy, Todd’s and Spot-tailed Antwren passing through the canopy, a Grayish Mourner along with Guiana Toucanet flew over the clearing then before heading down the trail a male Black-tailed Trogon.
On the trail we spotted another group of Howlers and had great views of the smaller primate Guianan white-face Saki Monkey. Meanwhile a family of Gray-winged Trumpeter began to trumpet a few meters in the forest, Leon started to call them by mimicking them and they came towards us for a few seconds but then turned back and went deeper into the undergrowth. Along the trail we nailed Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Great Jacamar while Plumbeous and Ruddy Pigeon , Screaming Piha, Guianan Warbling-Antbird was heard. Came back for Lunch and was greeted by Black Curassows that showed a clear sign that this area was not hunted; they kept our company by showing up every day around the clearing at the Lodge. After a well-deserved rest we ventured out to the main road where we marked off Helmeted Pygmy-tyrant, Spix’s Guan, and (Green-backed) White-tailed Trogon, Red-necked Woodpecker, Cayenne Jay, Greater Yellow-headed and Turkey Vulture, Black-headed Parrot, Spangle Cotinga and more, at dusked Short-tailed Nighthawk, more Spix’s Guans in flight; making that distinctive noise as they beat their wings together when flying into the forest. A Red-rumped Agouti came out on the road for us while lots of Free-tailed Bats circling above us as we head back to the Lodge.
Today we were up at dawn for coffee and cookies before heading out on foot through the trail and out to the main road. It was still dark but Guianan Tyrannulet, Thrush-like Antpitta, Amazonian-barred Woodcreeper and Wedge-billed Woodcreeper was already calling in the forest. As we walked across the clearing towards trail heading to the road; Leon got extremely excited when he heard a Red-Billed Woodcreeper calling, we eventually saw it after scanning the mid-canopy, a RARE sight to see but was amazing.
There were fruiting trees along the main road that was attracting loads of birds and this made our morning even more exciting. Along the road we were greeted by a three-toed Sloth sitting nicely in a Congo Pump (Cecropia) tree. Meanwhile White-bearded Manakin, Golden-headed and White-throated Manakins was observed while a few Yellow-backed Tanagers came flying in. McConnell’s Flycatcher and more the common Blue Dacnis along with Turquoise Tanager enjoying the feeding frenzy.
Several Parrots among Mealy, Orange-winged, Black-headed, Blue-headed, and Caica and finally a perfect sighting, the Red-fan Parrots, we also had Paradise Jacamar, lots of Green Aracari feeding on a palm near the road.
We eventually got to a bridge on the same stretch of road and got a Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper with the help of a little playback, a couple of Black Spotted Barbets moving around in the nearby fruit trees while Bright-rumped Attila calling and group of Cayenne Jays flew across for us. Before heading back for breakfast we nailed Guianan-Streaked Antwren, Blue-tailed Emerald, Painted Parakeets and a Rufescent Tiger-Heron near the creek at the bridge, on the way back we got White-browed Antbird, loads of Band-rumped Swifts and more.
After breakfast and a short rest, we decided to bird around the clearing again looking for the Crimson Fruitcrow, but it did not came. The clearing is a favorite spot for the Fruitcrow but we weren’t lucky enough to see this one. Meanwhile Guianan Puffbird, Pompadour Cotinga, the RARE Dusky Purpletuft, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Yellow-throated Woodpecker and a Cream-colored Woodpecker preformed for us before nailing Capuchinbird, Cinereous Mourner, a male Guianan Red-Cotinga and a few more Golden-headed Manakins along one of the trails nearby.
The afternoon began later with another shot on the road, our plan was to get a few more nocturnal species and boy did they perform. Before nightfall we got a few Black Nunbirds, a couple of Golden-bellied Euphonia, another Golden-sided Euphonia, Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch, Pied Puffbird, while Mealy Parrots were very active also Coraya Wren, Dusky Antbird and a pair of Black Curassow among other species.
