Rio Madeira

Thursday, August 13th: We started the day with a 5:30 breakfast. We were tied up at an ialand in the Madeira off Borba. After breakfast, we did some birding from the boat while some of the crew cut a trail for us.

Buff-breasted Wren and Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet were heard, while a Yellow-headed Caracara flew over. We also saw some flyover Festive Amazons and a few Scarlet Macaws. A Plumbeous Kite was perched in a nearby tree. A Drab Water Tyrant was down near the water, but only briefly visible before it flew behind some vegetation. A pair of Chestnut-fronted Macaws flew over. Then we saw flocks of about 70 Short-tailed Parrots and 130 Greater Ani. The anis seemed to be leaving their overnight roost. A few Olive Oropendolas flew over, as did some Orange-winged Amazons. We also heard Golden-winged Parakeets. Then it was time to head ashore.

Ilha de Borba (4° 22' S, 59° 36' W)

We did not use the canoes, but merely put a gangplank out from the bow. We spent a limited amount of time on the island. We did see Ash-breasted Antbird and Castelnau's Antshrike. This time the female was the eastern form, with chestnut tones in the underparts and wings, but no white in the wings. A short distance upriver made quite a difference. We saw several Chestnut-eared Aracaris. I got my life Dull-capped Attila. A Cinnamon Attila was also present, and we got a good comparison. One key field mark is the yellow eye of the Dull-capped compared with the dark eye of the Cinnamon. The Cinnamon also had more color on the breast and the head. A Straight-billed Woodcreeper called, and we also found a female White-winged Becard. Then we returned to the boat and headed upriver.

Various birds were seen as we cruised upriver. Those worthy of note were White-winged Parakeet, Southern Martin, Swallow-tailed Kites, Black-collared Hawk, and a flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks.

Wet Island (4° 16½' S, 59° 28' W)

We stopped at the next big island to explore. Unfortunately, our exploration was quite limited. This island had recently been inundated (water levels are dropping as the dry season progresses). There were still many areas of standing water, and the soil wasn't exactly dry. Rather, it was soft and mucky. We did find a flowering tree with White-winged and Tui Parakeets. We also saw Hooded Tanager and Tropical Kingbird. One member of the group saw White-throated Kingbird (an austral migrant), but we were unable to relocate it. We soon resumed our NE course up the Madeira.

Ilha do Rosarinho (3° 42' S, 59° 5' W)

We made a late stop at a Madeira island north of Nova Olinda do Norte (not to be confused with Nova Olinda on the Aripuanã). I heard a Chivi Vireo, possibly a resident bird. Walking was kind of mucky and it helped to find a stick or even some leaves to stand on. We found a good area for a little birding. Birds that came in included Leaden Antwren, Scaled Spinetail, and Glossy Antshrike. We had heard a Buff-breasted Wren, as we have on many occasions. Bret played its song, and two of them came in to be seen. A Roadside Hawk also flew in an perched overhead, without any prompting on our part. We also saw an interesting flower that is probably carnivorous and an unidentified gecko with red spots (Mika said he thought he had also seen it at Cristalino). Then we hopped back on the boat (no canoe, no gangplank, we just stepped onto the boat) and headed downriver.

I ended the day with 45 bird species including 2 lifers. This brings my trip total to 323, including 87 lifers, with one day to go.

Aboard Tumbira, cruising down Madeira