Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve

It was 'raining' Santas' when I got up this morning.

My lift turned up at 12-15 yesterday, and not a dust covered, slightly shaky Land Cruiser but a new Jeep complete with Gia fittings (walnut interior trim, electric seats etc) but no better ride for all that. After lunch, 12-50 we made a start for Caracas making 2 coffee stops on the way, arriving at the airport at 19-30. Still amazed at the price of petrol here, the amigo who had no English, topped up the tank with 44 liters and it was my turn to by the drinks (coffee) which cost more than the 'bunkers'. Arriving at the Avianca desk,to make my play for a seat on tomorrows plane, there wasn't a soul to be seen. There last flight left at 18-30 and seemingly everyone had gone home. However, you have to persist in these matters and negotiating a labyrinth of corridors below stairs I finally found an English speaking Supervisor who was helpfulness itself. She photocopied my itinerary with a promise to pass it on to the day-shift so at least I'm not going in cold. All I have to do now is stick out the 8 and a quarter hours before 'check in' at 03-15 for the 06-15 flight of course I'll let you know how I get on.I have spent the ensuing hours getting the trip and Hato Pinero lists right up to date, which you will find at the foot of this post. I was lucky and picked up Blue Ground Dove, common but elusive during my stay, before we left the property and considered 147 an excellent total for just 3 days.

Totals from Hato Pinero

147 Species Recorded
28 'Lifers'
1 'Endemic'

Species Added to the Trip List

MOUSE-COLOURED TYRANNULET*
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER*
BLUE GROUND DOVE*
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH*
OCHRE-LORED FLATBILL*

Total Trip List - 662 Total 'Lifers' - 455 Total Endemics - 52

Christmas Eve morning, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Having spent all night waiting for the Avianca check-in to open at 03-30, the initial reply was "the flight is full", but it was recommended that I return at05-00 to see if there had been any cancellations. This time the 'boyish charm' worked but included a bit of running around.Firstly, the flight paperwork had to be altered, at a charge, then there was departure tax, then immigration tax and so it went on. My impression of the airline thus far had been favorable, but patience was wearing a little thin but despite 6 different Queues I was going to fly to Quito. This was right on time at 06-15 and by 08-30 I arrived at my transfer destination, Bogota. That's when the fun really started but despite an extremely quick shuffle thru International Transfers and the fact that my aircraft was still on the stand, officialdom would not let me board. This now means a 9 hour wait for the next, and may result in me being stuck at the other end. Had I been on the earlier flight chances are, arriving before noon, that I would have got a bus from Quito to Papallacta - Guango my next 'freelance' birding destination. As it is arrival will be after 19-00, and what self respecting bus driver will want to be on the road at that time and date. Tomorrow is predictably the same, but 'never say die' I will leave no stone unturned. I hope by my next post to be able to report good fortune, a taxi may be a more expensive option. Avianca - least said the better - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

video
White-throated Tyrannulet

video
Two-banded Puffbird

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White-tipped Quetzal

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