At dusk it all began with a few Short-tailed Nighthawks and several free-tailed Bats flying over, when it became dark Leon decided to play for some Potoos, he started playing for the Common Potoo and in no time the Potoo responded and then came in on a high perched, we all got brilliant views of that one then out of nowhere a
Great Potoo flew in and landed on the same branch where the common Potoo was sitting, in the end we had some amazing sightings of the two species then continued our way to the Lodge.
The morning in our 4×4 heading to the Iwokrama River Lodge, we saw a few Double-tooth Kites in which we stop to take pictures and observed through our binoculars; it was a well-timed stop because while we were looking at the Kite a Tayra crossed the road 15 to 20 meters in front of us giving a wonderful opportunity at close range to look at him. For the rest of the way we had a few Great black-Hawks, Scaled Pigeons, Red-fan Parrots in flight, Scarlet and Red-and-Green Macaw, (White-throated) Red-billed Toucans and heard our first Red-Legged Tinamou. Yellow-throated Flycatcher, loads of Band-rumped Swifts, Greater Yellow-headed Vultures and the very common Swallow-winged Puffbird and many more.
Eventually we arrived at Iwokrama where we spent the next two nights. After Lunch and a short break we started the afternoon hike on the Antbird trail. As we started our hike an army ant-swarm was now beginning to swarm, meanwhile we nailed a couple of Plain-browned Woodpecker, Rufous-throated Antbird, White-flanked Antwren, Guianan Warbling Antbird, Dusky-throated Antshrike and Cinereous Antshrike, also we saw White-shouldered Tanager, a couple of Rose-breasted Chat, Buff-throated Woodcreeper and just before dusk we heard Amazonian Motmot and Cream-colored Woodpecker, we were able to nailed a few Capuchinbirds at a lek. Before heading back Leon got excited again when he heard a Wing-banded Antbird calling, with a little playback we got the most amazing views of this rarely seen species, we also played for a Rufous-capped Antthrush that was calling in the area as well which we were able to see very good along with a couple of White-crowned Manakins.
After dinner we went out on the Essequibo River had several sightings of Ladder-tailed Nightjars, a couple of fresh-water Stingrays, a roosting Osprey, Ring Kingfisher, several Black and Spectacled Caimans, Amazonian tree-Boas and closed off with the brilliant Greater and Lesser Bull-Dog Bats catching fishes.
Our day started very early with a trip to Turtle Mountain. We had some coffee before leaving and took packed breakfast with us, our journey started with a 30 to 40 minutes boat trip down the Essequibo River, along the way we saw Cocoi Herons, a group of Capped Herons, and a Great Black-Hawk before reaching our starting point at the foot of the Mountain. On the way up the Mountain we had a special encounter with a PUMA; it came down for a drink at Turtle pound and when it heard us coming, it walked across the trail 15 to 20 meter in front of us. Meanwhile we nailed a couple of Yellow-billed Jacamars, of course heard many Screaming Pihas and a nice view of one, the first White Hawk for the trip, while we had a nice forest flock that provided Brown-bellied Antwren, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Helmeted Pygmy-tyrant, we even saw a Female Guianan Cock-of the-Rock that Leon spotted, a group of Red-Howler Monkey, a small group of Guianan Saki Monkey, another group of Black Spider Monkeys, Slaty-capped-shrike-Vireo, a large family of Wedge-capped Capuchin Monkeys that was being very aggressive by shaking the branches over our heads, we even had a very noisy Red-throated Caracara. We stop about halfway up for a break and Leon spotted a couple of Guianan Red-Cotingas. We were almost at the top when Leon heard the RARE Orange-breasted Falcon calling, we were all very happy to see this fantastic bird, the hike up the Mountain was not easy but we had very strong hand-rails and benches all the way up at the difficult parts. It was amazing to see such green landscape with the mighty Essequibo River, huge trees and beautiful table top Mountains in the distance. We had close eye level views of the Falcons and even had an opportunity to observe them Mating. We also heard a JAGUAR calling in the forest bellow us. Now the fun part of the day; after enjoying the show of the Orange-breasted Falcons, hearing the Jaguar calling, out of nowhere a swarm of honey bees were passing and they give us a few stings, we all had to run for cover leaving our back-packs and other thing for a while on till the bees were gone. After a while they bees left and we got our things and made our way down for Lunch and celebrated the morning success with jokes and laughter over the experience with the bees.
