Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More habitats, more birds

Canoeing along the Caño Negro creek is not the only way to reach the Laguna Negra... you can drive to some touristic cabins at the shores of the lagoon, passing through more degraded habitat, cultivated fields and gallery forests.  That's why we decided to walk that route during our second day of birding in the department of Guaviare (Colombia), with Rafael Cortes, Mauricio Rueda and our guides Derly Blandon and Luis Fernando Galindez.   The cultivated fields were full of birds, including many Bare-faced Ibis, Little Blue, Cocoi and Capped Herons, Great Egrets a Limpkin and a very attractive Whistling Heron.
The road we followed runs along a gallery forest bordering the Caño Negro creek, and we saw some interesting species like Amazonian Streaked-Antwren, our third species of jacamar for the site (a pair of White-chinned Jacamar), many Cobalt-winged Parakeets and a noisy Black Caracara.  Its cries reminded me those of the Yellow-headed Caracara in Panamá.
The combination of habitats was so extraordinaire that we saw five vultures species during the walk (that also happened the day we saw Harpy Eagles in eastern Venezuela), including these Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures (adult on top, immature below in the first picture) and Turkey Vulture of, perhaps, the resident subspecies considering its pale nape (of course, the others birds seen were Greater Yellow-headed, King and Black Vultures).
An interesting fact: we didn't only saw both Black-tailed and Black-crowned Tityras... we saw both of them excavating nests in different sites along the trek!  Also saw Cinnamon Attila, Bare-necked Fruitcrow and a pair of Gilded Barbets.
Once at the touristic cabins, we had some cokes and rest a little... the heat was barely bearable.  While comfortable seated, we enjoyed some birds around: both Ruddy and Blue Ground-Doves, more White-winged Swallows, Black-capped Donacobius, Shiny Cowbirds, and a familiar bird for me in the form of of a Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet calling constantly.
We returned to Playa Guio, watching mostly the same birds we had in the morning, plus hearing the call of a Green-backed Trogon.  To be honest, it sounded to me exactly like our White-tailed Trogons back in Panama, despite the differences in voice were part of the arguments to separate these two species (we saw later a pair close to our cabins).
As soon as we crossed the Caño Negro creek, a flock of Maroon-tailed Parakeets landed over a palm tree and stayed for a couple of minutes, allowing great views and photographic opportunities.  Notice the flash of color in the closed wing... very evident at flight.
Great way to spend most part of the day... after a late lunch we decided to stay around our cabin in a wait-and-see fashion... and it worked

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