3 Mar 2018

3 Mar 18 - Colombia: Oilbirds

In the middle of the afternoon, we all met up again. The plan was to walk to some nearby Oilbird caves. Oilbirds are a monotypic Nightbird family. They roost & nest colonially in caves. They are the only nocturnal flying fruit-eating Bird & also are capable of echo locating in the dark. Although they have a wide range covering Trinidad, Panama, Colombia & Venezuela, Guyana, North Brazil,  Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia, there seemed to be a limited number of sites where they can easily be seen. I had only seen them once before in Eastern Venezuela & I was keen to see some more. We drove for a few minutes from the hotel, before pulling over. It was then a half hour walk across open, hot fields where we saw a few familiar species, before we reached a stream within a wood. It was good to get out of the sun. We had been told before in the itinerary, that we would be walking up the stream. In the end, I decided it would be too hot to wear the wellies I had brought & went in my travel sandals. They were perfect in the cool stream, which would have been too deep for the light boots I was normally wearing.
Spectacled Parrotlet: Finally, some reasonable views
 Bare-faced Ibis
After about ten minutes of walking along the stream, we arrived at the Oilbird cave. Not surprisingly, they were dark where the Oilbirds were roosting. Janos had brought a torch which had a broad coverage, but wasn't particularly bright to avoid disturbing the Oilbirds. The photos aren't fantastic, but considering they were taken with a 100 - 400mm lens, on maximum extension, with an ISO setting of 16,000 & 1/25 second, they have come out well enough. All I had was a rock to hold the camera against.
The only problem was after the Oilbird, Janos wanted to head up a very rocky stream bed to look for a Southern Bentbill he had seen on previous trips. Southern Bentbill is yet another Tyrant Flycatcher & while it was a Tick, I decided that it was too slippery to risk breaking an ankle in the sandals & quickly turned back. I decided, it wouldn't be the end of the world, if I miss a few Tyrant Flycatchers in my lifetime. However, when they returned having seen the only Grey-cheeked Nunlets of the trip, then I wished I had pushed on.
Slim-fingered Rain Frog: The second of the day
Slim-fingered Rain Frog: The last view many invertebrates have ever seen
Jesus Lizard: This Lizard is found in streams & rivers. When disturbed, they are able to run across the water's surface, which is why they are commonly known as Jesus Lizards. Their alternative name is Common Basilisk
Damselfly sp.
We were back at the hotel close to dusk. There was enough time to skip the starter at dinner & enjoy a cooling swim in the swimming pool. Every now & then large, Paraque-sized Bats hawked over the pool chasing Moths. A great end to the day.