We left Cock of the Rock Lodge early to start birding only a half hour down the road. We started running into mixed flocks and great birds right away, and the pace was almost nonstop. I wish I had been able to get photos of all the really cool things we saw, my favorites being Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant. In fact, Paul Cozza, one of the participants, has been snapping great shots with a snazzy camera setup all trip, and he’s surely to have most of these posted to his website eventually.
This Bluish-fronted Jacamar is one of the few that I took time to digiscope. In the same place was a pair of our first Bamboo Antshrikes, a species that is found only in large stands of Guadua bamboo from the foothills into the Amazonian lowlands.
In cloud-forest just above here, we had Golden-bellied Warbler, Yellow-bellied Antwren, and Ocellated Woodcreeper (to be split some day as Tschudi’s Woodcreeper) in mixed flocks. Olive Finch and Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch were lurking in the mossy undergrowth.
As we dropped lower and lower in elevation, we lost things such as Lemon-browed Flycatcher, which we had become familiar with over the past few days. Plumbeous Kites then appeared, a bird more typical of Amazonia – I saw them daily when I spent two months at Cristalino Jungle Lodge in Brazil.
As the morning warmed up, other raptors began soaring, and we were treated to a rare sight of three Solitary Eagles and a pair of Black-and-white Hawk-Eagles, while a short ways down the road was a pair of Black Hawk-Eagles. Great raptors.
But of course, with the warmer temperatures come the butterflies.
These two species of butterflies are the only two in their genus, and their caterpillars both feed on Cecropia tree leaves. It was quite fortuitous to have both land on Sharon Bradford at the same time. The lower one is the Orion Cecropion, Historis odius, and the upper is the Tailed Cecropion, Historis acheronta.
This metalmark is Miranda’s Beautymark, Ancyluris inca miranda (I'm not making this up, Miranda Sonneborn). The true colors were washed out by the flash on my camera and in sunlight were truly breathtaking.
Here is looking northward down the Upper Madre de Dios River, where the Andean foothills meet the uppermost navigable reaches of this Amazon River tributary. Our destination is Amazonia Lodge, which occupies the land on the left side of the river, just left of center. Click on any of these photos for a larger version.
It was just a short boat ride across and less than a mile down the river to the opposite bank. Our new bird for this stretch was a Fasciated Tiger-Heron standing at the edge of a shallow gravel bar, patiently waiting for fish.
We had time this afternoon to watch the hummingbird feeders and flowers by our rooms, where we saw some fantastic birds: White-bearded and Koepcke’s Hermits, Rufous-crested Coquette, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Gould’s Jewelfront, and Golden-tailed Sapphire to mention a few.
Then we wandered down one of the trails where we saw our first Hoatzins and Fork-tailed Palm-Swifts.