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WINGS Birding Tours – Narrative

Brazil Southeast: A Photographic Tour

A Week at Itororo Lodge

2015 Tour Narrative

“Brazil was in the midst of an English style patch of weather when we arrived, neatly summed up as rain, rain and more rain!

This did not deter us however and the unsettled weather produced more species of birds than any of my other previous Atlantic Rainforest tours. Our first day was spent at middle altitude dodging the showers across in the neighbouring valley. Highlights included Spot-billed Toucanet, Rufous-capped Antthrush and Black-cheeked Gnateater with Rufous-Breasted Leaftosser, Star-throated Antwren and Lesser Woodcreeper also showing well. We had our first views of Black-cheeked Gnateater, Sepia-capped Flycatcher and nice close-up views of a feeding tanager flock, containing both Green-headed and several stunning Red-necked, as well as Streaked Xenops, Chivi Vireo and Whiskered Myiobius.

The upper reaches of one of the trails produced Blue Manakin, Black-capped and White-eyed Foliage Gleaners in addition to Pin-tailed Manakin, Rufous-capped Motmot and Rufous-capped Antthrush. Several Channel-billed Toucans were feeding in a fruiting tree on the far side of the trail, which also contained a tanager flock consisting of Rufous-headed, Yellow-backed, Flame-crested and a couple of the rarer Olive-green.

The following day produced an amazing array of species including several that are normally difficult to see. A good example of this was the Southern Antpipit which showed well whilst we were watching a Serra Antwren. Only a few yards away a hugely impressive Crowned Solitary Eagle soared over our heads and a Black Hawk-eagle drifted along the ridge, followed moments later by a fast-moving Aplomado Falcon which was certainly on a mission. Moving along the valley spectacular birds came thick and fast, firstly Yellow-eared Woodpecker then Variable Antshrike, then a perched White-tailed Hawk and a couple of White-barred Piculets. Our regular stop at a small farm overlooking a marsh produced firstly Streamer-tailed Tyrants then Black-necked Aracari followed by Blue-winged Macaw, Blackish Rail and another Yellow-eared Woodpecker. At our traditional lunch stop, a calling Red-legged Seriema showed really well as did a confiding pair of Black-capped Donacobius, which were very entertaining indeed!

The open country birding was very good today with Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture showing well, and at one point flying over a perched Firewood-gatherer and Yellow-rumped Marshbird nearby. At our regular Burrowing Owl stake-out I was disappointed to see that they’d vacated the site. I need not have worried, however, as two birds quickly appeared on the opposite side of the road and gave good views with a bonus Sapphire-spangled Emerald in the trees above us. A little further along, the White-eared Puffbirds obliged; duetting on an exposed branch. Cliff Flycatcher, Chestnut-capped Blackbird and Campo Flicker also gave very good views here. A Masked Water Tyrant gave walkaway views in the pouring rain and a Common Tody Flycatcher was also very obliging.

Further along the valley we bumped into more exciting new species in open country. First up was Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, followed quickly by Curl-crested Jay, Swallow Tanager, White Woodpecker and a single Sooty Tyrannulet, whilst a coffee stop produced Guira Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and a superb Swallow-tailed Hummingbird.

After a fairly heavy shower had passed we were back out into the field immediately and this paid dividends with lots of birds preening and drying themselves off. In a fairly short time we managed to see Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Euler’s Flycatcher, Chestnut-Vented Conebill, Yellow Tyrannulet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Creamy-bellied Thrush and Hooded Tanager all fairly easily, with up to four Three-toed Jacamars at the regular spot. This flourish towards the end of the day meant that our total for the day was a whopping 124!

-Stu Elsom

Created: 23 June 2016