Monday, 31 December 2012

La Guaira

Another Venezuelan Oil and Container terminal but 20 times worse than yesterday's effort. Having received this e-mail from my potential Birding Pal Juan

Dear Bagsy,
Unfortunately things are difficult in the interior of the country where I live due to Christmas crazy days there are many killed people those days... Fortunately it is not the situation near Caracas and La Guaira (at least in general)... At this time still I don't know if I can go to stay with you and your fellow... Trying to fix it I have contact with two friends (very good people) that they live in Caracas... Near la Guaira seaport. I hope they can help but we are in Christmas holidays as you know...Take a private taxi is the best option! But only executive taxi or car with yellow 'car number' (yellow metallic piece with numbers)...
Let me try to arrange your day, but sorry, it is not easy for only one
day during Christmas...I will check every possible option...
With the best Christmas wishes,
2012/12/28 Juan C. Fernández-Ordóñez
I decided on simply putting a toe in the water which meant I was off the ship for about one hour, during which there were a few birds to see in the littler strewn, polluted, hot and noisy place.
Despite the countries mighty oil wealth, President Chaves seems to be neglecting his navy as this old 'rust bucket' shows.
This is the view from the ship
 with YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA* flying overhead and
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER* doing just that from convinient lamp posts.
Another encounter with the humble HOUSE SPARROW, the last was in La Coruna, Spain,

A lovely adult LAUGHING GULL was flying around the harbour but that was the end of the days birding.
Just this Gun Boat was left to photograph.
Some readers may have noticed a lack of scenic shots of late? Well, after just 32 days from new, the small Lumix camera decided to 'throw in the towel' as broken beyond repair.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Margarita Island, Venezuela

Arriving at Puerto El Guamache 07:00, ever before the slack was taken up on the head-ropes BROWN PELICAN were making them a perch and the day was already warm.
No Birding Pal here and really little by way of direction, so a US$10 taxi ride to seen if some likely habitat could be found
 About 15Km from what is a Oil and Container Terminal (and not at all a likely berth for a Cruise Ship) there was this endless expanse of dense and very prickly terrain where the search would start.
A flash of brilliant red crossed my eyes as I watched a male VERMILION CARDINAL disappear, and never return, into the tangle of bushes.
Undeterred, I tried pishing which only brought the female out but only this far.
Plenty of CACTUS here, while just up the road the local rubbish tip was attracting a good number of both
and BLACK VULTURE neither of which close to any decent range.
However, all was not lost as I turned to see just a slight movement in a nearby bush reviling this nifty
with a freshly caught LIZARD
The Raptor was also having an effect on the smaller birds and was being continuously being 'attacked' by this TROPICAL GNATCATCHER.
About the closes any BLACK VULTURE came today.
and a Black BUTTERFLY
With the recent elections in the country it was no surprise to find this CHAVES graffiti all over the place.
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD were once again well represented, but it was now a case of the heat becoming oppressive. I sought some temporary sanctuary in a local garden under the shade of a huge tree, while the family brought me water which I poured over my head to cool down. The arrival of a family friend, in his 'beat up' pickup truck was fortuitous as I was more than ready to return to the ship for a short siesta. He drove me back!
While resting Peter Davies had slipped a note under my cabin door suggesting I should try the sand and mud flats between the container berth and the sea-shore which proved profitable.
First up were these NEOTROPIC CORMORANT
followed by c3
Any Owl is a bonus to me so they were most welcome and obliging.
Also on the foreshore were good numbers of LEAST SANDPIPER
along with what looked like a SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER, right of picture.

A decent size group of about 50
were next but at long distance.
Local Fishermen