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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Guyana Day 2 - 21/3/17

Hope Beach, Hahaica River & Hope Canal

Our first full day in Guyana and it decided to rain for the first part of the morning, though this time my umbrella was at the ready and I stayed dry. We piled into Ron's minibus type vehicle and headed east out of Georgetown to Hope Beach, a reliable spot for Rufous Crab Hawk. However, roughly halfway along in torrential rain, the vehicle's radiator decided to give in, thus giving us an overheated engine. Lifting up the front seats produced a steam let off from the engine area and the vehicle turned into a sauna. There appeared to be no solution initially so we waited until it had cooled and headed on our way, arriving on site in the continued downpour. We birded the grim mangrove area finding a couple of Crab-Hawks, though in the rain it wasn't easy and we mostly took shelter underneath some roadside 'stools', where we were 'treated' to a very odd breakfast. Our spanner had arrived from one of Ron's friends and for now we could venture further, and with the rain now clearing it became a lovely day. Our journey took us through mostly cultivated areas (finding an ultra-elusive Grey-breasted Crake) until we reached Ron's Aunts house situated next to the Hahaica River where we boarded a small vessel (after a monster curry breakfast) and cruised along seeing Guyana's national bird, the Hoatzin, and a bonus Green-breasted Mango having missed it in T&T. Apart from some very burnt knees on my behalf, the boat trip was very successful. Afterwards we attempted to see the Crake again as some had missed it, and with Nick G's Bluetooth speaker set in the scrub all managed to see the Crake, though retrieving the device left Nick in some difficulty as one he couldn't find it, and when he did the over-estimation of his throw wasn't gaged and ended up sinking to knee level and then falling into the bank on his return, which left us in little doubt to nick name him Swampy for the short duration. Last but not least were more mangroves at Hope Canal which was certainly the worst part of the trip, stacks of mosquitos, plastic bottles everywhere and no Mangrove Rail. Still, a great first day and a fine introduction before hitting the rainforest tomorrow.

Some highlights from today:

Magnificent Frigatebird
Rufous Crab-Hawk - 4
Savannah Hawk
Aplomado Falcon - 2
Grey-breasted Crake - 1
Hoatzin
Little Cuckoo
Green-throated Mango - 1 male
Green Kingfisher
Green-tailed Jacamar
Plain-crowned Spinetail
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
Bicoloured Conebill
Eastern Meadowlark


Rufous Crab-Hawk - our first sighting and it showed well, perhaps helped by its wings weighing twice as much as they normally would.

Smooth-billed Ani
 Hoatzin - Guyana's national bird, and a blooming good one at that. Slightly beats a Robin in my books.
Rufous Crab-Hawk in slightly better conditions than the morning.
 yet again rain stop play, but umbrellas at the ready today.
 dense riverside vegetation being good habitat for the national bird, the Hoatzin.
 Swampy trying to find his Bluetooth speaker
Hope Canal looking lovely here, however it was the worst site of the trip being filled with plastic bottles in hot and sticky mangroves.


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