Day 6 - Morning hike near Ford Island, Guyana, afternoon at sea. Oct 25—Nov 08, 2004

Posted by Peter English


Peter English

Peter English became interested in birds while in the fourth grade. He graduated from Williams College in 1988 and received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Texa...

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We left the ship at dawn to explore a logging road just a few minutes by Zodiac from our anchorage location near Ford Island, Guyana. The road turned out to be one of the best birding areas yet.

Groups birding their way down the road

Groups birding their way down the road — Photo: Peter English

One of the best birds of the morning was undoubtedly the Fiery-tailed Awlbill. This hummingbird was a new species for all of the VENT clients and most of the VENT leaders. Its bill is both serrated and upturned at the tip, making it striking even at a distance (no one knows the function of these bill adaptations). Most everyone got good looks at the Awlbill as it flew to a bare branch every 10-20 minutes for the entire morning.

Birding up and down the road produced a huge list of other species. Double-toothed Kites and an Ornate Hawk-Eagle were seen soaring above, while the many understory and canopy mixed-species feeding flocks came up to the edge of the road. Highlights included good views of a perched Caica Parrot, repeated glimpses of Crimson Topaz, Paradise Jacamar, several Pompadour Cotingas, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Guianan Toucanet, Waved Woodpecker, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Brown-bellied Antwren, Black-throated Antbird, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, McConnell's Flycatcher, White-crowned Manakin, Tiny Tyrant-Manakin, Plumbeous Euphonia, Red-rumped Cacique, and Screaming Pihas calling all along the road.

Black-throated Antbird

Black-throated Antbird — Photo: Peter English

We returned to the ship at noon so that we could ride the high tide over the sandbar at the mouth of the Essequibo River and begin our cruise to Suriname. The channel in the Essequibo took us very near some of the islands in the river, where we had great looks at many perched hawks including Great Black Hawk, Crane Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Laughing Falcon, Bat Falcon, and Yellow-headed Caracara. We are all looking forward to tomorrow: our first day of birding in Suriname.

VENT leaders David Ascanio and Steve Hilty

VENT leaders David Ascanio and Steve Hilty — Photo: Peter English