3 Mar 2018

3 Mar 18 - Colombia: Early Morning At Rio Claro

We only had a few minutes of  driving to get to the entrance to the Rio Claro National Park which was a pleasant change. We were still up well before light as we had the opportunity to have a quick breakfast before leaving the hotel. The first few minutes of Birding was around the entrance gate, as it was locked up. However, somebody quickly appeared to let us into the park. There was a small open area once we got through the entrance gate which allowed a selection of species to be easily seen.
Boat-billed Flycatcher: Best told from the similar looking Great Kiskadee by the heavy bill with a curved upper mandible and the olive brown upperparts, compared to the rusty coloured wings & tail of a Great Kiskadee
 Straight-billed Woodcreeper: This is a widespread species which occurs from Panama to Venezuela, Brazil, Peru & Bolivia
There were a number of groups of Parrots & Parakeets flying passed, but none were close. But our attention quickly changed when somebody saw my first Barred Puffbird in the open area. Puffbirds often sit still for some time while looking for their next meal. So, they can be reasonably cooperative to see at times, but their sedentary habits mean they can also be easily overlooked.
Barred Puffbird: They occur from Panama to West Ecuador
Barred Puffbird: Just gorgeous
Just as we started to walk along the main track into the forest, Janos heard a Bare-crowned Antbird calling. It provided some reasonable views close to the forest edge. We had only been going about thirty minutes & this Bare-crowned Antbird was my third Tick.
Bare-crowned Antbird: This species occurs from Guatemala & Belize to Northern Colombia
As we continued along the main track, we ran into our second species of Puffbird for the morning: a White-whiskered Puffbird.
The main track with the river to the left
White-whiskered Puffbird: They occur from SE Mexico to Central Colombia
Varied White-faced Capuchin Monkey: Sadly, this party were very wary & quickly disappeared
This was the first time on the trip we had been in low elevation forest & the good Birds kept on coming.
Gartered Violaceous Trogon: This species used to be known as Violaceous Trogon, before it was split a few years ago into three species. Guianan Violaceous Trogon & Amazonian Violaceous Trogon were the other two species. I've chosen to retain the old name within its name
Gartered Violaceous Trogon: This species looks very similar to Amazonian Violaceous Trogon, but can be split on range and it also had a more extensive white line separating the yellow from the blue upper breast & throat
Black-headed Tody-flycatcher: This species occurs from Costa Rica to Colombia. NW Venezuela & West Ecuador. Despite having Birded in all these countries, albeit only Eastern Venezuela, it was another Tick for the morning
Yellow-margined Flycatcher: This is a widespread species which occurs from Colombia & Venezuela to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia & Brazil
Not surprisingly there were a few Butterflies along the track, as well as, some excellent large dainty Damselflies.
Butterfly sp.
Another Butterfly sp.
Large Damselfly sp.: This was closer in body length to a small Hawker Dragonfly
Large Damselfly sp.: They were amazing in flight. It's a pity this photo isn't sharp, but it gives an idea of how different they looked compared to UK Damselflies
We had been walking slowly along the main track for around an hour or so. We hadn't covered a great distance, but had seen a lot in that time. There was a small track heading uphill & away from the river, which we took. I will cover the Birds along that track in the next Post.