07 February - 29 March 2001
by Dave Klauber
Feb 7 – Feb 16
From February 7 through March 29 I spent seven weeks birding in Venezuela, visiting most parts of the country except Amazonas and the upper Orinoco. I found a traveling companion, Bob Higbie, thanks to an ad I placed with the help of Mark Elwonger of Ornifolks. Bob was with me from the beginning until March 16 (Parts 1-3), when I had to leave him to join a non-birding friend on Isla Margarita. We did well with many endemics, and especially Antpittas, but were unlucky with Cotingas, seeing none of the “Cotinga” cotingas.
I am writing this 6 months after the trip, and I have returned the borrowed copy of Mary Lou Goodwin’s book, so certain information will be lacking in this report. As I originally was not planning on doing a trip report, some details, especially regarding accommodations, are missing. All opinions and facts stated are written by me, and Bob should be held blameless! The Venezuela bird guide is getting out of date, and some of the distributions are incorrect. We met Steve Hilty at Henry Cleeve’s, and he told us he has completed a new Venezuelan field guide, but who knows when it will go to press.
One of my main concerns was the effect that carnival would have on accommodations and air travel. We stayed in the Santo Domingo area during the peak of carnival (Sunday-Tuesday), with few problems. However, we had trouble getting a plane from Merida back to Caracas after carnival, which was resolved by flying from the nearby city of El Vigia, and staying an extra day in the Merida area.
CARS - I rented cars from Budget Rent-A-Car, making all arrangements in the US. One good reason for using an international company is that you have more of a chance to resolve disputes than you would with a local company. I had Budget send me written confirmation of the terms before I left the States, which was useful since the Venezuelan offices tried to charge more until I showed them the written agreement. One problem was that insurance is mandatory, even with a gold credit card that covers LDW. I signed agreements “under protest”, and complained to Budget when I returned to the US. They refunded half the insurance. We otherwise had no problems with car rentals. The agency in Merida was particularly helpful. For those of you (like me) who do not drive manual transmission, we were able to get an automatic for the same price as was quoted for a manual in all locations, even when Budget USA told me there were no automatics available at certain locations. Car rentals in general were expensive, averaging about $600 for 9 or 10 days, including insurance, for a compact. The good news is that gas is very cheap, about 35 cents a gallon.
AIR - Air travel is relatively inexpensive in Venezuela, with one way flights averaging $50-$80. The hard part is finding a centralized information source with the fares and schedules for each airline. Many small airlines only fly to one region, so for example, it was hard to get from Merida through Caracas to the east on the same airline. Note that even within the same airline there are significant differences for the same flights at different times of the day, and not all fly the same routes on a daily basis.
RESOURCES - I used a borrowed copy of Mary Lou Goodwin’s Where to Find Birds In Venezuela, which is out of print (referred to as MLG). Mary Lou, who could be contacted through the Venezuela Audubon up till December 2000, was extremely helpful, and e mailed chapters from the unpublished 5th edition, which she is in the process of writing. Rodney Fuentes, who can be contacted through Venezuela Audubon or by his e mail, was also extremely helpful in providing information. Rodney’s e mail addresses are email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. He led a group in the Escalera region the same time as we were there, and they saw more birds than we did, including a Ground Cuckoo!
MLG’s book is generally very good, but there were some glaring errors in mileage in a few instances. I have a separate document with corrections to the 4th edition of her book. One thing I disagree with is her gushing praise of Henry Cleeve’s Guest House. This place is overpriced at $72 per day for a basic bed, paper-thin walls (you better hope the guys in the next rooms don’t snore), and shared cold water showers. The food is good, and Henry is a nice and knowledgeable guy, but he charges a lot for extras. Particularly surprising was a $17 laundry charge to machine wash 4 sets of t-shirts, sox, and underpants. When we were there, there was construction on his property by the electric company, so his property was not very good for birds.
It is also on the main road, not in a quiet secluded place, although it is not that noisy. For accommodation I used the Lonely Planet Venezuela book, 2nd edition, May 1998. This was pretty good, but omitted many towns, probably deemed to be of lesser tourist interest, which nonetheless would have been useful for finding hotels while en route. I had the Nelles map of Venezuela, which, although lacking in many smaller and back roads, seemed to be the best around. Combined with the maps in MLG’s book
Also very helpful were trip reports that I downloaded from several websites, in particular Blake Maybank’s birding the Americas. Jurgen Beckers has some useful trip reports posted somewhere that I forget. His e mail is email@example.com. He leads low-budget trips.
VENEZUELA AUDUBON – Venezuela Audubon rightfully had a good reputation for helping out birders. I think much of this was due to Mary Lou Goodwin, who personally gave me lots of information and help, even though I was a lone birder traveling independently. Birders should be aware that as of the end of 2000 Mary Lou has left the Audubon. When I asked the Audubon to make a hotel reservation for 1 night in Caracas, arrange a taxi pickup, and make arrangements to stay in Henri Pittier for two, they wanted to charge me over $100 more than the costs. I easily made the hotel arrangements myself, and taxis are available at the airport.
I was not all impressed with their answers when I asked them about this high cost (“we’re a travel agency, we have overhead, costs,” etc.). In fairness, I later used them to make reservations at Henry Cleeve’s, which they did, even meeting me at Caracas airport to give me the voucher (I paid their cab costs, which was fair enough). Later they also assisted my friend in making taxi reservations and 1 night’s accommodation in Caracas for no extra charge. Maybe my initial problems were just due to some transition issues, but they seem to be more of a typical travel agency than a birder’s information source since losing Mary Lou and Rodney. I hope this will change.
I brought traveler’s checks, American Express, US dollars, and some cash. The checks can be difficult to change outside major cities or tourist areas. Many places accepted credit cards, even relatively low budget hotels. I did have one surprise, about 4 months after I had left Venezuela, when a company called Maxima Seguridad tried putting in 2 monthly bills for over $1000 each on my American Express card.
ACCOMMODATIONS & FOOD
We generally stayed in low budget hotels. Room prices ranged from $7-$35 for a double, with the majority being in the $15-$25 range. Many places listed as being $15 in Lonely Planet were actually about $25. In most areas we needed a place for the car, which precluded a few low budget places. We usually ate in local restaurants and roadside truckstops, with no problems for me, although Bob was often uncomfortable, primarily due to an intolerance to many sauces and ingredients. I always drank bottled water, but was generally casual about the places I ate in. The food in general was good and cheap and the licuados (like a milk shake without the ice cream, generally fruit juice and milk) are very good. There are few places open before dawn throughout Venezuela, but there was usually a bakery somewhere that opened around 6 or 7 AM. We survived on bread, pastries, and the tasty liquid yogurt drinks that are readily available.
