Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Blog Backlog Catch-up: Guyana in November-December 2018

I departed the WINGS group in Minas Gerais a day early in order to catch my flights to Georgetown for a private tour with my client-friend Joe Thompson. Joe is almost as much into butterflies and dragonflies as I am, and he had a very small list of target birds.

We first took a short internal flight from Georgetown to Iwokrama, with a short stopover in Fairview.

It was a commercial flight, but a small plane using gravel runways.

We flew over miles and mile of untouched rainforest, arriving the middle of  it all, and found a surprisingly comfortable Iwokrama River Lodge.
Iwokrama River Lodge

Much of our birding was along the main highway that runs southward through the middle of the country. Since the southern towns are mostly provisioned through Brazil, there was virtually no traffic along this road, making for great birding.

This silk moth, an Arsenura sp., was at the lodge in the morning.

I was surprised to see this metalmark Helicopis cupido in the lodge as well; previously I had found it only in rather young forest understory near permanent water.
Helicopis cupido

We saw only about 20 species of odonata, including this sylph Macrothemis brevidens.
Macrothemis brevidens

Our second accommodation was Atta Lodge, which I assumed was named after the genus of leafcutter ants, but it turns out to be an indigenous word. Of course we did see some Atta sp. leafcutter ants, but this Daceton armigerum up in the canopy platform was much more impressive.
Daceton armigerum

We first spotted a Blackpoll Warbler at the canopy platform, but later we found one in nearly every canopy mixed flock.
Blackpoll Warbler

We never did locate the highly desired Blue-and-yellow Tanager, but we had a truly fabulous experience with the local and hard-to-see Red-and-black Grosbeak. I just barely managed to get a photo in the dark understory.
Red-and-black Grosbeak

As we searched for these specialties, we encountered many cool critters. This is the widespread South American Lancehead, Bothrops atrox.
Bothrops atrox

Though it looks just like our northern firetails, this damselfly is a threadtail, Neoneura rubriventris.
Neoneura rubriventris

The last few days of the tour saw us in the seasonally dry interior, also with different soils, resulting in a very different, much more open habitat. We met up with a private vehicle driven by Fernando.

The Vermilion Flycatchers here look very similar to the ones in Arizona, though the dark areas are perhaps a bit darker.
Vermilion Flycatcher

One of Joe’s targets here was White-bellied Piculet, which we saw with little trouble.
White-bellied Piculet

A new bird for both of us, and requiring a long jeep ride to a very specific location is the spectacular Sun Parakeet.
Sun Parakeet

During the early part of that long drive we were entertained by this very confiding Crab-eating Fox, Cerdocyon thous.
Crab-eating Fox, Cerdocyon thous

On another walk in the savanna a local driver and guide spotted this gorgeous Tropical Rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus.
Crotalus durissus

These Mysoria barcastus firetip skippers may be among the most colorful members of this typically drab family.
Mysoria barcastus

After a short flight across the entire country from Lethem in the south to Georgetown on the coast, we arrived at the fancy Marriott and enjoyed appetizers and a rum tasting in the lounge.

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