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Rarest etc in 'Name a Bird You've Seen 2' (1 Viewer)

cajanuma

Well-known member
Cajanuma, Iā€™d love to know why you rate Pale-billed Antpitta right at the top; for me it was so memorable for being so much better than expected, charismatic and essentially dancing around my feet!
It's another long story and the element of surprise plays a key role in it, but I've always loved antpittas and Pale-billed held a particular fascination for me ever since I'd read an article in Birding magazine about some of Ted Parker's field work in Peru.

In 2008 I spent a month in northern Peru, much of it with Italian friends - ornithologists and herpetologists - associated with the Carmagnola Museum of Natural History, with whom I'd been on a couple of previous expeditions to Peru. We spent the first couple of weeks as guests of the NGO Neotropical Primate Conservation who are doing conservation work on the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey and were interested in having birders/ornithologists visit their field sites to compile bird lists and hopefully promote tourism. The first two field sites we visited had great birding (and Long-whiskered Owlet would be discovered at one of them about a year or two later - we looked, believe me!), and Sam and Noga Shanee from NPC were hoping we could visit another, higher-altitude site (Hierba Buena - I realize the name could be misinterpreted ;) ) that had only been briefly visited by a Peruvian birder the year before. Elevation and habitat seemed good for Pale-billed Antpitta (though it had not been recorded on the previous visit) so I was keen to go there. It involved a strenuous seven-hour hike with about 1200 m elevation gain, during which we briefly got lost and I had a log bridge break under the weight of my feet, but we finally made it to our campsite, complete with fresh Puma tracks just down the trail. We planned to stay there three nights, but the first full day of birding was rather slow, albeit with good birds like Masked Saltator, and the forest had little of the bamboo that I thought the antpitta would prefer, so the next morning I decided we were probably better off spending our final night on the trail back to the main road, at a spot where there was plenty of bamboo understory. As I walked back from my early morning outing, already thinking of packing and moving to the other spot, a Pale-billed Antpitta sang exactly once! I walked back to where I heard it, crouched down in the vegetation, and hit play on my mp3 player. Nothing answered, but I figured I'd wait a while anyway as sometimes these birds can approach silently. After a bit I heard some rustling in the vegetation, and before I knew it a stunning Pale-billed Antpitta popped out not 5 meters away from me! I was so excited that I'm still not sure whether I actually put my binoculars on it, or just crouched there in amazement with my mouth open! It melted back into the understory after a few seconds, but is such a unique-looking bird, with that striking pale bill against blackish-slate underparts, that the memory of it is seared into my brain. And the fact that getting to that spot was such an undertaking, for what was essentially a shot in the dark, only to be successful at the end made it that much more sweet.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I mentioned Stresemann's Bristlefront earlier. You can read about my encounter here:
It's definitely the birding encounter that has affected me more than any other and that I give the most thought to.
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
Great story, Cajanuma. Thrilled you got the bare-eye. We heard one at the near bushbird territory, but it didn't respond. And I'm not surprised you had trouble with the water level in the igarape. We saw a difference in the water level from our first day to our third day, and had trouble getting upriver because of it.

I assume Cajanuma camped at the same site where our tour camped. I've attached a picture from Silvia Linhares' blog which shows the campsite. There was one structure where the cooking was done, and the guides and staff (Don Piti and the other boatmen, and Dona Graca, Don Piti's wife, who did the cooking). The 5 clients slept in individual dome tents. There was no electricity, no toilets, and no running water. If you wanted to bathe, you could jump in the creek, but we were advised there were piranha, caiman, and electric eels, so I stayed "ripe" for three days. You should have seen the rush for the shared shower when we got to Tabajara!

Alto Do Bode - Silvia Linhares.jpg

Silvia's blog has a map that shows where the site was. It was about a 5 hour drive from Porto Velho to a boat launch on the Rio Ji Parana (not in Tabajara), then about a half hour boat ride to the campsite, which is called Alto do Bode. I'd attach my own pictures but my camera battery died and there was no way to recharge it. But Silvia's blog shows a lot of the details.

In addition to the birds and all the critters mentioned above, there was another sighting that still gives me shivers. Right after the near bushbird territory, there's a small creek that needs to be crossed. I was a few meters past that crossing when one of the other patrons said, "Do you guys realize you just walked past a bothrops? It's right here. Want to see it?" I politely declined. No way I wanted to be anywhere near a fer-de-lance when we were a day from the nearest hospital. Not to mention, it also made going to the bathroom in the middle of the night more of an adventure. But as it was, we'd see another one later in the tour.

