Thursday, March 29, 2012

Holy Sarcopera !

Probably, my last post about birding La Escalera in southeastern Venezuela left you with the idea that I didn't photograph many birds... however, I reserved some of the birds' photos to show you that the local expertise is always of great help! Rafael Cortes and
me were guided by Henry Cleve, the owner of the Barquilla de Fresa Inn in Las Claritas, and we stopped in several sites along La Escalera road looking for mixed flocks... but then, Henry took us directly to a patch of a special plants of the genera Sarcopera, hoping that they were bloomed, because he perfectly knew that many Pantepui specialties and endemics would visit its flowers... and he was absolutely right! I was so entertained taking photos that I didn't realize when Rafael took my photo.
The Brown Violetears were the most common (and aggressive) visitors of these patches. They are pretty rare in Panama, so I was delighted in spite that Henry thought they were real bandits, scaring all the endemics!
A female Blue-fronted Lancebill visited the flowers, always keeping low in order to avoid the Violetears.
Two Pantepui endemics, the Velvet-browed Brilliant and, specially, the Rufous-breasted Sabrewing were more dared when feeding, probably because they were the same size or bigger than the Violetears. I have to said that brilliant is an appropriate name for this hummer... it glows!
Other two Pantepui endemics where in the same bushes: the colorful Tepui Brush-Finch allowed great views, while the huge Greater Flowerpiercer (for a flowerpiercer) was more shy... I only managed a blurry shot.
There where many honeyeaters as well, with many Bananaquits of the endemic subspecies, Purple and Green Honeycreepers.
More widespread species were easier to see at these patches, like Orange-bellied Euphonia (the distinctive female pictured here) and Red-shouldered Tanager (also a distinctive female... the male is essentially an all-black tanager with inconspicuous red shoulders).
The next two species are also quite widespread; however, both are represented here by endemic subspecies: The males of the whitelyi subspecies of Black-headed Tanager exhibit no blue edgings at all on its wings; while the phelpsi subspecies of Yellow-bellied Tanager differs mainly in habitat, larger size and an inconspicuous yellow eyering. Both could be good species in the future.
Great selection of birds at these natural feeders... and great to have someone like Henry to show it to us!

1 comment:

  1. GRAND again!..
    the brilliant is not so common/easy around there!!