BIRDWATCHING IN GUYANA
This small country on the northeast shoulder of South America is seldom visited by birdwatchers yet it offers all
the avian richness of the lowland forests of adjacent Venezuela and a tourist infrastructure that makes it accessible in far greater comfort.
Indeed, tourism in the country is experiencing a rapid development and some new lodges near the coast provide luxury accommodation in pristine forest settings.
In the south, several ranches offer comfortable quarters close to varied and interesting savannah habitats, and also serve as points of departure for camping expeditions to truly remote areas of the interior.
Arrive in Guyana and transfer to Georgetown. Overnight at Cara Lodge
This morning we will see dawn rise over the extensive and beautiful Botanic Garden, where, if we are lucky, the trip's first ornithological highlight will be the Blood-colored Woodpecker, an astonishingly colorful Veniliornis found only in the Guianas and even there almost wholly limited to the narrow coastal plain. The gardens are also home to a large number of Snail Kite and numerous species of parrots and macaws. Lunch at Cara Lodge. Enjoy an afternoon Georgetown city. Overnight at Cara Lodge. BLD
03 0900hrs we will pickup and transfer to Ogle Airstrip for a flight to Fair View Village and we will travel a short distance by boat to the Iwokrama Field Station in time for lunch. This afternoon we will bird along the trails near the Field Station.
Iwokrama is home to many bird species including Black Nunbird, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Amazonian Antshrike, Brown-bellied Antwren, Spot-tailed Antwren, Todd's Antwren, Spotted Puffbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Green Aracari, Guianan Toucanet, Guianan Red Cotinga, Pompadour Cotinga, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Bronzy Jacamar, Chestnut & Waved Woodpecker, Gray Antbird, and Strong-billed Woodcreeper.
Three other Neotropical species in the Iwokrama forest of high interest are White-winged Potoo, Rufous Potoo, and Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo. Finally, after dark, we'll set out on the river once more, in hopes of finding one or another of its four species of caiman, and listen for nightbirds such as Spectacled Owl, Long tailed Potoo, Zigzag Heron or Blackish Nightjar. Overnight at the Iwokrama Field Station. BLD
At dawn we will set out by boat for half an hour or less to the foot of Turtle Mountain. Here we explore the trails for a few hours first visiting Turtle Ponds where anis, herons and Green and Rufous Kingfisher hunt and then climbing to an elevation of 900 feet for a view of the forest canopy below and chances of Green Aracari, White Bellbird or a fly-by of one of five types of Eagles. We will take a picnic lunch and spend the whole morning birding here.
This afternoon vehicles will drive us along the road through the heart of the Iwokrama Forest, stopping as we spot birds of interest. We will have the opportunity for excellent forest-edge birding and the possibility of seeing the elusive Jaguar. The Iwokrama forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans. No promises, but many have been lucky!We will sit at a point called 27 mile, known as a good location to see Jaguar as dusk settles. Then we will spotlight along the road back to the Field Station in time for a late dinner. Overnight at the Iwokrama Field Station. BLD
This morning we will bird along the Greenheart and Woodcreeper Trails close to the Iwokrama Field Station. Quill rattling by Spix's Guan or Crestless Curassow may start us off and then we will look for Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Eastern Slaty-Antshrike, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet and Tiny Tyrant Manakin
This afternoon we will take a boat trip to Stanley Lake for birdwatching along the banks a locale for Sunbittern, Green Ibis, and Capped Heron. During our three night stay at Iwokrama we will also be looking for Black Nunbird, BlueDacnis, Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas, Red-eyed Vireo, White-shouldered, Blue-backed and Turquoise Tanagers, Buff-cheeked, Lemon-chested and Tawny-crowned Greenlets, White-crowned and Golden-headed Manakins, Violaceous, White-vented, and Golden-sided Euphonias, Fasciated, Mouse-colored, Dusky-throated, and Cinereous Antshrikes and Guianan Red-Cotinga, Black-necked Aracari, Rufous-capped and Black-faced Antthrush, Gray-crowned and Yellow-margined (Zimmer's) Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, White-breasted Wood-Wren and Musician Wren. Overnight at the Iwokrama Field Station. BLD
Transfer before dawn along the road through the heart of the Iwokrama Forest, where there is a good chance to see the elusive Jaguar. The Iwokrama forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans. No promises, but many have been lucky!
