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Birding Pico da Caledonia!

We awoke to a glorious morning, completely clear sky with a very pink tinge to it, meaning we should have a nice sunny day ahead! Today was clearly the day to go up to the higher elevations of the mountains and bird Pico da Caledonia!

We had a very productive day just missing one of our many target birds! We started off well with Gill spotting a sub adult male Black and Gold Cotinga, this was followed by good views of a female Rufous-tailed Antbird, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Pallid Spinetail, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Thick-billed Saltator, Brassy-breasted Tanager and some Diademed Tanagers. We continued on up the rather steep road to look for the Itatiaia Thistletail, another rare and very localised endemic to this area. We had nice views of a male Plovercrest on the way up and then signed in at the security guards hut for access to the steps where the Thistletail should be. On the way up we managed to get good views of a Rufous-capped Antshrike, Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Velvety-black Tyrant and eventually after a lot of effort and 300 steps later Clive spotted a Thistletail! We used some playback and got it in a little closer giving the group distant but good views. On the way back down we had good views of a Cinnamon Tanager, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper and finally a good scope view of a male Black and Gold Cotinga!

Bay-chested Warbling Finch (© Andy Foster)

 

 

119 species today!

What a great days birding! We have just returned from a day of open country birding around Duas Barras and Sumidouro having seen 119 different species! So many highlights from today, the main standouts included Three-toed Jacamar, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Curl-crested Jay, White-eared Puffbird, Firewood Gatherer, Black-necked Aracari, Serra Antwren, Grey-eyed Greenlet, Black and White Hawk-Eagle, White-collared Foliage Gleaner, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Blue-winged Macaw, Capped Heron, Black-billed Scythebill, Red-leged Seriema, Chestnut-backed Antshrike and Crested-black Tyrant.

White-eared Puffbird (© Andy Foster)

The next tour begins!

Yesterday we started a 7 day private tour. We had a great start to the tour with lots of activity on the Lodge feeders including Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Azure-shouldered Tanager, Magpie Tanager, Rufous-headed Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Pale-breasted Thrush, Rufous-bellied Thrush and Blue Dacnis. From the decking area in front of the Lodge we also managed to see Chestnut-crowned Becard, Scaly-headed Parrot, Buff-fronted Foliage Gleaner, Hooded Siskin, Gray-fronted Dove, Scaled Woodcreeper, Green-winged Saltator, Great Kiskadee, Fawn-breasted Tanager and both Planalto and Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulets! The hummingbird feeders were also very productive with Brazilian Ruby, White-throated Hummingbird, Violet-capped Woodnymph and Scale-throated Hermit paying regular visits. We spent the afternoon birding the White Trail within the Lodge grounds, highlights included both Ochre-rumped and Dusky-tailed Antbird, Drab-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Variable Antshrike, Pin-tailed Manakin, Black-billed Scythebill, White-rimmed Warbler, Orange-eyed Thornbird and a Yellow-browed Woodpecker.

Pin-tailed Manakin (©Andy Foster)

 

Birding Duas Barras

A great days birding today in some open country habitat around Duas Barras. Today we visited a new area that we hadn’t birded before. It turned out be a great days birding having confirmed a new site for Rio de Janeiro Antbird and also another site for Serra Antwren, both of these being endemic species. We also had great views of Yellow-lored Tody Flycatcher, Half-collared Sparrow, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Black-capped Donacobius, Blue-winged Macaw and Red-legged Seriema!

Yellow-lored Tody Flycatcher (© Andy Foster)

Birding Macae de Cima Trail

What a great days birding we had yesterday, the last full day of the tour. We had already seen lots of the birds from this altitude and habitat, but the trail held several key species that are difficult or impossible to see on other trails. The day started well with our first stop just outside the Lodge grounds where we had good views of a Half-collared Sparrow. We then drove for around 35 minutes until we arrived at our first stop on the Macae de Cima track, this produced a male Tufted Antshrike and a Fawn-breasted Tanager. We continued on driving and stopping at various key areas for certain target species for the rest of the day, so many highlights today that included Glittering-bellied Emerald, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Cinnamon Tanager, Spix’s Spinetail, White-bearded Antshrike, Shear-tailed Grey-Tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Cryptic Antthrush, Spot-billed Toucanet, White-bibbed Antbird, Grey-bellied Spinetail, Slaty Bristlefront, Bare-throated Bellbird and Yellow-eared Woodpecker. We arrived back at the lodge by 16.00 and decided to go and look again for Variegated Antpitta. On the way we came across a great mixed flock which included White-collared Foliage Gleaner, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Plumbeous Pigeon, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Lesser Woodcreeper and Pale-breasted Thrush. Upon arrival at the Antpitta spot we played some Antpitta call and unfortunately didn’t get a response, we did however have nice views of another Cryptic Antthrush. Shortly afterwards the Antpitta called and hopped across the forest floor some distance down the slope. After a little more playback it flew across the path and landed in a tree opposite. After a while we managed to pick it up and we all had good views of this wonderful bird even though the light was now beginning to fade. What a day!

Slaty Bristlefront above and White-bibbed Antbird below, both taken on todays excursion (© Andy Foster)

95 species today!

