the little twitch - DOC by alendar


									                               the little twitch
                             1674 SPECIES IN MAY 2001
                                   TRIP REPORT
                                  By Nick Athanas and Iain Campbell
In May 2001, we started a journey to set a world record for the total number of bird species found in one
month. Where did this crazy idea come from? Well, it grew out of Iain’s desire to set the year-long record
(The Big Twitch), but at the time he didn’t have the time or the resources to do this. So we started talking
about a one-month twitch. No one had really tried to do it before, which meant that setting the record would
not be too difficult. We heard through the grapevine of a couple of groups who had attained 1050-1100
species in a month, but that was the highest. We knew we could do better, and we set our goal high. 2000
species, seen or heard in one calendar month, midnight-to-midnight, 31 days, 744 hours, all around the
world. Like a 31 Big Days in a row. We both knew it would be a difficult and exhausting trip, but the idea
caught fire and we began planning it seriously – sometimes obsessively. And so began the little twitch!

Why May? There really wasn’t any choice. We both work as bird guides and tour leaders in Ecuador, and
Iain is also the General Manager of Tandayapa Bird Lodge. May happens to be a very slow month here, and
neither of us had anything on the calendar. May is not an ideal time to do this trip, especially for the
southern hemisphere areas, but it was the only month we could do it.

Planning this thing was a nightmare, especially the airline tickets. If we had $20000 to spend we could have
gotten far more birds, but the limit of what we wanted to spend was about five or six thousand each. That
meant doing almost all of our travel on a single round-the-world (RTW) ticket. Anyone who has bought one
of these tickets knows that you have a lot of limitations on what airlines you can use, where you can fly to,
and when you can fly. We chose to use the OneWorld Alliance, which offered the most flexibility in the trip,
and you can have confirmed bookings for your whole itinerary. On one ticket we were able to fly about
50000 miles. There was a major hitch though. The fare varies depending on where you buy (and start) the
ticket. In Ecuador, the ticket would cost US$5000. In the US it would be only slightly less. But in Australia,
the ticket would only cost US$1900. So we actually flew to Sydney to purchase and start the RTW ticket.
Despite the extra cost of the Ecuador-Australia flight, we still saved a lot of money than if we bought the
ticket here in Ecuador. (We actually had a tour group from Sydney in April, and they were REALLY
surprised when we popped in and gave them a slideshow on Ecuadorian birdlife a few weeks before the

Our itinerary depended quite a lot on what we could do with our RTW ticket. For example, we couldn’t do
the States because of certain limitations of the ticket, which was unfortunate. But there were other factors.
There were certain areas we did not want to go to because we felt there was too great a risk of serious flight
delays and other such logistical problems. These areas included parts of Africa and Asia. Other places we
chose because we have friends on the ground to help out, our we worked out an exchange deal with a local
guide. We offered them a trip in Ecuador in exchange for guiding in their country. Interestingly, in no area
did we actually pay for a local guide. Our final itinerary looked like this:

May 1-5: Ecuador
May 6-8: Chile
May 9-11: Argentina
May 12: Spain
May 13: Netherlands
May 14-21: Southern Africa
May 22-24: Malaysia
May 25-31: Australia
This is obviously not the perfect itinerary – we never claimed it would be. But based on the limitations we
were working with, it was the best we could come up with at the time, and we made the best of it.

Another difficult aspect of this trip was that we had to travel with just carry-on luggage. We could not take
the risk that our bags would be lost because they would never catch up to us. Plus it saved hours of time
because we did not have to wait for out baggage to be brought to the carousel. We were always first through
customs (except Australia… but that’s another story) and first in line at the rental car booth. But travelling
for a month with only what you can cram into the small size and weight allowance given by the airlines is
not easy or pleasant. Fortunately our bags were small enough that they were never weighed, because they
were over the limit allowed by any airline. We had surprisingly few hassles over luggage on the trip.

We made up a few rules that we had to follow to count birds. Both of us had to see or hear the bird, but only
one of us had to identify it. We had to ID the birds ourselves, and not let someone else to do it. We had to
agree on the ID or it didn’t count. For heard birds, this meant that either we had to know the call ourselves,
our we had to be able to verify the call soon after hearing it with a known recording of the bird (i.e. an
“audio field guide”). We did not count any bird that someone travelling with us heard and ID’d without this
kind of verification, and in some areas this cost us a few birds.

We will give day-by-day reports of each area and the birds seen or heard. We will not give complete day
lists, nor will we give numbers of each species seen. Sleep was precious item on these trips and we did not
want to spend any more time on the list each evening than was absolutely necessary. Each bird is listed only
once regardless of whether it was seen later in the trip, and we usually only mention the first place we saw a
bird even if we saw it many times afterwards. Heard-only birds are in italics. They are not listed in italics if
they were seen later in the trip; this is mentioned in the text. For taxonomy and nomenclature we use
Clements 2000 with the recent updates.

A Note about Time
For the day-by-day reports, we give the date based on local time. However, for measuring the calendar
month, we used the time zone that we started in, Ecuador. Since we finished off in Australia, we were
actually still counting until 3pm local time on June 1st because Australia is 15 hours ahead of Ecuador. When
it is midnight in Ecuador, it is 3pm the following day in eastern Australia. Some people may think this is
cheating because we ended up with 32 mornings in a 31 day month, but we didn’t think it was fair to short
ourselves 15 hours because of time zone inconsistencies. In any case we only added 10 birds the last
morning, so it had very little effect on the final total.

The Set-Up:
Sacha Lodge was the perfect place to start a Big Month, in the heart of one of the most bird-rich areas of the
Amazon Basin. It was a bit of a trial getting here. We had to drive Iain’s jeep from Quito to Coca on the
Napo River on April 29th so we could catch a boat to Sacha on the 30th. The drive is horrific, especially the
last few hours, which we had to do in torrential rain. The car went off the road once, and then refused to
start, despite much ranting and cursing. Fortunately it was only a loose battery connection. Then it kept
stalling every time we changed gears. We limped into Coca fearing that this car, vital for days 3-5 of the
twitch, was not going to make it. We were lucky though. The problem turned out to be bad gasoline, and
after filling up it seemed okay. There was also a police checkpoint in Baeza on the way down that held us up
for nearly half an hour as they searched through everything in the car, and even peeled of bits of the
upholstery to look for hidden stashes of drugs.

After arriving at Sacha on the 30th we met up with David Hoddenot (South African) and Oscar Tapuy
(Ecuadorian), guides at Sacha who decided to come with us for the entire Ecuador part of the twitch. They
spotted lots birds during that time and we would have done much worse without their help. Also joining us
for the first 2 days were Robert Jonsson of Avestravel and Charlie Vogt, who were on their own mission to
try to set the one-week Ecuador record (they did it). That afternoon we did a bit of birding and discussed
plans for the next 2 days. After a good night’s sleep we were ready to go early.
May1: Sacha Lodge
We arose at 3 am this morning to go owling and nightbirding. After about an hour we had nothing, but then
things started happening quickly. Black-banded Owl was #1, hooting low in the distance, and soon after we
started hearing the other nightbirds calling. An hour before dawn we ascended the canopy tower, where we
were joined by an irate Great Potoo growling at us from a nearby branch. Weather was overcast to start with,
which was perfect. As it got lighter things started happening quickly. Birds appeared everywhere and were
calling from every direction. Fortunately we had both spent a fair amount of time in the Amazon or it would
have been quite overwhelming. Flocks of tanagers headed for a fruiting strangler fig just above the tower.
Distant songs of antbirds on the forest floor below wafted up to the tower. Some fantastic birds like Great
Jacamar and Golden-collared Toucanet came in close. The first few hours of daylight passed in a flash
before activity ebbed. We still picked up birds, though not as quickly, over the next few hours before the
clouds finally dissipated and it became too hot. We then descended and spent a couple hours on the trails
picking up some more antbirds and a couple of manakins. After a trail lunch we paddled down a channel to
the lake and continued to the boardwalk and birded the várzea forest on the way to the Río Napo. The
afternoon we spent in the big clearing next to the dock known as “The Farm”. The edge habitat here makes
birding quick and easy and we piled up a huge number of species as it got cooler in the afternoon. We
returned at dusk to the lodge, tired but exhilarated, after what we both agree was our most fantastic day of
birding ever.

Cinereous Tinamou – Heard from boardwalk.                   Fork-tailed Woodnymph – Seen from tower and in farm.
Little Tinamou – Heard from trails.                         Golden-tailed Sapphire – Seen from tower & farm.
Undulated Tinamou – Heard in farm.                          White-tailed Trogon – Seen along trail.
Capped Heron – Seen on treetop from tower.                  Violaceous Trogon – Heard from tower, seen on May 5.
Cocoi Heron – Seen on banks on Napo.                        Black-tailed Trogon – Seen along trail.
Rufescent Tiger-Heron – Juv. seen at lodge.                 Green-and-rufous Kingfisher – Seen along channel.
Black Vulture – Many seen from tower.                       Blue-crowned Motmot – Seen on trails.
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture – Seen from tower.            White-eared Jacamar – Seen in farm.
King Vulture – Seen from tower.                             Brown Jacamar – Seen in farm.
Snail Kite – Seen next to lake.                             White-chinned Jacamar – Seen along trail.
Slender-billed Kite – Seen from tower.                      Purplish Jacamar – Heard at lunchtime along trail.
Double-toothed Kite – Seen from tower.                      Great Jacamar – Seen in tower.
Plumbeous Kite – Seen from tower.                           Black-fronted Nunbird – Seen in and near farm.
Roadside Hawk – Seen in farm.                               White-fronted Nunbird – Seen from tower.
Black Caracara – Seen over Napo River.                      Yellow-billed Nunbird – Seen from tower.
Bat Falcon – Flew by the tower.                             Swallow-wing – Seen near banks of Napo from tower.
Speckled Chachalaca – Seen near farm.                       Scarlet-crowned Barbet – Seen in farm.
Spix's Guan – Heard from tower.                             Gilded Barbet – Seen in tower tree.
Blue-throated Piping-Guan – Heard from tower.               Lettered Aracari – Seen near Napo river.
Marbled Wood-Quail – Seen along trails.                     Ivory-billed Aracari – Seen from tower.
Hoatzin – Seen along edge of lake.                          Many-banded Aracari – Seen from tower.
Limpkin – Heard from tower, seen on May 9.                  Golden-collared Toucanet – Seen from tower.
Gray-necked Wood-Rail – Heard from tower pre-dawn.          Yellow-ridged Toucan – Heard from tower.
Pied Lapwing – Seen on banks of Napo.                       Cuvier's Toucan – Heard from tower.
Southern Lapwing – Seen in farm.                            Lafresnaye's Piculet – Seen in farm.
Spotted Sandpiper – Seen on banks of Napo.                  Yellow-tufted Woodpecker – Seen in and near farm.
Plumbeous Pigeon – Heard in forest, seen on May 4.          Little Woodpecker – Seen next to Napo river.
Ruddy Pigeon – Heard from tower, seen on May 5.             Spot-breasted Woodpecker – Seen in tower tree.
Gray-fronted Dove – Heard from tower.                       Scaly-breasted Woodpecker – Seen in tower tree.
Chestnut-fronted Macaw – Flew by the tower.                 Chestnut Woodpecker – Seen near Napo river.
Red-bellied Macaw – Flew over lake.                         Cream-colored Woodpecker – Seen from tower.
Dusky-headed Parakeet – Several flocks seen today.          Crimson-crested Woodpecker – Seen in farm.
Maroon-tailed Parakeet – Flock flew by banks of Napo.       Orange-fronted Plushcrown – Seen in farm.
Cobalt-winged Parakeet – Several flocks seen today.         Plain Xenops – Seen on trails.
Black-headed Parrot – Seen from tower                       Short-billed Leaftosser – Seen on night roost on trails.
Blue-headed Parrot – Flew by the tower.                     Plain-brown Woodcreeper – Seen along channel.
Orange-winged Parrot – Flew over farm.                      Olivaceous Woodcreeper – Seen in tower tree.
Squirrel Cuckoo – Seen from tower.                          Wedge-billed Woodcreeper – Seen along trails.
Greater Ani – Seen on side of lake.                         Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper – Heard from tower.
Smooth-billed Ani – Seen in farm.                           Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper – Seen from tower.
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl – Heard pre-dawn on trails.       Straight-billed Woodcreeper – Seen near farm.
Black-banded Owl – Heard pre-dawn on trails.                Striped Woodcreeper – Seen in tower tree.
Crested Owl – Heard predawn from tower                      Buff-throated Woodcreeper – Seen on trails.
Spectacled Owl – Heard predawn from tower. Seen on May 2.   Undulated Antshrike – Heard along boardwalk.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl – Heard predawn from tower.           Mouse-colored Antshrike – Heard from tower.
Great Potoo – Seen predawn from tower.                      Spot-winged Antshrike – Seen from tower.
Common Potoo – Heard predawn from tower. Seen on May 4.     Dusky-throated Antshrike – Seen along trails.
Short-tailed Nighthawk – Seen flying over lodge at dusk.    Pygmy Antwren – Heard along trails.
Ocellated Poorwill – Heard predawn from trails.             Plain-throated Antwren – Seen on trail.
Short-tailed Swift – Flock seen from tower.                 White-flanked Antwren – Seen on trail.
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift – Seen from tower and farm.          Dugand's Antwren – Heard from tower.
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift – Seen from tower.              Gray Antbird – Heard from tower.
White-necked Jacobin – Seen from tower.                     White-shouldered Antbird – Heard from tower.
Black-bellied Thorntail – Seen in farm.                     Scale-backed Antbird – Heard along trail.
Blue-tailed Emerald – Seen at lakeside.
Black-spotted Bare-eye – Heard from tower.                         Gray-breasted Martin – Seen in farm.
Black-faced Antthrush – Heard from tower, seen following day.      White-winged Swallow – Seen over lake.
Striated Antthrush – Heard on trail near tower.                    House Wren – Seen from farm.
Thrush-like Antpitta – Heard along trail.                          Scaly-breasted Wren – Heard from forest trail.
Rusty-belted Tapaculo – Heard from tower.                          Black-billed Thrush – Seen in farm.
Screaming Piha – Heard distantly along trail.                      Violaceous Jay – Seen throughout the day.
Plum-throated Cotinga – Seen from tower.                           Red-eyed Vireo – Seen in farm.
Spangled Cotinga – Seen from tower.                                Blackpoll Warbler – Seen in farm.
Bare-necked Fruitcrow – Seen from tower                            Magpie Tanager – Seen in farm.
Purple-throated Fruitcrow – Seen along trail.                      Masked Crimson Tanager – Seen in tower tree.
Wire-tailed Manakin – Seen along trail.                            Silver-beaked Tanager – Seen near farm.
Blue-crowned Manakin – Seen along trail.                           Blue-gray Tanager – Seen in farm.
Orange-crested Manakin – Heard along channel.                      Palm Tanager – Seen from tower and in farm.
Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin – Heard along trail.                          Thick-billed Euphonia – Seen in tower tree.
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet – Seen in tower tree.                    White-lored Euphonia – Seen in tower tree.
Slender-footed Tyrannulet – Seen in tower tree.                    White-vented Euphonia – Seen in tower tree.
Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher – Pair building nest in tower tree   Orange-bellied Euphonia – Seen in tower tree.
Yellow-margined Flycatcher – Seen along trail.                     Rufous-bellied Euphonia – Seen in tower tree.
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher – Heard near Napo. Seen next day.       Turquoise Tanager – Seen in farm.
Drab Water-Tyrant – Seen on banks of Napo.                         Paradise Tanager – Seen in tower tree.
Cinnamon Attila – Seen from tower.                                 Green-and-gold Tanager – Seen in tower tree.
Bright-rumped Attila – Heard distantly from tower.                 Masked Tanager – Seen in tower tree.
Grayish Mourner – Seen from tower.                                 Opal-rumped Tanager – Seen in tower tree.
Dusky-capped Flycatcher – Seen in tower tree.                      Opal-crowned Tanager – Seen in tower tree.
Short-crested Flycatcher – Heard in farm.                          Black-faced Dacnis – Seen in tower tree.
Lesser Kiskadee – Seen along side of lake.                         Blue Dacnis – Seen in tower tree.
Great Kiskadee – Seen from tower and in farm.                      Green Honeycreeper – Seen in tower tree.
Boat-billed Flycatcher – Seen throughout the day.                  Purple Honeycreeper – Seen from tower
Social Flycatcher – Seen in farm and along lakside.                Swallow-Tanager – Seen from tower.
Gray-capped Flycatcher – Seen in farm.                             Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch – Seen in farm.
Variegated Flycatcher – Seen in farm.                              Red-capped Cardinal – Seen in farm.
Crowned Slaty Flycatcher – Seen from tower and in farm.            Yellow-browed Sparrow – Seen in farm.
Tropical Kingbird – Seen in various places.                        Grayish Saltator – Seen in farm.
Eastern Kingbird – Seen from tower and in farm.                    Buff-throated Saltator – Heard along channel, seen on May 5.
Fork-tailed Flycatcher – Seen in farm.                             Red-breasted Blackbird – Seen in farm.
Chestnut-crowned Becard – Seen in farm.                            Yellow-rumped Cacique – Seen from tower and in farm.
White-winged Becard – Seen in farm.                                Red-rumped Cacique – Seen from tower.
Black-capped Becard – Heard from tower.                            Casqued Oropendola – Seen from tower.
Black-tailed Tityra – Seen from tower and farm.                    Crested Oropendola – Seen from tower.
Brown-chested Martin – Seen in farm.                               Russet-backed Oropendola – Seen throughout the day.

