Well, what a night that was! Driving rain began before midnight and it was still chucking it down at breakfast and throughout the 2 hour drive to our first stop of the day. It eased quite a bit by the time we arrived but it was still steady drizzle and not the best conditions to find hummers and in particular the endemic Hooded Visorbearer. One of Ciro’s contacts had informed him last night about an area where there was a profusion of flowers particularly attractive to hummers and so we altered our plans and headed straight there. But man it was raining. So donning ponchos and wielding those pesky umbrellas we set off along a flat track and within 2 minutes we’d found a Hooded Visorbearer – huge relief all round and big smiles from everyone.
|Hooded Visorbearer - endemic|
According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: "The Hooded Visorbearer is endemic to the central part of the state of Bahia, where it inhabits arid and semi-arid montane scrub (at 950–1600 m) rich in cacti, bromeliads, and terrestrial orchids and is listed by BirdLife International as Near Threatened on account of its small range."
In fact, there were hummers everywhere. I would ay we saw at least 6 or 7 visorbearers and the views were quite exceptional as the males were on territory and utilising any prominent perch to watch over their domain. There was also a couple individuals of Brown Violetear – this is an isolated population and the subject of much discussion regarding whether it is in fact a separate species.
We saw one of these birds constantly harassing a Swallow-tailed Hummingbird as it tried to feed on its territory. The most abundant hummer was White-vented Violetear and we also enjoyed crippling close-ups of this pretty bird as well, and there was a few Glittering-bellied Emeralds to complete the picture.
|A very soggy Swallow-tailed Hummingbird|
As well as this spectacular hummingbird spectacle we also saw Spix’s Spinetail, White-bellied Seedeater, Masked Yellowthroat, Rufous Hornero and a flyover Aplomado Falcon.
Leaving here the weather had totally cleared up so we drove to another area of cerrado and walked along another flat track with a wide open vista. A pair of Rusty-backed Antwrens appeared close by, a few Shrike-like Tanagers were really nice, a Pale-breasted Spinetail came in to check us out, there was a group of at least 6 Fork-tailed Flycatchers, and there were several White-eared Puffbirds dotted around.
|White-banded or Shrike-like Tanager|
So leaving here we made our second attempt at the endemic Diamantina Tapaculo and this time were treated to crippling views as one bird appeared just a few feet away. Wow!
|The endemic Diamantina Tapaculo|
A group of endemic East Brazilian Chachalacas in the same area tried their best to remain unseen but failed! I must say the views we have been getting of most species on this tour have been outstanding. So from here we drove a short distance to a restaurant and afterwards set out on a 250kms drive to our base for the next 3 nights at Boa Nova.