Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rounding Off Guyana

It's been an age since I had time to finish off the Guyana trip, so here's the final part of the story...

From Kaieteur, we headed back towards the coast for an overnight stop at Baganara Island. This wasn't really my kind of place - more the sort of place people go to show off - but it was nice and peaceful and the different habitat gave us some new birds to look at. We headed out by boat on the evening to an amazing island of mangroves where several hundred Orange-winged Parrots came in to roost - quite a site, and quite a racket too! The following morning there was time to walk some open, scrubby grassland which proved to be good for Ash-throated Crakes and I found the only Bran-coloured Flycatcher of the trip. Spotted Sandpipers and South American Snipe really looked out of place feeding on the lawns, along with more-expected Collared Plovers and Chestnut-bellied Seedeaters.

Baganara Island - a little less lawn and a little more nice habitat could make this a real heaven-on-earth place to visit.

Collared Plovers graced the lawns at Baganara Island.

This Common Tody-flycatcher couldn't resist peering at me as I sheltered in the bushes from a passing rain shower.

From Baganara, we headed downriver, passing Eddie Grant's house on the way! We stopped close to the coast then transferred by road to Georgetown and had a couple of hours walking around the
Botanic Gardens. This was actually just a park, but it proved to be a nice place to finish off, with a good range of generalist species, a number of which were new for our lists. I hadn't realised that the final dinner included a full-on press conference with TV and newspaper coverage!! We were called upon to talk to a number of dignitaries about the future of tourism in Guyana, something which is a relatively new venture for them and something for which there is still time to get the balance right and not go down the route of so many other countries...

Not exactly the showiest of Guyana's birds, Pale-breasted Thrushes were common at the botanic gardens.

Social Flycatcher hanging out on its own!

Wattled Jacanas are common throughout much of the Neotropics and stomped around on floating vegetation at the botanic gardens.

Female Crimson-crested Woodpecker looks for lunch.

The Sacred Lotus grows abundantly in ditches around Georgetown, having been introduced from Asia. The species has a special place in the minds of many people and always makes for interesting photo opportunities. This is a ripe seed head.

Sacred Lotus flower

Yellow-bellied Elaenia was the last species to be added to our trip list.

Ruddy Ground-doves were very common around the coastal strip and often seen in sizeable feeding parties. These seven males and one female were part of a flock of over 40 in the botanic gardens.

We had seen the Amazonian Water-lilies in their white, first-night colours; now finally we saw some flushed pink and getting ready to open in the evening to release the beetles entrapped for the day within.

Time to reflect on an awesome trip (and think about the drive home from New York!!).