Day 7 - Morning entering the Suriname River near Paramaribo, afternoon birding at Meerzorg Oct 25—Nov 08, 2004
Posted by Peter English
Last night we moved another time zone east and changed our clocks an hour ahead. By around 9 a.m. (in the new time zone) we got our first sight of Suriname and began moving up the Suriname River. We had some interesting birding, with both Parasitic and Pomarine jaegers, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Common and Gull-billed terns, and a few immature Gray-breasted Martins. Perhaps our most unexpected sighting was a Dickcissel that flew alongside our ship while we were out of sight of land and then continued southward to the coast.
Great Potoo — Photo: Peter English
In the afternoon we took buses to the Meerzorg, just over the new bridge from Paramaribo, to bird the swamp forest (dominated by Swamp Imortelle) and mangrove forest. We immediately found a Great Potoo, and then shortly after we found another. Highlights included Green-rumped Parrotlet, Blood-colored Woodpecker, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Arrowhead Piculet, Green-throated and Black-throated mangos, Striped Cuckoo, Pied Water-Tyrant, and Fork-tailed Flycatcher.
Rufous Crab Hawk in flight — Photo: Peter English
One of the birds we most hoped to find today was the Rufous Crab-Hawk. This hawk has one of the most restricted ranges of any hawk in the world, being confined to the mangroves of northeastern South America. The birding groups were able to find both an adult and an immature in beautiful afternoon light, and everyone was able to get great looks. Other hawk highlights from the afternoon were Savannah Hawk, Great Black Hawk, and Yellow-headed Caracara.
Rufous Crab Hawk — Photo: Peter English
The Rufous Crab-Hawk was a new species for Victor, one of the birds he had most wanted to see on this trip. We were all pleased to be with him when he got a new lifer!
Tomorrow we will travel to Brownsberg in Central Suriname to see the tall forest on the plateau and look for some of the most exciting birds in Suriname. We will return late, so there will be no update tomorrow.