New Species: 189
Trip total: 189

May 2: Sacha Lodge, Napo River, Coca
Another early start. We got to the farm early to get the few remaining nightbirds, then crossed to the
south side of the Napo river to the Shitake river and Providencia Trail. We had cleaned up almost all of
the easy stuff the previous day, and now we were really going for the more difficult birds. The terra
firma forest on the south side supports a bunch of species not easily found or not even present on the
north side, and the riparian forest along the narrow Shikate river holds some fantastic birds. The best one
was Rufous-headed Woodpecker, rare and beautiful, and a lifer for most of us. We also got Ecuadorian
Cacique and Chestnut-eared Araçari. The trail itself was loaded with antbirds, many only heard, but we
saw some great ones very well, like Lunulated, White-plumed, and Banded. Weather was perfect,
overcast and not too hot. It rained hard in the middle of the day, but by then we were already about to
catch our boat back to Coca, so it didn’t matter. We picked up a number of birds along the river, and had
a short, muddy, and mediocre stop at a river island before getting to Coca and getting organized for the
long days coming. We had about half an hour to race like maniacs around the airstrip at Coca getting a
bunch of new birds before driving 3 hours up the Loreto road to spend the night in bunk beds at a park
ranger station. We managed to get to bed around 11 to get a few hours of sleep.

Abbreviations: PT- Providencia Trail, SR- Shitake River.
Variegated Tinamou – Heard on PT.                                  Pectoral Sandpiper – Seen in pond in Coca.
Great Egret – Seen along the Napo.                                 Yellow-billed Tern – Seen flying along Napo.
Snowy Egret – Seen along the Napo.                                 Pale-vented Pigeon – Seen on a river island in Napo.
Striated Heron – Seen along the Napo.                              Sapphire Quail-Dove – Heard on PT.
Swallow-tailed Kite – Seen soaring over Napo.                      White-eyed Parakeet – Flock seen flying over Napo.
Black Hawk-Eagle – Heard from PT.                                  Tropical Screech-Owl – Seen on trail to farm.
Yellow-headed Caracara – Seen along Napo.                          Sand-colored Nighthawk – Roosting on pipeline over Napo.
Chestnut-headed Crake – Heard from SR.                             Pauraque – Heard from farm, seen in evening leaving Coca.
Gray-breasted Crake – Heard from Coca airstrip.                    Ladder-tailed Nightjar – Flushed from river island.
Purple Gallinule – Seen from Coca airstrip.                        Gray-rumped Swift – Seen along SR.
Wattled Jacana – Seen from Coca airstrip.                          Straight-billed Hermit – Seen in Heliconias on PT.
Semipalmated Plover – Seen on Coca airstrip.                       Collared Trogon – Seen at start of PT.
Black-throated Trogon – Heard along PT.                     Bicolored Antbird – Seen at antswarm along PT.
Ringed Kingfisher – Seen on SR.                             Lunulated Antbird – Seen at antswarm along PT.
Amazon Kingfisher – Seen on SR.                             Spot-backed Antbird – Seen along PT.
Yellow-billed Jacamar – Seen on PT.                         Ochre-striped Antpitta – Heard along PT.
White-necked Puffbird – Seen at start of PT.                White-lored Antpitta – Heard from start of PT.
Brown Nunlet – Seen on PT.                                  White-bearded Manakin – Seen along PT.
Chestnut-eared Aracari – Seen along SR.                     Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant – Seen on river island.
Rufous-headed Woodpecker – Pair seen from SR.               White-eyed Tody-Tyrant – Heard along PT.
Dusky Spinetail – Heard from SR.                            Golden-crowned Spadebill – Seen along PT.
White-bellied Spinetail - Seen on river island.             Vermilion Flycatcher – Seen in Coca. Very rare in this area.
Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner – Seen along SR.           Black-crowned Tityra – Seen from SR.
Olive-backed Foliage-gleaner – Seen from PT.                White-banded Swallow – Many seen along Napo river.
Black-tailed Leaftosser – Heard along PT.                   Southern Rough-winged Swallow – Seen along rivers.
Black-banded Woodcreeper – Seen along SR.                   Barn Swallow – Seen over Napo river.
Great Antshrike – Heard along SR.                           Black-capped Donacobius – Seen from Coca airstrip.
Cinereous Antshrike – Seen along PT.                        Thrush-like Wren – Seen at start of PT.
Short-billed Antwren – Heard along PT.                      Coraya Wren – Seen along PT.
Amazonian Antwren – Seen along PT.                          Musician Wren – Seen along PT.
Ornate Antwren – Heard along PT.                            Dusky-capped Greenlet – Heard high in canopy along PT.
Banded Antwren – Seen from PT.                              Tawny-crowned Greenlet – Seen along PT.
Blackish Antbird – Heard from SR.                           Blue-black Grassquit – Seen along Coca airstrip.
Black Antbird – Heard from PT.                              Chestnut-bellied Seedeater – Seen along Coca airstrip.
Black-faced Antbird – Seen on PT.                           Troupial – Seen along SR.
Warbling Antbird – Heard from PT.                           Ecuadorian Cacique – Seen along SR.
Sooty Antbird – Seen at antswarm along PT.                  Oriole Blackbird – Flock seen at river island.
White-plumed Antbird – Seen at antswarm along PT.

New Species: 75
Trip total: 264

May 3: Loreto Road, San Isidro, Guango, Papallacta
A crazy day driving up the east slope of the Andes. Things were really slow to start with, but we got high
numbers by covering a huge elevational range from 1200-4000 meters. We awoke too early again to
search for owls typical of the east Andean foothills. All we got was Band-bellied Owl before heading for
km 18 of the Loreto Road for dawn. After hearing another owl, Rufescent Screech, we waited for things
to start happening. And we kept waiting. This area can be terrific but not this morning. Despite the cool
overcast weather not much was happening. We did get a few great birds like the newly-described
Foothill Elaenia and Wire-crested Thorntail, but so many normally common birds were absent. After a
few hours we moved on, stopping at the km 17 bridge to get Sunbittern and White-tailed Hillstar.
Unfortunately it started to rain just about this time and we didn’t see a whole lot more before having to
leave the Loreto Road. We had a tight schedule to keep. The road was under construction and was only
open for a half-hour at noon. If we missed the opening we would have had to wait until dark to continue,
which would have been a disaster. We made it with 15 minutes to spare, and continued down to Cabañas
San Isidro. By now the rain had stopped and we had luck with a good mixed flock, and also got some
new hummers at the feeders. In early afternoon we blasted up the road towards Papallacta, dreading the
police checkpoint that held us up on the way down. Luckily, despite the fact that Iain accidentally
showed the cops his gun license instead of his driver’s license, they let us by without any trouble. After a
quick stop at the new Guango Lodge, where we also lucked into a good flock, we continued up the
mountain towards Papallacta pass. Light was running out but we did well considering the short time we
had, with about 8 new birds kindly putting in an appearance in the last 10 minutes before dark. Too bad
we now had to drive all the way to Tandayapa, a 2 ½ hour trip that Iain somehow managed himself
without falling asleep. We stopped to twitch the Lyre-tailed Nightjar before crashing out exhausted in
Tandayapa Bird Lodge at around 10:30 PM.

Abbreviations: LR- Loreto Road
Speckled Teal – Seen on Papallacta Lake.                    Wire-crested Thorntail – Seen along LR in a few spots.
Yellow-billed Pintail – Seen on Papallacta Lake.            Ecuadorian Piedtail – Heard LR km 18.
Variable Hawk – A pair seen at dusk at Papallacta Pass.     Speckled Hummingbird – Seen near San Isidro.
Barred Forest-Falcon – Heard from Loreto Road (LR) km 18.   Fawn-breasted Brilliant – San Isidro feeders.
Sunbittern – Seen fromLR km 17 bridge.                      White-tailed Hillstar – Seen from LR km 17 bridge.
Band-tailed Pigeon – Seen on Baeza-Papallacta road.         Chestnut-breasted Coronet – San Isidro feeders.
Spot-winged Parrotlet – Flock seen flying over LR km 18.    Bronzy Inca – San Isidro feeders.
Rufescent Screech-Owl – Heard from LR km 18.                Collared Inca – San Isidro feeders.
Band-bellied Owl – Heard on road N of ranger station.       Tourmaline Sunangel – Guango feeders.
Band-winged Nightjar – Seen at dusk at Papallacta Pass.     Long-tailed Sylph – Seen on LR and San Isidro.
Lyre-tailed Nightjar – Seen near Tandayapa.                 Emerald Toucanet – Seen near San Isidro.
White-collared Swift – Flock seen from LR.                  Bar-bellied Woodpecker – Seen at Guango.
Green Hermit – Seen from LR km 18.                          Lineated Woodpecker – Seen at LR km 18.
Bar-winged Cinclodes – Seen near Papallacta Pass.              Brown-bellied Swallow – Seen near Papallacta Pass.
Stout-billed Cinclodes – Seen near Papallacta Pass.            White-capped Dipper – From quarry on LR & on road to PP.
Azara's Spinetail – Heard at San Isidro.                       Mountain Wren – Seen at Guango.
White-chinned Thistletail – Seen near Papallacta Pass.         Gray-breasted Wood-Wren – Heard at San Isidro, seen May 4.
Pearled Treerunner – Seen at Guango.                           Wing-banded Wren – Seen from LR km 18.
Montane Foliage-gleaner – Seen on LR km 18.                    Andean Solitaire – Seen near San Isidro.
Streaked Tuftedcheek – Seen at Guango.                         Great Thrush – Seen near Papallacta.
Montane Woodcreeper – Seen near San Isidro.                    Glossy-black Thrush – Seen near San Isidro.
Yellow-breasted Antwren – Heard from LR km 18.                 Green Jay – Seen on Baeza-Papallacta road.
Long-tailed Antbird – Seen near San Isidro.                    Turquoise Jay – Seen at Guango.
Rufous-breasted Antthrush – Heard from LR km 13.               Brown-capped Vireo – Seen near San Isidro.
Plain-backed Antpitta – Heard from LR km 18.                   Olivaceous Greenlet – Heard from LR km 18.
White-bellied Antpitta – Heard near San Isidro.                Black-billed Peppershrike – Heard at San Isidro.
Tawny Antpitta – Heard near Papallacta Pass.                   Tropical Parula – Seen along LR.
Blackish Tapaculo – Heard near San Isidro.                     Slate-throated Redstart – Seen along LR.
Long-tailed Tapaculo – Heard near San Isidro.                  Spectacled Redstart – Seen at Guango.
Paramo Tapaculo – Heard near Papallacta Pass.                  Blue-backed Conebill – Seen at Guango.
Amazonian Umbrellabird – Seen from LR km 18.                   Capped Conebill – Seen at San Isidro.
Andean Cock-of-the-rock – Heard along the LR in a few spots.   Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager – Seen from LR km 16.
Foothill Elaenia – Seen at LR km 18.                           Superciliaried Hemispingus – Seen at Guango.
Torrent Tyrannulet – Seen from LR km 17 bridge.                Hooded Mountain-Tanager – Seen at Guango.
Rufous-breasted Flycatcher – Seen at Guango.                   Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager – Seen at Guango.
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant – Seen from LR km 18.              Golden Tanager – Seen along LR.
Ecuadorian Tyrannulet – Heard from LR km 18.                   Flame-faced Tanager – Seen from LR km 18.
Black-capped Tyrannulet – Seen at Guango.                      Blue-necked Tanager – Seen from LR km 18.
White-tailed Tyrannulet – Heard near San Isidro.               Beryl-spangled Tanager – Seen near San Isidro.
White-banded Tyrannulet – Seen at Guango.                      Plumbeous Sierra-Finch – Seen at Papallacta Pass.
Tufted Tit-Tyrant – Seen at dusk near Papallacta Pass.         Plain-colored Seedeater – Seen near Papallacta Pass.
Flavescent Flycatcher – Seen near San Isidro.                  Paramo Seedeater – Seen near Papallacta Lake.
Cinnamon Flycatcher – Seen at Guango.                          White-sided Flowerpiercer – Seen near San Isidro.
Cliff Flycatcher – Seen from LR km 13.                         Deep-blue Flowerpiercer – Seen from LR km 13.
Smoke-colored Pewee – Seen near San Isidro.                    Masked Flowerpiercer – Seen at Guango.
Black Phoebe – Seen from LR km 17 bridge.                      Pale-naped Brush-Finch – Seen near Papallacta Pass.
Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant – Seen at Guango.                  Orange-billed Sparrow – Heard from LR km 18.
Barred Becard – Seen near San Isidro.                          Rufous-collared Sparrow – Seen from San Isidro-Papallacta.
Blue-and-white Swallow – Seen from road in many areas.         Slate-colored Grosbeak – Heard from LR km 18.