After the Turtle Mountain experience and a few hours rest, we birded around the clearing of the River Lodge, from the clearing we saw several Pied Plovers, white-banded Swallows, Yellow-billed and Large-billed Terns flying over the River, a few Neotropical Cormorants, A large group of Painted Parakeets, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet and a couple of Red-and-green Macaws that was nesting in a nearby tree, we also has lots of seedeaters including Chestnut, Ruddy-breasted, and Lined Seedeaters and many other common birds. It was also nice to see several Red-rumped Agouti coming out in the clearing at the Lodge. At dusk we had many Pauraque Nightjars flying around the clearing while in the forest a couple of spectacle Owls, Variegated and Great Tinamous calling. After that we had a wonderful dinner.
The morning saw us on our way to Surama Lodge via Mori Scrub and Cock of the Rock trail, it was time to say good bye to Iwokrama River Lodge after a nice predawn breakfast, along the way to Mori Scrub we were able to get better views of perched Caica Parrots, Black Curassows, a nice group of Gray-winged Trumpeters crossing the road, Dusky Antbird, Channel-billed Toucans and more. We eventually made it in good time to Mori Scrub and was very keen on finding our targets, in no time our tour leader Leon Moore found a nesting pair of Bronzy Jacamars for us, then further down we nailed a couple of Rufous-crown Elaenia and had really good view of Black Manakins before nailing a White-crown Manakin, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, White-chinned Sapphire and only managed to hear the Red-legged Tinamou.
We continued our journey along the road while seeing more Red-and-green-Macaws in flight, Dusky Parrots, Scaled Pigeons, Red-Fan Parrots, Cayenne Jays and more. We eventually made it to the Cock-of-the-Rock tail and started the hike through the forest; along the way our tour leader Leon Moore said this was also a good area for the very RARE Rufous-winged ground-Cuckoo, Leon knew the favorite area for this bird and stop at a point on the trail to play for it, within the first four minutes we heard the Cuckoo calling from beyond 100 meters, at this point Leon was more excited than the group, the Cuckoo continued to respond by coming more and more close and stop calling from like 30 to 40 meters away. Our effort to see the Cuckoo was in vain but proved that Leon was correct about it being in the area, it was a wonderful experience in the end.
The Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock and almost nailing the Ground-Cuckoo was so far the highlight of the day. We had very close views of the Male Cock-of-the-Rock and were very pleased to observe a Female with chick sitting on a nest. We also had good sightings of Great Jacamar, a few more Painted Parakeet, heard Grate and Variegated Tinamous, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper and again had great views of a Tiny-tyrant Manakin. We continued our drive to Surama Lodge where we will spend the next two nights. We had a fantastic local Lunch and few hours to rest but before making plans with our expert local guide Gary.
At the lodge a large group of Yellow-rumped Cacique keep us well entertained building their nest throughout our stay at Surama. Later that afternoon we took a hike across the savanna and up the Surama Mountain. Along the way we came across a huge army ant-swarm that had several Rufous-throated and the brilliant White-plumed Antbird, a couple of Amazonian-barred Woodcreepers, Buff-throated Woodcreeper and Plain-brown Woodcreeper. Meanwhile a Guianan Toucanet sitting above while Coco Thrush, Great Tinamou, and two groups of Black Spider Monkey, we also saw another large group of Wedge-capped Capuchin Monkeys before meeting the top. Our local guide Gary spotted a Roraiman Nightjar that was sitting on one egg but it did not stick around as it flew away. Once at the top they were Golden-headed Manakins calling and a very aggressive set of Black Spiders Monkeys that was breaking branches from the canopy and throwing them down to fend us off, after enjoying our experience on the Mountain it was time for us to head back down. Our tour leader Leon spotted a Golden-greed Woodpecker and called us back to see it, Leon also pointed out a couple of Blue-backed Manakins after which a few White-tailed , Pauraque and Blackish nightjars was seen on the road heading back to the lodge, that night we also heard Crested Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl and Spectacled Owl calling in the forest.
