Day 3, October 14, 2006. Oct 12—24, 2006
Posted by Peter English
We woke up at sea and spent the better part of the day in transit from Trinidad to Venezuela. Steve Hilty and David Ascanio gave a fascinating lecture, "An Overview of the Natural History of the Orinoco Delta and the Guianas." As we approached Venezuela the water changed abruptly from blue-green to brown due to the sediment discharged by the Orinoco. Common, Royal, and Sandwich terns were seen following our ship. Magnificent Frigatebirds and a couple of Brown Boobies were spotted on buoys. Soon we could see the forested coastline and later we entered the Orinoco, the second largest river in South America.
In the late afternoon everyone gathered on the ship's highest deck to enjoy our first South American birding. Numerous Large-billed Terns were seen. Blue-and-yellow Macaws were sighted, at first in pairs, then a group of ten or more, and then more pairs. Seeing these magnificent birds in the late afternoon light was a perfect beginning for our voyage.
Just before sunset we saw flocks of Orange-winged Parrots flying to roost. At first we saw only a few, but soon we saw flocks of 50 or more in all directions. Many of the leaders said it was the largest number of parrots they had ever seen in an afternoon, numbering in the thousands. Such a sight was a reminder of what the tropics used to be everywhere a hundred or more years ago. We ended the day with a lovely sunset.