The Amazon

Friday, August 14th: We had traveled much of the night, moving from the Madeira to the Amazon, and finally stopping near the mouth of the Rio Preda da Eva. We had breakfast at 6 today, on the upper deck. We also did a fair amount of birding from the boat.

Near the Mouth of Rio Preda da Eva (Amazon left bank, 3° 10' S, 59° 9' W)

From the boat, we saw our first of hundreds of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. Some Festive Amazons flew over and a couple of Pale-vented Pigeons were flying from tree to tree. We called in an Amazonian Scrub-Flycatcher. A Great Kiskadee called, and some noisy Southern Lapwings demanded our attention. A kingbird turned out the be White-throated Kingbird, an austral migrant. Both Chestnut-fronted Macaws and Short-tailed Parrots flew by. We spotted some Red-breasted Meadowlarks. A couple of Wattled Jacanas were out on Victoria Lilies. We also added Green Ibis and Streaked Flycatcher. Several Smooth-billed Anis were present and Tui Parakeets gathered in the Pseudobombax (they like the seed pods). American (Great) Egrets were present and a Ruddy Pigeon flew by. We called in a Lesser Hornero. Amazonian Yellow-rumped Caciques flew over and a Straight-billed Woodcreeper appeared in a tree in front of us. We got scope views of a perched Orange-winged Amazon. A few Muscovy Ducks were seen past the lilies. A Black-capped Donacobius was in a nearby tree. White-winged Parakeets flew by. A male Cinereous Becard was in another tree. We spotted a Red-capped Cardinal near the Donacobius. A pair of Orange-fronted Yellow-Finches were visible at the base of a tree. Finally, we called in a Mouse-colored Tyrannulet.

After all this, we got in the canoes to futher explore the flooded islands. We found quite a few birds. Highlights included Great Black Hawk, Leaden Antwren, Orange-backed Troupial, Glittering-throated Emerald, and three lifers in succession, Varzea Piculet, Speckled Spinetail, and Klages's Antwren. Both Yellow-chinned Spinetail and Wing-banded Hornero were new for the trip. Small groups of Chestnut-fronted Macaws flew over and a Roadside Hawk waw perched nearby. Two Bat Falcons terrorized anything that came near them. We saw them chasing Black-necked Aracaris and believe the falcons had a nest nearby. We got a good look at a Crane Hawk, and an ok look at a Black-tailed Trogon. We also saw a Hook-billed Kite. Lineated Woodpecker was hard to miss. We again saw Glossy Antshrike, Green-tailed Jacamar, and Yellow-olive Flycatcher. By the time we returned to the boat, we already had a pretty good day list (55 species).

Cruising Up the Amazon

We headed west (upstream) toward Manaus in a side channel of the Amazon that is associated with the Rio Preda da Eva. This was an area that had large numbers of birds. It also introduced us to the riverside communities along the Amazon. There were houses on stilts all the way to the meeting of the waters near Manaus. There was even a school on stilts. Birds seen included Black-collared Hawk, Savanna Hawk, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Limpkin, and a number of beautiful Capped Herons. Two Orange-fronted Yellow-Finches landed on the boat and stayed for a few minutes. We saw Great Black Hawk and heard Southern House-Wren. There was some confusion when White-headed Marsh Tyrant and Black-backed Water-Tyrant appeared at the same time. I only saw the former, as did most of the group. Rufescent Tiger-Heron was a nice addition to the list. There were flocks of Red-breasted Meadowlarks and Yellow-hooded Blackbirds. Then I caught up with a pari of Black-backed Water-Tyrants. We started seeing Snail Kites, mostly immatures. I spotted a small group of Buff-necked Ibises. We added Greater Yellowlegs, Brazilian Teal, and Lesser Yellowlegs. We also saw Southern Caracara before Jay went below. A little later, I noticed the first of several Oriole Blackbirds. Then I too went below for a rest and to prepare for travel home.

Somewhat latter, I came back out on the top deck. New birds during the afternoon included Social Flycatcher Spotted Sandpiper, and Solitary Sandpiper. Somewaht later, one of the guides spotted a Sulphury Flycatcher. Jay then got me on a Lined Seedeater, a life bird. Some odd-looking oropendolas turned out to be Russet-backed Oropendolas. My last new bird of the trip was Black-throated Mango.

When we got to the meeting of the waters, we were in the middle of a very broad river, and could not see the birds on the bank. This continued on in to Manaus. The fact that it was late in the day meant that the difference between the waters of the whitewater Amazon and the blackwater Negro was rather muted. We continued up the Negro and anchored off the west side of Manaus. Then we did the final list and ate dinner before going ashore. A few people were dropped off at a hotel, but most of us continued to the airport, where many of us were on the same 12:01 flight to Miami.

I ended the day with 96 bird species including 7 lifers. This makes my final trip total 354 birds, including 94 lifers.

Manaus, Brazil

Return to Miami

Saturday, August 15th: I was sitting on the plane in Manaus as Saturday started at midnight. The flight to Miami left a little late, at 12:20am, but was uneventful. It was about 5:30am when we landed. Unfortunately, I got only a little sleep on the plane. My checked bag was not quick to come out, near the end of the baggage for the flight, and the customs line was slow, but things improved once I was through it. It was almost 7 when I left the parking. It took less than 30 minutes to drive home. I got the bags out of the car and went to bed.