Monday, 30 July 2012

Stormy Birding - Spasmodic

Monday July 30
It rained all night and, didn't ease until 8.45 when the ever optimistic Alex prodded us into action. We had been up since 5.30........... The Texas group was also leaving to-day, we were surprise when two of them joined us in the Shrike-vireo. After the seats were sort of dried, we climbed on board and made our way to the Pipeline Road, built by the Americans but the pipes were never used. Basically its a driveable track through rainforest. 
We were sodden by the time we got to the entrance. With some difficulty,  I'd put an umbrella up  against the wind on the open top, which helped a little. My right leg and back were the wettest bits. What were we doing? 
The first half an hour was wet, birdless and mosquito buzzing. We were eaten alive. Dozens of them sheltered under my umbrella with me so that had to be furled. Pam went back for the repellant and arrived back in a truck driven by Michael. He'd come to pick up the two Texans (Thank God) and drive them to the airport. Even the pair from Oregon disliked them. We've always liked previous US citizens that we've met birding.......They were loud and brash, filling every space. Pam objected to them eating all the nibbles before we returned each evening !!
Alexis also returned with them in order to drive our vehicle back to us and further up the road. 
Parking the vehicle in a small clearing, Pam spotted a Plain-brown Treecreeper and, under it a White-whiskered Puffbird. My first photographic opportunity.

The with flash shot shows the white whiskers viewable head on but, the colouring is odd.

The rain eased and we saw birds. Our first Mealy Amazon Parrots feeding avidly along with Red-lored in a fruiting tree. Good to compare them. A Double-toothed Kite hunched over a nearby bough. A Sloth hung on an adjacent branch. Seeing the Parrots well in the scope was a bonus, they usually fly  through overhead, squawking.
Most exciting of all was a very good and extensive view of a Northern Tamandua (Lesser Ant-eater) high up in a tree. I didn't expect that. They feed on the Termite nests found near the canopy. Lovely views as it made its way along a palm frond which they use as a bridge. Neither of us had our camera, we didn't want them to get wet. Fantastic.
After turning round, two new Hummers zipped by, Long-billed and Stripe-throated Hermits, the first large, the latter very small. Not exactly crippling views.
Pam found a splendid caterpillar on track-side vegetation. No-one knows its parentage but it's probably a moth. I broke off its leaf, carrying it part of the way before Pam took over, we were able to photograph it before returning it to a suitable plant.

Pouring with rain, we rode back inside again, did the morning's list with Alexis and made our farewells  before he left for a couple of days at home.
Over a solitary lunch, we're the only two left until to-morrow, a tremendous storm erupted. Torrential rain and a strong wind sent the staff scuttling to close all windows. Michael was due to take us out this afternoon but we politely declined. It hasn't stopped raining yet and it's gone 5 p.m.
I have spent the afternoon catching up with my Blog and photographs,  Michael helped me caption the latter.
Nowhere have I mentioned that we shared Norwich airport departure lounge with the entire Norwich City first team squad, trainers and Manager. Dressed in smart team Tshirts and track suit bottoms before flying to Glasgow for a friendly match against Celtic (they won 1-0).

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