TELEPHONE / COMMUNICATIONS
Buy telephone cards in local shops. You usually need one even to make a toll free call with public telephones. You can buy them in units of about $3 and $5, and up. I was usually, though not always, able to get through with an MCI calling card in any town of size. The larger cities had Internet cafes, with very reasonable rates – often under a dollar for an hour. Computer speeds were very slow everywhere – it takes 15 minutes just to download and read a few e mails
Most of the major areas in Venezuela, excepting the Amazon, the Caura region, and of course the dangerous Perija region.
We saw 641 species, and heard another 11, for a trip total of 652. I saw half the endemics and got 136 lifers. Bob had a lot more lifers than me. I have not yet generated an electronic trip list, but any queries will be answered regarding specific species.
Biggest misses – Tocuyo Sparrow, in spite of two separate tries, Merida Wren, and many of the Cotingas (Pompadour, Spangled, Guianan Red, Red-banded Fruiteater). We did see both Cock-of-the-Rocks and Capuchinbird.
Inquiries about specific species will gladly be answered at:
Feb 6 – travel day
I caught a direct flight from NY to Caracas, arriving a bit before 11 PM. Bob arrived shortly after me, and we took a cab to the hotel in Caracas (the one recommended by Venezuela Audubon). There are cabs at the airport at night since many international flights arrive late. The cab ride is about $30 US and takes about 30-35 minutes with light traffic (beware rush hour, though).
Feb 7 – Llanos
Rodney Fuentes, formerly of the Venezuela Audubon and now an independent guide, met us at our hotel to give us some helpful information. Afterwards we took a taxi back to the airport and picked up our Budget car, after an argument about the mandatory car insurance, which was covered already by my credit card. We drove west towards Maracay, heading south on route 11 or 2 through San Juan de los Morros to Calabozo in the llanos.
MLG’s book mentions a very good roadside restaurant on the main highway towards Merida, about an hour or less (?) from Caracas – it is a good place for lunch and a drink (good licuados & fruit juice), and had Glittering Throated Emerald there both times that I visited. We made several stops along the highway south of route 13 and before Calabozo. Crested Bobwhite, Pileated Finch, Long-winged Harrier, Gray Seedeater, and other birds were seen in the later part of the afternoon. We stayed at a hotel on the right side of the main highway in Calabozo, which was OK.
Feb 8 – Llanos
The day was spent roadside birding in the llanos from Calabozo to Mantecal. A wooded area just past the outskirts of Calabozo was very productive. Many water birds can be seen from the road, including six species of Ibis. We saw a Double-striped Thickknee a bit before dusk, the only one of the trip. By not staying at an expensive hato we missed a few birds, like Agami Heron, Comb Duck, and Zigzag Heron (tough even at hatos). The highway was potholed in many places, but definitely passable in a regular car. In Mantecal we stayed at a hotel off the first road to the right, as you take the road into town. It had parking and was OK, and had a restaurant where we ate dinner.
Feb 9 – Llanos and out to Bocono
Modulos de Mantecal, a bit outside Mantecal, off to the left, was a good birding area in the morning. The road from Mantecal to Bruzual looks like it was bombed in places, with major sections of asphalt missing. It was passable, slowly, in a regular car. The vegetation in much of this section was burnt out and not too productive. The vegetation around the bridge just outside Bruzual had good habitat, although we arrived around midday, when it was fairly quiet. We drove all the way to Bocono, in the Andes, where we spent the night on the far (west) side of town in a nice, but fairly expensive hotel (about $40). We had trouble finding the places mentioned in Lonely Planet. The ride through Bocono seems to take forever – allow at least a half hour to get to the beginning of Guaramacal from where we stayed.
Feb 10 – Guaramacal Park
We drove up the very bad road to Guaramacal. I would advise birders to get a 4 wheel drive to drop them off at the top, and bird your way down. The road is so rutted that driving is often not much faster than walking, especially with a normal car. Unfortunately, we locked the keys in the car around 9 AM about 2/3 of the way up the mountain, so the rest of my morning was spent getting a lift back to the town to find someone to help us. The police or rangers at the bottom of the road were helpful, calling the tourist police to help us out. By the time we opened the car with a coat hangar, most of the morning was gone, so we slowly worked our way down. This was a shame, since the habitat was excellent. This is well worth a good day’s birding. We drove to Sanare in preparation for a visit to Yacumbu Park the next day. We stayed in the hotel recommended by MLG, which was OK and had a decent restaurant – and a pay phone.
Feb 11 – Yacumbu Park
We set out before dawn to arrive in Yacumbu at dawn, about 30 minutes’ drive from Sanare. We heard Rusty-flanked Crake at the lake, but I could not see it, although Bob got a glimpse of one. We spent most of the morning at the pond, then tried the cloud forest trail near the buildings. This was great habitat, but we were there on Sunday and there were many people hiking, although we still had some small flocks. I returned to Yacumbu at the end of March, with better luck. On the way out towards Quibor, we checked out the quarry area for Tocuyo Sparrow, but no luck. We drove towards the Palmichal area, spending the night in a town an hour or so east of Barquisimeto.
Feb 12 – Palmichal & Henri Pittier
It took an hour to drive to Palmichal. We asked for permission, then birded about a mile along a road that descended into forest. Apparently this road continues for miles. Bob got a look at the Handsome Fruiteater high in a tree, which I missed. We finished around noon, then drove towards Maracay. We arrived in Maracay mid-afternoon, and decided to drive and scout the Choroni Road. We continued down towards Choroni, staying for 2 nights at the Gran Posada Inn on the left (mentioned in MLG), right by a sharp curve to the right, and the (unmarked) museum road. The room was basic but in nice habitat.
Feb 13 – Henri Pittier – Choroni Road
We birded the posada grounds at dawn for about 45 minutes. We got 3 lifers there – Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Glaucous Tanager, and White-eared Conebill. We then birded the museum road and the trail by the cocoa plantation on the other side of the stream. No Wire-Tailed Manakin, unfortunately, although we did see Lance-tailed. There was a flowering tree next to the museum on the stream’s edge with many hummingbirds. Later we drove 15km up the Choroni Road and birded back down.