Our main target today was the Harpy Eagle. At dusk we departed by 4×4 from Surama with pack breakfast to the Harpy trail. After a 20 minutes’ drive from the Lodge we started our hike towards the huge tree where the Eagle nest every season in an effort to see the 16 months old chick that had already flown the nest but from time to time is seen in the area. The hike through the trail was very flat, along the way we mostly heard birds calling including Capuchinbirds, White-throated Toucan, Mealy Parrots, Guianan Toucanet, Tiny-tyrant Manakin and many others, we saw a pair of Black-throated Trogon, a white-crested Spadebill, and further down we came across a high canopy flock that comprised of Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Lineated Woodcreeper, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, waved Woodpecker, Spot-tailed and Todd’s Antwren, Yellow-backed Tanager and more.
After walking and birding along the trail for about 40 minutes we eventually meet our location; a very large Brazilian Red-Cider tree, very emergent to the rest of trees around the area, a very clear view of the nest but no sign of the Harpy Eagle.
Our tour leader Leon Moore and local guide Gary told us to stand one place while they take a quiet walk underneath the tree in search of this amazing predator, after a few minutes they both returned and said it was not around however Leon started playing his recording to see if the chick will show up, Leon repeated the call for a few minutes and then we heard Leon whistling to get everyone attention that the bird had came in, usually one would hear the flapping of its powerful wings but it came in very quiet, in the end we all got very good scope views and took lots of pictures and celebrated our sighting over the pack breakfast that we walked with. We hiked back to our 4×4 and then head back to Surama Lodge for Lunch.
Later that afternoon Leon took us to see a Lesser Nighthawk that was roosting nearby and not far from where we saw the Nighthawk Gary our local guide mention about the possibility of seeing Ocellated Crake so Leon started to play for the crake and got them to respond, we only managed to hear them calling in the savanna grass.
That afternoon we went down to the Burra Burra River, along the way we saw several birds including McConnell’s Flycatcher, White-flanked Antwren, Green-backed or White-tailed Trogon, Black-tailed Tityra and Guianan Warbling-Antbird. About half way to the River Leon mention of another area where the RARE Rufous-winged-ground-Cuckoo has been seen before, again we played and got respond but did not see it. A few meters down Leon spotted and pointed out a Guianan Squirrel, not long after Leon also heard something walking on the dead leaves coming towards the trail edge, we stood very quiet and out came a Giant Anteater, Gary and our guest Hadas was still looking for the Cuckoo so by the time they came up the Anteater had cross already and was going away in the forest.
We eventually meet to the very low Burra Burra River and got into our Canoe and started paddling quietly up stream. Along the river we saw several Band-rumped and Short-tailed Swift, about one hundred White-banded Swallows flying above us, we also nailed a couple of Blue-throated Piping-Guans, lots of Glittering-throated Emeralds, Blue-tailed Emerald, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, a few Green Ibis, Cocoi Heron, Gray-lined Hawk, Great Black-Hawk, Coco Thrush and heard Dusky Antbird, Coraya, and Buff-breasted Wren, we had wonderful views of Green Aracari and a couple of Silvered Antbird. At one point time the river was so low we had to turn back and floated down with the current quietly. By that time we got back to the canoe landing our 4×4 was already waiting to take us back to the lodge for dinner. We had a wonderful dinner with Gary and made plans to leave early the next morning for Karanambu.
Our journey takes us further South to Karanambu Lodge, after saying good bye to Surama we hoped into our 4×4 and drove all the way by road to Karanambu. Surama was the last bit of big jungle for this tour so we were now expecting to see more open savanna and reverain species as Karanambu is located on the Rupununi River. Our first encounter after departing Surama was a cute Pale-eyed pygmy-tyrant then a few more species like Violaceous Euphonia, Vermillion Flycatcher, Crested Bobwhites, Buff-necked Ibis, Savanna Hawk, Lesser yellow-headed Vultures, American kestrel, and our first Jabiru Stork of the trip, also we saw a brilliant King Vulture. Eventually we reach Karanambu where our final leg of the trip will be concluded but not after we spend the next three nights.
