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PARAGUAY

Thursday 11th October - Sunday 28th October 2012

Paul Smith

Chaco Owl (Paul Smith)

Chaco Owl (Paul Smith)

With 407 birds, 27 mammals and 13 species of reptiles recorded, this year’s Paraguay trip, Birdquest´s second, smashed all the previous records. Persistently overlooked by visitors, the "Forgotten Heart of South America", is a place where only adventurous birders dare to tread, and always leave very glad that they did. The country squeezes four threatened ecosystems into its relatively manageable national territory and rewards the intrepid with a varied list of spectacular avian goodies, including some of the biggest ticks on the continent. This trip got off to a hot and dusty flyer in the humid and dry Chaco; meandered through the rarely-visited cerrado grassland; survived a new bird frenzy in the fast-disappearing Atlantic Forest; and signed off with a bang in the Mesopotamian flooded grasslands of southern Paraguay. Despite battling high winds or rain on an almost daily basis, the big birds just kept on rolling in, with Black-legged Seriema, Chaco Owl, Chaco Nothura and the soon to be split Olive-crowned (Chaco) Crescentchest amongst the highlights in the Chaco; Helmeted Woodpecker, Bare-throated Bellbird, Saffron Toucanet and Temminck’s Seedeater lighting up the Atlantic Forest for us; White-winged Nightjar, Collared Crescentchest, Cock-tailed Tyrant and Marsh Seedeater making sure the cerrado lived up to its burgeoning birding reputation; and Sickle-winged Nightjar, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Bearded Tachuri and Ochre-breasted Pipit from the Mesopotamian grasslands ensuring that a memorable trip ended as successfully as it had begun. Those with a soft spot for mammals had their fancies tickled with three species of cat, three species of armadillo and memorable close encounters with five species of bat, whilst the discovery of the first nest of White-rumped Monjita ensured that we did our bit for science along the way!

White-winged Nightjar (Conny Palm)

White-winged Nightjar (Conny Palm)