Day 1: Arrive in Guyana
- Upon your arrival, you will meet Ron Alicock and be transferred to the local
hotel. Some birding may be possible that day (depending upon arrival times for
all participants and level of interest after what is often an overnight flight). The
evening will end with a trip orientation and dinner. The group will stay at a local
lodge which is both historical and comfortable.
Day 2: Georgetown Botanic Gardens, Ogle
- This morning, we will see dawn rise over the extensive and beautiful Botanic
Garden. If we are lucky, the trip’s first ornithological highlight will be the Blood-
colored Woodpecker, an astonishingly colorful Veniliornis found only in the
Guianas and even there almost wholly limited to the narrow coastal plain. The
gardens also host Pinnated Bittern. Brown-throated Parakeet, Great Horned
Owl, Goldenspangled Piculet, White-bellied Piculet. Black-crested Antshrike,
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher and Wing-barred Seedeater. A number of macaw and
parrot species are also present.
- From the airport at nearby Ogle, where Redbreasted Blackbirds sing and Snail
Kites patrol, we’ll fly by aircraft over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers and
hundreds of miles of unbroken tropical rainforest to land at the Iwokrama
Airstrip. We will travel a short distance by boat to the Iwokrama Field Station in
time for lunch. The Screaming Piha, Greenheart and Woodcreeper Trails close
to the Iwokrama Field Station may reveal Quill rattling by Spix’s Guan or
Crestless Curassow. Species noted are Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner,
Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Eastern Slaty-Antshrike, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet and
Tiny Tyrant Manakin.
- You can bird along the trails near the Field Station. Iwokrama is home to many
bird species including Capunchinbird, Black Nunbird, Chestnut-rumped
Woodcreeper, Amazonian Antshrike, Brown-bellied Antwren, Spot-tailed
Antwren, Todd’s Antwren, Spotted Puffbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Green
Aracari, Guianan Toucanet, Guianan Red Cotinga, Pompadour Cotinga, Rufous-
crowned Elaenia, Bronzy Jacamar, Chestnut & Waved Woodpecker, Gray
Antbird, and Strongbilled Woodcreeper. Three other Neotropical species in the
Iwokrama forest of high interest are White-winged Potoo, Rufous Potoo, and
- Finally, after dark, we’ll set out on the river once more, in hopes of finding one or
another of its four species of caiman, and listen for nightbirds such as
Spectacled Owl, White-winged Potoo, Rufous Potoo, Long-tailed Potoo, Zigzag
Heron or Blackish Nightjar.
Day 3: Turtle Mountain, Iwokrama Forest, Kurupukari
- We will have a pre-dawn breakfast and then set out by boat. After a brief boat
ride (half an hour or less), we will arrive at the foot of Turtle Mountain. Here, we
explore the trails for a few hours, first visiting Turtle Ponds and look for
Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Greater Ani, and Green and
Rufous Kingfisher. We will continue through the forest, looking for Red Fan
Parrot, Red-throated Caracara, Double-toothed Kite, White-plumed and
Ferruginous-backed Antbird and Royal Flycatcher along the way. Climbing to an
elevation of 900 feet, we get a view of the forest canopy below and chances of
Green Aracari, White Bellbird or a fly-by of one of five types of Eagles.
- At mid-afternoon, we will travel along the road through the heart of the Iwokrama
Forest, where there is a good chance to see the elusive Jaguar. The Iwokrama
forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar
populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans.
No promises, but many have been lucky! Along the road, we will watch for the
myriad of bird species that frequent the forest edge, including Crimson and
Purple-necked Fruit-crow, Crimson Topaz, Green Oropendula, Spotted and
Guianan Puffbird, Scarlet and Red-and-Green Macaw, Blue-cheeked and
Orangewinged Parrot and Gray-winged Trumpeter.
- We will stop at a location know as 27-mile stretch and sit on a hill with a view
down the road for about 1000 meters and hope our patience is rewarded with a
Jaguar sighting. After dark we will spotlight along the road for not only Jaguar but
other wildlife and night bird opportunities.
