Sunday, 16 November 2014

Got the Saw-whet Owl !

Another try at Hammonasset State Park and this time Gina & me had two Northern Saw-whet Owls.
They were a little difficult to photograph but we had super views.

See if I can get better than this in the next couple of weeks!!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Owling !!!!

Went to Hammonasset State park, Connecticut today to try and find a Northern Saw-whet Owl but could not find it ! However in our search we found both Great Horned Owl and a Barred Owl, both of which gave super close views. We also saw a flock of Shore Larks, 14 Snow Buntings a late Tree Swallow and some really confiding White-footed Deermice!
Nice Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl just 20ft away!
There were about 12 of these White-footed Deermouse together under a board!
Still got to find a Saw-whet Owl !!!!!

Friday, 7 November 2014

New Jaguar Video!

So Harry Bird just edited my Jaguar videos together into one session! Hope it looks good

Hand holding a camera on a boat is not easy so its a little shaky in places. The video is excellent viewed on You-Tube - click link here -

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Last Days of our Pantanal Tour

So the last couple of days saw us in the Chapada dos Guimaires witha nice selection of new birds. We stayed once again in the fabulous Pousada do Parque where we soon connected with great views of both Band-tailed and Fiery-capped Manakins, Channel-billed Toucan and some close Red-crested Finches. Around the swimming pool were some red flowers that attracted Fork-tailed Woodnymphs, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White-vented Violetear and in a tree top was a Long-billed Starthroat. Our day out in the dry Chapada habitat gave us many superb views of some great birds. A Collared Crescentchest gave fantastic views as did White-rumped, Shrike-like and Cinnamon Tanagers, Curl-crested Jays, Chapada Flycatchers, Peach-fronted Parakeets, Blue-winged Macaws and three Horned Sungems. We had a very close pair of Red-legged Seriemas and visited some very interesting caves. On the sandy tracks we founds footprints of Brazilian Tapir and Maned Wolf, and back near the lodge were more footprints but this time of Puma. Yet another fabulous tour was over and we cant wait to return next year. I will add a few photos in a few days time.

                             This Collared Crescentchest showed very well to everyone

This is one of my photos of one the fabulous Harpy Eagles we saw. Seems like all the other              companies missed this species. Another good reason to travel with Zoothera

You don't see many photos of flying Harpy's - my photo!
Another great flight shot!
Not a particular sharp shot, but it is a Horned Sungem in flight!!!
Always a great favourite we never miss the fabulous Hyacinth Macaw
Plenty of other good birds seen including this male Band-tailed Antbird
We saw up to 20 very confiding Burrowing Owls in just one morning!
We got some very close views of Red-legged Seriema

Monday, 20 October 2014

Harpy Days !!!!

Today we had a quick look around the lodge before breakfast and saw very close Red-and-Green Macaws, plus Toco Toucans, Magpie Tanagers, and lots of Yellow-chevroned Parakeets. After breakfast we headed for the nearby Harpy Eagle nest which was empty. A look around produced White-eared Puffbird, several Lettered Aracaris, Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers, some nice Scaled Pigeons, a Moustached Wren and Greater Yellow-headed Vulture. We then spotted a huge shape flying toward us and were treated to fantastic views of the male Harpy Eagle carrying nest material. That’s was good but what followed was simply the best. As we waited, both the male and female Harpy Eagles were spotted in a tree before they flew in to the nest. To say the views were unbelievable was an understatement. If this was not enough then to watch a pair of Harpy Eagle’s mating must rank as one of those all time great moments. After a couple of hours enjoying these superb birds we left them still on the nest and made our way back for lunch. Along the way we found Brazilain Teal, Least Grebes, and beside a large pond was Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, a Black Skimmer, Black-throated Saltator, and both perched King Vulture and perched Red-shouldered Macaws. Not a bad morning and yet another reason you should travel with Zoothera! Just ask around how many other groups failed to see the Harpy’s. Not Us!!!!

