30th November 2019
Arrive in Guyana and picked up at airport with a transfer to our hotel, to settle in and meet our guide.
This morning we will see dawn rise over the extensive and beautiful Botanic Garden, where, if we are lucky, the trip’s first ornithological highlight will be the Blood-coloured Woodpecker, an astonishingly colourful Veniliornis found only in the Guianas and even there almost wholly limited to the narrow coastal plain. The gardens host Snail Kite, Gray Hawk, Pearl Kite, Carib Grackle, Red-bellied Macaw, Red-shouldered Macaw and a host of parrots including the Orange-winged and Yellow-crowned Amazons and the Bodin’s Amazon.
We will walk on trails in the back on the gardens and may see Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Black-crested Antshrike, Short-tailed Swift, Ruddy Ground Dove, Grayish Saltator, Silver-beaked Tanager, Buff-breasted Wren, Piratic and Ashy-headed Greenlet. You may also see the Golden-spangled Piculet, White-bellied Piculet, Great Horned Owl, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Pinnated Bittern, Wing-barred Seedeater and Brown-throated Conure.
After we will transfer to Ogle airstrip for a flight to Rupununi Savannahs and then take a 4x4 vehicle to Dadanawa Ranch – a 2 hour trip but we will be able to bird on the way. Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Savannah and Black Collared Hawks patrol the grassland. There are good opportunities along this road for Red-bellied Macaw.
An almost forgotten link to the past, a stay at Dadanawa Ranch is like taking a step back in time. Cut off from the main lines of travel and communication to the coast since its inception, it is one of the oldest, largest and most isolated ranches in the world. It is situated upon 1700 square miles of savannah in many wildlife documentaries, from 'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom' to the BBC's 'Lost Land of the Jaguar'.
Overnight at Dadanawa Ranch.
Around the ranch and the gallery forest along the river that runs by here we will be looking out for Parrots all day including Blue and Yellow, Scarlet, Green wing, Red bellied and Red shouldered Macaws, Golden winged Parakeet as well as Yellow crowned and Orange winged Amazons.
Overnight at Dadanawa Ranch.
Before breakfast we can look around the ranch again for any of the parrots we have missed or watch some of the ones we love.
After breakfast we head back towards Lethem staying just outside at Manari Ranch. This is a stopover lodge on our way to Karasabai however there are still lots of parrots here as well as many other bird species.
We can expect to see several Macaw species such as Red-shouldered and Blue and yellow as well as Green-rumped Parrotlet and Yellow-crowned Amazon.
Overnight at Manari Ranch
Early morning searching for Parrots around the ranch.
After breakfast we travel onto Karasabai for one of the best chances of seeing the Sun Conure.
Thirty years ago, this species was extremely common, however, a huge number were caught for the cage bird trade and the area around Karasabai is now believed to be the only place in Guyana where this spectacular parrot can be found.
Now regarded as highly endangered, small flocks can often be seen flying overhead, however, to get really good views, we will need to search the trees close to the river where despite their orange, yellow and green plumage, they can be surprisingly hard to spot.
Other species which can be seen in this area include Maguari Stork, Muscovy Duck, Crested Bobwhite, Painted Parakeet and Orange-backed Troupial and for those interested in mammals, the savannahs around Karasabai still hold a reasonably healthy population of Giant Anteaters.
Overnight at Karabasai
All day to observe the Sun Conures watching them coming from the direction of Brazil first thing in a morning and entering the valleys around Karasabai before returning in the direction of Brazil in the late afternoon.
Sun Conures are not the only parrots in this area, although they will probably take up most of our time whilst we are here. Green-rumped Parrotlets and Brown-throated Conures are common but there are slight chances of the Tepui Parrotlet and Fiery-shouldered Conure, although, with the latter, we should have better luck on the pre-tour to Paramakatoi.
Overnight at Karasabai
Our last chance to see the Sun Conures before breakfast or if we feel we have had good sightings and photos of these parrots then we can have an early breakfast and then move onto our next lodge at Karanambu through the Rupununi Savannah again.
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.
At the ranch along the river-edge, wetland and open country we will look for various species and we stand a good chance of seeing Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Jabiru, Wood Stork, Green Ibis, Northern (Crested) Caracara, Black-collared Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Brown-throated Parakeet and Swallow-wing. Depending on the river level, this trip offers an excellent opportunity to look for Giant Otters as there are several family groups which live along this stretch of the Rupununi River. Both Black and Spectacled Caimans also inhabit the river and several species of monkey including Red Howler, White-faced Saki and Squirrel Monkey can be found in the riverside trees.