New Species: 98
Trip total: 362

May 4: Tandayapa to Mindo
This was an important day. We would be birding the areas where we have the most experience, and
needed to rack up large numbers. And we did. We didn’t miss much, and apart from early morning rain
the weather was good. We had to get up early to get up the trail at Tandayapa Bird Lodge predawn in
search of owls. At the time it was pouring rain and we had a sinking feeling that the day was going to be
a washout. It did cost us the owls except for Colombian Screech, but the rain eased off just at dawn and
we started tallying the dawn chorus while walking back down. After a few minutes watching hummers at
the feeders (and somehow dipping White-winged Brush-Finch), we headed down into town to get the
tanager flocks and Whiskered Wren. We started up the Old Nono-Mindo road as it was starting to get
hot, stopping in at Loma Linda and Bellavista to check the feeders. The clouds came over before noon
which really picked things up, and we continued birding the road towards Mindo. A quick stop at Mindo
Lindo got us Velvet-purple Coronet and a few others, and then we headed down into Mindo. The birds
cooperated and we picked up some good ones on the way down like Orange-crowned Euphonia and Blue
Seedeater. Near dusk we found a new restaurant with a hummer feeder that helped us get a few species
we would have missed like Green-crowned Woodnymph and Green-crowned Brilliant. After dark we
headed down to a cheap hotel in Pedro Vicente Maldonado and met up with Paul Coopmans and Jonas
Neilsson, who insisted on coming along and helping out the next day. Hey, we couldn’t pass up that
offer, but it did mean having to listen Paul blabber on about bird calls as were trying to get to sleep.
“Hey, did you just hear that Barn Owl out the window”, “Stub-tailed Antbird goes like this: ih-eh-eh-eh-
EH-EH-IH-IH”, etc. But not even a crazy Belgian could keep us awake after the long days.

Abbreviations: ONMR- Old Nono-Mindo Road, TBL- Tandayapa Bird Lodge.
Turkey Vulture – Seen through the day.                         Bronze-winged Parrot – Seen in Mindo.
White-rumped Hawk – Seen at Loma Linda                         Scaly-naped Parrot – Seen from Mindo road.
Dark-backed Wood-Quail – Heard on trails at TBL.               Barn Owl – Heard late evening in Pedro Vicente.
White-throated Quail-Dove – Heard along ONMR.                  Colombian Screech-Owl – Heard pre-dawn from TBL trails.
Barred Parakeet – Heard from Mindo road.                       Rufous-bellied Nighthawk – Seen at dusk along Mindo road.
Red-billed Parrot – Seen along ONMR.                           Spot-fronted Swift – Seen along ONMR near Loma Linda.
Speckle-faced Parrot – Heard along Mindo road.                 Chestnut-collared Swift – Seen along ONMR.
White-whiskered Hermit – Feeders in Mindo.                           Ochre-breasted Antpitta – Heard from TBL trails.
Tawny-bellied Hermit – Heard along ONMR.                             Narino Tapaculo – Heard from TBL trails.
Green-fronted Lancebill – Seen far end of ONMR.                      Spillmann's Tapaculo – Heard along ONMR.
Brown Violet-ear – TBL feeders.                                      Ocellated Tapaculo – Heard from Bellavista and ONMR
Green Violet-ear – TBL feeders.                                      Green-and-black Fruiteater – Seen along ONMR.
Sparkling Violet-ear – TBL & Loma Linda feeders.                     Scaled Fruiteater – Heard along Mindo road.
Green-crowned Woodnymph – Mindo feeders.                             Golden-winged Manakin – Heard at Mindo Lindo.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird – TBL, Mindo Lindo, Mindo feeders.         Yellow Tyrannulet – Seen along Mindo road.
Andean Emerald – TBL, Loma Linda, Mindo Lindo feeders.               Streak-necked Flycatcher – Seen along ONMR.
Green-crowned Brilliant – Mindo feeders.                             Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant – Heard from TBL trails.
Buff-tailed Coronet – TBL, Loma Linda, Bellavista feeders.           Ashy-headed Tyrannulet – Seen at Mindo Lindo.
Velvet-purple Coronet – Mindo Lindo feeders.                         Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant – Heard in several areas, seen next day.
Brown Inca – TBL & Mindo Lindo feeders.                              Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant – Seen from ONMR & Mindo road.
Gorgeted Sunangel – Bellavista feeders.                              Common Tody-Flycatcher – Seen from Mindo road.
Purple-bibbed Whitetip – TBL feeders.                                Handsome Flycatcher – Seen along ONMR.
Booted Racket-tail – TBL, Loma Linda, Mindo Lindo feeders.           Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant – Heard along ONMR
Violet-tailed Sylph – TBL, Loma Linda, Mindo Lindo feeders.          Rusty-margined Flycatcher – Seen in Mindo.
Wedge-billed Hummingbird – 1 along trails at TBL.                    Golden-crowned Flycatcher – Seen at TBL and from ONMR.
Purple-throated Woodstar – TBL & Loma Linda feeders.                 Cinnamon Becard – Heard in Mindo, seen following day.
White-bellied Woodstar – Loma Linda feeders.                         Masked Tityra – Seen from Mindo road.
Masked Trogon – Seen along ONMR.                                     Sharpe's Wren – Seen along ONMR.
Golden-headed Quetzal – Heard from ONMR, Seen Mindo road             Whiskered Wren – Seen along ONMR near Tandayapa.
White-faced Nunbird – 1 seen on TBL trails, another at Loma Linda.   Plain-tailed Wren – Heard from Bellavista.
Toucan Barbet – Seen along ONMR.                                     Bay Wren – Heard in Mindo.
Crimson-rumped Toucanet – Seen in Mindo Lindo.                       Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush – Heard from ONMR.
Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan – Heard along ONMR.                     Olive-crowned Yellowthroat – Heard near TBL.
Choco Toucan – Heard in Mindo, seen following day.                   Black-crested Warbler – Seen along ONMR.
Smoky-brown Woodpecker – Seen along ONMR.                            Russet-crowned Warbler - Seen along ONMR.
Golden-olive Woodpecker – Seen along Mindo road.                     Three-striped Warbler – Seen at TBL and along ONMR.
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker – Seen along ONMR.                        Grass-green Tanager – Seen along ONMR.
Powerful Woodpecker – Seen along ONMR.                               Dusky Bush-Tanager – Seen along ONMR.
Pale-legged Hornero – Seen in Mindo.                                 White-lined Tanager – Seen near Mindo.
Rufous Spinetail – Heard along ONMR.                                 White-winged Tanager – Seen near TBL.
Slaty Spinetail – Heard near Mindo.                                  Blue-capped Tanager – Seen along ONMR.
Red-faced Spinetail – Seen from Mindo road.                          Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager – Seen along ONMR.
Rusty-winged Barbtail – Heard from ONMR.                             Fawn-breasted Tanager – Seen near Tandayapa.
Spotted Barbtail – Heard from TBL trails.                            Orange-crowned Euphonia – Seen along Mindo road.
Striped Treehunter – Heard along ONMR.                               Golden-rumped Euphonia – Seen near TBL.
Lineated Foliage-gleaner – Heard from TBL trails.                    Bay-headed Tanager – Seen near Mindo.
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner – Seen along Mindo road.                Golden-naped Tanager – Seen near Tandayapa.
Strong-billed Woodcreeper – Heard along TBL trails.                  Metallic-green Tanager – Seen in Mindo Lindo.
Spotted Woodcreeper – Heard along TBL trails.                        Blue-and-black Tanager – Seen along ONMR.
Uniform Antshrike – Seen along TBL trails.                           Black-capped Tanager – Seen near Tandayapa.
Slaty Antwren – Seen along TBL trails.                               Variable Seedeater – Seen near Mindo.
Immaculate Antbird – Seen along TBL trails.                          Black-and-white Seedeater – Seen at Loma Linda.
Scaled Antpitta – Heard from Mindo road.                             Yellow-bellied Seedeater – Seen in various areas.
Moustached Antpitta – Heard along TBL trails.                        Blue Seedeater – Seen in bamboo along Mindo road.
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta – Heard along ONMR.                        Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch – Heard along TBL trails.
Yellow-breasted Antpitta – Heard along ONMR.                         Black-winged Saltator – Seen near Tandayapa.
Shiny Cowbird – Several seen in Mindo.

New Species: 113
Trip total: 475

May 5: Pedro Vicente Maldonado, Los Bancos, Calacali
Our last day in Ecuador, and we spent most of it on the “birder’s road” near the town of Pedro Vicente
Maldonado. Even though this road has been trashed, it is still the only easily accessible bit of lowland
forest in the area, and you still good birds along it. We again started early for owls, but this wasn’t
terribly productive since all we got was Mottled Owl calling before dawn. As it got light everything
started happening quickly. With so many of us looking, the birds came quickly and it was a struggle to
get on to everything. Stub-tailed Antbird was a good find, as well as Scarlet-and-white Tanager. We kept
working this road until mid-afternoon, then went down to Puerto Quito for a few minutes to get some
common open-country birds before racing back up the mountains to the “Moss-backed Tanager Road”
near the town of Los Bancos. It was pouring rain here and we were lucky to pick up almost everything
we needed here in just half an hour. With some time remaining, we decided to stop off at some dry
páramo near the town of Calacali where we got a couple of last birds before dark. We had about an hour
to stop in Quito and repack before going to the airport to catch our Lan Chile flight to Santiago. The
flight almost didn’t leave due to fog but it lifted with a couple of hours to spare and we took off without
Abbreviations: Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM), Los Bancos (LB)

Cattle Egret – Seen along main highway near LB            Yellow-bellied Elaenia – Seen in PVM.
Gray-headed Kite – Seen in PVM.                           Slaty-capped Flycatcher – Seen in PVM.
Gray Hawk – Seen in PVM.                                  Sooty-headed Tyrannulet – Seen in PVM.
Short-tailed Hawk – Seen in PVM.                          Golden-faced Tyrannulet – Seen in PVM.
American Kestrel – Seen at Calacali.                      Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant – Seen in PVM.
Rufous-fronted Wood-Quail – Heard in PVM.                 Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher – Seen in PVM.
Dusky Pigeon – Heard in PVM.                              Ornate Flycatcher – Seen in LB.
Eared Dove – Seen in Calacali.                            Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher – Seen in PVM.
Common Ground-Dove – Seen in Calacali.                    Long-tailed Tyrant – Seen in PVM.
White-tipped Dove – Heard in PVM. Seen on May 9.          Piratic Flycatcher – Seen in PVM.
Pallid Dove – Heard in PVM.                               White-thighed Swallow – Seen in PVM.
Little Cuckoo – Seen in PVM.                              Stripe-throated Wren – Seen in PVM.
Striped Cuckoo – Seen in PVM.                             Ecuadorian Thrush – Seen in PVM.
Mottled Owl – Heard in PVM.                               Tawny-faced Gnatwren – Seen in PVM.
Stripe-throated Hermit – Seen in PVM.                     Tropical Gnatcatcher – Seen near Puerto Quito.
Green Thorntail – Seen in PVM.                            Slate-throated Gnatcatcher – Seen in PVM.
Violet-bellied Hummingbird – Seen in PVM.                 Lesser Greenlet – Seen in PVM.
Purple-chested Hummingbird – Seen in PVM.                 Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo – Heard in PVM.
Purple-crowned Fairy – Seen in PVM.                       Choco Warbler – Seen in LB.
White-eyed Trogon – Seen in PVM.                          Buff-rumped Warbler – Seen in PVM.
Rufous Motmot – Heard in PVM.                             Bananaquit – Seen in PVM.
Broad-billed Motmot – Heard in PVM                        Cinereous Conebill – Seen near Calacali.
Red-headed Barbet – Seen in PVM.                          Guira Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Pale-mandibled Aracari – Seen in PVM.                     Scarlet-and-white Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan – Heard in PVM.                 Dusky-faced Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Olivaceous Piculet – Seen in PVM.                         Ochre-breasted Tanager – Heard in PVM.
Black-cheeked Woodpecker – Seen in PVM.                   Scarlet-browed Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Guayaquil Woodpecker – Heard in PVM                       White-shouldered Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner – Seen at LB.              Tawny-crested Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper – Seen in PVM.                Flame-rumped Tanager – Huge numbers seen.
Black-striped Woodcreeper – Seen in PVM.                  Moss-backed Tanager – Seen in LB.
Streak-headed Woodcreeper – Seen in PVM.                  Gray-and-gold Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Western Slaty-Antshrike – Seen in PVM.                    Silver-throated Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Russet Antshrike – Seen in PVM.                           Golden-hooded Tanager – Seen in PVM.
Pacific Antwren – Seen in PVM.                            Ash-breasted Sierra-Finch – Seen in Calacali.
Checker-throated Antwren – Seen in PVM.                   Thick-billed Seed-Finch – Seen in PVM.
Dot-winged Antwren – Seen in PVM.                         Band-tailed Seedeater – Seen in Calacali.
Dusky Antbird – Heard in PVM.                             Dull-colored Grassquit – Seen in PVM.
Stub-tailed Antbird – Seen in PVM.                        Black-striped Sparrow – Seen in PVM.
Chestnut-backed Antbird – Heard in PVM.                   Golden-bellied Grosbeak – Heard in Calacali.
Black-headed Antthrush – Heard in PVM.                    Scrub Blackbird – Seen near Puerto Quito.
Brown-capped Tyrannulet – Seen in PVM.                    Yellow-tailed Oriole – Seen near Puerto Quito.
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet – Seen in PVM.              Scarlet-rumped Cacique – Heard in PVM.
Gray Elaenia – Seen in PVM.

New Species: 87
Trip Total: 562

May 6: Punta Arenas
After landing in Santiago, we immediately connected with a flight to Punta Arenas, in far southern Chile,
almost in Tierra del Fuego. It was nearly winter here, and at 53 degrees south latitude we expected it to
be frigid. Fortunately the weather was quite pleasant, sunny and no wind. We weren’t expecting huge
numbers here, but at least almost everything would be different. After hiring the car with Avis, we drove
north, birding the seaside for a few minutes before finding the road to the Otway penguin colony. While
the colony wouldn’t be active this time of year, the road passes through good steppe and scrub habitat
and also passes close to the sea. We got Lesser Rhea right away, then saw a lot of the finches and
waterfowl. At one point the road turned into a bog and we were very lucky to get through without getting
stuck. By the time we had gotten out the whole car was covered in nasty mud; fortunately Avis didn’t
seem to care. On the way back to Punta Arenas we found an Austral Pygmy-Owl on a wire in late
afternoon, then found a pond near the town with a few good ducks, including Spectacled. We spent the
night at a friendly B&B, and owing to the long night we got our first really good sleep since the twitch

All birds today were seen.
Lesser Rhea – Otway road.                                 Imperial Shag – Along shores.
White-tufted Grebe – Along shores.                        Upland Goose – Many seen in fields and steppe.
Southern Fulmar – Seen offshore.                          Kelp Goose – Seen near Otway penguin colony.
Neotropic Cormorant – Along shores.                       Flightless Steamerduck – Seen from Otway road.
Rock Shag – Along shores.                                 Flying Steamerduck – Several seen various places.
Spectacled Duck – In a pond north of town.                     Austral Pygmy-Owl – On wire north of airport.
Crested Duck – Along shores and in ponds.                      Gray-flanked Cinclodes – Otway road.
Cinereous Harrier – Along Otway road.                          Austral Canastero – Otway road.
White-throated Caracara – Over field north of airport.         Gray-hooded Sierra-Finch – Otway Road.
Southern Caracara – Along Otway road.                          Canary-winged Finch – Otway road.
Chimango Caracara – Many seen along roads.                     Yellow-bridled Finch – Otway road.
Magellanic Oystercatcher – Flock seen along Otway road.        Patagonian Yellow-Finch – Otway road.
Whimbrel – Straggler seen along Otway road.                    Long-tailed Meadowlark – Otway road.
Kelp Gull – Seen everywhere near sea.                          Austral Blackbird – North of Punta Arenas.