Feb 14 – Henri Pittier – Choroni Road & Rancho Grande
Another departure in the dark to get to the summit of the Choroni Road at dawn. We spent the whole morning walking the road near the summit. No cracids, but excellent birding, and the only Rufous-cheeked Tanager of the trip. We descended the Choroni Road and arrived at Rancho Grande mid-afternoon. We spent an hour or so on the balcony, then stopped along the highway a few km down from Rancho Grande towards Maracay, where we found some parrots and passerines.
The next two nights we stayed in Maracay at the Hotel Caroni which was decent, not nearly as expensive as the places recommended by MLG, and very convenient for birding Rancho Grande – only about 20-30 minutes’ drive.
Feb 15 – Henri Pittier – Rancho Grande road
Since the guards will not open the gate before 7 AM, we arrived at Rancho Grande just before 7 AM. The day before we had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a slightly earlier opening. As it was, I finally had to repeatedly honk the horn at 7:05 to get them to open the gate. While we were waiting we got a good (and our only) look at a White-tipped Quetzal male that flew in the canopy just past the locked gate. We checked out the balcony for a while, then checked out some of the trails past the building. On the way out I saw my only Handsome Fruiteater male, quite close to the buildings, at eye level. We birded the road down the other side towards Ocumare, spending the rest of the day on this side of the mountains. We brought Christian, a European herps student who was working in Venezuela, with us and he showed us some interesting lizards.
Feb 16 – Henri Pittier – Rancho Grande road
Another 7 AM arrival at Rancho Grande to bird the trails past the buildings, going up the mountains. It was good birding here, including a loose mixed flock of foraging Black-faced and Short-tailed Antthrushes. It became much quieter after 10:00, so we stopped our ascent and returned down. We returned to the Ocumare road, descending to the ocean. In mid-afternoon we drove back towards Caracas, since we were flying to Merida and the Andes the next day. Trying to avoid staying in Caracas, we took the old highway past Los Teques to find a place along the way. We hit lots of traffic, but found a place that was only about 35 minutes (without traffic) from Caracas airport. It was on the west side of the old highway, and had a name like Las Vegas hotel. Undoubtedly a short-stay place (matrimonial beds only), it was nonetheless very modern and clean, with a good but pricey restaurant, for about $30, I believe. I stayed there again towards the end of my trip.
Feb 17 – Saturday, travel day
In Caracas airport we bought tickets on a local airline, whose name I forget, to go to Merida. There were several hours of delays in Caracas, so we didn’t arrive in Merida until late afternoon. I believe the plane fare was about $60 one way. Note that several airlines fly from Caracas to Merida, offering different fares for different times of the day. Unless you can find a travel agent, the only way to get this information is by visiting each airline desk. Through the tourist agency at the Merida airport we found the Posada Mara, just off the Parque las Heroinas. It was about $10 with hot water – basic but adequate. It’s also listed in Lonely Planet. There are several other posadas or cheap hotels in the area, and also several restaurants.
Feb 18 – Sunday, Pico Humboldt Trail
A public minivan, or “por puesto” (which means by place), took us to Tabay, then another one got us to La Mucuy, where the trail starts. You could also get a taxi direct from Merida for about $20. Public transportation was much cheaper, only a couple of dollars, but of course a bit slower. We arrived after dawn, and proceeded up the trail. If you are not used to high altitude, like us, this will be slow going, especially at the higher parts of the trail. This was Sunday, and as the day progressed we met several groups of hikers, but it wasn’t too disruptive. The first few hours were almost without people. We were lucky to get a good luck at a Slate-crowned Antpitta on the way up. After climbing for 2 hours, the trail descends over a stream, then begins a long ascent. This was the toughest part, altitude-wise. Bob returned after a while, and was rewarded with several endemics that I missed, including seeing the Gray-Naped Antpitta. I huffed and puffed my way to the lake, but was so exhausted by the altitude that I didn’t walk around very much. There were a few hummingbirds here, and the only Red-crested Cotinga of the trip. I slowly went down, walking the last half-hour in semi-darkness. The Pico Humboldt Trail is highly recommended, but allow lots of time.
Feb 19 – La Azulita road, Olinda
The best part of the morning was lost due to logistical problems. We found out all flights were booked from Merida to Caracas, after carnival, so finally we bought tickets from El Vigia instead, which is about an hour from Merida. There were delays with the car rental, too, although one of the Budget people was extremely helpful. By the time we got to the La Azulita road, it was late morning, and the fog was starting to roll in. We didn’t see too much here, and continued down to the Olinda area, as described in Jurgen’s trip reports. We saw a few parrots, but there was also rolling fog here, and in general this was not a productive birding day. We stayed in a hotel at El Vigia in preparation for an early trip to Puerta Concha.
Feb 20 – Catumbo lowlands, Maracaibo
We left before dawn for Puerto Concha, in Zulia province. On the road to Concha we saw a pair of Aplomado Falcons flying and perched right near the road. We obtained a boat – the Angel 5, with Eduardo – to look for Northern Screamer. Eduardo was good and is recommended, and he found the Screamer across the lake. I forget the price, but it was reasonable (maybe$25?). Along the canal on the way back we had a close view of a raptor that I believe was an adult Slender-billed Kite, although the book says it does not occur here. There was no white in the bird’s tail.
After the boat trip, we took the road to Encontrados, then south through El Guayabo. South of Encontrados we found Horned Screamer, making it a two screamer day. We drove through La Fria and La Grita up the mountains to El Zumbador, near the Queniquea road. We birded the Q. road for an hour, but thick fog stopped us. We found a basic hotel at the main intersection in El Zumbador, with the best Andean soup (pisca andeana) of the trip.
Feb 21 – Queniquea road, Tachira
The Queniquea road has some excellent habitat along the road edge. In the morning we briefly birded the road edge, then parked by the highest point and walked up the access track next to some power lines. Fog and mist rolled in and out all morning. When they lifted, the forest further down the road could be very good at times, including my life Barred Fruiteater. In the late morning we drove just north of San Juan de Colon and birded a side road off the secondary highway in a long shot attempt to find Tachira Emerald. The side road was about half a km past a Café Madrid sign, with a “Bloqueria” sign or something to that effect. It had decent habitat along a stream that ended shortly at a village. We drove past San Cristobol towards Betania, arriving in Las Delicias at dusk. We found a place on the left side of the “main” road, just past the plaza Bolivar, marked Restaurant. In fact, it is a closed hotel/restaurant run by a very old couple (eighties?), but they nonetheless rented us 2 rooms for about $7 each, and cooked us spaghetti. This would probably be hard to negotiate if you don’t speak Spanish.