We had some fresh vegetables for lunch and the sweetest Mangoes for dessert then we made plans for the day and finished off with the Karanambu treat, the popular El Dorado rum punch. After a few hours rest we set out by boat on the Rupununi River to Mobay pound, along the river we saw several Ring Kingfisher, Boat-billed Herons, our first for the trip, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, a few Ospreys, more Jabiru Storks and more. Meanwhile Mobay pound is located a few meters in land from the Rupununi River so we had to get out our boat and walk on flat land towards to the pond, we were birding in style as we took some Karanambu rum punch with us, we eventually got to the pound and saw lots of Victoria Amazonica, Guyana’s National Flower and the most beautiful flowers to watch opening as it gets dark. The area was very dry so the pond did not had a lot of water which allowed Ospreys, Black-colored Hawks, Great Black-Hawks, Limpkins, Cocoi Herons, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Wood Storks and other birds to forage on fish, snails and other aquatic life forms from the pond. At dusked several Band-tailed Nighthawks, Least Nighthawks and the greater Bull-dog Bats started flying above us. Before we set off from the pond we had some nice of Eldorado rum punch and then head back to Karanambu Lodge were we had dinner and finish off for the night.
You cannot visit Karanambu without looking for Giant Anteaters so our aim this morning was to nail that and target the Bearded Tachuri. It was still dark when we came out for coffee and set off in the Savanna after words, as the sun started to rise one could see the moisture rising in the Savanna also a few bats, Band-tailed and Least Nighthawk flying above us. Meanwhile an Aplomado Falcon hunting Eared Doves and the guys on horses trotting through the Savanna nearby looking for Anteaters, after a few minutes we saw one at the airstrip that came directly towards us, we watched it pass slowly and off to find a place to sleep as their mostly active during the night. Our morning was going very well as fork-tailed Flycatchers, Grassland Sparrows, Plumbeous, Chestnut, ruddy-breasted and lined seedeaters feeding in the fields and White-tailed Goldenthroat zipping through the taller scrubs for nectar.
From the airstrip we drove to a pound where it was loaded with Roseate Spoonbill, Muscovy Ducks, Neotropical Cormorants and a couple of Pinnated Bittern. After that Leon decided to go by foot through the grass while the others continue to watch Jabirus and other birds in the pound then a few minutes after Leon called us because he had found the Bearded Tachuri for us, we all had good views after it flew into the big bushes behinds us. A successful morning came to an end after the sun started to get hotter we head back to the Lodge for breakfast.
Before Lunch we took a short hike down to the very low Rupununi River and met up with Dian McTurk who was caring for a 14 months old baby Otter, we watch for a few minutes then went off through a short trail from the sand-bank, Leon then pointed out a couple of Blue-backed Manakins that was feeding on some berries while three Buff-breasted Wrens moving around in the tangles bellow. We continued slowly through a dry water tolerant sub-forest then Leon said come quickly, Crestless Curassow, Crestless Curassow”, by the time we came together only one of two persons got to see it. Anyway we came up to a spot where it was slightly opened, although the forest was very dry however Leon pointed out a beautiful Undulated Tinamou, not very often you get to see Tinamous so this was nice to see, then a Striped Woodcreeper flew in along with Pale-legged Hornero, Guianan Slaty-Antshrike, shortly after a group of Hooded Tanagers flew above us and went into a tree that provided nice binocular views, meanwhile at the river edge, a Brown Capuchin Monkey came down for a caucus drink of water and went back into the tree very fast, at the same area we spotted a Little Tinamou crossing the trail and we decided to follow it for a better look.
After a battle to find it we discovered it was hiding within some dead scrubs at the water edge, in the end it came out and we got to see it much better. That was a good example of how hard it is to see Tinamous. It was time for lunch so we had to turn back and head to the lodge.
