Cristalino Jungle Lodge Report: October 5-11, 2011

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by Rich Hoyer on October 11, 2011 · 5 comments

in Birding Neotropics

I’m winding down my two-month guiding job here at Cristalino Jungle Lodge and will be home in a just a few days.

I don’t want to leave yet – there is still so much to see here, trails I haven’t done at dawn, night walks I want to take. But I will need some down time to whittle down the 10,000+ photos I’ve taken so far.

While with a client who was mostly targeting butterflies this week, I had a great morning on the 50-meter Chip Haven Canopy Tower. He hung out for a short while with me, but when the client decided to work the Saleiro for butterflies I remained on the tower.

The most exciting find was this large swift, flying by with a flock of migrant Purple Martins (exciting in their own right). It appears to be a best match with Great Dusky Swift, Cypseloides senex, a rare and little understood migrant in this region.

This distant soaring Hook-billed Kite was probably a migrant. Not normally thought of as a migrant species, the presence of 10 in a flock once seems imply that they do have some seasonal movements.

This even more distant dark morph bird was so far it was hard to really tell what it was. But the longish tail, paddle-shaped wings, and in some angles really huge bill show it to be a Hook-billed Kite as well.

I actually took this Gray-headed Kite photo from the overlook on the Serra this week, but it’s also something we occasionally see from the towers – a rare resident, probably.

Finally, some of the really nice birds were in the trees right around the tower. This is a Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, a bird I hear every day when I walk the trails.

Another very common canopy bird here is the Tooth-billed Wren, perhaps the only wren that has a song type consisting entirely of mimicry – perhaps suggesting that it’s not really a wren after all. I wonder if its congener the Gray-mantled Wren also mimics.

Here are a few more photo highlights from this past week.

This metalmark, Caria trochilus, was one of the main targets of the client I was guiding this week. This genus is one of the most beautiful and elusive among the butterflies of the Neotropics.

I got up at 3:00 one morning this week to look for night critters and witness dawn chorus on a distant trail. But before even leaving the lodge clearing I had found this Amazonian Tree Boa at eye level in the bushes. We had all been given instructions to grab any boa we found this week while Richard Rasmussen and his film crew were here to film an episode of his Brazilian wildlife show, so I deftly avoided being bitten (this species can be quite bitey) and placed it in a bag for later. Richard was thrilled to have this yellow color morph to film for his show.

When I came back from my long morning hike, this Long-tailed Hermit was trapped in the library. I caught it, fed it some sugar water, and let it fly off.

After a short afternoon rain, a bunch of these Blackish Dashers, Micrathyria atra, were attempting to lay eggs on what they thought was water but was actually the shiny tile porch of one of the guest bungalows.

I should have been dead tired by dinner, but I couldn’t resist another night walk on my own. I was out until 1:30 a.m., but the first 20 minutes resulted in this Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl landing on the ropes from the now defunct rapelling feature on a trail just behind the lodge.

Photo at top: Looking down on Black-bellied Cuckoo from the Chip Haven Canopy Tower at Cristalino Jungle Lodge


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