Welcome to Birdquest
Sunday 20th September - Tuesday 6th October 2015
Whilst we all love getting out to see the world’s amazing avifauna, one cannot help but be tinged with a little sadness as we watch so many habitats and associated species disappearing in front of our eyes. Let’s be honest, we all wish we could do more, feel we should do more, but it’s not all that easy. So when Raymond and the Neotropical Bird Club (NBC) approached me with the idea of hosting a tour with the aim of having a great time birding, whilst raising funds for charity, I jumped at the chance! This was the first time that Birdquest had ever been involved in a specific charity fund raising tour, and all of us wanted to be sure it would be a great success. It was years in the planning, but with the combined powers of the NBC, Fauna Paraguay and Birdquest, we came up with a plan that worked, and with the generous participation of a hardy bunch of enthusiastic birders, I think we can all be proud of what we achieved. We went to Paraguay, saw nearly all of the special birds we were after, had quite a few laughs along the way and, between us, raised a very substantial sum of money for conservation! Can’t be a bad way to spend a few weeks, and special thanks should go to our excellent in-country hosts, Paul, Rob and our three great drivers.
The tour itself focused on visiting many of Paraguay’s birding hotspots with the express aim of seeing many excellent target species whilst also learning about the reserves, the habitats, the threats and the conservation efforts going on to counter the threats. It was a country that most of us knew little about before our visit, but we all came away more knowledgeable about a country that we all enjoyed visiting immensely, and with cherished memories of some really special birds. In just over two weeks we recorded well over 400 species of birds as well as a good number of interesting mammals, reptiles, amphibians, moths and other critters! Specific highlights included the wonderful White-winged and Sickle-winged Nightjars, both of which were seen at touching distance, some stunning Chaco, Tawny-browed and Rusty-barred Owls, Black-capped Screech Owl, two amazing Crowned Solitary Eagles, the fabulous Black-legged Seriema, brilliant Ocellated, Red-and-white and Rufous-faced Crakes, Giant Snipe, the localized Purple-crowned Plovercrest, impressive Helmeted and Black-bodied Woodpeckers, an amazing Pheasant Cuckoo, gorgeous Cock-tailed, Strange-tailed, Streamer-tailed Tyrants and Sharp-tailed Grass Tyrants, clanking Bare-throated Bellbirds, and dazzling Saffron-cowled Blackbirds. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!