Rainy season starts In South-Eastern Brazil

by Richard Raby on November 19, 2007

After conducting two trips running virtually back-to-back from late October, I’m finally back in Marica and with a couple of weeks off, between tours. The weather in SE Brazil is now much wetter and my local lagoons are full to their upper levels. Waterside birding is much better, many species absent upon my arrival in October are now appearing as if from nowhere. White faced Whistling duck, Pinnated Bittern, and Common moorhen etc. are being found commonly on my a.m. drives around my local”patch”.

The two latest tours were both very successful, the first, visiting the Ubertuba area and Itatiaia bagged Russet-winged Spadebill, White-necked hawk and Mantled hawk along with Buffy-fronted seedeater and nesting Purple-tuft at Ubatuba, Black-hooded Antwren and Spotted Bamboo-wren were found as usual in the Angra dos Reis Region and Buff-browed Owl, Black-billed Scythe bill, Bearded Antshrike and Black and Gold cotinga, amongst others, all showed well at Itatiaia.

My second trip visited localities in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo States. We started of at serra do Cipo and although we dipped on Cipo Canasteiro right at the start, things just got better, and better, and better as we continued to visit serra da Canastra, Caraca Monastery, Caetes Valley (ES) and the CVRD(compania Vale do Rio Doce) reserve at Linhares (ES). Highlights of this trip included a pair of Cinereous warbling-finch at 10 paces at Cipo, 3 displaying Brazilian Merganser, Ochre-breasted Pipit on the ground AND in song-flight display, both male and female Helmeted manakin, diplay-flight of Least Night-hawk in daylight and Black-masked Finch etc.etc at Canastra. Red-ruffed Fruit-crow, Swallow-tailed Cotinga and White-breasted Tapaculo together with all targeted antbirds seen well at Caraca.

Moving on to Espirito Santo state Hooded Berryeater, Bare-throated bellbird and Brown-breasted Bamboo-tyrant were seen well at the Caetes Valley along with a number of vocalizing Cinnamon-vented Piha. Our penultimate stop-over at Linhares yielded many of the hoped for species, along with a few unexpected ones. Black-headed Berry eater proved easier than for last-years visit, with at least 3 vocalizing birds marking territories, great views were had of Red-billed Curasow which were seen twice and heard calling at a third location, Red-headed Manakin was found at a previously noted territory as was Crescent-chested Puffbird . The highlight of this fantastic low-level forest reserve (discounting the Curasow of course!!!) were undoubtedly the marvellously close and sat views obtained of Pyrrhura parakeets. Both Marron-faced (leucotis) AND Blue-throated (cruentata) were observed and their voices recorded, the latter species being seen on all three days of our stay and even allowing digi-scoping on one encounter!

Our last stop was at Lagoa Feia in Rio de Janeiro State where we managed to localise both races of Black-winged Stilt (we appear to be on the boundary of mexicanus and melanurus territory here?). Overcast conditions helped in bagging-us both Pinnated Bittern and the rarer Striped-back Bittern here, along with a Rusty-collared seeder and literally hundreds of Snail-kite and Limpkin. Barn Swallows were again present in large numbers and the Delta of the Rio Paraiba do Sul River (which surrounds the lagoa Feia region) appears to represent an important wintering grounds for this species?

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