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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Rupununi River Cruise – 10,000 Birds


Originating from the phrase “Rapon” which interprets to Black-bellied Whistling Duck within the Makushi language, the Rupununi River flows north after which east, the place it then joins the mighty Essequibo River that flows northward via the remainder of Guyana, in the end assembly its finish on the nation’s (solely) Atlantic coast. In the course of the wet season the Rupununi River shares a watershed with the Amazon and is related to a number of different water programs through flooded plains. Thus, the Rupununi River boasts astounding biodiversity and experiencing this ecosystem was a kind of grand finale for our time in Guyana.

After a well-deserved relaxation following a really worthwhile morning’s birding within the close by Moco-moco village, we took the brief stroll from our lodge all the way down to the dock. We had solely simply emerged from the quilt of the path when motion within the sky made everybody instinctively search for. A pair of Jabiru have been locked in a chase, one tucked in its eight foot wingspan and made a dive not too dissimilar from that of a falcon. The second hen adopted go well with, physics itself noisily straining to maintain the hen airborne because it wheeled overhead. Cameras have been nonetheless tucked away, however the expertise left us all with out phrases. It unfolded so rapidly, it might have been fully irritating to try to trace the gargantuan storks as they raced throughout our discipline of view.

For sure we have been enthusiastic about this mission. Pumped, because the individuals say. We set off in our boat downriver, calmly drifting amid sightings of Cocoi Heron, Black Skimmer, and Pied Plover.

Cocoi Heron

Pied Plover

Black Skimmer

Coming throughout a pair of Purple-capped Cardinals was thrilling – resembling the Masked Cardinal that we have been accustomed to in Trinidad however slightly stretched out, as if pulled gently by the tail and invoice concurrently. We noticed the grownup hen drink hesitantly from the river, and I puzzled why it didn’t go for a safer, extra secluded choice. Certainly there will need to have been copious carnivores lurking within the murky water who wouldn’t thoughts a feathery snack. Alas, there will need to have been some lesson happening that was past my understanding.

Purple-capped Cardinal juvenile (above) and grownup (beneath)

The Rupununi River is a magical and serene expertise, inducing a deep sense of calm as if changing into as unhurried because the river itself, winding its method via the plush jungle. A few of the birds we noticed have been acquainted, others manifesting like desires being pieced collectively.

Striated Heron, a routine sighting in lots of locations I’ve been.

Being on the evaluate committee for T&T, I needed to consider a current sighting of a Capped Heron on Trinidad some months prior and I had marvelled at its stately look within the {photograph} supplied. Lastly, I used to be capable of lay my very own eyes on one.

Capped Heron

Meandering alongside the river, I seen that the corners and bends appeared to all the time entice some kind of exercise. A Jabiru disappeared up a small stream round one nook, one other nook was attended to by a small household of Amazon Kingfishers. A few of the banks regarded as in the event that they wanted a lounging jaguar to realize the last word degree of completeness. Round one other bend, we came across a small group of Pale-vented Pigeons on the sand, standing suspiciously near the water’s edge. Slowing down, we drifted previous and noticed them. As soon as they turned snug with our presence, they walked into the shallowest bits and commenced ingesting.

Amazon Kingfisher

Pale-vented Pigeon

Despite the fact that we had encountered many Swallow-winged Puffbirds on the journey to date, I couldn’t move up a chance to {photograph} one other.

Now a number of kilometres from the place we started, we got here to a quiet financial institution close to to the union of the principle river with a tributary. Right here, we have been handled to the sight of a household of Big River Otters that have been stationed on the alternative financial institution.

Chilly, contemporary fruit juices have been handed round and we loved the otter household till the solar properly and actually disappeared. After a momentary stillness day turned evening, and life erupted once more. The sounds of the evening intensified, and we have been fortunate to catch a Band-tailed Nighthawk searching overhead as we have been unmooring ourselves.

Band-tailed Nighthawk

On the way in which again to our lodge, we loved views of each Better and Lesser Bulldog Bats as they darted over the water seeking indicators of fish. Sure, these bats use echolocation to detect the ripples made by fish which might be both on or simply beneath the floor of the water. I can’t even comprehend the decision mandatory for a sonic picture to be that correct.

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