Mating harpy Eagles !!!!!
Pair of Harpy Eagles by Nick Scarle
Photo by Nick Scarle
The pair of Harpy's again by Nick Scarle
Last photo of Harpy's by Nick Scarle

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Jaguar Day - 18th Oct

Today we had an early breakfast before setting off on our 6 hour morning boat trip in search of the magnificent Jaguar. We stopped along the way to get good looks at Black Skimmers, Large-billed Terns and Yellow-billed Terns on a small section of sandy shore. There was also Pied Lapwings and Collared Plovers there, and as we continued our search we were eventually rewarded with a jaguar sat on a bank under the foliage of a tree. Through the tree we could see his head and face and occasionally he moved around. Well that was nothing compared to what came next. We moved to another area nearby and had fantastic prolonged views of two male Jaguars swimming and walking along the river edge. Simply unbeatable! In the afternoon after enjoying the Hyacinth Macaws around the lodge we set off on our afternoon boat trip. We were very fortunate to this time find a female Jaguar which again showed well walking along the shore and swimming along the edge of the river. On our return we watched Band-tailed Nighthawks and both Greater and Lesser Fishing(Bulldog) Bats. So our day ended with sightings of 5 individual Jaguars.

                                                           One of our first male Jaguars

                                         This Sungrebe showed well on yesterdays boat trip
Giant River Otters also gave great views on yesterdays boat trip

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Morning Boat - 17th Oct

This morning after breakfast we set out on another boat trip on the Rio Claro. Several Turquoise-fronted Parrots showed well and plenty of kingfishers, Anhingas, Blue-throated Piping-Guans, Golden-collared Macaws, Bat Falcon and then finally we got close looks at a Sungrebe which remained mostly hidden in the river edge. Moving along we found a single Giant River Otter and shortly after this we had the best views ever of a Rufous-and-green Kingfisher, finishing off all of the Neotropic kingfishers. There were of course bucket loads of other birds seen before we headed back to the lodge for lunch. Afterwards we bset off towards our next destination along the Transpantaneira. Many roadside stops were made for species we had already seen such as Whistling Herons, Capped Herons, Jabiru, Black-collared and Savanna Hawk, Plumbeous and Green Ibis. We got out in the blistering heat to look at Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Greenish Elaenia, Chestnut-vented Conebill and some Small-billed Elaenias. Further on we saw Greater Thornbill, Orange-backed Troupial, Chotoy Spinetail and Barred Antshrike. We then arrived at our next lodge where we had time for an hours walk in the nearby forest. A few things were seen including Mato Grosso Antbird, White-wedged Piculet, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and then absolutely fantastic views of a Brazilian Tapir that walked towards us as dared not move until it eventually came to within about 30ft before it noticed us and walked away.
                                           We had great views of several Black-tailed Tamarins
                                              Nanday Parakeets were easy to see around our lodge

                       Very nice Brazilian Tapir brings our Mammal total to 18 in 3 days!!!


Boat Trip and Night Drive 15th Oct

Boat Trip on the Rio Claro
After a midday siesta or a spot of Dragonflying for some of us, we met up for our afternoon boat  trip on the Rio Claro. We set off and soon tallied up the Ringed, Amazon, Green, and later a very obliging American Pygmy Kingfisher. There were both Blue-throated and Red-throated Piping Guans, Turquoise-fronted Parrots, Pale-legged Hornero, Black-collared Hawk, a Cream-coloured Woodpecker, Toco Toucan and then a very elusive Sungrebe. A Neotropic Otter swam past, a pair of Black-capped Donacobius put on a great show, as did a male Great Antshrike. As we slowly returned towards a superb sunset, a Band-tailed Nighthawk flew in front of one of the boats. After dinner we went on  night drive in a large open topped jeep. Both Common and Great Potoo were spotlighted perched. We had a couple of Marsh Deer, a Brown Brocket Deer, a Tarantula, a superb Southern Tamandua right beside the jeep, and on our return we saw Crab-eating Fox briefly, Collared Pecary and finally Crab-eating Raccoon. Another great day and we are already up to 14 species of Mammal in 2 days!

