Tuesday 7 May 2024

Scotland weekender - April 24

A quick (too quick really) break to Scotland with the lads; Lee, TB, Hawky and myself. We flew from Stanstead to Edinburgh, first flight on Fri 26th April, 2 nights in Aviemore, then last flight home on Sun 28th. 

Lee had never birded Scotland before so were after the specialities, inc: Golden Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Crested Tit, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan and Capercaillie, plus some other bits. We knew Caper would be very hard due to roaming restrictions due to breeding/lekking season and Ptarmigan we were relying on low level snow which unfortunately wasn't there and we decided it would take too much of our time looking for them.    

All bird photos below courtesy of TB.     

Up up and away

Red Grouse 

Ring Ouzel - pair seen at Cairngorm ski centre

Bullfinch - one of 4 - the highlight of an unproductive day spent driving to the west coast
The crew

Loch Garten - Osprey on the nest seen, plus red squirrel, redstart of note

Findhorn Valley, we visited 3 times, each of is stringing Golden Eagles on occasions until finally on the last day we had two, the later showing pretty well

Findhorn Valley - Dipper eventually gave itself up, plus singing Wheatear

In hindsight an extra night would have been better and we could have given Ptarmigan a proper go. We failed to get Capercallie, Ptarmigan, White Tailed Eagle and Black Guillemot, all ticks Lee needed. We luckily (thanks to Hawky) bagged a Crested Tit last knockings at Nethy Bridge by the feeders. The Black Grouse lek on the first evening was great and unexpected, assuming it need an early morning visit. Good views of summer plumage Black Throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Slav Grebe were had. 

We had a good laugh, and a few beers. The hotel at Coylumbridge was a great base and would defo recommend it. Will probably do it again one day, maybe a bit earlier in the year when there's more snow. 



Saturday 4 November 2023

Porto Jofre - best of the rest (animals)


Lots of Capybara in the hotel grounds

Giant Otter

Yellow Anaconda

Marsh Deer

Porto Jofre - days 2 to 5 - Jaguars

In total over the next 4 days we saw another 12 jaguars, including 7 in one morning! 15 were seen in total in 5 days. There were many jaguar highlights but seeing a mother with 2 cubs was special. 




Porto Jofre - jaguars - day1/part 2 - more jaguar action and birds

 Back out in the boat in the afternoon we saw another jaguar, our first giant otter and plenty of birds

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

    Striated Heron

Tropical Kingbird


Black Skimmer

Cattle Tryant

Rufous Hornero

Yacare Caiman

Giant Otter  

Other birds added to the trip list that afternoon: White-throated Piping-Guan, Bare-faced Carassow, Pale-vented Pigeon, Smooth-billed Ani, Common Paraque, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Pied Plover, Anhinga, Osprey, Amazon Kingfisher, Toco Toucan, Little Woodpecker, Crested Caracara, Barred Antshrike, Greater Thornbird, Rufous Cacholote, Common Tody-Flycatcher, White-winged Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Epaulet Oriole, Chopi Backbird, Banaquit. 

Friday 27 October 2023

Porto Jofre - jaguars - day 1/part 1

Without a doubt our main target for this trip was jaguar, and we were not be disappointed. All of our jaguar "hunting" was done by boat. Each day we had a morning and afternoon session out on the water, sometimes slowly cruising searching the river banks for any sign of a cat, and other times, when news was received of a sighting by radio, haring along at full pelt to try to get to the site before it disappeared.  

Each morning (for 5 days) we were up at 5am, breakfast at 5.30am, on the boat by 6am. Back on site around 11.30am, where we had a few hours to rest, swim and have lunch before back on the boat around 2,30pm until sunset. 

Pantanal friends (left to right): David, me, Donnie, Julia, Sergio, Iris, Brian & Chuck 

Day one, within an hour of being out on the water, news came over the radio of a sighting, and we were off! Around 20 minutes later we arrived in a small channel (Black Channel). Up in a tree, just 20-30 metres away was a beautiful jaguar.

Eventually she decided it was time for a change of scenery and she climbed down. We tracked her along the bank a short distance before she entered the water to swim across to the other bank.