New Species: 28
Trip Total: 590

May 7: Punta Arenas to Santiago to La Campana NP.
Over the next two days we would realize just how few birds there are to be seen in this part of the world,
and make us seriously regret coming to Chile. The reason why we did Chile to begin with is that we
were forced to fly through Santiago, so we thought it would be worthwhile to spend a couple of days
here. Perhaps not... This morning we drive south from Punta Arenas, hearing Magellanic Horned Owl on
the side of the road about 30 minutes out of town. At dawn we birded the Fuerte Bulnes areas, where we
saw some nice birds, but ran out of things to see in about an hour. The best was a few Magellanic
Penguins offshore. Before driving back to Punta Arenas, we took a side-road to Laguna la Parrillar. We
only saw one new species along this road, but it was one of the most memorable, a pair of Magellanic
Woodpeckers seen at close range pounding away at a tree. We spent some time birding around the
airport picking up some odds and ends before flying back to Santiago. We hired a car and drove to
Campana National Park where we slept in the car after hearing a Rufous-legged Owl.

Magellanic Penguin – Several seen offshore at Fuerte Bulnes.   Rufous-legged Owl – Heard at Campana NP.
Great Grebe – Seen Near Fuerte Bulnes.                         Magellanic Woodpecker – Pair seen on road to Lag. Parrillar.
Black-crowned Night-Heron – Seen near Fuerte Bulnes.           Thorn-tailed Rayadito – Seen at Fuerte Bulnes.
Ashy-headed Goose – Seen in a field with Upland Geese.         Fire-eyed Diucon – Seen at Fuerte Bulnes.
Chiloe Wigeon – Seen in a pond north of Punta Arenas.          Austral Thrush – Seen at Fuerte Bulnes.
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle – Seen north of airport.           Black-chinned Siskin – Flock seen at Fuerte Bulnes.
Austral Parakeet – Large flock seen at Fuerte Bulnes.          Patagonian Sierra-Finch – Seen at Fuerte Bulnes.
Magellanic Horned Owl – Heard south of Punta Arenas.

New Species: 15
Trip Total: 605

May 8: Campana NP, Concón area.
This was the most frustrating day yet. After very nearly getting the car stuck in a ditch in the predawn
hours, we walked up the road at La Campana and saw almost nothing. It was dead. A few birds were
calling that we did not recognize and apart from a few like Dusky Tapaculo and Patagonian Tyrant,
nothing was moving. We left after about an hour and a half and finally saw a few birds on the way out of
the park. We drove to the town of Concón where we got some seabirds and coastal birds, including a
beautiful Inca Tern and the endemic Chilean Seaside Cinclodes before having to drive back to Santiago
to catch our evening flight to Buenos Aires. It was a happy feeling leaving Chile and we hoped for much
more in Argentina. We were met at the airport by Mark Pearman, who had already agreed to take us on a
twitch of Corrientes and Entre Rios provinces over the next 3 days. Mark is currently working on a new
field guide for Argentina. He had some of the plates with him and they looked good! We hopped in his
big diesel truck and roared north throughout the night to the Mercedes-Pellegrini road in the heart of
Corrientes Province. We got there with a few hours to spare before late to catch some sleep in the truck.

All birds today were seen.
Humboldt Penguin – Near Punta Concón                           Ruddy Turnstone – Near Punta Concón.
Peruvian Pelican – Along shore near Concón.                    Brown-hooded Gull – Near Punta Concón.
Peruvian Booby – Offshore near Concón.                         Inca Tern – Near Punta Concón.
Guanay Cormorant – On large rock near Punta Concón             Rock Dove – Valparaiso.
Red-legged Cormorant – On large rock near Punta Concón         Chilean Pigeon – In and near La Campana.
White-tailed Kite – Along highway to Santiago.                 Green-backed Firecrown – La Campana.
Peregrine Falcon – La Campana.                                 Chilean Flicker – La Campana.
California Quail – La Campana.                                 Chilean Seaside Cinclodes – Near Punta Concón.
Red-gartered Coot – Near Concón.                               Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail – Near La Campana.
Dusky Tapaculo – La Campana.                                       Chilean Swallow – Near La Campana.
Patagonian Tyrant – La Campana.                                    Correndera Pipit – Near Concón.
Dark-faced Ground-Tyrant – On a beach near Concón.                 Chilean Mockingbird – Near La Campana.
Austral Negrito – On a beach near Concón                           Common Diuca-Finch – Near La Campana.

New Species: 26
Trip Total: 631

May 9: Mercedes-Colonia Carlos Pellegrini Road (Esteros de Iberia Provincial Park).
We awoke tired, cold, but ready to see lots of new birds. The wetlands, savannas, and light woodland
along the road had lots of potential, and we started seeing good birds almost immediately. Yellow
Cardinal was one of the first, a beautiful and highly endangered bird that we would not have found
without Mark. We also got Lark-like Brushrunner, the first of many Firewood-gatherers, Giant Wood-
Rail, and many others before getting back in the truck and working our way east along the road. The
birding was easy and we saw lots of goodies like Greater Rhea and Southern Screamer without much
effort. This road is great for Strange-tailed Tyrant, and we saw about 5 of them along the way in various
stages of molt. The ranger station near the bridge also produced some nice ones like Variable Antshrike
and Solitary Cacique. We worked out way back to Mercedes in the late afternoon, getting Plumbeous
Rail and Scissor-tailed Nightjar along the way. The hotel in Mercedes was basic and way overpriced –
typical for Argentina, but there wasn’t much to choose from.

All birds today were seen on or near the same stretch of road, so specific details are not given.

Greater Rhea                                    Checkered Woodpecker                    Creamy-bellied Thrush
Spotted Nothura                                 Green-barred Woodpecker                 Masked Gnatcatcher
Whistling Heron                                 Campo Flicker                           Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Wood Stork                                      Rufous Hornero                          Masked Yellowthroat
Maguari Stork                                   Chotoy Spinetail                        White-rimmed Warbler
Plumbeous Ibis                                  Sooty-fronted Spinetail                 Sayaca Tanager
Bare-faced Ibis                                 Yellow-chinned Spinetail                Red-crested Finch
Southern Screamer                               Short-billed Canastero                  Long-tailed Reed-Finch
White-faced Whistling-Duck                      Greater Thornbird                       Rusty-collared Seedeater
Brazilian Teal                                  Firewood-gatherer                       Double-collared Seedeater
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture                    Lark-like Brushrunner                   Saffron Finch
Long-winged Harrier                             Narrow-billed Woodcreeper               Grassland Yellow-Finch
Savanna Hawk                                    Variable Antshrike                      Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch
Giant Wood-Rail                                 Sooty Tyrannulet                        Lesser Grass-Finch
Plumbeous Rail                                  White-crested Tyrannulet                Great Pampa-Finch
White-backed Stilt                              Warbling Doradito                       Yellow Cardinal
South American Snipe                            Bran-colored Flycatcher                 Red-crested Cardinal
Large-billed Tern                               Gray Monjita                            Grassland Sparrow
Picazuro Pigeon                                 White Monjita                           Green-winged Saltator
Spot-winged Pigeon                              Spectacled Tyrant                       Unicolored Blackbird
Ruddy Ground-Dove                               White-headed Marsh-Tyrant               Chestnut-capped Blackbird
Picui Ground-Dove                               Strange-tailed Tyrant                   White-browed Blackbird
Monk Parakeet                                   Yellow-browed Tyrant                    Bay-winged Cowbird
Guira Cuckoo                                    Cattle Tyrant                           Solitary Cacique
Burrowing Owl                                   Tawny-headed Swallow                    Yellow-rumped Marshbird
Scissor-tailed Nightjar                         Chalk-browed Mockingbird                Brown-and-yellow Marshbird
Green Kingfisher                                White-banded Mockingbird

New Species: 80
Trip Total: 711

May 10: Entre Rios Province
Things took a turn for the worse. We drove south before light into Entre Rios province and started
birding at El Palmar National Park. It was painfully obvious after a few minutes that the birding wasn’t
going to be anything like the Esteros de Iberia the previous day. The numbers simply weren’t there and
there was quite a lot of overlap. The Plush-crested Jays and Golden-billed Saltator were quite fantastic at
least. Leaving El Palmar, we drove farther south and birded the area around the town of Gualeguaychu,
where we got both Black-crowned and Black-and-white Monjitas and a few others. In the middle of the
afternoon we went racing around clay roads in the middle of who-knows-where not seeing much. A
sudden rain shower turned the roads slick as glass and we had to head back to the main road at a crawl,
occasionally sliding off the road even in four-wheel drive! We made it to Ceibas before dusk and birded
a wetland before the three of us holed up in an expensive hotel room the size of a foot-locker.

White-faced Ibis – Wetland near Ceibas.                    Black-crowned Monjita – Near Gualeguaychu.
Gray-headed Gull – Near Gualeguaychu.                      Black-and-white Monjita – Near Gualeguaychu.
White-fronted Woodpecker – El Palmar.                      White-rumped Swallow – Near Gualeguaychu.
White-spotted Woodpecker – El Palmar.                      Rufous-bellied Thrush – El Palmar.
Tufted Tit-Spinetail – El Palmar.                          Plush-crested Jay – El Palmar.
Wren-like Rushbird – Wetland near Ceibas.                  Hooded Siskin – North of Ceibas.
Pale-breasted Spinetail – Near Gualeguaychu.               Golden-crowned Warbler – El Palmar.
Freckle-breasted Thornbird – Near Gualeguaychu.            Hepatic Tanager – Near Gualeguaychu.
Brown Cacholote – Near Gualeguaychu.                       Black-capped Warbling-Finch – Near Gualeguaychu.
Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper – Near Gualeguaychu.           Golden-billed Saltator – El Palmar.
Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet – El Palmar.                     Epaulet Oriole – El Palmar.
Suiriri Flycatcher – El Palmar.

New Species: 23
Trip Total: 734

May 11: Reserva Estricta Otamendi & Costanera Sur
We weren’t going to have a whole lot of time birding today because we had to get back to the airport for
our flight to Madrid, and had to deal with the traffic in Buenos Aires to get there. We started at a small
reserve north of Buenos Aires called Estricta Otamendi. Unfortunately Mark nailed a hidden speed bump
before entering the park and wrenched his suspension out of place. It turned out to not be a serious
problem but he didn’t know that at the time! Despite that he stayed in pretty good humor and we got
most of the birds we needed there, which wasn’t much, but we were happy to see Diademed Tanager and
Rufous-capped Antshrike. Afterwards we fought our way into Buenos Aires to Costanera Sur where we
had about an hour to tick off a bunch of waterfowl that we still needed and also had great views of a
Many-colored Rush-Tyrant. Then it was off to the airport, where we parted ways with Mark and set off
for Europe on an Iberia flight. We may have been disappointed with the numbers we got in Argentina,
we are very grateful to Mark Pearman for his assistance while we were there. We certainly would have
done much worse on our own.
Pied-billed Grebe - Costanera Sur.                         Curve-billed Reedhaunter – Estricta Otamendi.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck – Costanera Sur.                    Chicli Spinetail – Estricta Otamendi.
Black-necked Swan – Costanera Sur.                         Sulphur-bearded Spinetail – Estricta Otamendi.
Coscoroba Swan – Costanera Sur.                            Rufous-capped Antshrike – Estricta Otamendi.
Ringed Teal – Costanera Sur.                               Many-colored Rush-Tyrant – Costanera Sur.
Silver Teal – Costanera Sur.                               House Sparrow – Flock seen in Buenos Aires.
Rosy-billed Pochard – Costanera Sur.                       Diademed Tanager – Estricta Otamendi.
Lake Duck – Costanera Sur.                                 Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch – Costanera Sur.
Common Moorhen – Costanera Sur.                            Red-rumped Warbling-Finch – Estricta Otamendi.
White-winged Coot – Costanera Sur.                         Yellow-billed Cardinal – Costanera Sur.
Red-fronted Coot – Costanera Sur.                          Yellow-winged Blackbird – Costanera Sur.

New Species: 22
Trip Total: 756

May 12: East of Madrid & Owling in Amsterdam
We arrived in Madrid early and were eager to get out of the airport and start on a brand-new continent.
Unfortunately we had to wait 45 minutes for the rental car office to open, but after that things went
smoothly. We hit the road and drove west, the quickest way out of the city. Once we were out we simply
spent the day driving country roads, generally through savanna, agricultural areas, and sometimes light
woodland. We just stopped anywhere that looked promising and slowly but surely picked up birds.
Considering that we were basically just wandering aimlessly we did quite well. Two Great Bustards flew
over the road early, and later in the day we had Little Bustards in a field. Raptors were common,
especially later in the day, with the big surprise being a soaring Spanish Imperial Eagle. In the afternoon
we had to get back to the airport and fly to Amsterdam. Here we were met by Pierre van der Weilen, a
good friend of Iain’s and an obsessed twitcher – just who we needed to take us around the next day. But
we weren’t done yet. We zoomed off into the suburbs of Amsterdam to Pierre’s Tawny Owl stakeout at
Bosbaan Amsterdamse Bos, and sure enough it was calling distantly. On the way to Pierre’s place a
Long-eared Owl flew in front of the car (somewhere called Oterleek) to finish the day off. We finally got
to sleep around 11 PM.

All species (except the Amsterdam owls) were seen along roads east of Madrid. As we were pretty much
driving randomly, specific sites aren’t given in this day list.

