Our transfer from Atta Lodge to Surama was eventful to say the least and not just with bird-watching ....................
ATTA LODGE – SURAMA ECO-LODGE TRANSFER
We were up before dawn again only to be greeted with heavy rainfall and a broken electricity generator, so we had no lighting but luckily breakfast was cooked on gas stoves. It got light pretty soon and the rain stopped. With all our luggage at the ready we waited in the car park until a huge ex-army Bedford truck came to collect us, whilst waiting we notched up another new species: a Black-faced Fairy.
JABIRU - A nice find along the road
Gary Sway joined us for journey to Surama, he is the resident guide at Surama and one of the best birding guides I know. The trip was only 10 minutes old when had to make an unscheduled stop, a bridge on the main road was being replaced and because of the recent rain the ‘diversion’ onto a make-shift bridge was almost impassable due to thick mud. As we arrived a large truck was stuck on the muddy slope of the diversion track and our Bedford had a winch so we offered to help! It took two hours! What a performance, a mini-drama, we witnessed first-hand the trials and tribulations of everyday life in Guyana, this was the main road from Georgetown to Brazil and yet it still had tiny wooden bridges spanning the rivers and streams, it can take up to 14 hours to make this 200km journey.
Whilst watching the bridge drama unfold we saw our first Black Caracara, a Caica Parrot, another couple of hummers, also tanagers and honeycreepers.
After the bridge drama we got back onto our truck and drove towards Surama ECO lodge making one scheduled stop at Corkwoods. This is a well-known site for breeding Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock and even before we got to the site Gary had found a female and then at the site itself there was a beautiful male, we all had superb views, what a stunner.
Our arrival at Surama was just before lunch time, we logged a few more species along the approach track including a Laughing Falcon and to our great delight there was a couple of Jagurandi on the track, it was a mother and cub and they played for a while before walking into the forest. Roadside Hawk, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Common Ground Dove, Tropical Mockingbird were all around the camp as we disembarked, but the gem find was a Pearl Kite, what a beauty!
After lunch we had a siesta before taking a walk into the local savannah, led by Gary and Luke. Red-bellied Macaws, Brown-throated Parrots, Golden-spangled Piculet and Fork-tailed Palm Swift were some of the first birds in the bag. Savannah Hawk came next then Gary led us into a wood where he showed us a sleeping Great Potoo. It got better, we found a Golden –headed Manikin, then two species of nighthawks starting hawking insects high in the sky, they were Lesser and Least Nighthawks. As it got darker we found a White-tailed Nightjar, easy to pick out with its very white markings.
Well that concluded our day, we arrived back at camp in the dark, we could hear a Common Pauraque calling as we went to our cabins to get ready for dinner, another great day in the ‘land of the Jaguar’.
Surama ECO Lodge is managed by the community of the village, everyone has say and a turn at working there, this co-operative scheme works very well here. Dinner was served in main building, the staff here are so nice and friendly they made us all so at home and most welcome, the food was lovely too.