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Saturday 28th January - Saturday 11th February 2012

Mark Van Beirs

Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock and White-plumed Antbird (Mark Beaman)

Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock and White-plumed Antbird (Mark Beaman)

Our first venture to Suriname produced an enticing list of Guianan specialities, next to a mouth-watering number of more widespread, but rarely seen species. Highlights included incredibly tame Grey-winged Trumpeters, the largest known lek of exquisite Guianan Cocks of the Rock, a magnificent Grey-bellied Hawk, a superb male Crimson Fruitcrow, Arrowhead Piculet, Blood-colored Woodpecker, Rufous Crab-Hawk, Black-faced Hawk, Blue-cheeked and displaying Red-fan Parrots, Black-throated Antshrike, gaudy Ferruginous-backed and charming White-plumed Antbirds, an out of this world Spotted Antpitta, a snazzy Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Pompadour Cotinga, showy males of delicate White-fronted and Crimson-hooded Manakins, Dusky Purpletuft, Finsch’s Euphonia, Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth, lovely Red-handed Tamarins and agile Black Spider Monkeys. We recorded 366 species of birds and 13 mammals in this little country which has a surface of about eight times Wales and sports a population of just over half a million people. The Dutch inheritance is still very much present, as testified by the widespread use of Dutch and the unique old centre of Paramaribo, a World Heritage Site. The unusual amounts of rain for this season sabotaged our birding a bit, but we will long remember the endless expanses of forest that cover the interior of Suriname, a truly heartwarming experience in a world where deforestation and habitat destruction are so common place.