We had an early breakfast and started down the trail to the tower before sunrise. The sun was up by the time we started up the 165 foot tower. My birding day started with Kawall's Amazon (Parrot), soon followed by Paradise Tanager. I was glad to see the Red-billed Pied Tanager. This bird is most likely not a tanager, but exactly where it fits in is not clear.
|View from the Tower|
Other birds appeared atop the canopy and kept us quite busy: Spangled Cotinga, both Chestnut-mandibled and White-throated Toucans, Ringed Woodpecker, Amazonian (Violaceous) Trogon, Spix's Guan, Curl-crested Aracari, Black-girdled Barbet, Red-necked Aracari, and White-necked Puffbird appeared high in the canopy while Blue-headed Parrots, Red-and-green Macaws, and Amazonian Swifts flew by.
The excitement increased when a couple of eagles were spotted. They were big eagles. Were they Harpy or Crested? After an eagle flyby, it became clear they were Crested Eagles. Most of the group had not seen a Harpy in the wild, and were a little disappointed to miss this charismatic species. However, I'd seen Harpys at Napo Wildlife Center, and was happy to see the rarer Crested Eagle so well.
After the eagles, a flock appeared in some nearby trees. As one might expect, a White-fronted Nunbird was serving as flock leader. Birding was fast and furious at this point. I didn't see everything that came by, but got on Gray Elaenia, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Sclater's Antwren, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (with striking facial pattern), and Dusky-capped Greenlet. A second round on some of the birds gave me Slender-footed Tyrannulet ad Golden-bellied Euphonia / White-lored Euphonia.
By then it had warmed considerably in the sun and activity had quieted down, so we headed down the tower. We birded a bit at a platform part-way down, then birds the nearby trails, adding Striated Antbird, Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Blue Ground-Dove, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Red-headed Manakin, Plain-winged Antshrike, and Blue-cheeked Jacamar before heading back for lunch.
|Big Tree||Blue-cheeked Jacamar||Greater Yellow-headed Vulture|
Return to Magic Pond
After a break in the heat of the day, we headed upriver to return to the magic pond. On the way upriver, a couple of Scarlet Macaws flew into a tree along the river. We also found a Brazilian Tapir. Then we stopped to check for Flame-crowned Manakin and Bronzy Jacamar. We dipped on the former, and I was the only one of the group to see Bronzy Jacamar.
|Scarlet Macaw||Brazilian Tapir|
Water levels had fallen considerably at the pond, and bird activity was considerably diminished. Nonetheless, the pond retained some of its magic as a small flock of Dark-winged Trumpeters cautiously approached for a quick drink. Some of the same antbirds as before appeared, and some were missing. There were also some birds we didn't see last time including Saturnine Antshrike, Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Thrush-like Schiffornis, and Plain-throated Antwren. Nick was able to identify one or two birds after the antwrens, but it had gotten too dark to see, and I was wishing I had larger-apeture binoculars so I could see better in the low light. It was time to head back to the lodge.
Night Birding and Herping
We were armed with two spotlights (Nick and Cristalino volunteer guide Karen), and used them as we headed back downriver. The most notable sightings were a young Agami Heron and a couple of Pacas.
After dinner, Karen took some of us on a herp walk. Nothing really exciting turned up before I headed off to bed, but we found some frogs, invertebrates, and fish. The stars were also impressive tonight, with the milky way easily visible.
My bird total for the day was 94 species, including 27 lifers. The trip total increased by 36 to 472 species (467 seen), with 279 lifers.
Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Rio Cristalino