Friday, February 27, 2009

Brazil: Rainforest endemics

The total number of bird species seen on my recent trip to Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest was 239. A further 10 species were heard but not seen. Of this great total 69 were Atlantic forest endemics, such as Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Plain and Maroon-bellied Parakeets, Sombre Hummingbird, Three-toed Jacamar, Pallid Spinetail, Red-eyed Thornbird, Lesser and Scaled Woodcreepers, Tufted Antshrike, Star-throated Antwren, Scaled Antbird, Brazilan Tanager, Uniform Finch and, of course, Yellow-browed and Yellow-eared Woodpeckers. Thanks are due to my companions on the trip and especially to our hard working local guide Pete Forrest.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Campo Flicker habitat

This photo shows the habitat of Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris in Brazil - where I found its nesting site shown in the previous post. Note the lack of trees in this deforested, cattle grazing land. As mentioned before this woodpecker is highly terrestrial in its habits. The sandy bank with the old nest holes is on the right by the track below the tall lone tree. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Campo Flicker nest hole

Here is a photo of an old nest site of Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris that I found in Brazil. This woodpecker is highly terrestrial in its habits and when suitable tree sites are lacking will readily nest in fence posts and banks. This hole was clearly that of the flicker as a family was present nearby and a few yellow-tipped feathers were by the entrance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Serra Dos Tucanos Lodge

In south-east Brazil we stayed at the Serra Dos Tucanos Lodge 
Located near Cachoeiras do Macacu, which is about 1.5 hours north-west of Rio de Janiero, the lodge lies in the Tres Picos State Park and the garden and grounds are bird-filled with around 200 species recorded. The lodge is also an excellent base from which to explore the nearby rainforest and even the odd wetland. The lodge's services and birding guides are very good. It rains a lot here, but when it does you just sit on the veranda and watch the hummingbirds and tanagers at close range!    

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blonde-crested Woodpecker

The garden of the Serra dos Tucanos Lodge in SE Brazil is superb for birds. A rich range of parakeets, hummingbirds, manakins, thrushes and tanagers visit the feeders. One of the most stunning daily visitors, with its bright yellow hair-do, is the Blonde-crested Woodpecker Celeus flavescens. A female dropped in several times a day, and a male occasionally, to hack open placed-out bananas. This female was photographed last week by John Moon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back from Brazil

Back from the heat, humidity and rain of Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest to the snow of Eastern Europe. It was a very good trip with too many birds and too many lifers to list here. Though I should mention the 7 new woodpecker species I saw, the many endemics and the close range hummingbirds at the lodge we stayed at. This snapshot here is of a Black Jacobin hummingbird which was one of the most common. I will post more notes and photos in the coming days.   

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Camp Flicker Sorted!

As I suspected, not easy getting online here in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil! We are seeing all kinds of special bird species, including many endemics, and my woodpecker list has grown, too... White-barred Piculet, Yellow-eared, Yellow-browed, Yellow-throated, Blonde-crested, and my number one target Campo Flicker is sorted! In fact, THAT was the easiest to see being common and a bird of open country. More notes soon... but probably when I am back in Budapest...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Xeno-Canto America

I came across this excellent website whilst researching Brazil's woodpeckers: Xeno-Canto is a community database of shared bird sounds, mainly covering the Americas but also Asia and Europe. As well as a great place for bird sound recordists, it's a very useful resource for travelling birders to check out before setting off to new places where many of the birds may be unfamiliar.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brazil Woody Research

My research and preparations for Brazil continue. Now though all sorts of avian goodies await me there, it will come as no surprise to those of you who know me to learn that I am concentrating on the woodpeckers. I have already mentioned Campo Flicker and Blond-crested Woodpecker in this blog but these are just 2 of the 8 likely species in the areas I will visit. Hopefully I will add these to my world woodpecker list... a list I am steadily working on. The bird in the photo here is not, as you will know, a woodpecker. It's a juvenile Spot-billed Toucanet taken by one of my hosts Andy Foster in the grounds of his lodge.