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12 - 17 March 2003

by Joseph Thompson

Venezuela, long popular with birders, has seen a marked decrease in tourism following the 2 month general strike in late 2002.  This report briefly details a trip I undertook to Henri Pittier National Park in March, and I am pleased to report that I encountered no problems of any kind.   The people remain extremely friendly and welcoming, there were no problems whatsoever at police checkpoints, and gasoline was plentiful in all locations that I visited.


Mar 12:  arrive Caracas and overnight.

Mar 13-15:  H. Pittier NP, staying in El Limon on the outskirts of Maracay, close to H. Pittier.  We stayed at an excellent inn called 'Posada El Limon', owned by the enthusiastic and welcoming Bernardo von der Hock.  This inn is used to catering to birders and can arrange early breakfasts, etc.  Tel: (58)-(0243)- 2834925.  Email:    Website:    Accepts credit cards.

Mar. 16:  Ocumare: Cumbato Rd.

Mar. 17:  Colonia Tovar (afternoon)

Mar. 18 departure for US

Logistics and Guide:  Chris Sharpe, a British expat who has lived in Venezuela for 13 years, has a well deserved reputation as an excellent guide who is both personable and knowledgeable.  He has made numerous contributions to Venezuelan ornithology and contributed significantly to Mary Lou Goodwin's recent site guide to Venezuela.  He leads for major tour companies, but is also available for private tours.  He also arranged our accomodation, and we utilized his 4-WD for transport. 

Phone: (58-(0)212-7309701).

Significant bird records by site (HO=Heard Only):

1)      Rancho Grande, H. Pittier NP; 1050-1700 meters elevation:

        Band-tailed Guan
        Helmeted Curassow-(HO)
        Venezuelan Wood-Quail---excellent views on 2 diff. Days
        Violaceous Quail-Dove
        Lined Quail-Dove (HO)
        Blood-eared Parakeet
        Lilac-tailed Parrotlet (HO)
        Foothill Screech-Owl---pre-dawn, close to research station entrance
        Short-tailed Nighthawk ssp. schaferi
        Sooty-capped Hermit
        Lazuline Sabrewing
        Violet-chested Hummingbird---in heliconias behind station
        White-tipped Quetzal
        Moustached Puffbird
        Groove-billed Toucanet
        Scaled Piculet
        Crested Spinetail---building nest at Research Station
        Guttulated Foliage-gleaner---2 sightings, including once from road near Research Station
        Grey-throated Leaftosser
        Red-billed Scythebill
        Venezuelan Antvireo
        White-fronted Tyrannulet---excellent scope views.
        Rufous-lored Tyrannulet
        Venezuelan Bristle-Tyrant
        Golden-breasted Fruiteater
        Handsome Fruiteater
        Fulvous-headed Tanager

2)    Choroni Rd., 1350-1530m:

         Solitary Eagle
        Band-winged Nightjar
        Scalloped Antthrush---seen well, a spontaneously calling bird that responded well to tape
        Venezuelan Tyrannulet
        Olive-striped Flycatcher
        Flavescent Flycatcher
        Black and White Becard---one male
        Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager
        Rufous-cheeked Tanager
        Ochre-breasted Brush-Finch

3)    Cumboto Rd., Ocumare, 30m

        Bicolored Hawk
        Rufous-breasted Hermit
        Stripe-throated Hermit
        Buffy Hummingbird (actually seen on hillside opposite Cata hi-rise condominiums)
        Russet-throated Puffbird
        Black-crested Antshrike
        Black-backed Antshrike
        Northern White-fringed Antwren
        White-bellied Antbird
        Fuscous Flycatcher
        Venezuelan Flycatcher
        Lance-tailed Manakin
        Glaucous Tanager (actually in Cata residential area)

4)    El Limon/lower Ocumare Rd. area; 500-600m

        Rufous vented Chachalaca
        Copper-rumped Hummingbird
        White-vented Plumeleteer
        Stripe-backed Wren
        Bare-eyed Thrush
        Black-striped Sparrow

5)    Colonia Tovar: Cortada de Maya Rd.; 2070m

       Caracas Tapaculo
       Black-throated Spinetail
       Green-tailed Emerald----1 male and 2 females of this species were seen at 1600m on the road from La Victoria to Colonia Tovar, feeding on flowering mimosas.

Joseph Thompson
Los Angeles, CA