Little Bittern                          Eurasian Collared-Dove                Black Wheatear
White Stork                             Common Cuckoo                         Northern Wheatear
Mallard                                 Tawny Owl                             Black-eared Wheatear
Northern Shoveler                       Little Owl                            Blue Tit
European Honey-buzzard                  Northern Long-eared Owl               Eurasian Penduline-Tit
Black Kite                              Common Swift                          Northern Shrike
Northern Harrier                        European Bee-eater                    Woodchat Shrike
Montagu's Harrier                       Hoopoe                                Eurasian Magpie
Eurasian Buzzard                        Great Spotted Woodpecker              Red-billed Chough
Spanish Eagle                           Crested Lark                          Eurasian Jackdaw
Booted Eagle                            Thekla Lark                           Carrion Crow
Lesser Kestrel                          Red-rumped Swallow                    Common Raven
Eurasian Kestrel                        White Wagtail                         Spotless Starling
Red-legged Partridge                    Gray Wagtail                          Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Great Bustard                           Blue Rock-Thrush                      European Greenfinch
Little Bustard                          Eurasian Blackbird                    European Goldfinch
Eurasian Thick-knee                     Melodious Warbler                     European Serin
Stock Pigeon                            European Robin                        Corn Bunting
Common Wood-Pigeon                      Common Nightingale

New Species: 56
Trip Total: 812

May 13: The Netherlands: Between Amsterdam and Den Helder.
We arose early to take advantage of the early sunrise, and we headed off with Pierre and his cheerful
wife to a forest called Schoorlse Duinen near the town of Bergen. Here we after passerines such as
Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Nuthatch, and various tits. After a few hours we went to the seashore at
Hondsbosche Zeewering, stopping first at a parking area at Camperduin, where a Eurasian Dotterel had
been found a few days before. We were lucky to beat the weekend crowd and the dotterel was still
around, along with a few other birds. We spent a bit of time seawatching, getting a bunch of gulls, terns,
and sea-ducks. The ponds of Putten close by were incredibly productive for ducks, waders, and many
other various birds. Next we went to a place called Petten, which was nothing more than a lot filled with
junk, but it had a fair number of interesting species like Ring Ouzel. We spent an hour or so walking in
the Zwanenwater Reserve where we got some new ones like Common Goldeneye and Bearded Reedling
before continuing along the coast to Den Helder, picking up odds and ends along the way. By 2 PM we
already had to start going back to Schipol for to catch our next flight – it was quite a productive day
considering how little time we had! We caught a flight to Heathrow that connected to an overnight flight
to Cape Town, and we were off to the Dark Continent.

Abbreviations: BAB- Bosbaan Amsterdamse Bos, HZP- Hondsbosche Zeewering & The Putten.

Great Crested Grebe – HZP.                                 Barnacle Goose – HZP.
Eared Grebe – HZP.                                         Brant – HZP.
Great Cormorant – HZP.                                     Egyptian Goose – Near HZP.
Gray Heron – HZP.                                          Common Shelduck – HZP.
Little Egret – HZP.                                        Eurasian Wigeon – HZP.
Eurasian Spoonbill – HZP.                                  Gadwall – HZP.
Mute Swan – Many places.                                   Eurasian Teal – HZP.
Greylag Goose – Many places.                               Garganey – HZP.
Snow Goose – HZP.                                          Common Pochard – HZP.
Tufted Duck – HZP.                                        Sandwich Tern – HZP.
Greater Scaup – HZP.                                      Common Tern – HZP.
Common Eider – HZP.                                       Arctic Tern – HZP.
Black Scoter – HZP.                                       Little Tern – HZP.
Common Goldeneye – Zwanenwater.                           Black Tern – HZP.
Common Merganser – HZP.                                   Wood Lark – Heard at BAB.
Western Marsh-Harrier – Zwanenwater.                      Sky Lark – Heard at HZP.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk – South of Den Helder.               Yellow Wagtail – Camperduin.
Eurasian Hobby – HZP.                                     Tree Pipit – Camperduin.
Gray Partridge – Near Den Helder.                         Meadow Pipit – Camperduin.
Water Rail – Heard at Zwanenwater.                        Winter Wren – BAB.
Eurasian Coot – HZP.                                      Dunnock – Petten.
Eurasian Oystercatcher – Den Helder.                      Ring Ouzel – Pettern.
Pied Avocet – HZP.                                        Song Thrush – BAB.
Northern Lapwing – Many places.                           Sedge Warbler - Zwanenwater
European Golden-Plover – HZP.                             Willow Warbler – Several places.
Black-bellied Plover – HZP.                               Common Chiffchaff – Heard in a few places.
Common Ringed Plover – Camperduin.                        Blackcap – Petten.
Little Ringed Plover – Camperduin.                        Greater Whitethroat – Near BAB.
Eurasian Dotterel – Camperduin.                           Lesser Whitethroat – HZP.
Black-tailed Godwit – HZP.                                Spotted Flycatcher – BAB.
Bar-tailed Godwit – HZP.                                  Bluethroat - Zwanenwater.
Eurasian Curlew – HZP.                                    Black Redstart – Petten.
Spotted Redshank – HZP.                                   Whinchat – Camperduin.
Common Redshank – HZP.                                    Common Stonechat – Petten.
Common Sandpiper – HZP.                                   Bearded Reedling – Zwanenwater.
Red Knot – HZP.                                           Long-tailed Tit – BAB.
Curlew Sandpiper – HZP.                                   Coal Tit – BAB.
Dunlin – HZP.                                             Great Tit – BAB.
Mew Gull – HZP.                                           Eurasian Nuthatch – BAB.
Great Black-backed Gull – HZP.                            Eurasian Jay – BAB.
Herring Gull – HZP.                                       European Starling – Many places.
Yellow-legged Gull – HZP.                                 Chaffinch – BAB.
Lesser Black-backed Gull – HZP.                           Eurasian Linnet – BAB.
Black-headed Gull – HZP.                                  Reed Bunting – Zwanenwater.
Little Gull – HZP.

New Species: 89
Trip Total: 901

May 14: South Africa: Western Cape Province Part 1
Our flight arrived on time in Cape Town and Keith Barnes was waiting for us with a hired car. Keith is
the author of Important Bird Areas of Southern Africa and he is currently working on revising African
lark taxonomy for his Ph.D., which he might actually finish in 2002. He has been a guide in South Africa
for many years, first with Sugarbird Tours, but more recently has become a partner in Tropical Birding.
He knows the Western Cape better than just about anyone and we knew that with his help we would see
loads. We screamed out of the airport and headed for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where Cape
Sugarbird and Orange-breasted Sunbird were among the first to fall to our bins. Once we cleaned up, we
raced over the mountains and down to the coast to Boulders to tick Jackass Penguin, then over to
Kommetjie for a bunch cormorants and other waterbirds. From there we went to the sewage works at
Strandfontein for bunches of ducks, herons, and our first cisticolas (always fun!). From here we headed
back over the mountains and started north, stopping briefly at Milnerton Wetlands for White-backed
Duck before continuing to the Darling Strandveld for mid-afternoon. This was really productive with
some great birds like a Marshal Eagle on a fence pole and Black Bustards in a field. With a little time to
spare we made it to the Berg River near Veldrif in time to tick a few more waterbirds and waders. After
dining in town amid the stench of rotting fish, we headed up to the Karoo and slept at Katbakkies, three
of us crammed into the tiny car.
Abbreviations: KBG- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, SSW- Strandfontein Sewage Works, DS- Darling
Strandveld, BRM- Berg River Mouth.
All birds today were seen.

Ostrich – From road near DS.                               Great Crested Tern – BRM.
Jackass Penguin – Several at Boulders.                     Speckled Pigeon – Around Cape Town.
Little Grebe – SSW.                                        Red-eyed Dove – KBG.
White-chinned Petrel – Offshore Cape Town.                 Ring-necked Dove – Seen many places.
Great White Pelican – Anywhere near water.                 Laughing Dove – Seen many places.
Cape Gannet – Seen offshore from Kommetjie.                Little Swift – A few flocks along roads.
Cape Cormorant – Kommetjie.                                Speckled Mousebird – KBG.
Bank Cormorant – Kommetjie.                                White-backed Mousebird – DS.
Long-tailed Cormorant – Kommetjie.                         Pied Kingfisher – SSW.
Crowned Cormorant – Kommetjie.                             Long-billed Lark – DS.
Darter – SSW.                                              Plain Martin – Seen throughout.
Black-headed Heron – SSW.                                  Cape Wagtail – KBG.
Purple Heron – SSW.                                        Orange-throated Longclaw – DS.
Hamerkop – BRM, and many other places.                     Cape Bulbul – KBG.
Sacred Ibis – Seen in many areas.                          Sombre Greenbul – KBG.
Hadada Ibis – Everywhere.                                  Olive Thrush – KBG.
Glossy Ibis – BRM.                                         Tinkling Cisticola – SSW.
African Spoonbill – BRM.                                   Zitting Cisticola – SSW.
Greater Flamingo – BRM.                                    Karoo Prinia – Near Cape Town Airport.
White-backed Duck – Milnerton Wetlands.                    Cape Grassbird – KBG.
Spur-winged Goose – Various wetland areas.                 Lesser Swamp-Warbler – SSW.
Cape Teal – SSW.                                           Fiscal Flycatcher – KBG.
Yellow-billed Duck – SSW.                                  Cape Robin-Chat – KBG.
Red-billed Duck – SSW.                                     African Stonechat – DS.
Cape Shoveler – SSW.                                       Capped Wheatear – DS.
Maccoa Duck – SSW.                                         Southern Penduline-Tit – KBG.
Black-shouldered Kite – Seen everywhere.                   Orange-breasted Sunbird – KBG.
African Marsh-Harrier – SSW.                               Southern Double-collared Sunbird – KBG.
Black Harrier – Seen along road near DS.                   Cape White-eye – KBG.
African Goshawk – KBG.                                     Cape Sugarbird – KBG.
Martial Eagle – 1 juv. seen at DS.                         Common Fiscal – Near DS.
Cape Francolin – DS.                                       Bokmakierie – DS.
Helmeted Guineafowl – KBG.                                 House Crow – Cape Town.
Purple Swamphen – SSW.                                     Pied Crow – Seen many places.
Red-knobbed Coot – SSW.                                    White-necked Raven – Mountains near Cape Town.
Black Bustard – DS.                                        Wattled Starling – DS.
African Oystercatcher – Kommetjie.                         African Pied Starling – DS.
Black-winged Stilt – SSW.                                  Red-winged Starling – Cape Town.
Blacksmith Plover – Kommetjie, BRM.                        Mossie – DS.
Crowned Lapwing – DS.                                      Cape Weaver – DS.
Kittlitz's Plover – BRM.                                   Common Waxbill – KBG.
Three-banded Plover – BRM.                                 Cape Canary – Near Cape Town Airport.
White-fronted Plover – Kommetjie.                          Forest Canary – KBG.
Ruff – BRM.                                                White-throated Canary – DS.
Hartlaub's Gull – Kommetjie.

New Species: 89
Trip Total: 990

May 15: South Africa: Western Cape Province Part 2
Sleeping in the car is not the most relaxing way to go. Fortunately, this was the only night apart from the
night at La Campana in Chile where we had to do it. And it was worth it. As soon as the sun was up we
were seeing loads of Karoo specialties in the rocky canyon, including Kopje Warbler and Ground
Woodpecker. We made our way back south birding the plains along the way, getting Karoo Bustard and
a few chats before heading back to Cape Town via Ceres and Bain’s Kloof. The mountains here coughed
up some nice birds like Cape Rock Thrush and Cape Batis, but unfortunately no rockjumpers. A moving
shadow along the mountain gave away the location of a soaring Verreaux’s Eagle. By now we were out
of time and had to get to the airport in Cape Town to catch our flight to Durban. Here we rented another
car and found a nice B&B in a coastal town to the north.
Abbreviations: K- Katbakkies, BK- Bain’s Kloof.

South African Shelduck – K.                               Yellow-bellied Eremomela – K.
Pale Chanting-Goshawk – Plains south of K.                Yellow-rumped Eremomela – Plains south of K.
Verreaux's Eagle – Mountains near BK.                     Cape Crombec – K.
Karoo Bustard – Plains south of K.                        Layard's Warbler – K.
Giant Kingfisher – In pond next to road to Cape Town.     Karoo Scrub-Robin – K.
Pied Barbet – K.                                          Mountain Wheatear – K.
Ground Woodpecker – K.                                    Sicklewing Chat – Plains south of K.
Karoo Lark – Plains south of K.                           Karoo Chat - Plains south of K.
Spike-heeled Lark – Plains south of K.                    Familiar Chat - Plains south of K.
Red-capped Lark – Plains south of K.                      Southern Anteater-Chat - Plains south of K.
Rock Martin – Near Ceres.                                 Cape Batis – Ceres.
Black Sawwing – Ceres.                                    Pririt Batis – K.
Cape Rock-Thrush – BK.                                    Malachite Sunbird – K.
Red-headed Cisticola – Plains south of K.                 Southern Boubou – BK.
Namaqua Prinia – Plains south of K.                       Swee Waxbill – BK.
Rufous-eared Warbler -                                    Yellow Canary – K.
Bar-throated Apalis - Heard                               Streaky-headed Seedeater – K.
Kopje Warbler – K.                                        Cape Siskin – Near BK.
African Bush-Warbler – K.                                 Cape Bunting – K.
Fairy Warbler – K.

New Species: 39
Trip Total: 1029

May 16: Eastern Kwazulu-Natal & Mkuze
Another 4am start to get to Umlalazi Nature Reserve before dawn. Amazingly, there was someone there
at the gate to take our Rand and let us in at that hour, so we were in place for the dawn activity. Things
were quite active as we birded various roads and trails through the reserve, with the highlights being
Trumpeter Hornbill, Green Twinspot, and Scaly-throated Honeyguide. After a pretty dismal trip to
Richard’s Bay, which turned out to be nearly birdless, we went to Lake St. Lucia. A few ponds along the
road to Mtubatuba held some surprises like African Pygmy-Goose and Lesser Moorhen. The trails in the
reserve at Lake St. Lucia were pretty good considering it was in the middle of the afternoon and we got
good looks at some goodies like Woodward’s Batis and Brown Robin. Livingtson’s Turacos were calling
nearby but did choose to reveal themselves. Late afternoon we headed to Mkuze and just before dusk we
found the entrance road teeming with birds, and we ticked off a bunch in the last 45 minutes. We then
ran into trouble finding a place to stay the night. We ended up turning up in the dark at the posh Ghost
Mountain Inn, only to have a heated discussion about who should check in. Nick was the only one who
passed the stench & filth test, and he was successful in talking them into giving us their last room for a
quite reasonable price, so we got a decent meal and good night’s sleep.

Abbreviations: UNR- Umlalazi Nature Reserve, LSL- Lake St. Lucia, MT- Mtubatuba, MK- Mkuze
Game Reserve.

