Our first full day began very early as we set off at 4:30am for the Abary River, target species included RUFOUS CRAB HAWK, BLOOD COLOURED WOODPECKER and HOATZIN.
ABARY RIVER – MAHAICA RIVER BOAT TRIP
Up with the lark, nay, up before the lark, way before! Having only got into bed at 11pm we were up and out at 4:30am, we boarded our bus for the 1 hour drive to the Abary River and it was still a little dark when we got there so we sat in the bus until it got light enough for birding.
This flat walk runs parallel to the river but a stretch of riparian forest and mangroves separate the two, it is a haven for birds and hold one or two really special ones. A number of Orange-winged Parrots flew noisily over, flocks of Great Egrets left a nearby roost and several Snail Kites did the same. Then a Rufous Crab Hawk flew around the tree tops and two more started calling from perches nearby. What great start with one of our main target species in the bag after only 5 minutes. We then tracked down a pair of Black-crested Antshrikes from their calls and a Blood Coloured Woodpecker also started calling, this was a huge bonus and our number one most wanted species, however, seeing it was another matter! We spent a good hour waiting for the little rascal to show and when it did we had glorious views of it perched out in the open, smashing.
We continued to find more birds at this location which delayed our walk somewhat, White-bellied Piculet, Brown –crested Flycatcher, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Bicoloured Conebill, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Gray Kingbird and Dusky-capped Flycatcher.
Back on the trail again we had numerous sightings of Yellow Oriole, Lesser Kisskadee, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Grackles, Cowbirds, Seedeaters, Tanagers and a couple of flyover Brown-throated Parakeets.
As we approached the end of the track at the beach we listed egrets, herons, waders and a couple of terns. Brown Pelicans, Ospreys and yet another Rufous Crab Plover. The bus turned up for our return journey to the start of the track. A thirty minute drive found us at the Mahaica River where we boarded a boat for a 2 hour cruise in the hope of seeing the strange and unique Hoatzin. Generally the trip was quiet, we had lovely sunshine a super little breeze but not too many birds. The highlights can be summed in a sentence, thus; we all had good views of the Hoatzin within 5 minutes of setting off, other species included Black-throated Mango, Red-capped Cardinal, Silver-billed Tanager, Common Black Hawk, Long-winged Harrier, Jabiru and some of us saw the elusive Silvered Antbird. RUFOUS CRAB HAWK
We ate our lovely picnic lunch just after landing and set off for the coast, it was still very hot and after our very early start several of the group voted to go straight back to the hotel so that’s exactly what we did.
We met at 7pm for a pre-dinner bird-log and then we ate a superb dinner as we sat by the side of the pool in a lovely temperature.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER WESTERN SANDPIPER