Day 9, October 20, 2006 Oct 12—24, 2006

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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Today started slowly as we realized that it had been raining all night. As we gathered for breakfast, we discovered that the early morning birding that we had planned would not be possible. By 11:00 am the skies had cleared and half of the participants left for their flight to Kaieteur Falls, while those remaining on the ship prepared for an afternoon zodiac cruise around some mangrove-dominated islands.

The Sunbittern we watched for so long yesterday

The Sunbittern we watched for so long yesterday — Photo: Jim Brown

The group that went to Kaieteur Falls had a wonderful, full day. First they traveled to an airstrip upriver from where the ship was anchored and then flew to the falls—one of the largest in the world. The hour-long flight to the falls passes over thousands of square miles of pristine rainforest—as far as you can see in all directions there is no sign of man. Aside from the magnificent falls themselves and the nice weather after the storm cleared, highlights included the extremely rare Orange-breasted Falcon, Red-and-green Macaws, and a number of swift species.

Adult Harpy Eagle

Adult Harpy Eagle — Photo: Jim Brown

While the group that went to the falls was on their trip, the ship was repositioned at the mouth of the Essequibo River to facilitate our evening departure for Suriname. This meant that the group flew back to Georgetown to meet the ship, and while passing through the town to get back to the ship they saw Rufous Crab-Hawk, numbers of Snail Kites, and Scarlet Ibis and Snowy Egrets returning to their roosts.

Black-crested Antshrike passing nearby. This is the male, and the female was nearby calling

Black-crested Antshrike passing nearby. This is the male, and the female was nearby calling — Photo: Peter English

The group that remained with the ship took advantage of the repositioning to see hawks sitting on perches along the banks as the ship cruised down the Essequibo River, and to take the zodiacs to nearby mangrove-dominated islands in the afternoon. Highlights from the afternoon trips included great looks at Rufous Crab-Hawk, Black-crested Antshrikes, Straight-billed Woodcreepers, Turquoise Tanagers, Glittering-throated Emerald, and a large troop of squirrel monkeys.

Glittering-throated Emerald feeding in the afternoon

Glittering-throated Emerald feeding in the afternoon — Photo: Peter English

Tomorrow will be a day at sea to rest up and to continue the series of lectures designed to take advantage of the amazing knowledge possessed by the group of leaders that VENT has assembled for this cruise.