Goliath Heron – UNR.                                      Striped Kingfisher – Heard from road to MK.
Woolly-necked Stork – Near Richard’s Bay.                 White-fronted Bee-eater – Near LSL.
African Pygmy-Goose – Pond next to road to MT.            Trumpeter Hornbill – UNR.
African Fish-Eagle – UNR.                                 White-eared Barbet – UNR.
Shikra – Seen from road to MK.                            Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird – UNR.
Black Goshawk – UNR.                                      Red-fronted Tinkerbird – UNR.
Lanner Falcon - Seen from road to MK                      Black-collared Barbet – Seen throughout area.
Crested Guineafowl – LSL.                                 Scaly-throated Honeyguide – UNR.
Lesser Moorhen - Pond next to road to MT.                 Golden-tailed Woodpecker – UNR.
African Jacana - Pond next to road to MT.                 Gray Cuckoo-Shrike – Heard at UNR.
Caspian Tern – Richard’s Bay.                             Black Cuckoo-Shrike – UNR.
Rameron Pigeon – UNR.                                     Common Bulbul – UNR.
Tambourine Dove – UNR.                                    Yellow-bellied Greenbul – UNR.
Livingstone's Turaco – Heard along road at LSL.           Terrestrial Brownbul – Trail at LSL.
Purple-crested Turaco – UNR.                              Rattling Cisticola – Road to MK.
Yellowbill – LSL.                                         Yellow-breasted Apalis – UNR.
Senegal Coucal – UNR.                                     Rudd's Apalis – Trail at LSL.
African Palm-Swift – UNR.                                 Green-backed Camaroptera – Trail at LSL.
Red-faced Mousebird – Road to MK.                         Southern Black-Flycatcher – Trail at LSL.
Malachite Kingfisher – UNR.                               African Dusky Flycatcher – UNR.
Brown-hooded Kingfisher – Road to MK.                     Ashy Flycatcher – UNR.
Red-capped Robin-Chat – UNR.                                    Olive Bushshrike – UNR.
Chorister Robin-Chat – Heard in UNR.                            Four-colored Bushshrike – Heard from road to MK.
Brown Scrub-Robin – LSL.                                        Square-tailed Drongo – Road to MK.
Black-throated Wattle-eye – Trail at LSL.                       Fork-tailed Drongo – Road to MK.
Woodward's Batis – Trail at LSL.                                Cape Glossy-Starling – Seen in many areas.
Chinspot Batis – Road to MK.                                    Black-bellied Glossy-Starling – UNR.
African Crested-Flycatcher – Trail at LSL.                      Violet-backed Starling – Road to MK.
African Paradise-Flycatcher – UNR.                              Spectacled Weaver – UNR.
Collared Sunbird – UNR.                                         Forest Weaver – UNR.
Eastern Olive-Sunbird – UNR.                                    Grosbeak Weaver – Road to MK.
Scarlet-chested Sunbird – Road to MK.                           Green-backed Twinspot – UNR.
Mariqua Sunbird – Road to MK.                                   Bronze Mannikin – Service station on way to MK.
Brubru – Road to MK.                                            Yellow-fronted Canary – Road to MK.
Black-backed Puffback – UNR.

New Species: 69
Trip Total: 1098

May 17: Mkuze Game Reserve
Mkuze has the reputation of being one of the best birding sites in South Africa, with an enormous list.
For us, it actually turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. Obviously, May is not the best time as
many birds had already migrated north, and those that remained were not terribly vocal. For much of the
day we wandering around trying to find anything to look at. There were some highlights, however, such
as close looks at a few Pink-throated Twinspots, Rudd’s Apalis, and a flock of White Helmetshrikes.
African Broadbill was calling at dusk but despite frantic efforts we couldn’t locate it. A Spotted Eagle-
Owl was in the road on the way back to the camp and we got in the spotlight. At night, while chowing
down on game steaks and fries, a Buff-spotted Flufftail called, but we couldn’t summon the energy to try
to track it down. We slept the night in a cabin in the base camp.

Everything today was in Mkuze, specific details not given.

Pink-backed Pelican                          Yellow-throated Longclaw                 Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike
Yellow-billed Stork                          African Pipit                            Gray-headed Bushshrike
White-backed Vulture                         Eastern Nicator                          White Helmetshrike
Natal Francolin                              Kurrichane Thrush                        Cape Sparrow
Buff-spotted Flufftail                       Tawny-flanked Prinia                     Yellow-throated Petronia
Black-bellied Bustard                        Pale Flycatcher                          African Masked-Weaver
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove                    White-throated Robin-Chat                Green-winged Pytilia
Klaas's Cuckoo                               Bearded Scrub-Robin                      Pink-throated Twinspot
Spotted Eagle-Owl                            Red-backed Scrub-Robin                   African Firefinch
Fiery-necked Nightjar                        Arrow-marked Babbler                     Blue-breasted Cordonbleu
Square-tailed Nightjar                       Southern Black-Tit                       Brown-backed Mannikin
Common Scimitar-bill                         African Penduline-Tit                    Golden-breasted Bunting
Cardinal Woodpecker                          White-breasted Sunbird
African Broadbill                            Black-crowned Tchagra
Sabota Lark                                  Brown-crowned Tchagra

New Species: 42
Trip Total: 1140

May 18: Mkuze to Wakkerstrom
We got up at dawn and headed out on foot, but the morning was a disappointment. We got a few things
here and there like some weavers and a Brown-headed Parrot, but it was clearly time to get out of
Mkuze. There simply weren’t any raptors around, and we hoped to get some from the roads along the
route between Mkuze and Wakkerstrom. This turned out to be a good idea – it seemed like as soon as we
left Mkuze we started seeing raptors, and the entrance road to Mkuze again proved productive as we got
a couple of hornbills and had exceptional views of Small Buttonquail. The road through the highlands of
central Natal gave up a few gems like Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Buff-streaked Chat, and Drakensberg
Prinia. It was late afternoon by the time to Wakkerstrom, and we first birded a small reserve whose name
is now forgotten, getting a couple of cisticolas, before checking out the vlai where we got Marsh Owl
and African Snipe. Just before dark we found a flock of Bald Ibis at Martin’s Dam. From Wakkerstrom
it was a couple hours to Jo'burg where we checked into a cheap motel and grabbed some Z’s.

Abbreviations: NM- Natal Midlands – generally refers to the areas we drove through between Mkuze
and Wakkerstrom, where we birded entirely from the road.

Bald Ibis – Martin’s Dam                                   Rock-loving Cisticola – NM.
Bateleur – NM.                                             Wailing Cisticola – Near Wakkerstrom.
African Harrier-Hawk – NM.                                 Croaking Cisticola – NM.
Lizard Buzzard – NM.                                       Piping Cisticola – Near Wakkerstrom.
Jackal Buzzard – NM.                                       Drakensberg Prinia – NM.
Tawny Eagle – NM.                                          Buff-streaked Chat – NM.
Secretary-bird – NM.                                       Amethyst Sunbird – Mkuze.
Greater Kestrel – NM.                                      Greater Double-collared Sunbird – Mkuze.
Crested Francolin – Heard in Mkuze.                        African Black-headed Oriole – Heard at Mkuze.
Small Buttonquail – Mkuze entrance road.                   Cape Crow – Wakkerstrom.
African Snipe – Wetland near Wakkerstrom.                  Common Myna – Towns in area.
Brown-headed Parrot - Mkuze                                Lesser Masked-Weaver – Mkuze.
Marsh Owl – Wetland near Wakkerstrom.                      African Golden-Weaver – Mkuze.
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill – Mkuze entrance road.     Holub's Golden-Weaver – Mkuze.
Crowned Hornbill – Mkuze entrance road.                    Red Bishop – Mkuze entrance road.
Sentinel Rock-Thrush – NM.                                 Long-tailed Widowbird – Mkuze entrance road.

New Species: 32
Trip Total: 1172

May 19: Namibia: Windhoek-Waterberg NP
Shortly before we started this twitch, Iain had the sudden idea to fly up to Namibia for a couple of the
days that we had planned for South Africa. The flights were not too expensive, and it turned out to be a
great idea. We would have been left searching for dregs for 3 days in South Africa had we not gone to
Namibia. We caught an early flight from Jo'burg to Windhoek and hired a car. Almost as soon as we left
the airport we were getting a slew of new birds. The road between the airport and Windhoek, especially
a small wayside park with some ponds, was surprisingly productive. This little park had some terrific
birds, the most impressive being a few Violet-eared Waxbills amid a flock of other finches. Along the
main highway north of Windhoek we got a couple of nice raptors before turning off towards Waterberg
National Park. This road seemed to be alive with birds for the first stretch. We kept having to slam on
the brakes – not a good idea when you’re going 100 mph – to look at hornbills, and we got Monteiro’s,
Red-billed, and African Gray all within a few miles. We had planned to spend the night at Waterberg but
we had absolutely fantastic luck there and we nailed pretty much all the specialties before dark,
including Rosy-faced Lovebird, Rueppell’s Parrot, Damara Rock-jumper (aka Rockrunner), Hartlaub’s
Francolin, and Carp’s Tit. So we changed plans and decided to head for Etosha National Park for the
next morning. We ended up sleeping in a B&B a couple of hours from Etosha.

Black-breasted Snake-Eagle – Road north of Windhoek.       Short-toed Rock-Thrush – Between airport & Windhoek.
African Hawk-Eagle – Road north of Windhoek.               Groundscraper Thrush – Park near Windhoek.
Hartlaub's Francolin – Heard at Waterberg                  Desert Cisticola - Between airport & Windhoek.
Red-billed Francolin – Waterberg.                          Black-chested Prinia – Park near Windhoek.
Rosy-faced Lovebird – Waterberg.                           Barred Camaroptera – Heard in park near Windhoek.
Rueppell's Parrot – Waterberg.                             Damara Rock-jumper – Waterberg.
Gray Go-away-bird – Seen throughout area.                  Rufous-vented Warbler – Park near Windhoek.
African Scops-Owl – Heard at Waterberg.                    Mariqua Flycatcher – Road to Waterberg.
Southern White-faced Owl – Heard at Waterberg.             Kalahari Scrub-Robin – Between airport & Windhoek.
Pearl-spotted Owlet – Waterberg.                           Southern Pied-Babbler – Road to Waterberg.
Freckled Nightjar – Heard at Waterberg.                    Carp's Tit – Waterberg.
Alpine Swift – Waterberg.                                  Dusky Sunbird - Road to Waterberg.
Bradfield's Swift – Park near Windhoek.                    White-crowned Shrike - Between airport & Windhoek.
White-rumped Swift - Park near Windhoek.                   Crimson-breasted Gonolek – Road to Waterberg.
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater – Between Windhoek & Waterberg.   Burchell's Glossy-Starling – Road to Waterberg.
Lilac-breasted Roller – Many seen along roads.             Pale-winged Starling – Between airport & Windhoek.
Rufous-crowned Roller - Between Windhoek & Waterberg.      Rufous Sparrow – Between airport & Windhoek.
Green Woodhoopoe – Waterberg.                              Scaly Weaver – Between airport & Windhoek.
Monteiro's Hornbill – Road to Waterberg.                   White-browed Sparrow-Weaver – Park near Windhoek.
Red-billed Hornbill – Road to Waterberg.                   Chestnut Weaver – Road to Waterberg.
African Gray Hornbill – Road to Waterberg.                 Red-billed Quelea – Park near Windhoek.
Black-fronted Bulbul – Seen throughout.                    Violet-eared Waxbill – Park near Windhoek.
Black-cheeked Waxbill – Park near Windhoek.               Eastern Paradise-Whydah – Road to Waterberg.
Red-headed Finch – Road to Waterberg.                     Black-throated Canary – Park near Windhoek.
Shaft-tailed Whydah – Park near Windhoek.

New Species: 49
Trip Total: 1221

May 20: Etosha NP, back to Windhoek, return to Jo'burg.
Etosha National Park is one of the best parks on the continent, considered by some to be better than the
famous parks in Tanzania and Kenya. It was frustrating to only be able to spend a single morning in such
a place, but we had to be content with it. Amid the elephants and giraffes we starting ticking off some
bonus birds we never would have gotten if things hadn’t gone so well in Waterberg. Keith got all excited
over a Dusky Lark, but Nick was much more interested in the Namaqua Sandgrouse at the waterhole
which was a new family. We had fantastic views of Kori and White-quilled Bustards before having to
leave on the long drive back to the airport. We had a quick stop on the side of the road somewhere north
of Windhoek where we managed to find a White-tailed Shrike, then caught the flight to Jo'burg. It turned
out to be a difficult night though, because we discovered that we were missing a vital airline ticket from
Kuala Lumpur to Singapore that we would need in a few days. We had to stay up very late to contact the
travel agent to sort out the problem, and did not get much sleep that night.

Marabou Stork – Etosha.                                   Fawn-colored Lark – Etosha.
Lappet-faced Vulture – Etosha.                            Dusky Lark – Etosha.
Little Sparrowhawk – Etosha.                              Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark – Etosha.
Pygmy Falcon – South of Etosha.                           Gray-backed Sparrow-Lark – Etosha.
Kori Bustard – Etosha.                                    Chat Flycatcher – Etosha.
White-quilled Bustard – Etosha.                           White-tailed Shrike – North of Windhoek.
Spotted Thick-knee – South of Etosha.                     Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver – South of Etosha.
Namaqua Sandgrouse – Etosha.                              Social Weaver – Etosha.
Namaqua Dove – Etosha.

New Species: 17
Trip Total: 1238

May 21: Suikerbosrand, depart South Africa
We were pretty much dead on out feet the next morning. We only had a few hours to bird before we had
to head back to the airport to catch the flight to Malaysia. The only reserve within reasonable distance
was Suikerbosrand. There weren’t many birds left in the area we could expect to get, and we did
reasonably well considering the level of exhaustion. It’s not surprising we ended up part way down a
one-way drive before we realized there was no time to do the whole loop and get back to the airport in
time. So we turned around and drove the wrong way back to the entrance, jumping out and pretending to
birdwatch a couple of times when park staff drove by. Fortunately they didn’t notice or didn’t care that
our car was facing the wrong direction… We bid farewell to Keith in the airport and boarded our very
loooong 13 hour flight to Hong Kong.

All birds today were from Suikerbosrand reserve near Jo'burg.

Gray-winged Francolin                                     Eastern Long-billed Lark
Orange River Francolin                                    Buffy Pipit
Swainson's Francolin                                      Mocking Cliff-Chat
Crested Barbet                                            Red-collared Widowbird
Wahlberg's Honeyguide                                     Zebra Waxbill
Rufous-necked Wryneck                                     African Quailfinch

New Species: 12
Trip Total: 1250
May 22: Arrival in Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Selangor
We didn’t actually arrive into Kuala Lumpur until early afternoon, because we were forced to fly first to
Hong Kong and then backtrack several hours to KL. No choice in the matter because the only airline in
the One World Alliance in this area is Cathay Pacific, whose hub is in Hong Kong. When you factor in
time in the airport and transport time to the birding areas, we only had about 48 hours in Malaysia. Not a
lot of time, and a little bit of help on the ground would definitely boost our totals. This help came from a
local guide called Oii Chin Hock, and his buddy Lao. They met us at the airport and took us straight
away to Kuala Selangor, where we birded first the hill around the antennas, where we got Crested
Serpent-Eagle, Coppersmith Barbet, Black-naped Oriole, and others. Afterwards we headed to the
mangroves and found a few kingfishers, woodpeckers, White-breasted Waterhen, and Common Iora
among others. With not much time left, Oii took us to a local rice paddy and we drove around for a
while, looking for and eventually finding Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns. After a messy meal at a local
seafood joint, we jumped in the jeep and drove up to Fraser’s Hill, not arriving till late and not getting
nearly enough sleep.