Day 4: Mori Scrub, Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, Atta Rainforest
- After enjoying a pre-dawn breakfast, we will then depart along the road which
offers excellent birding and which includes a locality known as Mori Scrub
(characterized by an unusual low, sandy forest). This supports an interesting
assemblage of bird species, among them Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo,
Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Black Manakin and Red-shouldered Tanager. The
journey continues onto the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. Here we can bird watch
from the vantage of 35 Metres up in the canopy. Painted Parakeet, Rufous-
throated Sapphire, Guianan Puffbird, Green Aracari, Waved Woodpecker, Pygmy
Antwren, Guianan Streaked-Antwren, Dusky Purpletuft, Purple-breasted Cotinga,
Guianan Toucanet, Pompadour Cotinga, Buffcheeked Greenlet, Caica Parrots,
and a host of crown specialists may come within our view.
- The group has several good options in the afternoon. You can spend the
afternoon birdwatching the mid-forest canopy and the upper forest canopy along
the walkway. Flocks of birds will travel post, and you will likely find Paradise
Jacamar, White-necked Puffbird, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, and Blacktailed
and Black-crowned Tityras. Or, you can bird along the jungle trails where
species include White-plumed Antbird, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Spot-tailed
Antwren, Black-throated Antshrike Todds’ Antwren, Ash-winged Antwen,
Crimson Fruitcrow, Red-and-black Grosbeak, McConnell’s Flycatcher, Plain
Xenops and Wedge-billed Woodcreeper.
- As dark falls on the Canopy Walkway, we will hope to see the White-winged
Potoo. The unusually timid Black Curassow can also be seen as at least one
family party has become habituated and regularly feeds in the clearing near the
Day 5: Rupununi Savannah and Annai, Pakaraima Mountains
- Welcome the dawn chorus from the canopy walkway. Short-tailed Nighthawks
settle in for the day, Swifts take to the sky, White throated and Channel-billed
Toucans yodel, and Barred Forest Falcons call. After breakfast, we depart for the
Cock-of-the-rock Trail, an easy 20-minute walk, to hopefully have our first view of
the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock.
- Eventually we reach the Rupununi and Annai, its northernmost community. The
Rupununi Savannah is to Guyana what the Gran Sabana is to Venezuela, an
extensive area of grassland with termite mounds and scattered or riparian
woodland. It differs in that much of it is devoted to cattle raising, though the large
ranches are not very productive. Indeed, one can travel for hours without seeing
a domestic animal of any sort. Needless to say, the birdlife here is markedly
different from that of the rainforest. In the grasslands and nearby forested hills,
we look for Double-striped Thick-knee, Green-tailed Jacamar, Spotted Puffbird,
White-bellied Antbird, Finsch’s Euphonia, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Savannah and
Black Collared Hawks. The resort with its tropical gardens and flowering trees,
resembles an oasis in the savannah, and attracts many species of birds,
particularly nectar feeders and frugivores. Amazonian Troupial, Amethyst
Woodstar, White-chinned Sapphire, Long-billed Starthroat and several Hermits
patrol around the grounds. Nearby forest patches are home to Amazonian Scrub
Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike and a variety of antbirds. After lunch
travel the short distance to the village of Aranaputa to visit the village school and
their peanut factory.
- Bird in the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains on the Panorama Trail for
Cinereous Mourner, Finsch’s Euphonia, Reddish Hermit, Rufous-bellied
Antwren, Green-tailed and Yellow-billed Jacamar. At dusk as nightjars and
nighthawks tumble over the grasslands we will look for the Nacunda Nighthawk
and White-tailed Nightjar.
- Tonight, we will enjoy a famous local BBQ.
Day 6: More Rupununi Savannah
- There is great birding leading to the village and the surrounding savannah and
you may see White Throated Toucans, Pearl Kites, and White-tailed and
Savannah Hawks, and Great Potoo.
- Take a walk into the forest with an indigenous guide to learn about the
medicinal plants and their uses in the Amerindian culture.
Day 7: Pakaraima Mountains and the Burro Burro River
- At dawn travel along the road through the savannah and at the foothills of the
Pakaraima Mountains for some excellent savannah birding. Jabiru Stork are
often seen along this stretch of road. After breakfast the journey continues by
road to the Amerindian community of Surama. The village is set in five square
miles of savannah and surrounded by the densely forested Pakaraima
Mountains. Surama’s inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still
observe many of the traditional practices of their forebears.
- This afternoon we walk through the forest to the Burro Burro River for a quiet and
skillfully guided paddle, hearing the voices of many birds singing in the forest,
and hopefully seeing many of them. We’ll also search the banks for such
mammals as Giant River Otter, Tapir, Tayra and Black Spider Monkey and many
- Needless to say, the birdlife here is markedly different from that of the rainforest.
