Rio in October

  • Stefan
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7 years 2 weeks ago #34413 by Stefan
Stefan replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Johan,

Looking at the number of views of your posting, I doubt that you only have an audience of two. Keep it up, it is well appreciated.

Stefan

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  • Johan van Rensburg
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7 years 2 weeks ago #34432 by Johan van Rensburg
Johan van Rensburg replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Stefan, the continuous reference to my small reader-base is actually a little tongue-in-cheek effort to get the silent lurker to admit his/her presence... Thanks for popping in. Don't you agree that a "conversation" is better than a monologue?



The Yellow-eared Woodpecker Veniliornis maculifrons is endemic to humid Atlantic forest in eastern Brazil. This one was hammering away, so it was quite easy to spot... not so easy to get a shot in the bush, though!



The chestnut-bellied euphonia Euphonia pectoralis is a finch that occurs in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay in moist lowland or montane forests. They generally travel in pairs, sometimes in a mixed flock and usually in the canopy. They feed on small fruits the seeds of which pass very quickly through its intestines. This appears to help the seeds germinate but it does not disperse them very far. It also feeds on nectar and insects. I love this combination of colours! They bled in amazingly well in the forest envirnment.



The long-billed wren Thryothorus longirostris is a Brazilian endemic found in north-east and in south-east Brazil. It is sneaks around in the undergrowth of forest and woodland and is quite difficult to see. This one gave its position away with its incessant calling.



The maroon-bellied parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis is found in south-east Brazil and neighbouring areas of Paraguay and Argentina. It is a fairly common bird within these areas. Its preferred habitat is evergreen forest and it is closely linked to Araucaria and slash pine. As long as I kept quiet in the hide, they often used the feeding station.

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7 years 1 week ago #34509 by Johan van Rensburg
Johan van Rensburg replied the topic: Re: Rio in October


I have could have referred to the rufous-bellied thrush earlier in this trip report. When I saw it for the first time at the Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro I could be forgiven for thinking "Olive thrush!", or what? Those initial pix came out rather crppy, so here is a decent shot of one seen on the lodge's fruit tables. The rufous-bellied thrush Turdus rufiventris is one of the most common birds across much of south-eastern Brazil. Dissimilar to our olive thrush, this bird has a very attractive song and, for this reason, is often kept as a cage bird in Brazil.



The blond-crested woodpecker Celeus flavescens was one of the first birds I saw on the lodge's feeding tables. Itis distributed throughout eastern Brazil from the south bank of the Amazon to Rio Grande do Sul and into adjacent Paraguay and Argentina. It is found in a variety of habitats from humid forest to savannah and scrub. It feeds mainly on ants and termites although fruit is also eaten regularly and they have been observed to take nectar from flowers. It excavates its nest in ant nests up trees.

Its hairdo reminded us of that of a 4-year-old's well-used, over-combed barbie doll

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7 years 1 week ago #34783 by dbolt
dbolt replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Interesting looking bird with the weird hairdo <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

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7 years 1 week ago #34784 by Rusty Justy
Rusty Justy replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
That woodpecker is amazing!

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7 years 1 week ago #34826 by Vocifer
Vocifer replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Thanks for the update Johan. The blond-crested woodpecker sure looks weird. It is amazing to see all the birds looking so much different to what we have here. Please keep it up

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7 years 5 days ago #35225 by Johan van Rensburg
Johan van Rensburg replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Thanks for the line, Rusty. How’s your studies progressing? Tilandi, Eugene... what can I say? We saw Blondie every day for the duration of our stay at Serra dos Tucanos lodge and we became rather used to that stiff hairdo.

Being in the Atlantic rain forest, it does not get light enough for photography before seven in the morning (then only on some days... when heavily overcast, I kept my flash going for all shots throughout the day). Breakfast at the lodge started before six and invovled local cheese pastries and delicious little rolls. Together with the brilliant Brazilian coffee it was an event I always looked forward to. And talking about the food... dinner was always preceded by a (gratis) tasting of the local flavoured cachaça. Brrrrrr! I am sure they use white cachaça for the basic liquor to make the flavoured liqueur. The white variety is usually bottled immediately after distillation and tends to be cheaper on the tongue. The cinnamon, lemon and various other flavours added to the cachaça just couldn't mask the fuel-like taste... :D ...but we continued trying a new flavour every evening <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

Cachaça is also the main ingredient in caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail, made with sugar and lime. I must say, although I tried very hard, these were flavours I never got accustomed to...

Dinner was a home-cooked meal - well prepared and neatly presented with good variety and lots of fresh fruit and veg. The period leading up to dinner was also the time Andy spent with me to assist with IDs of the birds on camera and to suggest which trails to tackle the next day. The first excursion chosen away from the lodge was the nearby Theodoro trail.

After a 20 minute taxi ride climbing the winding road that passes the lodge, one arrives at the beginning of the Theodoro trail. It turned out to be the best weather of the week and I got a host of new species to view. The entire length of this gradually descending trail used to be part of the old Cachoeiras - Nova Friburgo railway line and in places still remains surfaced with asphalt, making it a very easy stroll along the steep mountain slopes.