Abbreviations: KSG- Kuala Selangor

Yellow Bittern – Rice paddies near KSG.                     Pacific Swallow – Rice paddies near KSG.
Cinnamon Bittern – Rice paddies near KSG.                   Pied Triller – KSG.
Brahminy Kite – KSG.                                        Yellow-vented Bulbul – KSG.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle – KSG.                              Common Iora – KSG.
Crested Serpent-Eagle – KSG.                                Yellow-bellied Prinia – KSG.
Red Junglefowl – Heard at KSG.                              Common Tailorbird – KSG.
White-breasted Waterhen – KSG.                              Ashy Tailorbird – KSG.
Spotted Dove – KSG.                                         Oriental Magpie-Robin – KSG.
Zebra Dove – KSG.                                           Pied Fantail – KSG.
Pink-necked Pigeon – KSG.                                   Striped Tit-Babbler – KSG.
Oriental Cuckoo – Heard at KSG.                             Golden-bellied Gerygone – KSG.
Asian Koel – Heard at KSG.                                  Ruby-cheeked Sunbird – KSG.
Greater Coucal – KSG.                                       Plain-throated Sunbird – KSG.
House Swift – KSG.                                          Olive-backed Sunbird – KSG.
Stork-billed Kingfisher – KSG.                              Oriental White-eye – KSG.
White-throated Kingfisher – KSG.                            Black-naped Oriole – KSG.
Collared Kingfisher – KSG.                                  White-breasted Woodswallow – Rice paddies near KSG.
Blue-throated Bee-eater – KSG.                              Large-billed Crow – Between Kuala Lumpur & KSG.
Dollarbird – KSG.                                           Asian Glossy Starling – KSG.
Coppersmith Barbet – KSG.                                   Jungle Myna – Between Kuala Lumpur & KSG.
Sunda Woodpecker – KSG.                                     Baya Weaver – Rice paddies near KSG.
Laced Woodpecker – KSG.

New Species: 43
Trip Total: 1293

May 23: Fraser’s Hill & The Gap
The forest around Fraser’s Hill, and the road down to the lowlands through what is commonly known as
The Gap, is a justly world-famous birding area. Many wonderful SE Asian birds are easy to here, and the
montane forest is reasonably intact. It was a difficult time, however. We only had a few hours sleep the
night before, and we had just come off of what was probably the longest plane journey of our lives. Not
a good recipe. Exhaustion made it difficult to enjoy the birding, which was actually pretty good. It was
especially hard for Nick, who had never been to Asia before. All the birds, and even some of the
families, where totally new, but the lifers were hard to appreciate under the conditions. We didn’t do a
whole lot of driving or walking today at least, starting first in Fraser’s Hill, then working our way down
to The Gap Guesthouse for lunch, then doing The Gap in the afternoon, which was pretty active and we
did get Rhinoceros Hornbill. At dusk we went around Fraser’s Hill looking for owls, and did find a
Brown Wood-Owl but not much else. We collapsed into bed a little bit earlier tonight.
Abbreviations: FH- Fraser’s Hill, TG- The Gap.

Little Cuckoo-Dove – FH.                                   Large Niltava – FH.
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon – FH.                             Pygmy Blue-Flycatcher – FH.
Little Bronze-Cuckoo – TG.                                 Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher – TG.
Asian Drongo-Cuckoo – TG.                                  White-rumped Shama – Heard in TG, seen next day.
Black-bellied Malkoha – TG.                                Slaty-backed Forktail – FH.
Brown Wood-Owl – FH.                                       White-throated Fantail – FH.
Collared Owlet – Heard near TG guest house.                Black Laughingthrush – TG.
Glossy Swiftlet – TG.                                      Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush – FH.
Silver-rumped Needletail – TG.                             Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush – FH.
Brown-backed Needletail – TG.                              Streaked Wren-Babbler – FH.
Whiskered Treeswift – TG.                                  Golden Babbler – FH.
Rhinoceros Hornbill – TG.                                  Gray-throated Babbler – TG.
Fire-tufted Barbet – FH.                                   Silver-eared Mesia – FH.
Gold-whiskered Barbet – TG.                                White-browed Shrike-Babbler – FH.
Black-browed Barbet – TG.                                  Black-eared Shrike-Babbler - FH
Blue-eared Barbet – TG.                                    White-hooded Babbler – TG.
Greater Yellownape – FH.                                   Blue-winged Minla – FH.
Bamboo Woodpecker – TG.                                    Mountain Fulvetta – FH.
Maroon Woodpecker – Heard in TG.                           Long-tailed Sibia – FH.
Silver-breasted Broadbill – FH.                            White-bellied Yuhina – TG.
Gray-chinned Minivet – FH.                                 Sultan Tit – TG.
Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike – TG.                         Blue Nuthatch – FH.
Black-crested Bulbul – TG.                                 Black-throated Sunbird – FH.
Red-eyed Bulbul – TG.                                      Yellow-eared Spiderhunter – TG.
Ochraceous Bulbul – TG.                                    Streaked Spiderhunter – FH.
Ashy Bulbul – TG.                                          Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker – TG.
Mountain Bulbul – FH.                                      Orange-bellied Flowerpecker – FH.
Blue-winged Leafbird – TG.                                 Fire-breasted Flowerpecker – FH.
Orange-bellied Leafbird – FH.                              Everett's White-eye – FH.
Lesser Shortwing – Heard at FH.                            Black-and-crimson Oriole – FH.
Mountain Tailorbird – FH.                                  Large Woodshrike – TG.
Chestnut-crowned Warbler – FH.                             Bronzed Drongo – TG.
Yellow-bellied Warbler – TG.                               Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo – FH.
Rufous-browed Flycatcher – FH.                             Greater Racket-tailed Drongo – FH.
Little Pied Flycatcher – FH.                               Green Magpie – FH.
Verditer Flycatcher – TG.

New Species: 71
Trip Total: 1364

May 24: The Gap, Genting Highlands, Departure
We skipped Fraser’s Hill this morning and went straight back down to The Gap, birding slightly slower
elevations than before, seeing bulbuls just about everywhere we looked. On the way back to Kuala
Lumpur we went up to the Genting Highlands where we saw a couple of great ones. Most impressive
was a pair of Blythe’s Hawk-Eagles seen both perched and in flight. We also got Red-headed Trogon
and heard a Rusty-naped Pitta. It would have been nice to see it but there was no time. We did a few
minutes of birding in some foothill forest on the way back down where we managed to find an Asian
Fairy-Bluebird, then it was back to the airport for a short shuttle to Singapore, connecting to an overnight
flight to Cairns. I’m not sure Hock & Lao really understood or appreciated what we were trying to do;
they are not alone in that! We missed a couple of heard birds because he didn’t bring the recordings with
him, but he was friendly and cheerful the whole time, and we are grateful for his help.

Abbreviations: TG- The Gap, GH- Genting Highlands.

Blyth's Hawk-Eagle – GH.                                   Rusty-naped Pitta – Heard in GH.
Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot – TG.                          Striated Swallow – TG.
Indian Cuckoo – Heard in TG.                               Oriental Pipit – Road out of TG.
Red-billed Malkoha – TG.                                   Lesser Cuckoo-Shrike – Heard in TG.
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha – TG.                            Fiery Minivet – TG.
Red-headed Trogon – GH.                                    Scarlet Minivet – TG.
Red-bearded Bee-eater – Leaving TG.                        Black-headed Bulbul – Road out of TG.
Helmeted Hornbill – TG.                                    Scaly-breasted Bulbul – TG.
Brown Barbet – TG.                                         Stripe-throated Bulbul – TG.
Buff-rumped Woodpecker -                                   Cream-vented Bulbul – TG.
Black-and-yellow Broadbill – TG.                           Spectacled Bulbul – TG.
Gray-cheeked Bulbul – TG.                                  Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler – TG.
Hairy-backed Bulbul – TG.                                  Rufous-fronted Babbler – TG.
Buff-vented Bulbul – TG.                                   Brown Fulvetta – TG.
Lesser Green Leafbird – TG.                                Plain Sunbird – TG.
Green Iora – TG.                                           Spectacled Spiderhunter – Between GH and Kuala Lumpur.
Rufescent Prinia – Road out of TG.                         Little Spiderhunter – TG.
Dark-necked Tailorbird – TG.                               Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker – TG.
Chestnut-naped Forktail – TG.                              Yellow-vented Flowerpecker – TG.
Black-naped Monarch – TG.                                  Asian Fairy-bluebird – Between GH & Kuala Lumpur.
Horsfield's Babbler – Between GH and Kuala Lumpur.         White-rumped Munia – TG.

New Species: 42
Trip Total: 1406

May 25: Cairns
Our flight to Cairns got in abut 8am, but we ran into a serious holdup in customs. We had checked off all
the wrong things on the quarantine form: Yes, we had been to Africa. Yes, we had been to South
America. Yes, we had been on farms. And when they asked exactly where we had been in the last
month, that was the end of it. They searched absolutely everything we had. We were feeling a bit lucky
they didn’t pull out the rubber gloves… After about an hour of interrogation, passport inspection, and
boot cleaning, they finally allowed us to go. We rented a car and went straight to the Esplanade and
started ticking off overwintering waders and the other common birds near the waterfront. We then took a
boat trip out to Green Island. Iain had been here years ago and had good memories of it. Unfortunately, it
has changed, with most of the island (supposedly a national park) being turned into a hotel and resort.
We didn’t do to well out here, with the best birds being Brown Boobies and Sooty Terns seen from the
boat. After disembarking, there wasn’t much daylight, so we went to a small park near the airport with a
boardwalk (Mangrove Robin & Mangrove Honeyeater) before driving up to Kingfisher Park where we
stayed the night. Exhaustion was once again taking a toll and spirits were low. Hearing the Lesser Sooty-
Owl just before going to sleep livened things up at least.

Abbreviations: GI- Green Island.

Brown Booby – Boat ride to GI.                             Brown Noddy – Boat ride to GI.
White-faced Heron – Esplanade.                             Peaceful Dove – Esplanade.
Pacific Reef-Heron – GI.                                   Bar-shouldered Dove – Esplanade.
Australian Ibis – Esplanade.                               Rainbow Lorikeet – Esplanade.
Osprey – Esplanade.                                        Lesser Sooty-Owl – Heard in Kingfisher Park.
Buff-banded Rail – GI.                                     Little Kingfisher – Swamp near airport.
Beach Thick-knee – Esplanade.                              Sacred Kingfisher - Esplanade.
Masked Lapwing – Esplanade.                                Welcome Swallow – Esplanade.
Red-capped Plover – Esplanade.                             Willie-wagtail – Esplanade.
Black-fronted Dotterel – Esplanade.                        Mangrove Robin – Swamp near airport.
Far Eastern Curlew – Esplanade.                            Mistletoebird – Swamp near airport.
Common Greenshank – Esplanade.                             Silver-eye – GI.
Terek Sandpiper – Esplanade.                               Brown Honeyeater – Esplanade.
Gray-tailed Tattler – Esplanade.                           Varied Honeyeater – Esplanade.
Great Knot – Esplanade.                                    Mangrove Honeyeater – Swamp near airport.
Red-necked Stint – Esplanade.                              Helmeted Friarbird – Esplanade.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Esplanade.                        Green Figbird – Esplanade.
Silver Gull – Everywhere.                                  Magpie-lark – Esplanade.
Gull-billed Tern – Esplanade.                              Torresian Crow – Cairns.
Sooty Tern – Boat ride to GI.                              Nutmeg Mannikin – Esplanade.

New Species: 40
Trip Total: 1446

May 26: Kingfisher Park and The Atherton Tablelands
Despite the fact that it is so tiny, Kingfisher Park holds a surprising number of good birds. Early in the
morning we had Noisy Pitta on the lawn, Red-necked Crake walking around in the open, a whole bunch
of honeyeaters, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, and various other things nearby. In mid-morning we took off
for the Atherton Tablelands, stopping here and there along the way. The nicest surprise was a Square-
tailed Kite seen from the road south of Mt. Malloy. On the way to Atherton, we stopped off at a large
lake that might be called Nardellos Lagoon but we’re not sure. Lots of waterfowl and other waterbirds
were there, including both Pygmy-Geese. Next was Hasties Swamp, with more waterbirds. A quick stop
at the Curtain Fig Tree got us Wompoo Fruit-Dove on exactly the same perch that Iain had seen one 15
years ago! There was also a Victoria’s Riflebird and Golden Whistler. Lake Eacham itself was rather
quiet, the biggest surprise being a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo that came into a tape. At dusk we picked up
a couple nice ones nearby like Gray Goshawk and Topknot Pigeon, then we had to drive back to
Kingfisher Park.

Abbreviations: NL- Nardellos Lagoon, KP- Kingfisher Park, LE-Lake Eacham, HS- Hasties Swamp.

Australasian Grebe – NL.                                 White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike – West of Julatten.
Little Pied Cormorant – HS.                              Golden-headed Cisticola – Near LE.
Straw-necked Ibis – HS.                                  Northern Fantail – Small park near Julatten.
Magpie Goose – HS.                                       Gray Fantail – KP.
Plumed Whistling-Duck – HS.                              Rufous Fantail – Near KP.
Black Swan – NL.                                         Spectacled Monarch – KP.
Green Pygmy-goose – NL.                                  Satin Flycatcher – Near KP.
Cotton Pygmy-goose – NL.                                 Yellow-breasted Boatbill – KP.
Gray Teal – NL.                                          Lemon-bellied Flycatcher – KP.
Pacific Black Duck – NL.                                 Pale-yellow Robin – KP.
White-eyed Duck – NL.                                    Gray-headed Robin – KP.
Square-tailed Kite – South of Mt. Malloy.                Gray-headed Whistler – LE.
Whistling Kite – Many seen today.                        Golden Whistler – Curtain Fig.
Gray Goshawk – LE.                                       Rufous Whistler – Seen various places.
Australian Kestrel – Many seen today.                    Rufous Shrike-Thrush – KP.
Australian Brush-Turkey – KP.                            Bower's Shrike-Thrush – LE.
Orange-footed Scrubfowl – KP.                            Eastern Whipbird – LE.
Red-necked Crake – KP.                                   Yellow-throated Scrubwren – KP.
Dusky Moorhen – NL.                                      Large-billed Scrubwren – KP.
Comb-crested Jacana – Pond near Julatten.                Fairy Gerygone – KP.
White-headed Stilt – NL.                                 White-throated Gerygone – KP.
Bush Thick-knee – Heard in KP.                           Large-billed Gerygone – KP.
Brown Cuckoo-Dove – LE.                                  Brown Gerygone – LE.
Emerald Dove – Near KP.                                  Dusky Myzomela – KP.
Squatter Pigeon – Mt. Molloy.                            Graceful Honeyeater – KP.
Wompoo Fruit-Dove – Curtain Fig Tree.                    Yellow-spotted Honeyeater – KP.
Topknot Pigeon – LE.                                     Lewin's Honeyeater – KP.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo – Everywhere.                   Yellow-faced Honeyeater – Near KP.
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet – Near KP.                       Yellow Honeyeater – Near KP.
Little Lorikeet – Near KP.                               Macleay's Honeyeater – KP.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot – Near KP.                        White-throated Honeyeater – Near KP.
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo – LE.                           Blue-faced Honeyeater – Near KP.
Australian Swiftlet – Julatten.                          Spangled Drongo – Near KP.
Laughing Kookaburra – KP.                                Australasian Magpie –Everywhere.
Blue-winged Kookaburra – West of Julatten.               Victoria's Riflebird – Curtain Fig.
Forest Kingfisher – KP.                                  Spotted Catbird – KP.
Rainbow Bee-eater – Near KP.                             Great Bowerbird – Mt. Molloy.
Noisy Pitta – KP.                                        Red-browed Firetail – KP.
Tree Martin – Julatten.                                  Chestnut-breasted Munia –KP.
Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike – West of Julatten.