Feb 22 – Betania, Tachira
We set out in the dark, arriving in Betania around dawn. The road was winding and had potholes, and combined with the fog, was not a fun drive, although passable. Finding Don Pedro’s farm, as mentioned in MLG, was difficult. I asked 2 local guys, maybe in their early twenties, who were the wrong guys to ask. They asked us questions, mentioned guerillas, and hopped in the car, saying they were going to the same place. When we reached the road junction I told them we were going somewhere else first, and they reluctantly got out.
We drove around for 45 minutes, then returned to Don Pedro’s farm. From (bad) memory, I remember that as you first enter the village there is an intersection and a church on your left (that has the nighthawks) – this is where you turn left. After a half km or so, there is a Parque Binacional sign on the right indicating the road where you turn right. Then there is another sign where I think you turn left. The house is on the left, up a hill with some pine trees near it. We asked permission of the women at the house, then birded up the path to almost the paramo. This was great habitat, and we saw some of the regional specialties, in spite of intermittent fog. We decided to return the next day, managing to find a place in Villa Paez, which is even closer to Betania – only 20-30 minutes. We asked the woman, Sonia, in the local bakery on the plaza corner, and she found Don Alfonso, who had a half built building attached to his house just off the plaza Bolivar. This was VERY basic, with a pipe in the wall for a shower over the toilet that never stopped mildly flushing. The bakery woman found someone to cook dinner for us. The Villa Paez people warned us that the area around Betania is dangerous, and that we should be careful. It is right on the Colombian border.
Feb 23 – Betania
Another day in Betania. Just before dawn were a flock of Semi-collared / Short-tailed Nighthawks flying around the light at the beginning of the town. The difference from the previous day was remarkable on the trail behind Don Pedro’s house. We saw few birds and no mixed flocks all day. I went into the paramo, but there was a lot of fog and no birds even when the fog cleared. The best bird was a flock of White-capped Tanagers that briefly flew right over us in the first 30 minutes, just before the first main clearing past the house. Bob never got a decent look at them, and I only saw the white on one bird. We left the area in the early afternoon, opting for a bit more comfort in Rubio.
Feb 24 – Rio Negro/Rio Frio, Tachira
Before dawn we arrived on the RioNegro/Rio Frio road mentioned in Goodwin. There were Pauraques on the road. This area was very good, one of my favorites of the trip. We walked up the now overgrown road to the old park headquarters. Along the way we were stopped by a ranger or park employee who was at first quite unpleasant, saying we needed permits and couldn’t go there. He softened up a bit when we explained we were ignorant of the situation and just wanted to bird for a few hours. In the end he was actually helpful and friendly, walking with us for part of the way to the old HQ. It was an unusual encounter. White-bearded and Striped Manakins were here, along with several antbirds. At the old park HQ was a territorial Sooty-capped Hermit. We reached 400 species for the trip, parts 1 and 2. The afternoon was spent driving to Barinas on a very good highway. I think we stayed at the Hotel Turistico Varyna, on the main road to town. It was a bit pricey, but nice.
Feb 25 – Santo Domingo Road
Sunday was spent birding up the Santo Domingo road. First stop was outside Barinitas on the road that goes on the northeast side of the river. Bob found a pair of Pale-headed Jacamars in the bushes along the riverbed, where the road turns sharply to the left, where you could actually drive onto the riverbed, about a km up the road. We spent an hour at the Soledad road, which wasn’t that easy to find. It was late morning and generally quiet. Next was the San Isidro tunnel road. We planned it so that we arrived on Sunday, when the quarry was closed.
This is a narrow road with no shoulders in most spots, and would be very challenging if a truck were descending in the opposite direction. It was early -afternoon by the time we got to the quarry. There were a few day hikers there also. Birding was good along the path past the quarry. We birded to the tunnel and waited at the tunnel overlook for over an hour. On the way back Bob and I separated and I saw a pair of displaying Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks around 4 PM, a few hundred yards from the stream crossing towards the quarry, quite near the trail. We left the quarry road late in the afternoon, and managed to see a pair of Torrent Ducks from a river bridge further up the road. Accommodation was found in a nice and not too expensive guesthouse, Posada Hortensia, about 4 km past the gas station north of Santo Domingo, overlooking the river valley below.
Feb 26 – Gustavo’s trail, Laguna Mucubaji, Mifafi Condor center
Gustavo’s trail was the first place we hit. It was only 15-20 minutes from the guest house, maybe less. We only spent just over an hour, since there were few target birds for us here. Next stop was the high altitude road to the Mifafi Condor Center. We parked by the turnoff to the center, and walked the 1 km to the center.
At the beginning, just past the gate that announces the center, is a house on the left with a bush or two to the left of the house. Bearded Helmetcrest was in the bush. We descended to Laguna Mucubaji, but there were people everywhere, as this was the Monday of carnival. Since fog was starting to roll in at the higher elevations, we returned to the guest house. Bob took the car back to the tunnel road to get the Cock-of-the-Rock, and I got a cab to Los Frailes at 3:30. I birded there till dark, but did not see the nightjar, described as “always there” in MLG. In general, it was disappointing. I ate dinner there, and the food was very good, although expensive.
Feb 27 – Laguna Mucubaji, Laguna Negra
We hit the Laguna Negra trail at dawn to try for the Merida Wren, which we never saw. The trail is much further than indicated by the signs, and it took us a couple of hours to get to Laguna Negra. Another Bearded Helmetcrest was found in the shrubs by the lake, also Ochre-browed Thistletail. But there were no birds here that we did not see elsewhere. I would highly recommend that birders skip this spot, especially since it’s also a popular tourist spot with groups of horseback riders. Our last and most productive stop was the paramo near the top of Pico Aguila, especially the area just below the restaurant at the top, on your way up from. Although the vegetation is low and seemingly minimal, we managed to see all the high altitude specialties except the Condor and Merida Wren by walking through it. I would highly recommend that birders go here first thing in the morning, and skip the Laguna Mucubaji area. In mid-afternoon we drove back to Merida and returned the rental car. The Posada Mara was where we stayed again.