Euler's Flycatcher Lathrotriccus euleri is usually seen alone perched unmoving, inconspicuously in dark undergrowth from where it sallies for its prey of insects, beetles and spiders before returning to its perch or settling on a new one. It is widely distributed and fairly common in South America east of the Andes from Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia and Argentina. They allow one to get very close, I assume it is because they trust their camouflage... When perched motionless they are really tough to spot.





The Blue Manakin Chiroxiphia caudata is distributed in south-east Brazil and into adjacent regions of Paraguay and Argentina. The male retains the olive-green plumage through its first year, changing into adult plumage during its second year. The blue manakin males form small groups, alliances typically consisting of a single adult and two sub-adult males, where they sing and "dance" to attract females, again in the thickest parts of the forest. One has to just remain dead still, waiting for their movements to give them away. In spite of its constant calling, it remains a tough bird to locate.

I got poor shots of a White-tailed trogon, ruby-crowned tanager, blue dacnis, asure-shouldered tanager, a quick shot of a yellow-headed caracara flying over and a whole series of shots of a flycatcher-like bird in the difficult Tyrannidae family that Andy ID'ed as a Planalto Tyrannulet.

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7 years 4 days ago #35257 by robbie
robbie replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Hi Johan
I am also enjoying the photos and write up of your trip. I just hope we will be birding together one day.
Work is keeping me busy and now the missis is also keeping me busy with the painting of the house.
Well the day will come that we can go birding together and i just know i will learn a lot from you.
Till next time.
Robbie.

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  • Trevor Hardaker
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6 years 11 months ago #35792 by Trevor Hardaker
Trevor Hardaker replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Hi Johan,

Just been reading through your trip report and enjoying your photos - they bring back great memories of my trips to Brazil. I also spent 5 days with Andy at Serra dos Tucanos back in 2004. What an awesome place! Unfortunately, my trip there was before the days that I had a DSLR camera, so instead, I have several hours of video footage of many of the birds you mention. Unfortunately, that was in the early days of digital video cameras, so the frame grabs from those videos are not great quality. I would love to get back there again now that I have a decent DSLR...

As to the field guides, I'm not sure which one you have ordered, but the "All the birds of Brazil", which was the only one at the time of my visit which was available to buy on the internet (we found several others while we were there that we actually bought as well, but could not find any reference to them on the net), certainly left a lot to be desired in terms of trying to id many of the species, especially the gulls and terns!

I look forward to the next installments of your report.

Kind regards
Trevor

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6 years 11 months ago #36585 by Johan van Rensburg
Johan van Rensburg replied the topic: Re: Rio in October
Hi Robbie. I have not forgotten about the promised birding... As you notice, I have not been posting any bits in continuation of my trip report. I have been swamped with a whole series of audits at work and consequently lost a bit of the impetus I had going here.

Hello, Trevor. I have made my "apologies" for keeping you waiting so long on the "next installment". <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

As you say, Brazil in general and specifically the area around Andy's place is an amazing birding destination... If I had the means I would be back in a flash! While at Andy's place, I used his very extensive library to help with bird IDs and I got to like the Ber von Perlo book: A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil. Back in SA, that was what I ordered and is now using to complete my few remaining IDs. I am still in contact with Andy Foster (via email) to confirm my ID calls (which he does promptly and with his passion for birding shining through in each comprehensive email reply).

Any case, let me get to building up some steam with my trip report once more...

More shots from the Serra dos Tucanos lodge gardens: Andy states that they have recorded over 200 bird species in the lodge's grounds of which 65 are endemics. I can easily believe those numbers as I encountered new birds every day.



The violaceous euphonia Euphonia violacea is another of the very colourful birds that visited the feeding tables at Serra dos Tucanos lodge. They hardly sit still for any length of time. This made getting a good pose very difficult.

It is a small finch of eastern South America that has in some areas been hunted extensively to satisfy the demand for it as a cage bird.

This bird's diet consists primarily of berries, small fruits and rarely also some insects.



The blue-naped chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea is distributed throughout South America in a highly disjointed way. Populations are associated with the humid Atlantic Forest. In spite of their bright colours, they are inconspicuous in the dense foliage where they often sit quietly for long periods. I am not sure about the colouration of this bird... it may be still young for shown in the fieldguides, the adult males are even more brilliantly coloured with the olive-green underparts of my bird eventually turning a bright canary-yellow.



The Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus is a common, noisy and conspicuous bird. It hunts like a shrike or flycatcher, waiting on an open perch from which to catch insects in flight, or to attack small vertebrates. It is omnivorous and will also take some fruit. This bird worked the shallow pond in the lodge's garden for fish or tadpoles, probably the latter as I couldn't see fish there on closer inspection. It is known to be one of the few fishing passerines. They like to hunt on their own or in pairs. The great kiskadee is also a bird that forms a life-long relationship with its mate.



The Bananaquit Coereba flaveola occurs throughout the Caribbean islands, except Cuba, South America from Mexico, south to Peru, Paraguay, northeastern Argentina, and southern Brazil. It is a nectar feeder living in forests and gardens where nectar-producing flowers and fruit are abundant. The bananaquit is an acrobatic forager and will creep sideways or cling upside down to flowers and fruits to get to the sweetest foods. They are typically solitary or may be found in pairs during the breeding season.

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