Tina and I are off to South America for a week of birding and photography. Our main destination is Hato Piñero in Venezuela. Hato Piñero is a private cattle ranch nestling in the northern llanos. The draft list of birds found at the 800 square kilometre ranch currently stands at 300.
Seven species of ibis have been seen, herons and egrets abound, Yellow-knobbed Curassows are a traffic hazard and Sunbitterns are easier to view here than almost anywhere else. Besides its extensive wetlands, Hato Piñero also boasts one of the largest areas of intact deciduous forest in the entire llanos, a habitat which is home to White-fringed Antwren, White-throated Spadebill, Fuscous Flycatcher, Pale-tipped Inezia, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant and Trinidad Euphonia. Gallery forests hold Pale-headed Jacamar, Rusty-backed Spinetail and Orinocan Saltator while forest patches are good for Dwarf Cuckoo, Scarlet Macaw, Russet-throated Puffbird and White-bearded Flycatcher. Night excursions are also offered and typically produce Common and Great Potoos, Lesser Nighthawk, Pauraque and White-tailed Nightjar, though Nacunda Nighthawk and Striped Owl, Spectacled Owl and large cats are regular: Hato Piñero is one of the best places anywhere within its wide range to encounter a Jaguar.
Stay tuned for images in 2 weeks when we return.