Feb 28 – Pico Humboldt Trail
Once again we took public transportation to the Pico Humboldt trail. The objective was to bird up to where the trail descended into the stream valley, to see some of the endemics that we had missed on our first trip. We did well, although the first trip was somewhat better. Amazingly, I ran into a birding friend from New York, Doug Futuyma, who was with Jurgen and a small group of birders. Chestnut-crowned Antpittas were common on both trips, calling throughout the day, but we never saw one. An Undulated Antpitta treated us to excellent looks while hopping along the trail in front of us for a few minutes.
I finally saw the regional endemic Moustached Brush-Finch that I had missed first time around. This was our last day birding in the Andes.
Mar 1 – travel day
We flew from El Vigia (substitute for Merida) in the Andes to Caracas, then from Caracas to Puerto Ordaz on a separate airline, arriving mid-afternoon. In Caracas we were met at the airport by Chavela of Venezuela Audubon, who gave us our vouchers to stay at Henry Cleeve’s Guest House. We paid her taxi fare ($30) to the airport, since we did not have the time to travel to Caracas and back to get the voucher. It can be difficult to fly more than one leg with the same local airline.
The one way fare for both legs was about $110 each, I believe. It was easy to upgrade to an automatic car at the Budget counter, and we decided to drop off the car in Maturin for an extra $40. This was still a lot faster and probably not that much more expensive than returning the car to Puerto Ordaz and busing it to Maturin. We drove south towards the Escalera, reaching the town of El Callao at dusk. We stayed at a new hotel that was on the main street that enters town, a couple of hundred yards past the main markets on the left side of the street. It was decent enough and not too expensive.
Mar 2 –Route 10, Escalera
Leaving early, we drove south on the main highway, stopping at the bridge near km 0 to look for swallows. Next stop was a side track off to the left around km 18. There are many side tracks into the fields and forest off the main highway, and you could easily spend a lot of time checking them out. There is an access road that follows underneath the power lines that parallel the highway, with lots of clearings and edge habitat. About 2-3 hours were spent here, then we continued south, arriving at Henry Cleeve’s about 11 AM. The Cleeves were not home, and it took a bit of explaining to a worker that we had already paid to stay there ($72 each per day, including all meals).
There was more confusion when Mrs. Cleeve arrived, since she did not know we were booked, and a VENT tour had rescheduled to arrive at the same time as our last day. We watched the hummingbird feeders for a while, and took a walk around the property. Unfortunately, the electrical company was constructing something on his property, keeping bird activity low. Other than the hummingbirds at the feeders, birding on the Cleeve property was poor. After lunch we birded the afternoon at several places in the Escalera up to km 105.
Mar 3 –Capuchinbird Road & Escalera
The Capuchinbird road was done first thing in the morning. We saw the amazing Capuchinburds on their lek, in the canopy. The rest of the morning was spent walking up the road to the river. An ant swarm was near the road, not too far from the lek site, where we found Rufous-throated and White-Plumed Antbirds. We broke for lunch, then hit the Escalera road. A male Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock flew across the road, but disappeared. A jaguarundi was seen by the side of the road. Another good spot is the small clearing on the right, a few hundred yards before the checkpoint (Alcabala), around km 122-23, where we saw a few goodies, notably Greater Flowerpiercer. Rodney’s group saw Rose-collared Piha here twice, but we never got one.
Mar 4 –Escalera
This morning the latter half of the Escalera was birded. We started with km 120-121. The km 130-131 area, just past the hill as the road descends going south, was a good spot to which we returned throughout our stay. MacConnell’s Spinetail was seen or heard here on every visit. Rodney’s group got a female Red-banded Fruiteater here, but that one eluded us. The male Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock was seen well near km 121. Henry Cleeve had packed lunches for us, so we spent the whole day in the field.
Around km 136 there is a change in habitat as the highway opens into the Sabana Grande. A Dutch couple told us they saw the Roraiman Barbtail here, but we missed it. At the end of the day we had one of your luckiest times of the entire trip. Near km 115 around 5:30 PM a pair of Black Curassows walked on the highway’s edge, giving us great views. About 5:50, on the hill about 100 yards before (south) of the Piedra de la Virgen monument, a Gray Winged Trumpeter came out along the road, also allowing us excellent views.
Mar 5 –Escalera, Sabana Grande
The first 2 hours were spent on the Capuchinbird road in a vain search
The Capuchinbirds could be heard as late as 8 AM. A lucky find was a female Bearded Bellbird near km 136 – we heard but never saw the males. The monument on the Sabana was not very birdy on either of our 2 visits. We did see briefly a Tepui Goldenthroat at the edge of the highway just past the monument. We drove south onto the Sabana, where we found a basic but decent hotel with a rather large & nice restaurant (for catering to bus tourists) at Kamoiran, about km 172. There is also a gas station here.
Mar 6 – Sabana Grande, Escalera
Around dawn we headed north to look for Sabana birds, but we did not find very much. Somewhere we heard about a marsh around km 142, but it was a fair way off to the west. We walked through the scrub, but basically it was dry and not worth the walk. We returned to km 136, then km 130 on the Escalera, with no new finds. Near km 111 we found a Blue-fronted Lancebill in bad light, the only new bird of the day for me. We got to El Palmar at night, in preparation for Imataca preserve the next day. We stayed in the place mentioned in MLG, which was OK, but a bit pricey for what you get. Dinner is whatever they feel like cooking, no options.
Mar 7 – Imataca
Luck was with us as we managed to join a group of three Brits that had arranged a ride to the Harpy Eagle area inside Imataca. The road inside Imataca is mostly OK, but there are a few spots where a normal car would probably get bogged. The cost of the jeep is expensive – about $70, but there are no other options other than renting your own jeep. Someone said you need a permit to enter, but there were no controls whatsoever on our 2 visits there. Our driver / guide lead us on the trail to the Harpy eagle nest. Four Gray-winged Trumpeters ran up the trail in front of us, not seen by all. The trail itself was excellent birding.
Rodney’s group found the Ground Cuckoo, and we all saw some antbirds, including Rufous-throated. When we arrived at the nest, the fledgling was already feeding, and we never saw the adult, in spite of waiting 5-6 hours. The young bird was huge, however, with a full crest and was already taking short flights around the branches. Screaming Pihas were heard frequently. Grayish Mourner was also there. A nice treat was both King and Yellow-headed Vultures perched in the same tree in a clearing about 10 minutes before the nest site. At dinner Mary Lou Goodwin came over and introduced herself. She is a very nice person who is generally concerned about her country and how we were faring.
