Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Tuesday 28 March 2017

Guyana Day 9 - 28/3/17

The day before I had enquired to Ron about seeing an Antpitta, so we planned the next day for just the two of us to go in search of a Thrush-like Antpitta that had been heard yesterday. The whole group had latched on to the idea and in the end the eight of us went in search, which didn't fill me with much confidence. However, we soon heard a bird calling and went in after it. After a fair bit of crashing around we made it close to a singing bird and decided to sit and wait using constant playback. Ron had found some larvae and threw it in the direction of the bird to hopefully coax it out. Unfortunately the Antpitta hadn't realised and half-hour later the bird was still stationary and still out of sight. The decision was made to circumnavigate the small patch of dense scrub, but this caused far too much noise and the bird moved on. Being very annoyed about this I quickly walked off in the direction of the bird leaving everyone behind and selfishly made no attempt to let anyone know where I was. Thankfully this plan worked and after some careful stalking the local guide and myself found the Thrush-like Antpitta singing on a log. It was a superb encounter being such a unique species to see, and even better that this bird was ultra-elusive, made the sighting feel even more special. Richard had obviously seen me and kindly decided to stay back until I had a view of the bird, but sadly by the time he got to me it had moved on.

After breakfast, we sadly left Atta Lodge (after buying my only t-shirt of the trip) but straight away stopped on the access trail as a large feeding flock was moving through, with Fasciated Antshrike and Rufous-bellied Antwrens being the notable highlights here. Back on route south, myself and Richard were on the back and enjoying the view, and the breeze as we went. Typically though the heavens opened but not heavy enough for us to take shelter, but instead enjoying a nice shower. We jammed to halt shortly after the rain had stopped as a Green Vine Snake was in the road. Unfortunately the snake had been run over and appeared to be dead. I picked it up to move it off the road when it came slightly back to life, though not for long so I put it in the roadside grass. This wasn't the only snake business on this short journey to Surama, where out of nowhere a Toad jumped into the road in front of us and a Common Rat Snake pounced on top of it. We again slammed the breaks on and watched a surreal encounter with the noisy Toad having no chance of surviving. The Snake, after two minutes slithered away into the undergrowth and was seen to swallow the Toad, awesome!!

After a pleasant welcome to Surama Eco-lodge, we were all keen to attempt to find a Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo, probably the most sought after species in Guyana, and a major target for most in the group. We had heard the playback constantly from Ron's device over the past few days, but now we were in the prime location. Despite all the odds of trying in the mid-afternoon heat, after a series of playback, a Ground-Cuckoo was heard not far from us along a forest trail. The relief was huge but we still had to see the bird and set about a tactic of staying low, quiet and to patiently wait. This bird had other ideas and didn't play ball and moved further away, so further along the path we positioned ourselves and waited. This time the bird was getting closer, and for two lucky people (Ron and Richard), the Ground-Cuckoo put in an appearance, but for the rest of us who continued to stand missed out and were left with a sense of dread. Fair to say the rest of the afternoon was a quiet affair and little else was seen, but still there was hope that a Ground-Cuckoo was knocking about and we would try again tomorrow. At dinner, a huge thunderstorm hit the place and we all nearly got washed away from the amount of rain that fell.

Red-legged Tinamou
Rufescent Tiger Heron
Grey-headed Kite
Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo - 1h
White-tailed Nightjar
White-collared Swift
Channel-billed Toucan
Rufous-tailed Foliage Gleaner
Fasciated Antshrike - 2
Cinereous Antshrike
Rufous-bellied Antwren
Thrush-like Antpitta
Lesser Elanea
Dusky Purpletuft
Cayenne Jay
Blackpoll Warbler

 Common Rat Snake taking out at Toad. By far the non-avian highlight of the trip.
 Ants with their breakfast

 Richard taking (some) shelter from the rain
 Surama Eco-lodge
 view from the restaurant
sunset at Surama