bonitin's Brazilian Bugs forum: Birds (2013-2014)

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Apr 19, 2014 10:35 PM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Hello to all,

My friend and I were once more so fortunate to have been in paradise for two months in a protected Atlantic rainforest area in Brazil around Paraty.
Unlike my previous trip in 2009-2010 where I hardly got any chance to photograph the birds, having no telephoto lens, this time was very different though I still don't have such a lens. I have to explain why.

We once more enjoyed the generous hospitality of our Brazilian friends who had just constructed a new home in the middle of the forest, doing the utmost to get it more or less ready for our arrival.
Its unique location on a very steep hill made it ideal for photographing birds, because you could see the top parts of trees underneath where the birds mostly forage. The 180 degrees view over the dense forest canopy was amazingly wonderful and absolutely unique!

Especially the first floor which has a big balcony built on was perfect and I of course took advantage of that! Though some of the tree tops were fairly close, it still wouldn’t give me close shots with my macro lens which also has a telephoto function, but too limited.

As the balcony in concrete had no fences yet and very bare, soon the idea popped up to get some potted plants there, serving as a kind of markings for the edges, it would also serve to attract birds and wildlife closer by!

I found some left over hollow concrete blocks which were laying about after the construction. They could serve as planting pots! Then I went out to get some small wild plants, grasses and ‘weeds’ to pot them up in the concrete blocks.
That looked fairly good, but gradually I also added old, often half-rotten tree stumps with mosses and small ferns growing on. Later on my friend added to the embellishment by adding pebbles and small stones from the riverbed she selected and collected.

It did look inviting and attractive for us and for wildlife.

The tree stumps were ideal, serving as a natural looking dinner plate where I put on ripe and overripe bananas, later on also mango, papaya and sometimes Jaca chunks.

That proved a great success! Very soon the birds had discovered a restaurant with excellent service at demand! Hilarious! What a joy to see those colourful birds so close-by. They soon lost all fear and got to a stage that they literally came to ask for more if the food supply got short!

As the room on the first floor had two big facing windows and a big door leading to the balcony which were nearly constantly open, the birds also started to make use of that as a short cut on their flight route, so you would get birds passing by just over your head! Lovey dubby

Comments welcome on this thread

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Apr 19, 2014 11:05 PM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Green-headed Tanager - Tangara seledon

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Immature bird with Rufus-headed Tanager female.
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Apr 22, 2014 12:50 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Sayaca Tanager - Tangara sayaca

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In company of the Green-headed Tanager Smiling
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Apr 23, 2014 3:10 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Rufus-headed Tanager - Hemithraupis ruficapilla (Thanks to JRsbugs for the id!)

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Apr 24, 2014 12:51 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Lucy, the owl.
The Spectacled Owl - Pulsatrix perspicillata

About a week before the year switch, amongst all the jungle sounds at night, we woke up from an eerie wailing sound repeated with intervals coming from the woods. I thought that might be an owl but it kind of sounded human like from a person in distress. My friend got worried thinking there might be someone who got lost in the forest, trying to locate the direction until the moment the wailing sounds all of a sudden came from the opposite direction, that could not be, so we both laughed at our worries and concluded it had to be an owl. Hilarious!

Of course that was exiting!

The next nights the owl came back, I wanted so badly to see it and began to call back imitating the wailing as best as I could, it responded!! We both went on then, so there was a trio wailing in the night! Hilarious!

We baptised the owl with the name Lucy , her wailing reminding us of the wailing ghost Lucy in the Sorceress school, from the Harry Potter’s series.
Each night the sound came closer by, until one night at new years eve just after midnight on the first day of the year, I could see it landing in the dark exactly on the branch of the tree I had visualized being a perfect spot for an owl to sit on, she had a whitish ‘coat’ and a black face.
Trying to get some good shots of her in the dark would be a challenge, I needed a strong light, the distance from the balcony to the tree was about 10m I think, but it was a big bird.
With a strong led lamp pointed at her, the camera managed to focus. The bird didn’t seem to be bothered by the light or the flash, on the contrary, she was fascinated!
She was so charming making little dancing movements on her branch while looking at us. Lovey dubby