Mar 8 – Imataca
We returned to the Harpy eagle trail again with the 3 British birders, in another vain attempt to see the adult bird. The fledgling was perched a bit higher up in the nest tree. Since my plan was to wait for the adult eagle, I didn’t see many birds because I didn’t adequately explore the possibilities along the trail. There were many birds calling on the way in, which I ignored to reach the nest quickly. One nice bird near the nest site was Red-necked Woodpecker. Around midday we slowly birded back along the trail, and walked back along the main track until dusk, when we arrived by the bridge. I lucked out with another 2 Black Curassows crossing the main trail in the heat of the day.
Mar 9 – Transit
We left El Palmar, birding the road on the way out on our way to Puerto Ordaz. We stopped again at the Rio Caroni bridge on the main highway to check for swallows, finally seeing Black-collared Swallow. We stopped briefly at the Parque Cahamay waterfalls – nice, but no birds of interest. We continued on to Maturin, dropping the car off at the Budget office at the airport. There was an hour delay while we waited for a faxed copy of my deposit voucher from Puerto Ordaz that never came. I made the mistake of leaving my credit card voucher unsigned, and found out when I returned home that they charged me $40 extra. I complained to Budget in the USA and the difference was promptly refunded – another good reason to use international car rental companies.
We took a cab to the bus terminal, and caught a minibus to Caripe. These are small crowded buses, with not much space for luggage. The trip took about 3 hours. Caripe’s hotels were mostly full due to weddings and some event. We spent one miserable night at the Hotel Saman – no water half the time, noisy – then moved across the street to the Hotel Venezia the next 2 days. The manager of the Venezia was very helpful, even offering us the use of showers in his hotel while we were at the Saman. Both are listed in Lonely Planet. He also went out of his way to find accommodations for other travelers who couldn’t find a place to stay.
Mar 10 – Oilbird Caves, Caripe
Taxis are cheap and readily available to the Oilbird caves, which are only about 20 minutes from Caripe. There is a nice trail opposite the caves which had White-tailed Sabrewing, among other birds. Maroon-fronted/White-eared Parakeets were common and noisy around the caves. The caves don’t open until 8 AM, and the first tour starts when they have enough people. The experience inside the caves was pretty unique with the racket from the birds. Since we had no car of our own, we negotiated with a taxi to take us to Miraflores to look for the ranger who knew where the Gray-headed Warbler had been seen. The ride was $30 each way.
The guard who knows where the trail is, and who took some birders to see the bird the previous year, is named Jesus Gonzalez. Unfortunately Jesus was working that day at the Oilbird caves, and we discovered later that he had been the first person we had spoken to that morning (at that time not knowing his name), so we returned to the caves, $60 poorer. Jesus agreed to take us to the area where the warbler was seen, even though it was Sunday, his day off. That evening we visited the caves around dusk to see the birds leaving to feed.
Mar 11 – Miraflores
A previously arranged taxi picked us up at 5 AM so that we could get an early start up the mountain. It was about an hour’s drive from Caripe. We met Jesus at the ranger station, and after waiting for him to have his morning coffee, set out. He took us to the spot where he had seen the bird about 7 months earlier. He went on his way while we spent several hours unsuccessfully trying to find the bird. There were some birds, but basically this was not one of our better birding days. I think the name of this area was Marapiche forest reserve. Miraflores is a popular local bathing spot.
Mar 12 – Paria National Park, Las Melenas
The manager of the Venezia was going to Carupano, so we got a ride with him to the bus station, where we caught a group taxi to Irapa. We arrived in early afternoon at the nearby town at the base of the Las Melenas road, and tried to get to Las Melenas in the mountains. There were no trucks or transports for a while, but after an hour or so there was one descending truck that was willing to take us back up for about $15-20. At Las Melenas, a very small village, we looked up Ramon and Raina Subero, who MLG said would put people up. They now have a telephone, 014-779-3120, so any birders wishing to stay there should call first so ensure they have adequate food.
We were served some moistened dried oily fish, which was extremely salty and barely edible, in my opinion. They also wanted 30,000 bolivars for a bad bed and hammock, which was even more than the hotel in Irapa. The guard at the ranger station showed us a room with about 4 bunk beds that he said he would rent for 5,000 bolivars per person. Food would be extra. It costs 2,000 bolivars per person per day to enter the national park. We spent the last few hours of the day birding the park, mostly on a narrow trail that went down to the left. Female Handsome Fruiteater was here, also the Sabrewing, Scissor-tailed Hummer, the Paria Whitestart, and other goodies.
Mar 13 – Paria National Park, Las Melenas
An early start for the park, where we took the trail that goes up to a ridge, then over to the other coast eventually. Bob turned back about 2/3 of the way up, and I was lucky to see Plain-backed Antpitta hopping along the trail. At the ridge I got the White-throated Barbtail, which acted more like a Winter Wren, skulking like a mouse. The cloud forest habitat is only near the top, a relatively small area.
On the way down I saw an amazing sight. I saw some commotion on the ground just off the trail, then nothing. The confusing lump in front of me was 2 Slate-crowned Antpittas with their mouths open and locked around each other, like they were trying to bite each other’s heads off. They remained motionless on their sides for a minute or two, then made a harsh alarm rattle and flew off. After returning to Las Melenas we got a ride back to Irapa, where we stayed at the Hotel Maryoli, which was OK. We had left most of our luggage there the previous day.
Mar 14 – Vuelta La Larga
I had allowed 2 extra days in the itinerary for unforeseen delays. Since everything went well, we now had 2 extra days on our hands. We decided to splurge and try the Vuelta La Larga mentioned in MLG’s book.
The next morning we took a public taxi, the equivalent of buses in this part of the world, to a town, maybe Tunapuy (I’m not sure of the exact name), where we called Hans Muller, the owner of Vuelta La Larga, who picked us up in town. This place is really a pleasure. Hans is enthusiastic and committed to ecological techniques in building his cottages. They are each designed differently, but very comfortably – he loves to show what he’s done, and explain the furniture that he designs and builds. His son Daniel is a bird guide who is quite knowledgeable about the region’s birds. We opted for Daniel as a guide, and he drove us to their finca, or farm, where we birded the afternoon, after having a nice siesta and lunch. I believe the price with all meals and tours came to about $80 a day. They have Ruby Topaz on their property.