In the grasslands and nearby forested hills, we’ll look for Double-striped Thick-
knee, Green-tailed Jacamar, Spotted Puffbird, Whitebellied Antbird, Finsch’s
Euphonia, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Savannah and Black Collared Hawks. The
resort with its tropical gardens and flowering trees, resembles an oasis in the
savannah, and attracts many species of birds, particularly nectar feeders and
frugivores. Amazonian Troupial, Amethyst Woodstar, White-chinned Sapphire,
Long-billed Starthroat and several Hermits patrol around the grounds. Nearby
forest patches are home to Amazonian Scrub Flycatcher, Rufous-browed
Peppershrike and a variety of antbirds.
Day 8: Foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains, Karanambu and Giant River Otters
- After breakfast we will depart by jeep to start our day of birding. We’ll leave at
dawn along the road through the savannah and at the foothills of the Pakaraima
Mountains for some excellent savannah birding. Jabiru Stork are often seen
along this stretch of road, then travel slowly on the Rupununi River to
Karanambu Ranch keeping an eye out for Crestless Curassow, Jabiru Stork,
Wood Stork, Bat Falcon, King Vulture, White-necked Jacobin, Golden-spangled
Piculet and Drab Water Tyrant. Karanambu is the home of Diane McTurk, widely
known for her work rehabilitating orphaned Giant River Otters. Lunch at
- This afternoon we travel by boat to look for wild Giant River Otters and as dusk
falls to the ponds to see the giant Victoria Regis water lily, bloom at dusk. On the
return trip we will spotlight for Black Caiman.
Day 9: Rupununi River, Dadanawa Ranch Southern Rupununi
- This morning we will bird in woodland patches or gallery forest along the river
where we should find such species as Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper,
Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Golden-spangled Piculet, Bearded Tachuri and
Capuchin bird. When water levels are appropriate a wooded swamp near the
ranch is the site of a surprisingly large colony of Boat-billed Herons, as well as
several species of Egrets, Anhingas and Wattled Jacarnas. A feature bird for the
area is Agami Heron.
- Late morning, we’ll board a TransGuyana Airways flight for Dadanawa Ranch,
which flies in deep in the South Rupununi. This is the largest ranch in Guyana,
covering 1700 square miles. Dadanawa is a cluster of raised wooden buildings
surmounted by a towering Brazil nut tree and more or less surrounded by low
gallery forest along the Rupununi River.
Day 10: Dadanawa Ranch
- This morning we will leave by Land Rover to make an all-day trip to explore
many of the birding opportunities in the 1,700 square mile Dadanawa Ranch.
We will bird some of the ranch’s outstations and several extraordinarily beautiful
sites, with lightly forested mountainsides and high, black domes. We should
see a variety of raptors including hawks and caracaras and other open country
birds like White-throated Kingbird, Red-shouldered Macaw and Yellowish Pipit.
However, our particular object will be Red Siskin, recently found to occur here.
Our route may also permit us to visit a “bush island”, or isolated patch of heavier
forest, home to Saffron-crested Tyrant- Manakin, Campo Oriole and Cayenne
Day 11: Dadanawa Ranch, Kaieteur Waterfall, Potaro River
- This morning we will enjoy bird watching in light forest near the ranch buildings,
which may bring us Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Finch’s Euphonia, Black-faced
Dacnis, River Warbler, White-barred Piculet, Pale-legged Hornero, Yellow-
crowned Parrot, Black-eared Fairy and Little Chachalaca.
- After breakfast we will take a charter flight over hundreds of miles of unbroken
tropical rainforest to land at Kaieteur, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall.
Though Venezuela’s Angel Falls are greater in total height, their filamentous
drop occurs by stages whereas Kaieteur is a single, massive, thundering
cataract 100 meters wide created as the Potaro River makes a sheer drop of
228 meters, nearly five times the height of Niagara. The spectacle is the more
impressive for its remoteness and it is altogether possible that we’ll be the only
persons viewing it. Here we will hope to find White-chinned and White-tipped
Swifts swirling over the gorge, and perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see the
astonishingly colorful Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, White-tailed Goldenthroat,
Orange-breasted Falcon or Musician Wren. The flight then continues to Ogle
Airstrip in Georgetown.
- Farewell dinner that night at a local lodge.
Day 12: Depart Guyana
- After a transfer to the airport, most participants will depart Guyana around 10 AM
that day. Other flight arrangements are possible. Some participants may
choose to extend the trip to enjoy other sights in the area.