The road also offers excellent birding, including a locality known as Mori Scrub, characterized by an unusual low, sandy forest. This supports an interesting assemblage of bird species, among them Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Black Manakin and Red-shouldered Tanager.
We will stop along the road at numerous locations and look for species such as Guianan Red-Cotinga, Pompadour Cotinga, Blue-backed Tanagers, White-winged Potoo, Olive-green Tyrannulet and Marail Guan. The journey continues onto the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. Here we can bird watch from the vantage of 35 Metres up in the canopy. Caica Parrots, Painted Parakeets, Guianan Toucanet, Pompadour Cotinga Plumbeous Pigeon, Red-and-green Macaw, Screaming Piha and a host of crown specialists come within our view. Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge. BLD
At dawn you can be back birdwatching from the mid and upper canopy on the walkway as flocks travel past and look for Paradise Jacamar, White-necked Puffbird, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Todd's Antwren, Black-tailed and Black-crowned Tityras and Dusky Purpletuft.
Or you can bird along the jungle trails where antbird flocks include White-plumed Antbird, Spot-winged Antbird, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Ash-winged Antwen, Long-billed Antwren, McConnell's Flycatcher, Gray-crowned Flycatcher, Plain Xenops, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper the recently split Guianan Puffbird or even the rare Crimson Fruitcrow. After breakfast we depart for the Cock-of-the-rock Trail, an easy 20 minute walk, to hopefully have our first view of the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock.
Eventually we reach the Rupununi and Annai, its northernmost community. The Rupununi Savannah is to Guyana what the Gran Sabana is to Venezuela, an extensive area of grassland with termite mounds and scattered or riparian woodland. It differs in that much of it is devoted to cattle raising, though the large ranches are not very productive. Indeed, one can travel for hours without seeing a domestic animal of any sort. Needless to say, the birdlife here is markedly different from that of the rainforest. Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Savannah and Black Collared Hawks patrol the grassland. At dusk as nightjars and nighthawks tumble over the grasslands we will look for the Nacunda Nighthawk and White-tailed Nightjar. Overnight at Rock View Lodge. BLD
After breakfast we travel along the road through the savannah and at the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains for some excellent savannah birding. Jabiru Stork are often seen along this stretch of road. We continue by road to Ginep Landing and then travel slowly by boat on the Rupununi River to Karanambu Ranch. We will look for the many bird species, including Jabiru nesting along the river to Wood Stork, Bat Falcon, King Vulture, Channel-billed and Toco Toucan, Brown-throated Parakeet, White-necked Jacobin, Drab Water Tyrant and Ringed, Green, Amazon and Green-and-rofous Kingfisher.
There is a good chance of spotting primates too. Karanambu is the home of Diane McTurk, widely known for her work rehabilitating orphaned Giant River Otters to the wild. Diane and her otters have appeared on National Geographic, Jeff Corwin Experience, Really Wild Show (BBC) and the Calgary's "Zoo World". Karanambu has a long history of visiting naturalists and Diane's father, Tiny McTurk, has welcomed David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell (Three Singles to Adventure). Our birdwatching here will be largely in woodland patches or gallery forest along the river where we'll hope to find such species as Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Golden-spangled Piculet and Capuchinbird. Dinner with Diane will include stories on the history of the family and the Rupununi Savannahs. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch. BLD
This morning we will travel out into the savannah to look for Giant Anteater. Vaqueros will search the savannah on horse back, looking in locations where they are know to sleep during the day and there is a very good chance to see this amazing creature. Whilst out in the boat you may see Capped and Little Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Purple Gallinule and Pied Lapwing.