Mar 15 – Vuelta La Larga
Daniel took us on a boat trip up one of the local rivers near Turuepano National Park. Silvered Antbirds called from the shore in several places. Capucin & Red Howler monkeys were seen, Great Potoo, and other birds. In the afternoon Daniel took us to Aguas Calientes hot springs and another spot further up the road.
Mar 16 – Chacopata, Araya Peninsula
Daniel drove us to this arid scrub area to look for local specialties. Vermilion Cardinal and Buffy Hummingbirds were found but unfortunately no Yellow-shouldered Parrots (I found them later on the trip, described in Part 4). After 10 it became very quiet as it got hotter. We saw a group of terns that included one Caspian, listed (incorrectly?) as rare for this area. Daniel took me to the ferry in Chacopata, where I caught a ferry to Isla Margarita. Bob returned to Catupano, then returned to the Imataca area to find some target birds during his last few days in Venezuela.
Mar 17 - 21 – Isla Margarita
A non-birding friend joined me on Isla Margarita, so this portion was relatively low key, birding wise, a combination of birding and relaxing. I rented a car in Porlamar on March 18, and they did not charge me the mandatory insurance. During our stay we drove around the entire island, both for pleasure and to look for parrots. We stayed at the Hotel Maria Luisa, which was nice and about $40-50. A Blue & Yellow Macaw was perching on the roofs of the hotels in the area, probably an escape. The Brown-throated Parakeets (endemic subspecies) were fairly common, but we only found the Yellow-Shouldered Parrot in one spot.
One morning we took a boat ride around Laguna Restinga, which was pleasant but nothing much bird-wise. There was a male Vermilion Cardinal near the entrance road. Cardinals were seen several times in dry scrub throughout the island. The best area for birding was just south of the village of San Francisco, on the northern part of the western half of the island, known as Peninsula de Macanao. Drive through the town to the end of the paved road, which ends at a fenced off area (a water reservoir building). There are trails to the right.
Some are gated, but there was one with a wooden barrier that is easy to step over. We asked permission of a local who was walking down the road, and he said it was OK. This trail slowly goes up into the foothills. There is desert scrub, cultivated fields, and some small trees, as well as cacti where the parrots feed. The last morning, Feb 21, we saw several parrots at fairly close range feeding on the tops of the cacti here. We did not see the parrots on previous visits later in the day. There were also many other birds in the brush, including Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Pileated Finch, Scrub Greenlet, and Russet-throated Puffbirds. We only walked a kilometer or so. The rest of the drive around the Macanao Peninsula was unproductive, except for some Brown Boobies flying near the southern shore.
Off the northeast coast, near Playa El Agua, you could see both Red-Footed and Brown Boobies in the distance. Although somewhat touristy, this is a nice area with good beaches. There is one good forested area on the island. This is the road to the radio tower in El Copey National Park, in the middle of the eastern part. The road was gated off to cars, so we walked. There is a jeep of workers, including at least one American, which goes up daily to the towers around 7 AM. They gave us a lift to the top. Unfortunately the day we went to the top it was very foggy, cold, and windy, and we didn’t see anything until we had descended at least a kilometer. This is good forest habitat, though.
Mar 21 – Colonia Tovar
In the morning we went to San Francisco as described above. We left Isla Margarita around midday and flew to Caracas. There are frequent flights on different airlines, so it pays to look around. We lucked out with a fare of about $35 each. At Caracas airport I picked up another Budget car, then drove to Colonia Tovar, about 1-1.5 hours, arriving mid-afternoon. We did some late afternoon birding on a road outside the town mentioned in MLG. We stayed at Cabanas Breidenbach, opposite the Hotel Bergland. Rooms were very nice and cost 25,000 bolivars – much cheaper than the 40,000 rooms at the Bergland. There are some rooms with a fireplace for 30,000. This town is a tourist haven for Caracas people, and is definitely pricier than other parts of Venezuela.
Mar 22 – Colonia Tovar
This morning we tried the Cortada de Maya road recommended in MLG that is 7.9 km past the Berglund on the Victoria road. The road goes up to the right into good habitat. The first of the two roads (to Buenos Aires) becomes impassable within about a hundred feet; the second road is the one to take, at least by car. The road changes to dirt but is passable with a regular car. Black-throated Spinetail is reasonably common here as well as the recently split Caracas Tapaculo.
In the afternoon I checked out the road to Capachal. MLG mention’s this as Dick Ryan’s spot, and refers to it as Pachal. It was 3.7 km past the Hotel Bergland, off to the left, at a fairly major intersection where the main road veers to the right. This road descends through good habitat, although there was a bit of traffic, especially towards the end of the day. I didn’t get anything rare or new, but the habitat warrants birding. This is a dirt road, and might be tough when it rains. The road out of Colonia Tovar heading south soon enters deforested habitat on a narrow steep road, and is not worth the effort.
Mar 23 – Colonia Tovar, El Limon road
This time we tried the El Limon road, just east of Colonia Tovar, immediately left of the big gates as you head towards Caracas. MLG writes “shortly after reaching the crest of the road” before the turn to Chichiriviche. There are actually two crests, and the road is 8 km or more from the turnoff, past the second crest (I didn’t measure it exactly). This whole area is nice, and deserves a day’s birding. Further down the road is an area with many flowering trees that was good for hummingbirds. We spent a few hours on a road mentioned by MLG that was about 20 km from the turnoff. This passed through mixed habitat after crossing a stream, and I saw my only male Wire-tailed Manakin here. On the way back to Tovar I checked out the flowering trees again. In the same tree was a nesting Green-breasted Mango and an Elaenia. Night in Colonia Tovar.
Mar 24 – No birding
This day was spent relaxing in Colonia Tovar and driving to Caracas.
Mar 25 – Moroccoy National Park, Campeche Marsh
In the morning I drove my friend to the airport, then drove west to Falcon province. I arrived near Tucacas at midday. In mid afternoon I birded Moroccoy National Park, on the road to Chichiriviche. I stayed at Posada Bar Restaurant La Pradera, mentioned in MLG. It is a bit hard to find, because there are no signs. It is not that cheap at 30,000 bolivares, but this includes breakfast and dinner.
The place is homey, with rooms around a living room, but the owner has many big dogs on the property for security. The directions in MLG regarding Campeche Marsh are way off. The road is 13.1 km from the gas station, not 6.4 km as she says. More useful maybe is the fact that it is the first road on the right after the bridge over the river. I did not see the rails here, but I did see a flyby Dwarf Cuckoo. This is a small marsh on the side of a road.