                                                                     Night Drive

                                               Southern Tamandua - video by Gina Nichol

                              The quality of the video is much better if you do not go full frame

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Transpantaneira 14th -15th Oct

So our first day started with us leaving Cuiaba after breakfast and then heading towards the famous wetlands of the vast Pantanal. There were to be numerous roadside stops along the way resulting in a total of 102 species for the day. Starting off we had a nice flock of about 50 Snail Kites, but more impressive was a flock of around 100 Mississippi Kites. This is a rare boreal migrant through Brazil and this huge flock drifted past on their way to Southern South America. So birds cam thick and fast with several of our vtargets soon on the list. Our first Greater Rheas were soon followed by Fork-tailed flycatchers, Grassland Sparrow, Great Black Hawk, Guira Cuckoo, Lesser-yellow-headed Vultures, Purplish Jay, and then three very nice Campo Flickers. We then got to see White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Rusty-collared and Black-throated Seedeaters and a very nice Long-tailed Ground-Dove. As we passed more and more wetlands then more and more birds appeared. Bare-faced,. Buff-necked Ibis, Plumbeous Ibis. We then had Savana and Blck-collared hawks, Roadside Hawk, huge Jabiru, Cocio Heron, Whistling Heron, Capped Heron, Green Ibis, Grey-necked WoodRail, Southern Screamer, Brazilian Teal, anf finally just before lunch the first of three Red-legged Seriemas. Our lunch was followed by a little birding atround the gardens where we enjoyed close Grey Monjita, White-eyed Parakeets, and a host of other specoies. Moving on we took forever to travel 30km as  there was just too much to see. Ringed, Amazon and Green Kingfishers were seen, Unicoloured Blackbird, Solitary and Yellow-rumped Cacique and Bare-faced Curassow. One partular small pool held |Roseate Spoonbill two Sunbitterns including a spectacular disply when one of them open it wings fully, revealing a stunning pattern. An Undulated Tinamou walked across the road and bothy Blaxk-tailed Marmosets and Brown Capuchin monkeys were seen.


This morning we had a pre breakfast walk around the lodge frounds and soon had great views of Crey-crested Cacholote, the endemic Chestnut-bellied Guans were everywhere, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, some Golden-collared Macaws flew over, and a female Bare-faced Currasow walk through the gardens, After breakfast the bird feeders drew our attention with countless Yellow-billed Cardinals, Saffron Finches, Bay-winged Cowbirds and then finally some gorgeous and very localised Nanday Parakeets. After  breakfast we drove a short distanve to an area of forest and here we took a walk on a small trail A Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant started off proceedings shortly followed by a showy Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. It was quiet for a while and then we were treated to great views of Crimson-crested Woodpecker and Chestnut-eared Aracari. We then found a Dark-billed Cuckoo which eventually showed well, followed bt Great Black Hawk, and then a mixed flock that held Red-billed Scythebill, Streaked Xenops, Crested Becard, Epaulete Oriole, Buff-throated Woodcreeper and a little firther on were Orange-backed Troupial, Blue-crowned Motmot, Black-fronted Nunbirds and a superb Great Rufous Woodcreeper. It was now really hot in the forest so we headed baxk toward the bus. A few Black-tailed Tamarins and Azaras Agouti were nice mammal distractions and some really nice butterflies added to an excellent morning. Back at the lodge the Nanday Parakeets were showing well, alongside several Blue-crowned Parakeets and some nice showy Campo Flickers.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Brazil - The Pantanal 13th - 24th Oct 2014

Ok its about time I started a blog on my adventures around the World so here we go!

In a couple of days I will be off to vast wetlands of the Pantanal in Brazil leading a tour for Zoothera Birding .

This is probably my 6th or 7th trip here, I've lost count. But I have to say its a fantastic destination teeming with Wildlife and always a pleasure to lead.
Here are a couple of photos from my last tour here and of course we expect to see these again. You will have follow this blog and see how I get on.

            Agami Heron is probably one of the most beautiful of all herons - and look at that bill!!!

                                 One of everyone's favourites is the superb Hyacinth Macaw

                      The mighty Jaguar is going to be high on our list so wish us luck !!!!!!