At a particular moment I saw a second smaller owl landing, it was her baby and then they flew off together disappearing in the dark. Though being big birds with powerful wings their flight is soundless.
We got to see her several times after, if she wouldn’t appear we started calling at her and usually got response, we had the impression that she loved all that attention and would eventually become a pet owl! Smiling

Owls I find are like cats with wings, so much similarity in their manners and looks.
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Apr 25, 2014 12:50 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Turquoise Honeycreeper - Dacnis cayana

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Male (looks very different!)
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Apr 25, 2014 1:11 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Red-neckted Tanager - Tangara cyanocephala

I only saw these two times the second week of December very early in the morning, it was still dark!
The green one is probably their baby.
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Apr 25, 2014 1:51 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Violaceous Euphonia - Euphonia violacea

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Female with Mrs. Rufus-headed Tanager.
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With Mrs. and Mr. Rufus-headed Tanager
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"MY banana, beak-off!" Hilarious!
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Apr 26, 2014 12:32 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Olive-green Tanager - Orthogonys chloricterus

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Apr 26, 2014 1:18 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Not all birds were attracted to bananas or fruit on the balcony! Rolling my eyes.
So these are far shots and often very cropped, a real tele-photo lens would have given me much more opportunities.

Black-banded Woodcreeper - Dendrocolaptes picumnus (Thanks to JRsbugs for the ID!)
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Apr 26, 2014 1:31 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium

Ferruginous Antbird - Drymophila ferruginea
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Apr 26, 2014 1:38 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Blond-crested Woodpecker - Celeus flavescens

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Apr 26, 2014 11:06 PM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Ruby-crowned Tanager - Tachyphonus coronatus

The ruby crown patch of the male is usually hidden.
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He was often bullying the other birds!
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Apr 26, 2014 11:43 PM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Chestnut-bellied Euphonia - Euphonia pectoralis (Thanks to JRsbugs for the ID!)
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Apr 26, 2014 11:50 PM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Only saw this striking bird once, landing for a short instance.

Green Honeycreeper - Chlorophanes spiza
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Apr 27, 2014 12:23 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Rufous-bellied Trush - Turdus rufiventris
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Apr 29, 2014 2:11 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Rufous-tailed Jacamar - Galbula ruficauda (Thanks to JRsbugs for the ID!)
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Apr 29, 2014 2:18 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
It is the turn on the Hummingbirds, they proved to be a whole challenge to photograph at least in the air when hovering, they were abundant and always present, a few times I took position by a big group of blooming Heliconium growing on the way down to the river, and didn't have to wait long before a hummingbird would come to feed hovering on the nectar.
It came to visit two or tree flowers and all that in a few seconds before taking off again, no matter how I tried I didn't manage to get a reasonable shot, or there was a leaf or stem blocking the view, or I simply wasn't fast enough.
When they were sitting on a branch it was more doable but also then they were often high up on the tree in the shade.

cf. Many-spotted Hummingbird - Taphrospilus hypostictus
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Apr 29, 2014 2:26 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
Saw-billed Hermit - Ramphodon naevius
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Apr 30, 2014 12:24 AM CST
Name: Myriam
Gent, Belgium
I sometimes had Heliconium flowers in a bottle in the hope to attract hummingbirds to the balcony, they did come a few times sipping on the nectar, but I wasn't fast enough to capture them or didn't have the camera at hand, so I had given up on the idea. And then on the day we had packed and ready for the trip back to Rio where we had to catch the flight back 2 day later, when least expected, a hummingbird came sitting on a branch I had set up on the balcony. It didn't come to feed as I had no more flowers, but just sat there looking at me! Did it feel compassion with me? Hilarious!
My camera was packed too, but it gave me time to take a few shots that didn't come out very well because it was against the light.

Violet-capped Woodnymph - Thalurania glaucopis. (Female)
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And a couple very poor shots of what I think could be the same bird,
the only I got from my frustrating waiting by the Heliconium group down the hill. Rolling my eyes. Hilarious!
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