Today we spent the day birding open country areas around Duas Barras and Sumidouro. We had a very rewarding day seeing no less than 95 species! Species of note included Wing-banded Hornero, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Common Thornbird, Red-legged Seriema, Double-collared Seedeater, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Black-capped Donacobius, Blackish Rail, Serra Antwren, Crescent-chested Puffbird (which showed incredibly well!), Hooded Siskin, Rufous-headed Tanager, Grey-eyed Greenlet, Gilt-edged Tanager, Southern beardless Tyrannulet, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Scaly-headed Parrot, Firewood Gatherer, White-tailed Hawk, Crested-black Tyrant and a White-rumped Monjita.

After so much activity during the first couple of hours we stopped in Duas Barras for a coffee and cake and then continued on towards Sumidouro taking a dirt road across country. Our first stop was very productive, we picked up Ferruginous Antbird (the last of our Drymophila Antbirds of the trip, 6 in total!), Scaled Woodcreeper, Lesser Woodcreeper, Golden-crowned Warbler, White-barred Piculet, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Black-Hawk Eagle, Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher, Cliff Flycatcher, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Chestnut-capped Blackbird and shortly afterwards several Guira Cuckoos and a couple of Campo Flickers.

After lunch we saw a couple of Ultramarine Grosbeaks and then drove directly to the Three-toed Jacamar spot, after some playback 3 of them landed in the tree above us, great views! We also had Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Chestnut-vented Conebill and Hooded Tanager. On the way back to the Lodge we made another stop and had 2 Whistling Herons and a Crested Oropendola.

After dinner we set off to try and find some owls a short distance away from the Lodge. Firstly we had a distant Tropical Screech Owl calling that refused to come in to playback, we then tried some Rusty-barred Owl, within about 5 minutes we had one perched above us, beautiful!

Crescent-chested Puffbird on todays excursion (© Andy Foster)

 

Birding Pico da Caledonia!

We have just spent a very productive day birding Pico da Caledonia. It was a lovely clear and cool morning and there was a fair bit of activity, first up we used playback to call in a Rufous-tailed Antbird which gave great views! We continued on up the road and within a few hundred metres we hit a good little mixed flock that contained Diademed Tanager, Thick-billed Saltator, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Mottled-cheeked Tyrannulet, Rufous-tailed Antbird and a couple of Serra do Mar Tyrannulets! We also got some great views of a male Plovercrest in the same area. We continued on up the steep road and were hearing the continuous mournful call of the Black and Gold Cotinga which shortly afterwards we managed to locate from a view point. Other highlights from the days birding included Rufous-backed Antvireo, Grey-winged Cotinga, Large-tailed Antshrike, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Itatiaia Thistletail,  Cinnamon Tanager, Rufous-capped Spinetail and to finish the day off, 3 Red-legged Seriemas! A great end to a tiring but very productive days birding!

Green-crowned Plovercrest photographed on todays excursion (© Andy Foster)

 

Cedae and Theodoro Trails

Today we had planned to bird the higher elevations of the Tres Picos State Park but unfortunately the cloud was very low so we decided to bird the Cedae and Theodoro Trails instead! What a great day we had! As soon as we got out of the minibus at the Cedae Trail the action started with great views of Red-necked and Green-headed Tanagers followed by 3 Black-throated Grosbeaks! Highlights from the morning on the Cedae Trail were many and included Mantled Hawk, Black and White Hawk Eagle, Plain Parakeet, Saw-billed Hermit, Ochre-breasted Foliage Gleaner, Black-capped Foliage Gleaner, White-eyed Foliage Gleaner, Pale-browed Treehunter, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Streak-capped Antwren, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Oustalets Tyrannulet, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Olive-green Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and Red-crowned Ant-Tanager!

After lunch we birded the Theodoro Trail and used playback in a few spots for Black-billed Scythebill, on the third attempt we got a response and within a couple of minutes we were having great views of this extraordinary bird! We continued along until we got to an area where we hoped to see Sharpbill. We used playback a few times and had one respond, then David spotted some birds flying into a nearby tree, upon closer inspection they turned out to be 3 Green-chinned Euphonias, a very difficult bird to see in the local area! Minutes afterwards a Sharpbill appeared next to them, we couldn’t believe our luck!! Further along the trail we used playback for Rufous-breasted Leaftosser and had success with one showing well for a short time. We started to make our way back towards the minibus and had great views of a Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper in the middle of the path, what a great way to end a fabulous days birding!

Black-billed Scythebill (© Andy Foster)

 

Wetland trip!

Now into the 3rd day of the tour and we have just returned from the Regua wetlands. We had planned to bird the higher altitude area around Pico da Caledonia today but due to very low cloud we decided to head over the other side of the mountains where it was sunny! We had a very productive day with highlights including Brazilian Tanager, Capped Heron, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Greater Ani, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Sooretama Slaty Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-faced Whistling Duck, Brazilian Teal, Blackish Rail, Yellow-backed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Silvery-flanked and Unicoloured Antwren, Greyish Mourner and Southern Antpipit. After lunch we continued along the trail and picked up Orange-bellied Euphonia, Reddish Hermit, Rufous-capped Motmot, Plain-winged Woodcreeper, Scaled Antbird, Eye-ringed Tody Tyrant, Yellow-lored Tody Flycatcher and a couple of Ochre-lored Flatbills!

Violaceous Euphonia (© Andy Foster)