Monday, 22 October 2012

Bolivia - The First Day!

Due to poor wifi service and human error (!) this is a belated first day post.....!

Following a lengthy flight via Miami and a lengthy delay we eventually arrived in Santa Cruz some 4 hours behind schedule. This meant that we couldn’t bird the Botanical Gardens until a few days time and instead drove north towards our lodge for the next couple of nights at Buena Vista. It’s always extremely exciting to be in a new country and have a long list of potential lifers on offer almost immediately. So we began with a quick check around the airport perimeter for Red-winged Tinamou but it was just too hot, so we didn’t linger.

Burrowing Owls

However, just along the road a pair of Burrowing Owls posed nicely, and we saw the first of many Chopi Blackbirds and Southern Lapwings, plus a few distant Fork-tailed Flycatchers. Further on a roadside pool warranted our next stop as some largish shapes proved to be a group of White-faced Whistling-ducks plus a couple of Brazilian Teals. The scope was handy to identify a couple of shorebirds skulking at the far end, which turned out to be one each of Solitary and Pectoral Sandpiper. Then a pair of Sayaca Tanagers flew in and landed on the fence wire, a Rufous Hornero walked past them and a Wattled Jacana posed on the bank as well. Continuing our drive we had plenty of Southern Caracaras, a few Yellow-headed Caracaras, both Black and Turkey Vultures, Purplish Jay, Picui Ground-dove, a close Limpkin, Guira Cuckoo and immature Snail Kite.

Greater Rhea
We made another stop beside a field for our first group of 5 Greater Rheas, and we’d see plenty more along the way this morning. A large pool then caused us a rush of excitement as a stately Maguari Stork was stood in the middle, and then a Savanna Hawk flew in and a Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture appeared close by.

Maguari Stork

We reached our lodge by early afternoon and whilst waiting for lunch we took the opportunity to scan the surrounding area from the veranda. A pair of Rusty-margined Flycatchers were quite active in the shade of some Palm trees, whilst it was apparent there was a heavy southwards movement of Eastern Kingbirds, with small flocks passing overhead all afternoon. A Short-tailed Hawk was scoped nearby, Rufous Horneros patrolled the lawns, and a Streaked Flycatcher was also seen. After a wonderful lunch and a short rest we drove to a nearby area and birded from the quiet road. We did really well with Blue-headed Parrot, Dusky-headed and White-eyed Parakeets and several Chestnut-fronted Macaws flying over. We also had Roadside Hawk, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, and lots of Yellow-headed Caracaras to bump up our raptor list.

Chestnut-eared Aracari
A pair of Fork-tailed Woodnymphs appeared at the same time as a Gilded Hummingbird, and at the same spot a pair of Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers flew in, a Chestnut-eared Aracari was scoped in a Cecropia tree and a Black-billed Thrush flew onto some power lines.

Southern Screamers

We finished the day with Southern Screamers, Laughing Falcon and Buff-necked Ibis to round off a very good introduction to Bolivia’s vast birdlife.

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