Days 10-11, October 21-22, 2006 Oct 12—24, 2006
Posted by Peter English
Yesterday was spent cruising from Guyana to Suriname, and so we again took advantage of the VENT leaders' knowledge by hearing talks from three more of them. The highlight was a talk by Victor entitled, "The Ten Best Birding Areas in the World." Victor took us around the world explaining why he loves different locations, and left some wondering if it was possible to hold the list to just 10. Later Andrew Farnsworth gave a talk on the "Phenomena of Migration," using the experience he gained doing his doctoral research to give us an appreciation of bird migration and get us up-to-date on what is known. Finally, Peter English gave a talk explaining leks and the mating system that creates them.
Photo of Kaieteur Falls taken a few days ago during the group's visit — Photo: Andrew Whittaker
In the afternoon we went to the top deck and saw some large concentrations of terns in the distance. One of the benefits of chartering an entire ship is that we can ask the captain to follow the birds for a short while, which our captain was excited to do. Within about an hour we found Common, Black, Least, and Sandwich (Cayenne) terns, Brown Noddy, and Brown Booby. In addition some saw the spout of a humpback whale, and saw a manta ray jump out of the water.
A golden frog found at Kaieteur Falls — Photo: Andrew Whittaker
Today we cleared Suriname entry procedures and went on a late morning visit to the botanical gardens in Paramaribo. Although we had only a few hours at the gardens we saw some wonderful birds including Blood-colored Woodpecker, Arrowhead (Guianan) Piculet, a Crimson-hooded Manakin lek, Spotted and Common tody-flycatchers, Green-tailed Jacamar, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Barred Antshrike, Hooded Tanager, Pale-breasted Thrush, and Red-breasted Blackbird.
Calling in the Blackish Antbird at Pepperpot — Photo: Peter English
In the afternoon we went on our afternoon excursion to Pepperpot, an old plantation, and then to the New Amsterdam mangrove areas along the river. At Pepperpot we found the area full of birds including Blackish Antbird, Black-crested Antshrike, Gray Hawk, and Green-rumped Parrotlet. In the New Amsterdam area we found the Rufous Crab-Hawk, a species with a very restricted range and one that was new for most VENT leaders when we ran this cruise in 2004. As we did in 2004, we found a perched bird and everyone had wonderful scope views. In addition to the Rufous Crab-Hawk, we had numbers of Orange-winged Parrots going to roost, and found Wing-banded Seedeater, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, and a host of other species.
Tomorrow we go on an all-day journey to Brownsberg Reserve about two hours south of Paramaribo. This is a beautiful forest that Steve Hilty has described as the tallest forest in South America, and we are all excited to see it.