Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Guyana Day 17 - 5/4/17 & 6/4/17

Rio Branco Area

Sadly our final day in this wonderful country. And it ended in fine style. We only had the morning to bird but had two major targets to grab on the way. This involved driving an hour to the Brazilian border to a tributary of the Rio Branco River. It goes with no shock that our first target was an Antbird that holds the name.......Rio Branco Antbird. However, before reaching anywhere we came across a staggering Red-tailed Boa that slowly slithered across the path. I wrongly decided to grab its rear half and pull it back onto the track for a clearer view (something I regret doing but the adrenaline got to me). It however slowly slithered away to a nearby tree and we left it. A spectacular sunrise over the dry landscape was again superb, so was a surprising roost of Nacunda Nighthawks. These beauties were observed both on the ground and in the air, but without causing too much disturbance we carried onto our destination. Our drivers (the same as yesterday) are ultra keen and wanted to show us everything, however Ron wasn't keen and demanded we rag it to the Antbird site before the morning warms up.

We duly arrived and set about our quest and despite a bird singing, it wouldn't come close and getting to it looked impossible. We negotiated a few paths and after an hour of playback at various locations, we finally found a bird singing and had respectable views of it. I didn't think much of it in the book, but in the flesh it wasn't too bad. What was stunning were a pair of Hoary-throated Spinetails. The others trekked off to search for a Crestless Currasow but I couldn't be bothered (no sign of the Currasow) and had forgotten my water and retired back to the vehicles where I came across a Pearl Kite, the only one for the trip. A stop at a small wetland on our return produced a couple of Least Sandpipers.

Back at the ranch we had a few hours to pack, chill and have lunch. I made a washing line which just about worked and we were off to the smallest airport I've been to (Lethem Aiport), and the first time I've been weighed, though understandable considering how small the plane was. We said our farewells to our guides, Ron and Marissa Allicock who were all in all excellent throughout.

We walked across a road and through the fence to board our 20-seater flight, no cockpit door and no cabin crew, how would I survive in Guyana!! Upon landing back in Georgetown, we swiftly got transported back to the Status Hotel, had a pizza, few beers and a decent sleep.

Highlights for the morning are:

White-faced Whistling Duck
Maguari Stork
Pearl Kite
Least Sandpiper
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl
Nacunda Nighthawk
Green-tailed Jacamar
Hoary-throated Spinetail
Rio Branco Antbird
Common Tody Flycatcher
Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch
Red-breasted Blackbird

Georgetown - Trinidad - London - 6/4/17

I woke up to the devastating news that a Blue Rock Thrush had been found at Beachy, why couldn't it be just one more day!! Anyway, our Caribbean Airlines flight was on time leaving Georgetown and we landed in POS with three hours until check-in for our London bound flight. This prompted the keenest birder I've ever met, Nick Gardner into arranging a taxi to Caroni Swamp to search for Mangrove Rail. I wasn't too keen to stay in the chair-less terminal and along with Richard, joined Nick in his quest. Despite no Mangrove Rail, it was lovely to see Scarlet Ibis, Yellow-headed Caracaras, Northern Waterthrush and Straight-billed Woodcreepers. A bonus however was my last lifer of the trip, a pair of Masked Cardinals.

The taxi-driver stayed with us and so with half hour until check in opening we piled back in and joined the others bang on time. Time went quick and we were on our way via St. Lucia back to LGW landing roughly on time, with negative news on the Thrush.

It had been an amazing trip, pack full of memories all for the good reasons, and I can't thank enough everyone for their fun company and organising all the bits and bobs.

Nacunda Nighthawk - a stunning start to the day finding a very impressive roost of this species

once again, the trips I take part in or organise never turn out well for Owls, and this Ferruginous Pygmy Owl was only our third species of the trip.

Hoary-throated Spinetail - a mega in all areas - looks and status

Savannah Hawk
nearly bumped into this lot

Red-tailed Boa - a beautiful snake that seemed very delicate
sunrise over Nacunda Nighthawks
 Brazil up close and showing well.
 the terminal/hut
 a very apt aircraft with a Red Siskin on the tail, and a Sun Parakeet on the other
 window seats for all
 looking down on Manari Ranch - the ranch on the far right next to the river, and the airstrip to the top of the photo.

arriving back into Georgetown

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