Chapada dos Guimarães
It was dark when we boarded the bus at the hotel. The sun rose as we approached Chapada dos Guimarães. The chapada is sort of a giant mesa, with steep sides. It's also a national park.
The first new bird was Purplish Jay as we spotted a small flock by the side of the road in the early morning light. I hope we'll see them in better light. We then turned on a dirt road to bird the cerrado, which is a scrubby area with small trees. Pretty soon we were walking the road with the bus following.
A couple of Peach-fronted Parakeets landed near us. Soon after, a Red-crested Finch perched in a bush. The first of many Black-throated Saltators was singing from a perch. Farther from the road, there was a White-rumped Tanager. A pair of Barred Antshrikes were in the bushes along the road. Next up was White-banded Tanager, which looks rather like a shrike.
|Roadside Birding||Peach-fronted Parakeet|
|Chalk-browed Mockingbird||Black-throated Saltator|
|White-rumped Tanager||White-banded Tanager|
We continued along the road, finding Plain-crested Elaenia, White-vented Violetear, Checkered Woodpecker, a pair of Rusty-backed Antwrens, and Rufous-winged Antshrike. Some Yellow-chevroned Parakeets were the first countable ones I've seen, although the bird is present in Miami. Before we got back in the bus, we added Gray Monjita, Blue-tufted Starthroat, and White-collared Swift. As we started driving back to the main road, a Pearl Kite perched on the wire.
|Rusty-backed Antwren||Rufous-winged Antshrike|
|Horse Cart||Yellow-chevroned Parakeet|
|Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet||Pearl Kite|
|Plain-crested Elaenia||Plain-crested Elaenia|
We then drove to another dirt road that passes through gallery forest to look for some different birds. This time, the bus stayed at the turnoff while we walked out and back. We found a Long-billed Starthroat feeding in yellow tabebuia before reaching the forest. Inside the forest, we quickly found a Streaked Flycatcher. Then we ran into a flock. Birds seen there included Swallow Tanager, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (not part of the flock), Short-tailed Hawk (flyover), Guira Tanager, White-lined Tanager, White-bellied Warbler, and White-wedged Piculet, as well as numerous other birds I'd previously seen on the trip.
You'll notice that the White-bellied Warbler is listed separately. That's because I'm not adding it to my life list. According to a soon to be published paper by Sibelle Torres Vilaça, and Fabrício Rodrigues dos Santos (forthcoming in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution), it is a color morph of the Golden-crowned Warbler. This has been suspected for some time, and I expect that this will soon be reflected in the checklists, so there doesn't seem to be any point to adding it to my life list.
A bit farther along, Brian and I saw two dark birds shoot across the road. These were likely White-shouldered Fire-eyes, which we saw clearly a few minutes later. A Blue-crowned Trogon perched above the road, and a few steps farther we found a Masked Tityra. Nick called in a Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher before we left the forest. We found a White-eared Puffbird on the way back to the car.
|Blue-crowned Trogon||Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher|
|White-eared Puffbird||Red-crested Finch|
Then it was time for lunch. During lunch, we noticed a distant Cliff Flycatcher that keep sallying out to catch insects, always returning to the same perch. After lunch we took a short break, then headed out for more birding.
We tried a trail that Nick had not previously been on. It wasn't a good birding trail, providing only Fork-tailed Woodnymph. We soon bailed on it and headed back to the bus. On the way back, we added Helmeted Manakin.
We drove to the upper overlook, where Red-and-green Macaw and King Vulture flew by. Then we walked down to the lower overlook. On the way, we found a lovely Scaled Pigeon (prettiest of the American doves and pigeons). Then we ran into a flock that included Black-faced Tanager, Saffron-billed Sparrow, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch, and Thick-billed Euphonia.
|Scaled Pigeon||Sayaca Tanager|
|Black-faced Tanager||Saffron-billed Sparrow|
At the overlook, we encountered a hard to identify falcon. After studying the photos, it seems have the heavy claws of an Orange-breasted Falcon rather than a Bat Falcon. It was after sunset when we headed back to the van, with Barred Forest-Falcon being our last new bird of the day.
|Orange-breasted Falcon||Chapada dos Guimarães|
Dinner was something of a complication. There were few people staying at Pousada Penhasco, and they did not serve dinner. We went into town in search of food. Fortunately, our driver, Leo, had some local knowledge. The first place he tried was also closed. Apparently there was some sort of local holiday. But Leo took us to a barbeque place that was open anyway. We had a decent meal, and it was interesting to be well away from touristy areas.
My bird total for the day was 84 species, 23 of them lifers. The trip total increased by 42 to 327 species (323 seen), with 192 lifers.
Pousada Penhasco, Chapada dos Guimarães