Whos keeping an eye on me....

Monday, 10 April 2017

NE Brazil 2017 - Endemic Birding Pt2 (Baturite - Quixada)

We had a morning at Serra de Baturite to try for the main half dozen targets, we met outside the accommodation to head for coffee with some miserable weather, as the rain pelted down in the dark, but the mood was very quickly raised as we heard one of the Targets directly behind us but high up in the next elevation of forest. First one, then two White-browed Guans flew from tree to tree alaong the tree line, then for good measure another 4 would pass in front of us. Coffee always tastes better when the bird gods are looking down on you!

A short drive to the boundary of a nearby hotel turned out to be a brilliant location that would be the start of a small birding bonanza. We certainly didn't need to start any playback for the Short-tailed Antthrush as it was already very vocal as we got out of the car, this led us to a very tricky trek down a slippery forested hillside in search of the bird. It dually sang and most helpfully stayed put as a rival bird called in the near distance. Not a lifer for me, but certainly a possible split in the future. This bird certainly didn't give up the best of images but it made the slippery trek back to the top more than worthwhile.
Short-tailed Antthrush
 


Back on terra firma we had a good ten minute spell where we literally didn't have to move while we ticked off more targets and some good species.  A Buff-breasted Tody-Tyrant flitted above our heads, and did so for an hour or more, a Buff-throated Woodcreeper, while a Northern Lesser Woodcreeper allowed a few photos, Black-capped Antwren, Pectoral Sparrow, Blue-Crowned Trogon, Variable Antshrike, Grey-headed and Sooty-fronted Spinetails amongst others. A quick show of a pair of Grey-breasted Parakeets was too short, but these would give wonderful views in an hour or so`s time. All this time a Goulds Toucanet had been calling in the near distance but didn't show itself, we tried for a few hours and decided to try a new location. We drove down hill, parked up and walked another trail. A pair of Eulers Flycatcher took my attention as they were lifers for me but were quickly disturbed by a pair of Ochre-backed Woodpeckers. The forest trail was now in dark gloom as the drizzle had well and truly set in so I had to make do with a few silhouetted images of the handsome Woodpeckers. We pushed on in search of the Goulds Toucanet and the Ceara Leaftosser. The Leaftosser was easy......  it took about a minute to locate one as it preened itself on a snag, and then the heavens opened in Tropical fashion. We rushed back down the track to find shelter.
Ochre-backed Woodpecker in silhouette
 

 
Northern Lesser Woodcreeper (soon to be a full species ?)
 


Ciro wanted to get us better views of the Grey Breasted Parakeets and we would need to visit some private gardens that are taking part in a government project that pay people to plant the correct food source and put up nest Boxes (I wouldn't mind volunteering for that) as these birds are critically endangered. It seems funny to be mooching around someone's garden looking for rare birds, but it works and everyone is happy and best of all it helps protect the species. The birding wasn't that bad in the garden, a single  Grey Breasted Parakeet perched in the open for us while a dozen or more flew amongst the nearby woods. Sicks Swifts flew above and a small flock of Common Waxbill seemed to resident, Blue Dacnis, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Short-tailed and Brown-crested Flycatchers made up the numbers.
Grey-breasted Parakeet in the conservation garden
 



The rain had now stopped but we had a time limit to retry for the Goulds Toucanet as we still had to travel during the afternoon. We had a little time to give it another try at the original location. Ciro persevered and it paid off, out of nowhere landed 2 Goulds Toucanet  pretty much straight in front of us. An adult and an immature bird. It was well worth the wait and extra effort, rewarded with brilliant views of a stunning species. We headed back to the car when Ciro heard a flock of Grey-breasted Parakeets, we managed to find a gap in the trees which allowed great views of 10+ birds feeding in a fruiting tree and got onto another lifer when a Moustached Wren called out just as we were about to drive off. A wet morning rewarded with some great birds, and all the targets were accounted for.
Goulds Toucanet
 
 
Grey-breasted Parakeets on the fruiting tree
 

 

We now spend the afternoon travelling to Quixada. Along the route I counted numerous Burrowing Owls, always perched atop a barbed-wire fence post. Endemic Spot-backed Puffbirds were numerous and again could change their name to Wire Puffbirds for their preference of sitting on telegraph wires.

We arrived at Hotel Pedra dos Ventos (Quixada) in time for lunch. Lunch consisted of a Cactus Parakeet that leapt from table to table trying to eat anything that was not protected by the diners (Plenty of real wild ones flew around the reserve), whilst 20 yards away in the restaurants garden rockery a Pygmy Nightjar sat on a single egg in a stone nest, a truly incredible sight and thing to be able to witness. 
Pygmy Nightjar enjoying the sunshine
 


and another in the rain
 


The afternoon birding was fairly spectacular as well. It started with a Black-chested Buzzard Eagle soaring overhead, Gray Hawk and numerous Blue-winged Parrotlets. We were looking for a Grassland Yellow-finch when a pair of Dark Billed Cuckoos flew into a dry thorny scrub area, of course we followed which led to a great hours birding with numerous species giving great views. Pale Baywings by the dozen, Pileated Finches showing off the glorious scarlet head crest, Ochraceous Piculet, White-winged Becard, Variable Antshrike, Black-bellied Antwren, Long-billed Wren, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant. 2 White-naped Jays nearly stole the show until we stumbled upon (yes nearly stumbled upon) a family of Pygmy Nightjars including a juvenile and a female on another egg. This was certainly an interesting find for Ciro who could note some interesting breeding behaviours.
 
Pygmy Nightjars shallow stone nest with egg
 

 
Juvenile Pygmy Nightjar (you can just make out an Adult bird in the background)
 


 
Pileated Finch
 

Pale Baywings

 
Long-billed Wren
 


Black-bellied Antwren


White-winged Becard


White-naped Jay

 

We drove to another location and bumped into fellow a fellow birdwatching couple who I had known would maybe be in the area at sometime during the trip, Ross Gallardy and his partner, we would meet for diner later that evening where we would exchange a few tactics and talk of past experiences...... Ross certainly has some crackers to recount.

Around the reception area Cactus Parakeets continued to show well as did an Ochre-backed Woodpecker and a Green-Barred Woodpecker. A pair of Crested Becards had a nest right outside the restaurant, while the Pygmy Nightjar sat on its egg was joined by the rest of the family within spitting distance of the diners and were certainly the starts of the show. The evening turned into a tropical storm as lightening illuminated the sky, the Nightjar sat the storm out and we all hoped for better weather in the morning.
Crested Becard
 


I managed my first mammal of the trip just behind the accommodation buildings with a White-eared Marmoset.

Tomorrow we head to Potengi

2 comments:

Liz said...

Another wonderful series of images, Dave! It looks like your birding trip was a huge success!

Dave said...

Cheers Liz, it was brilliant (apart from being robbed), but the birding adventure was what I had hoped for.