When water levels are appropriate a wooded swamp near the ranch is the site of a surprisingly large colony of Boat-billed Herons. River trips also offer opportunities to see Black Caiman, which are plentiful along the Rupununi River, in fact this area is consider to have the second largest population in South America. There is also the chance to see species such as Capybara along the river bank, and by spot light it is normal to find Tree Boas and Iguana's. At any season the river and airstrip provide habitat for no fewer than eight species of nightjars. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch. BLD
Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters (currently she has a Giant River Otter and a Neotropical Otter in residence) and you can help her as she tends to them. You can visit Simoni Pond for some of the best inland fishing (add US$25.00) in Guyana including Peacock Bass or explore the flooded forest or savannah. Visits can be made to nearby ponds for birdwatching and to view the Victoria Amazonica, the world's largest water lily and Guyana's national flower.
Explore the Rupununi River in search of wild Giant River Otters, Black Caiman and Arapaima. Birdwatch in varied habitats, traveling by boat to certain localities up and downstream, and by Land Rover to one or another forest patch. Grasslands host Double Striped Thick-knees, Bi-colored Wren, and Bearded Tachuri while Forest patches host Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Violaceous Trogon, Blue Ground-Dove, Plain-crowned Spinetail and Great Antshrike. The river is home to Wood Stork, White faced and Black-bellied Whistling Doves, Stripe-backed Bittern and Pied Lapwing. As we move around we may see Least Grebe, South American Snipe, Rufous-throated Sapphire, Yellow Tyrannulet, Cliff Flycatcher and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch. BLD
Early morning birding around Karanambu Ranch. For those interested there is also another opportunity to travel out onto the savannah to look for a Giant Anteater. After lunch we will take a flight to Kaieteur, the world's highest free-falling waterfall. Though Venezuela's Angel Falls are greater in total height, their filamentous drop occurs by stages whereas Kaieteur is a single, massive, thundering cataract 100 meters wide created as the Potaro River makes a sheer drop of 228 meters, nearly five times the height of Niagara. The spectacle is the more impressive for its remoteness and it is altogether possible that we'll be the only persons viewing it.
Here we will hope to find White-chinned and White-tipped Swifts swirling over the gorge, and perhaps we'll be lucky enough to see the astonishingly colorful Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Orange-breasted Falcon, White-tailed Goldenthroat or Musician Wren. We will spend 2 hours on the ground at the falls. Continue flight to Ogle. Transfer to Georgetown. Farewell dinner. Overnight at Cara Lodge. BLD
Transfer to the airport for departing flight.
Rate Includes :
- airport transfers
- double or twin accommodation
- meals as listed
- all road and river transfers
-internal flights in Guyana
- activities as described
- local guides
- Iwokrama Forest User Fee
- Iwokrama Canopy Walkway fee
- Kaieteur National Park Fee
Not Included :
- items of a personal nature
- alcoholic drinks except where mentioned above
- departure tax
- international flights
- excess weight on internal schedule flight
The Kaieteur Falls which was first seen by a European on April 29, 1870 is situated in the heart of Guyana on the
Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo.
The water of Kaieteur, one of the world's natural wonders, flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge - a drop of 822 feet or 5 times the height of Niagara Falls.
There are no other falls in the world with the magnitude of the sheer drop existing at Kaieteur. Amerindian legend of the Patamona tribe has it that Kai, one of the tribe's chiefs (after who the falls is named), committed self sacrifice by canoeing himself over the falls.
It was believed this would encourage the great spirit Makonaima to save the tribe from being destroyed by the savage Caribishi.
Kaieteur supports a unique micro environment with Tank Bromeliads, the largest in the world, in which the tiny Golden frog spends its entire life and the rarely seen Guiana Cock- of-the-rock nesting close by. The lucky visitor may also see the famous flights of the Kaieteur Swifts or Makonaima Birds which nest under the vast shelf of rock carved by the centuries of water, hidden behind the eternal curtain of falling water.