My past season in Brazil was a great success

by Richard Raby on June 29, 2009

I‘ve been in England since mid April now and, as usual, I’m working in Cambridge.

I will be at the Neotropical Bird Club stand of the Rutland Birdfair this August but because of my latter arrival this year I managed to miss-out on the club AGM.

My past season in Brazil was a great success, I made a number of discoveries and I also added to my local experience with noteworthy encounters with a number of uncommon species. I suppose that the highlights of my ornithological year, apart from the uneventful and successful completion of my largest number of visiting groups, have been, in the folowing order of magnitude;

  1. Discovering possible Plumbeous Antvireo stake-outs for myself and at two separate localities.
  2. Finding Cinamon Vented Phia at a previous locality in MG, effectively confirming this as a worth-while “stake-out”, only my second for this species.
  3. Discovering Araucaria Tit-spinetail and Rusty Barred Owl at Serra da Bocaina and at circa 1000meters, (surprisingly low for these two species), and both represent highly procured species for visiting groups.
  4. Finding breeding? Colonies of Grassland Yellow Finch at two localities in MG and ES states. This appears to be an explosive and semi nomadic? Species.
  5. Repeating sightings of Red-ruffed Fruit-crow at two previously know localities suggesting that this very shy bird and very “un-vocal” species may be more sedentary than I had expected, and worth spending more time on finding at stake-outs?
  6. Finding Great Potoo in “typical habitat” in the Nouth Eastern corner of my patch. This is an uncommon species for SE Brazil but historicaly reported from this very same region, where I finally encountered it, in literature.
  7. Confirming a new stake-out for Helmeted Manakin in Eastern MG state. This species is normally encountered at one well-know stake-out in western MG that is getting unduly disturbed. This stake-out should take some pressure off of the original and classic spot at Serra da Canastra.
  8. And lastly: I have finally Re-encountered the Cipo Canasteiro, after over 6 previous attempts with visiting groups and nothing doing !!!!!!!!!!!! This time we searched, by accident, in a different area from that of the discovery site and after filming a Hellymayr’s Pipit and then flushing and pursuing a spotted Northura, we heard the Canasteiro sing which took me totally by surprise. It just sang the once, but that was enough to locate the direction and track it down to a nearby rocky patch. I had been given the run-around by this “almost mythical bird”, for the past 5 seasons, I thought that I knew the species well, but even so it’s proven difficult to see to order. Iindependent visitors can spend days trying to find this one, and often end-up giving up. No locals to my knowledge have ever seen the Cipo Canasteiro and they laughingly refer to the bird as the “Canary “, but this time, when questioned by them, we proudly held our heads up high and responded “YES! We have seen the bloody Canary” !! However when I tried to record this momentous event and get a picture…………………. To be continued.

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