New Species: 79
Trip Total: 1525

May 27: Dry Country around Mt. Carbine & the Atherton Tablelands.
Our idea today was to drive west into some very dry Eucalypt-dominated land west of a small mining
town called Mt. Carbine. We definitely got some birds out there, like Pale-headed Rosella and Scarlet
Myzomela, but not nearly as many as we had hoped. At mid-day we went back to Kingfisher Park and
packed up. A stop at Mt. Lewis yielded only two new species, White-eared Monarch and Red-backed
Fairy-Wren, so we started south again. We stopped in a different area of Nardellos Lagoon and a couple
of new ones like Black-necked Stork and Radjah Shelduck, then headed for Hasties Swamp again at
dusk where we got Sarus Crane but nothing else. It was pretty clear that we were running out of easy
birds in the area, and we drove in the evening to Mission Beach to spend the night.
Abbreviations: NL- Nardellos Lagoon, HS- Hasties Swamp, MC- Mt. Carbine.

Australian Pelican – NL.                                            Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo – West of MC.
Little Black Cormorant – NL.                                        Red-backed Kingfisher – West of MC.
Pied Cormorant – NL.                                                Australasian Pipit – NL.
Pacific Heron – Near MC.                                            Varied Triller – West of MC.
Intermediate Egret – NL.                                            White-eared Monarch – Mt. Lewis.
Black-necked Stork – NL.                                            Leaden Flycatcher – West of MC.
Radjah Shelduck – NL.                                               Red-backed Fairywren – Mt. Lewis.
Maned Duck – NL.                                                    Weebill – West of Mt. Carbine.
Brown Goshawk – West of MC.                                         Striated Pardalote – West of MC.
Brown Falcon – Near MC.                                             Scarlet Myzomela – West of MC.
Sarus Crane – HS.                                                   Silver-crowned Friarbird – West of MC.
Crested Pigeon – Atherton.                                          Noisy Friarbird – West of MC.
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo – West of MC.                             Apostlebird – MC.
Galah – West of MC.                                                 Black-faced Woodswallow – NL.
Pale-headed Rosella – West of MC.                                   Pied Currawong – Near MC.
Red-winged Parrot – West of MC.                                     Double-barred Finch – Mt. Malloy.

New Species: 32
Trip Total: 1557

May 28: Mission Beach area, Cairns Croc Farm, and departure for Sydney.
Despite getting Southern Cassowary in the rainforest, this was a really depressing morning. By 10 am we
had gotten only five new birds for the list, and 2 of those were heard only. We were driving around
looking for anything and failing. We decided that it was time to go, and flew out to Sydney a day early.
Maybe it wasn’t the best idea, but we needed to do something. The day got a little better on the drive
back to the airport. We had an hour to bird the Crocodile Farm and got 7 more birds. While it wasn't
enough to resuscitate the day, it made us a little happier. We had an uneventful flight to Sydney where
we were met by David Siems, a friend of Iain’s since he was teenager. Dave took us back to his place
and gave us a good meal, then planned we planned out the last few days of the twitch. It was pretty clear
by now that we weren’t going to be getting high numbers staying in Australia, but we really didn’t have
the money or the inclination to get back on a plane and fly somewhere else like India. We decided to
make the best of the situation, see whatever we could in New South Wales, and try to relax a little.

Southern Cassowary – Rainforest near Mission Beach.
Royal Spoonbill – Crocodile Farm.
Lewin's Rail – Heard in Crocodile Farm.
White-browed Crake – Crocodile Farm.
Superb Fruit-Dove – Heard in rainforest near Mission Beach.
Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove - Heard in rainforest near Mission Beach.
Australian Reed-Warbler – Crocodile Farm.
Restless Flycatcher – Crocodile Farm.
Chowchilla – Rainforest near Mission Beach.
Mangrove Gerygone – Crocodile Farm.
Black Butcherbird – Rainforest near Mission Beach.
Crimson Finch – Crocodile Farm.

New Species: 12
Trip Total: 1569

May 29: Sydney & Royal National Park
It was a dreadful cold, rainy, and windy day in Sydney, and the weather definitely cost us birds. Still, it
was better to have bad weather here when it only a cost us a few birds than to have bad weather
somewhere like the Amazon where it could have cost us 100 birds. We spent most of our time at various
sites in Royal National Park before hitting some of Dave’s stakeouts in and around Sydney in the
afternoon. The weather made Royal unpleasant but with persistence we got some good species like
Superb Lyrebird and Beautiful Firetail. The Sydney stakeouts paid off with Rufous Night-Heron,
Chestnut Teal, Tawny Frogmouth, and Musk Duck.
Abbreviations: RNP- Royal National Park.

Australian Gannet – Botany Bay.                           Southern Emuwren – Heard in RNP.
Rufous Night-Heron – Somewhere south of Sydney.           White-browed Scrubwren – RNP.
Chestnut Teal - Somewhere south of Sydney.                Brown Thornbill – RNP.
Musk Duck – Centennial Park.                              Striated Thornbill – RNP.
Swamp Harrier – RNP.                                      White-throated Treecreeper – RNP.
Pied Oystercatcher – Botany Bay.                          Spotted Pardalote – RNP.
Wonga Pigeon – RNP.                                       White-eared Honeyeater – RNP.
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo – RNP.                       New Holland Honeyeater – RNP.
Red-rumped Parrot – Near Botany Bay.                      Tawny-crowned Honeyeater – RNP.
Fan-tailed Cuckoo – Heard in RNP.                         Eastern Spinebill – RNP.
Tawny Frogmouth – Centennial Park.                        Noisy Miner – Everywhere in Sydney.
Superb Lyrebird – RNP.                                    Red Wattlebird – RNP.
Olive-tailed Thrush – RNP.                                Brush Wattlebird – RNP.
Yellow Robin – RNP.                                       Australian Raven – All over the place.
Superb Fairywren – RNP.                                   Beautiful Firetail – RNP.
Variegated Fairywren – RNP.

New Species: 31
Trip Total: 1600

May 30: Blue Mountains and Glen Davis
Fortunately the rain was done before we left Sydney early in the morning, but it was very cold. We
started over the Blue Mountains and pulled into a place called Katoomba at the Three Sisters early in the
morning. The view was beautiful, but there weren’t too many birds around. King Parrots were on the
feeder and we got Rock Warbler right near the parking lot, but not a whole lot else. We didn’t hang
around long before numb fingers sent us running to the nearest pie shop. After a hot coffee and a couple
of greasy meat pies we went west out of the mountains. We spent most of the day in the Glen Davis area,
birding mostly along the road and also on the property of “Rockview,” a house that we rented out and
where we slept the night. The area was fairly active and the weather pleasant once it warmed up. The
fields near Rockview held the best birds, including Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Turquoise Parrot, Painted
Buttonquail, and Flame Robin. It was frigid after nightfall and though we made an attempt at owling we
came up with zilch.

Abbreviations: GD- Glen Davis.

Australian Kite – GD.                                     White-browed Babbler – GD.
Collared Sparrowhawk – Near Katoomba.                     Rock Warbler – Katoomba.
Wedge-tailed Eagle – GD.                                  Yellow-rumped Thornbill – GD.
Australian Hobby – GD.                                    Yellow Thornbill – GD.
Painted Buttonquail – GD.                                 Southern Whiteface – GD.
Common Bronzewing – GD.                                   Varied Sittella – GD.
Glossy Black-Cockatoo – GD.                               Brown Treecreeper – GD.
Crimson Rosella – Road through Blue Mountains.            Yellow-tufted Honeyeater – GD.
Eastern Rosella – GD.                                     Fuscous Honeyeater – GD.
Turquoise Parrot – GD.                                    White-plumed Honeyeater – GD.
Australian King-Parrot - Katoomba                         White-naped Honeyeater – GD.
Jacky-winter – GD.                                        Crescent Honeyeater – Katoomba.
Scarlet Robin – GD.                                       Bell Miner – Heard at Katoomba.
Flame Robin – GD.                                         White-winged Chough – GD.
Hooded Robin – GD.                                        Pied Butcherbird – GD.
Crested Shrike-Tit – GD.                                  Diamond Firetail – GD.
Gray Shrike-Thrush – GD.

New Species: 33
Trip Total: 1633

May 31: Forbes, Round Hill, Lake Cargelligo
Time was running out, but so were the possible birds. After rising early in a frigid morning, we drove to
the town of Forbes and stopped at Gum Swamp, though it is called Lake Urine by most Sydney birders!
Freckled Duck was the highlight here, a rare and possibly endangered species. Some of the bizarre-
looking Pink-eared Ducks were also here. At this point we discovered that the trunk of the car was
jammed and we could not get to any of our stuff. After driving to Lake Cargelligo we found a mechanic
who got permission from Avis to open it up, but he said it would take a few hours. Fortunately we
managed to get it open after Dave sat on it and bounced up and down a few times. After this little
misadventure we were off to Round Hill Nature Reserve. There was one road intersection on the way
there with a bit of scrub that had some very nice birds in it, including White-fronted Chat and Red-
capped Robin. Round Hill itself was a bit quiet but we got a some honeyeaters, Shy Hylacola, and a few
others before going back to Lake Cargelligo. On the way we had some Emus cross the road in front of
us. We birded the sewage works at Lake Cargelligo at dusk and picked up some more waterbirds, Red-
fronted Dotterel, and finally a Cockatiel. Night was spent in a cheap motel in Lake Cargelligo.

Abbreviations: GS- Gum Swamp near Forbes, RH- Round Hill Nature Reserve, LC- Lake

Emu – Near RH.                                             Brown Songlark – Between LC and RH.
Hoary-headed Grebe – GS.                                   Red-capped Robin – Between LC and RH.
Yellow-billed Spoonbill – GS.                              Gray-crowned Babbler – RH.
Freckled Duck – GS.                                        White-winged Fairywren – Between LC and RH.
Australian Shelduck – LC sewage ponds.                     Splendid Fairywren – RH.
Australian Shoveler – GS.                                  Shy Hylacola – RH.
Pink-eared Duck – GS.                                      Inland Thornbill – RH.
Blue-billed Duck – GS.                                     Western Gerygone – RH.
Black Falcon – LC sewage ponds.                            White-fronted Chat – Between LC and RH.
Red-necked Avocet – LC sewage ponds.                       Singing Honeyeater – RH.
Red-kneed Dotterel – LC sewage ponds.                      Yellow-plumed Honeyeater – RH.
Cockatiel – LC sewage ponds.                               Striped Honeyeater – RH.
Mallee Ringneck – Near RH.                                 Yellow-throated Miner – RH.
Mulga Parrot – Near RH.                                    Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater – RH.
Bluebonnet – Road between Forbes and LC.                   Gray Butcherbird – Near Forbes.
Ground Cuckoo-shrike – Near RH.

New Species: 31
Trip Total: 1664

June 1: The End
It was June in Australia, but until 3pm it was still May in Ecuador where we started, so there was still
time to get some odds and ends. We first cruised by the Griffith Golf Course and got Pink (aka Major
Mitchell’s) Cockatoo. Then we headed south to Leeton and birded Fivebough Swamp, getting 2 crakes
and Tawny Grassbird. Running out of options, Dave called up a friend (Keith Hutton) and asked what to
do, and he suggested going to Binya State Forest and kindly provided a map. We got a couple of
honeyeaters here and started heading south, just hoping to pick things up in the last 2 hours. We got a
few from the side of the road like Little Eagle. With 5 minutes left on the clock we pulled up at a
promising bridge to wait it out. Yellow Rosellas came through with minutes remaining and then with
only seconds left there came the distant calls of a flock of Little Corellas. That would have been a crazy
one to miss, and it was bad enough getting them as “heard only!” But there are always ones like that on
any trip.

Little Eagle – South of Leeton.                            Yellow Rosella – South of Leeton.
Australian Crake – Fiveborough Swamp.                      Tawny Grassbird – Fiveborough Swamp.
Spotless Crake – Fiveborough Swamp.                        Brown-headed Honeyeater – Binya State Forest.
Little Corella – Heard south of Leeton.                    White-fronted Honeyeater – Binya State Forest.
Pink Cockatoo – Griffith Golf Course.                      Little Raven – South of Leeton.

New Species: 10
Final Trip Total: 1674
So that was it. We were finally done with the big month, the “little twitch.” We started driving south
(almost ignoring the Superb Parrots we saw 15 minutes later) towards Melbourne where Iain would see
his daughter and Nick would wander around aimlessly (without his bins). It was a big relief to be done
with it all. We stayed around in Australia for another week, parting ways as Iain went to Brisbane to visit
his family and Nick stayed around Sydney, birding only a little bit.

We had hoped to get to 2000, but that was unreasonable based on our itinerary. 1674 is still the world
record though, so we can hardly consider it a failure! To put in perspective, before the little twitch,
Nick’s life list was about 1650. It is interesting to see our average new birds per day in each area,
counting only daylight hours, and not counting times when we were in airports or on airplanes:

Ecuador: 562 in 5.0 days: 112
Chile: 69 in 2.2 days: 31
Argentina: 125 in 2.5 days: 50
Europe: 145 in 1.5 days: 97
Southern Africa: 349 in 6.8 days: 51
Malaysia: 156 in 2.0 days: 78
Australia: 268 in 7.4 days: 36

From this it is pretty clear where we did well and where we didn’t. The biggest success is obviously
Ecuador. There may be nowhere else in the world where you can record so many species in such a short
time given the small size and incredibly varied habitat of the country. The biggest failure was Australia.
We did not average much better than Chile yet we spent parts of 8 days there. It would be worth doing
Australia for about 3 days to get the easy birds then moving on. We were only in Chile for 3 days, so
while we saw the least number of birds there, we got out quickly. Argentina was also a disappointment.
When we were first planning Argentina we were hoping to get up to Iguazu Falls for one of the days, but
the flights didn’t work out. That would have boosted the total considerably. As it is, after the first day we
had pretty much cleaned up all the easy stuff. In the austral summer we obviously would have seen

The key to getting high numbers is moving on to a new area once you have gotten all the easy birds. We
did Europe perfectly. We did two very different habitats, the interior of Spain and the coast of The
Netherlands, getting all the easy birds and having little overlap. Had we stayed another day in Europe the
number of birds would have fallen drastically. As it is, we averaged 97, which was second only to
Ecuador. The tradeoff to changing areas frequently is more time wasted in airports, and more of a risk of
a serious flight delay or cancellation. You have to find a balance. In most cases, 2-4 days is enough.

2000 is certainly achievable, you would just have to spend a lot more money than we did for the extra
flights. We have our own ideas on the perfect itinerary, but we certainly aren’t going to give them away!
We would like the record to stand for at least a short while.

Will we ever do this again? Hard to say. There were many times on the trip where we were not enjoying
ourselves, but when things were going well it was fun. Overall it was long, exhausting, expensive, and
not recommended for a relaxing birding vacation! Probably the only way we would do it again is if
someone goes ahead and beats our record, and even then only if we had sponsorship.

Nick Athanas
Iain Campbell
December 2001

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