Mar 26 – Moroccoy Natl. Park, Rio Tucurere marsh, Coro area
I took the road into the park 8.6 km north/west of Tucacas that passed by a lagoon full of Flamingoes. There was a road to the left that went up to radio towers on the Cerro Chichiriviche. I parked at the top by the towers and walked along this road, which went into some nice forested scrub habitat. Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Black-backed Antshrike, and White-bellied Antbirds (common) were here. A Bananaquit was entangled in a spider’s web, but eventually managed to swing to a nearby branch and slowly pick away the web. I spent three productive hours here. Next I tried the Jatira & Tacarigua Dams River road that leads to ponds mentioned in MLG. This would probably have been more productive if I had arrived earlier, but there were still a few water birds. An hour was spent exploring the dirt road on the east side of the Rio Tucurere at midday. White-whiskered Spinetail was the best bird here.
I arrived in the Coro area in mid-afternoon, and decided to try the Short-tailed Tody-Flycatcher spot mentioned in MLG, or the Acurigua Road, south of Coro. The road has some bad potholes but is passable. The marsh or pond area she refers to was completely dry, and was not obvious as a wetland area. It is easy to figure out both by mileage and the fact that it is in the lowest point of that section of road, in an obvious drainage or arroyo-type area. I had Vermilion Cardinal and a few Yellow-shouldered Parrots near dusk. Beware the attack cacti, which almost literally jump out onto your clothes if you casually brush against them – shorts NOT recommended. I spent a couple of hours walking through the scrub, but in general it was too windy and quiet. I stayed at the Apart Hotel Sahara, which is on the southern side of Coro, and mentioned in Lonely Planet. It was OK, and had a nearby parking garage.
Mar 27 – Coro area, Cerro San Luis
What a difference! I returned to the Acurigua Road at first light, and there were many birds – Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Vermilion Cardinal, White-whiskered Spinetail, Yellow-shouldered Parrots - among others, but no Tody-Flycatcher. After an hour the weather was hot with intermittent gusty winds. I decided to walk up the hill towards the direction of Acurigua (east). In a few hundred yards you come to a couple of buildings off to the left, with a few large trees next to the driveways. This is where I finally saw the Short-tailed / Maracaibo Tody-Flycatcher about 9 A.M., also on the south side of the road in the trees and shrubs. The bird’s color was a reasonably bright yellow that was not as washed out as the book indicates. One of the houses had a green door and red barred windows, for reference. Crested Bobwhites were here also.
Afterwards I drove up the back way into the Cerro San Luis – there is a turn off not far from the Tody-Flycatcher spot -, stopping along the way to walk and scan for Red Siskin – fat chance! Higher in the mountains was a path to the right in the Parque Nacional Juan Crisostomo (spelling?), section El Chorro. This path only went a short way to a small waterfall and shrine, but was very birdy, even at 11 AM.
A Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant was entering a nest in the clearing and there were a few species of hummingbirds, including Long-tailed Sylph, especially near the waterfall. In the afternoon I tried the road towards El Haiton, but gave up driving at a bad patch of road, and walked up to the summit. This is great habitat. I heard a Bearded Bellbird just near the ridge, but could not see it. Along the nature loop trail at the top I saw Brown Tinamou with spotted young. In Curimagua I found Falcones a bit pricey for a lone traveler (rooms are rented by room, not person), but the owner, Hans, graciously referred me to a cheaper place about 5 km from Falcones, in the direction of Chapa. It’s called Finca El Monte, run by a Swiss couple, Ernst and Ursula Iseli Suter, who speak English and can be reached at 068-416-0622, or through Hans of Falcones. It has hot water and costs 6,000 bolivars per single, 9,000 per double. They make very good meals. Falcones is also a nice spot, in a beautiful location.
Mar 28 – Cerro La Galicia
This morning I drove to Cerro La Galicia. Note that MLG mentions the next turn to the right to get to La Galicia, as if it’s nearby. This turn is actually about a 20-minute drive from Falcones. I parked at the Inparques office, marked Cerro La Galicia, since the higher portions were covered in clouds. Even here it was windy, cloudy, and cold. I walked down the paved path going into the park area, to and around an old abandoned group of buildings. The best part was just below the buildings, after the path switched back. Several hummingbirds and a Rosy Thrush-Tanager were in the hillside scrub.
After 2 hours here, the winds and clouds drove me away, so I drove through La Cruz de Taratara and towards Barquisimeto. This takes a long time, maybe 5-6 hours, because the mountain roads are slow going, even more so when you make birding stops along the way. It’s mostly dry scrub. I tried the quarry area again past Quibor on the way to Sanare, but it was very windy and there was lots of traffic, so I continued to Sanare, where I stayed at the same place mentioned by MLG where we stayed in February.
Mar 29 – Yacumbu National Park – Last birding day in Venezuela
I was determined to see the Rusty Flanked Crake, so I returned to the same lake in Yacumbu that we visited in February, where I finally saw the bird around 8 AM after an hour’s wait. A pair of Golden-fronted Tyrannulets were fighting and making strange buzzing sounds. Since I still wanted the Tocuyo Sparrow, I left shortly afterwards, deciding to take a quick side trip to the cloud forest trail inside the gated area.
This was one of the best decisions I made, because I was treated to a Great Antpitta near marker 5 that hopped up from the brush onto a stump, allowing me a good look before it hopped back into the brush. Long-tailed Antbird was near the beginning of the trail. I then explored several side roads on the way down towards Quibor, before the quarry. One road to the right that was about a mile past a garbage dump on the left was pretty good. It was gated and went to a small water basin or reservoir. No Tocuyo Sparrow, though, whch was probably my biggest miss for the trip, especially given the time spent looking for it.
Mar 30 – Flight home
I returned the car at the airport office. Note that sometimes there is nobody at the Budget office, even though it’s supposed to be open, and you may have to wait a while for someone to arrive.
Any comments or questions will be gladly answered. As of this point I have not generated an electronic bird list, which would involve manually typing in 600+ species, but I hope to do so at a future date.
SPECIES LIST -- for the complete list of sightings broken down by location, contact the author at:
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture
Southern Crested Caracara
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
American Pygmy Kingfisher
Plain / Rufous-fronted Thornbird
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Neotropical River Warbler