And for those who might be interested, here's a link to the trip report from our tour. You can see which bird made the front page!
 

cajanuma

Well-known member
I assume Cajanuma camped at the same site where our tour camped.
We were actually across the river, at the mouth of the igarape itself. I'm not sure why, but maybe the owners of the structure needed to be contacted ahead of time. And I was so grimy after our first full day that I just had to wash in the creek, which I did after dark. There was a pretty big caiman at that spot pre-dawn the next morning...
 

DMW

Well-known member
Very sad, but kind of cool that you will soon have seen an extinct species
I think if we are honest, most of us enjoy a bit of one upmanship if we see a difficult bird few others have seen, but when the species is on the verge of extinction, it's just sad. I've seen 3 species that are probably now extinct, and a few that might be in the near future, and it gives me no real pleasure. Just an empty tick. I sometimes think about that last western Siberian Crane that returns to Iran each winter, a mix of relief that it made it, and sadness that it's the end of the line.
 

lammergeier05

Daniele Mitchell
None of mine would likely qualify for the overall title, but some of my favorites would be:

Rediscovered after presumed extinction: Antioquia Brushfinch, NZ Storm-Petrel

Rarely seen due to remoteness of location / secretiveness:
Andaman Masked-Owl, Carpentarian Grasswren

As for difficult owls, I will nominate Buff-fronted Owl, which is widespread but challenging to spot (having said that a friend was the one who did the hard part, I got to reap the rewards šŸ˜…)
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I think if we are honest, most of us enjoy a bit of one upmanship if we see a difficult bird few others have seen, but when the species is on the verge of extinction, it's just sad. I've seen 3 species that are probably now extinct, and a few that might be in the near future, and it gives me no real pleasure. Just an empty tick. I sometimes think about that last western Siberian Crane that returns to Iran each winter, a mix of relief that it made it, and sadness that it's the end of the line.
I'm pretty heartbroken about Stresemann's Bristlefront. Around the time of my sighting, there was some optimism that more sites would be found for them but it never really happened and then they disappeared from the site after a fire. The recent sighting of one nearby gives a hint that there may be others surviving somewhere but, even though it's 'returned from the dead' in the past, things look increasingly bleak. Wonderful bird.
 

Jacana

Will Jones
Hungary
I think that the only bird I've posted that prompted someone to say something was Purple Cochoa, which I saw by pure dumb luck. Back in 2009 I was living in Thailand and I spent a week in April at Doi Inthanon. One day I decided to spend the whole day on the 37.5km track and after sitting on a fallen log for over an hour to see what would come to me, this bird flew right in in front of me. We stared at each other for about 30 seconds and then it was gone. Magical.

Other birds that I've seen that I reckon are quite good include River Prinia, Taczanowski's Tinamou, Sapphire Quail-Dove, Manu Parrotlet and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo.

The last of which I got very good views of šŸ˜‹
 

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Britseye

Well-known member
I think that the only bird I've posted that prompted someone to say something was Purple Cochoa, which I saw by pure dumb luck. Back in 2009 I was living in Thailand and I spent a week in April at Doi Inthanon. One day I decided to spend the whole day on the 37.5km track and after sitting on a fallen log for over an hour to see what would come to me, this bird flew right in in front of me. We stared at each other for about 30 seconds and then it was gone. Magical.

Other birds that I've seen that I reckon are quite good include River Prinia, Taczanowski's Tinamou, Sapphire Quail-Dove, Manu Parrotlet and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo.

The last of which I got very good views of šŸ˜‹
From what I recall, Jacana, at least one, if not both species of Cochoa have an established pattern of coming to ground in early June to feed on some species of caterpillar or other a few km along that 37.5 jeep track, roughly where the trees end? I've seen a few Greens singing in April in that area myself, but not been there in June.
 

Jacana

Will Jones
Hungary
From what I recall, Jacana, at least one, if not both species of Cochoa have an established pattern of coming to ground in early June to feed on some species of caterpillar or other a few km along that 37.5 jeep track, roughly where the trees end? I've seen a few Greens singing in April in that area myself, but not been there in June.
Yes, I seem to remember that being the case. I didnt have a sniff of a Green, but I was happy enough with Purple!
 

DMW

Well-known member
I think that the only bird I've posted that prompted someone to say something was Purple Cochoa, which I saw by pure dumb luck. Back in 2009 I was living in Thailand and I spent a week in April at Doi Inthanon. One day I decided to spend the whole day on the 37.5km track and after sitting on a fallen log for over an hour to see what would come to me, this bird flew right in in front of me. We stared at each other for about 30 seconds and then it was gone. Magical.

Other birds that I've seen that I reckon are quite good include River Prinia, Taczanowski's Tinamou, Sapphire Quail-Dove, Manu Parrotlet and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo.

The last of which I got very good views of šŸ˜‹
I'll swap you one of my Purple Coachoas for the ground cuckoo šŸ˜‰
 

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