Sunday, 31 January 2016

Nothing but North-east Brazil: Algoas & Permanbuco

Evacuation of Terminal 3!
 Not a good start to my little trip!

I set out from Abu Dhabi, early morning on the 7th January. But on arrival at the airport was involved in an evacuation of Terminal 3! Never been involved in a full scale evacuation before. However, we were on our way just a few minutes late, so it couldn't have been too serious.

An unidentified, but interesting lizard.

Ruddy Ground Dove

 Had a long but good flight to Sao Paulo & then booked in to the Hotel Panamby, where I have stayed before. Had a walk around the gardens & saw Ruddy Ground Dove & two lizards. Flew out to Maceico on the early morning of the 9th to meet up with the group.

Picked up the rest of the group in the airport, then drove to a patch of forest en – route to the hotel. The skies darkened & persistent rain ensued, so I didn’t take my camera. Big mistake! Great views of Forest Eleania; Straight billed Woodcreeper & Smoky fronted Tody-Flycatcher.

Ash-throated Crake
This is the patch of forest we birded in.
The forest we wanted to get to & failed 
is in the clouds!

It rained in patches throughout the night, which made the dirt roads to the Murici Reserve impassible & we never made it there. A big frustration for all! So Plan B was to bird the university of Algoas Research Forest at a little lower altitude.

Seven coloured Tanager

Black necked Aracari
Lettered Aracari

 Birding was slow but steady. My only new bird was Seven coloured Tanager, but other good species included both Black necked & Lettered Aracari’s.

White bellied Tody Tyrant.

Later on we birded the road through a small patch of forest seeing White bellied Tody Tyrant of the local race. Showers throughout the morning & early afternoon made photography difficult.

Purple Gallinule

Black capped Donacobius

White headed Marsh Tyrant
Yellow chinned Spinetail
The yellow chin is feint & quite hard to see.

Birding around the hotel.
Tufted Ear Marmoset
Quite common in the remnant patches of forest.
Male Crane Hawk of the race gracilis.
Often called Banded Crane Hawk.
Social Flycatcher
Rufous fronted Thornbird
The endemic Tawny Piculet

In late afternoon we birded some small patches of marshes & open areas close to the hotel & just before dark some relict patches of open forest in the hotel gardens.

A brief moment of blue skies!
On the 11th January we drove to the Frei Caneca Reserve in Permambuco. It is a large patch of wet Atlantic rainforest up on the sides of a range of hills just inland from the coast. It has some of the same birds as Murici Reserve. At first we were again frustrated by persistent showers, which occasionally became quite heavy. But we persevered & gradually began to pick up some of the rarest birds found in this part of Brazil. 

Black cheeked Gnatcatcher
Taken at ISO 12500!
This photo would not have been possible
 a few years ago!
Guianan Tyrannulet

Our hotel for the night.
Black Vultures.
Great Kisadee
Not very good, but it is a Forbes's Blackbird!
This species is just about hanging on
 in tiny patches of habitat next to sugar cane fields.

We awake to yet more rain on 12thWe drove from our nice beach hotel at Tamandare to a small patch of forest around one hours drive away. Just before the forest we traversed through some sugar cane fields with slightly wetter habitat in the gullies & this is where we found the highly localized Forbes’s Blackbird. We saw nine birds in all, but never did they come close or truly out in the open.
A small patch of forest, home to possibly the
 rarest raptor in the world!
It is in there somewhere!
White collared Kite
Double toothed Kite
Short tailed Hawk
Willis's Antbird
Not too many photos of this species around.
Chestnut backed Antshrike

We negotiated the increasingly muddy tracks towards the forest & despite showers racked up some seriously rare birds, chief among them was a candidate for the rarest raptor on the planet White-collared Kite!

The highly localised Yellow faced Siskin.
Short crested Flycatcher
Jandaya Parakeet
This pair was breeding on the outskirts of town.

We came back to the hotel in the middle of the day & then went out again along the coast & after some searching found 6 Yellow-faced Siskin. This is a highly localized endemic which can be very tricky to find, so feeling a little smug we moved on to a stakeout for Jandaya Parakeet, which we saw well. We enjoyed a pleasant evening in he hotel celebrating a really excellent day in the field.

Black throated Mango
Whit shouldered Antshrike (distans)

We tried to bird another lowland patch of Atlantic Forest this morning, but it took a while to get there on the rain sodden tracks & we only had an hour or so before we had to leave, which was a pity because the area deserved greater scrutiny.

We then drove to Recife & caught the flight to Fortleza, arriving around 1.30 pm & then driving for most of the afternoon to out hotel, set in beautiful mountain forest of the Serra de Baturite. 

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