During the afternoon we got into our opened boat and head down River to another oxbow pound. On the way there we saw a number of birds including Green, Amazonian and Ring kingfishers, Savanna Hawk, Black-colored Hawk, Great Black-Hawk, Piratic Flycatcher, Little-blue, Cocoi and striated Herons, Jabiru Stork, Pale vented Pigeon, Loads of Black Caimans each time on the River and while in the pond we saw a large group of Brown-bearded Saki Monkeys foraging with Squirrel Monkeys. The afternoon finished with a nice sighting of Gray-necked Wood rail, loads of Band-tailed Nighthawk, many Greater Bull-Dog Bats and very close encounter with a Capybara that was standing on the bank of the river in the dark and after shining the light on him it ran towards our boat then went under the water. We also heard a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl call.
We started very early this morning as we head to the Capuchinbird lek after drinking a hot cup of coffee. We set off on a trail near to the lodge towards the lek, along the way we saw Finsch’s Euphonia which was a target for one member, heard Blue-backed Manakin, White-fringed Antwren, and White-browed Antbird also had great views of White-bellied Antbird and Spotted Puffbird. We saw a few Capuchinbirds but they were not displaying at the lek, further down we saw Wood Storks, Snowy Egrets, white-flanked Antwren and finally a better look at the Crestless Curassow. At another spot on the trail we came up to another oxbow pound where the water was very low due to the dry season however our tour leader Leon Moore spotted a very RARE bird and pointed it out to the group, Sooty Grassquit, this was a life bird for the group and for Leon our tour leader. After that we continued on and made back to the lodge just in time for breakfast.
After breakfast we did not spend much time resting as this was our final full day of birding so we went back on the trail soon after. This was the highlight for the Karanambu experience because everything happen all at the same time; as soon as we entered the forest we came across a lot army ant-swarm where Rufous-throated Antbird, Black Nunbirds, Helmeted Pygmy-tyrant, Buff-throated Woodcreeper and Black-banded Woodcreeper that was entertaining us, we spend a long time following the swarm and trying to get photos of the birds that was also following.
At this time of the morning the sun was very hot but the forest provided a lot of shade for us so it was very pleasant for the group, the forest was also very quiet at one point. Our tour leader Leon was very good at picking up the slightest noise throughout the trip however Leon said he was hearing something walking in the forest and suggested we walk more quietly, this was not in vain as we saw another Giant Anteater in real foraging mode, it was digging the ground and feeding on termites. Anteaters have very poor eyesight and this allowed us to observed it while taking pictures and making video, we stood very quiet and with good luck it eventually came less than 6 feet away from us due to its poor eyesight, to see one so close was a bit nerve wrecking because of those very large and sharp claws but it was an amazing experience and a big highlight for the trip.
Before heading back for lunch we visited another oxbow pound where we saw a group of five Giant Otters hunting fishes, we also saw many other birds including a roosting Lesser Nighthawk, Black-colored and Great Black Hawk, Plumbeous, Gray, Chestnut, Ruddy-breasted and lined Seedeaters. We also had Blue-backed Grassquit and a brown-crested Flycatcher, lots of Red-capped Cardinal, Yellow-crowned Parrots and Browned-throated Parakeets. Because the forest was so dry during March, we had lots of wild Tayras that were coming into the Lodge throughout our stay to feed on the Mangoes, which also allowed us to get lots of pictures. We came back to the lodge for Lunch and celebrated our experience with the staff and other guest that was staying there at the time.
Later that afternoon we drove to another oxbow pound that was also drying out and was loaded with birds including a lot of Wattle Jacanas, young Jabiru Storks, several noisy Black-capped Donacobius, Plain-breasted ground-Dove, Glittering-throated Emerald, Turkey Vultures, Sharp-tailed Ibis and just before heading back for dinner we saw the Sooty Grassquit perched among the burnt out scrubs at the pound and many other common birds.
All good things must come to an end; this was our final day of the tour. Our final morning saw us heading back at the Capuchinbird lek, again we saw the birds but they were not displaying at the lek, instead we had a couple of Spotted Puffbird that allowed us to get very close to them, we took picture and made videos and then we head back to the Lodge for breakfast and get ready to join out flight back to Georgetown. Our clients stayed back in Guyana for another two day doing some shopping and sightseeing then flew back home on the 2nd April.