Today we will explore the savannahs, gallery forest and wetlands around Karanambu and can expect to find plenty of species which we are unlikely to encounter elsewhere on this tour. One of our targets whilst staying at Karanambu will be the near-threatened Bearded Tachuri, a member of the flycatcher family which has declined markedly in recent years as it requires fairly undisturbed savannah grasslands. We have an excellent chance of finding this species and others we will be looking for include Boat-billed Heron, Pinnated Bittern, Sunbittern, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Green-tailed Jacamar, Spotted Puffbird, Black Nunbird, White-fringed Antwren, Black-chinned and White-bellied Antbirds, Finsch’s Euphonia and Rose-breasted Chat.
We will also make a boat trip either very early in the morning or late in the afternoon on the nearby Rupununi River to look for Crestless (or Lesser Razor-billed) Curassow. Although this species has not been hunted on the ranch for many years, it remains rare and difficult to find, although our best chance of encountering it will be if we hear a bird giving its low booming call around dawn or dusk.
Overnight at Karanambu Lodge
Today we will make a special effort to locate one of the oddest-looking members of the cotinga family, the Capuchinbird. There are at least two leks relatively close to our lodge and we plan to visit at least one of these display areas, where we should get great looks as the males seek to attract females with their weird, almost cow-like, song. We may also see a Giant Anteater during our stay, as this species is not uncommon around the lodge.
We now continue onto Surama Village planning to stop at various places en-route and amongst the species we hope to encounter are Red-shouldered Macaw, Golden-winged Parakeet, Sooty-capped Hermit, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Cinnamon Attila, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Cayenne Jay, Finsch’s Euphonia and Orange-backed Troupial.
Although the Harpy Eagle and Rufous-winged Ground-cuckoo may be the two, star attractions at Surama, there are plenty of other species to look for and during our stay we will hope to encounter
Red-legged Tinamou, Painted Parakeet, Brown-throated Parakeet, Dusky Parrot, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Pale-throated Barbthroat, Rufous-throated Sapphire, Great and Paradise Jacamars, Guianan Puffbird, Black-spotted Barbet, Golden-spangled Piculet, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Northern Slaty-Antshrike, Rufous-bellied, Spot-tailed and Todd’s Antwrens, Dusky, White-browed, White-bellied, Ferruginous-backed, Rufous-throated and Guianan Warbling Antbirds, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant, Lemon-chested and Ashy-headed Greenlets and Finsch’s Euphonia. We also plan to do some night birding and will hope to locate the recently split Northern Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, as well as Tropical Screech-Owl, Lesser Nighthawk, White-tailed Nightjar and both Great and Common Potoos.
Overnight at Surama Village
We will look for Parrots in the surrounding Forest and along the Buro Buro River that runs through the village land today with more chances of lots of Parrots including Scarlet, Green wing, Red bellied and Red shouldered Macaws, Brown throated and Painted Conures, Golden winged Parakeets, Lilac tailed and Scarlet shouldered Parrotlets, Black capped, Caica, Blue headed, Dusky and Hawk headed Parrots, Blue cheeked, Yellow crowned, Orange winged and Mealy Amazons.
Overnight at Surama Village.
All day for Parrots once again but we may be tempted to look out for the Harpy Eagles, one of the largest Eagles in the world, which can catch monkeys and sloths as part of their diet. You never know what other birds or even Parrots we can find whilst looking for these magnificent Eagles. I won’t miss any chances to see them on this visit.
Before breakfast is our last chance to see the Parrots around Surama before we continue our journey onto the Iwokrama International Centre. Caica Parrots, Painted Parakeets, Guianan Toucanet, Pompadour Cotinga Plumbeous Pigeon, Red-and-green Macaw, Screaming Piha and a host of crown specialists come within our view. Amongst the likely highlights are Painted and Brown-throated Conures, Golden-winged Parakeets, Caica Parrot, Guianan Puffbird, Waved and Golden-collared Woodpeckers and Spot-tailed, Todd’s and Ash-winged Antwrens.
The walkway is also an excellent place to look for various species of cotinga including the poorly known and range-restricted Dusky Purpletuft and if there are any suitable fruiting trees nearby, we stand a good chance of seeing this bird, as well as the more widespread Purple-breasted Cotinga.
Other species we hope to encounter during our stay include Spix’s and Marail Guans, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Hawk headed Parrot, Eastern Long-tailed Hermit, Crimson Topaz, Great and Paradise Jacamars, Guianan and Pied Puffbirds, Guianan Toucanet, Red-billed Woodcreeper, Black-throated Antshrike, Guianan Streaked Antwren, Guianan Warbling Antbird, Pompadour Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Tiny Tyrant-Manakin, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant, Golden-sided Euphonia and both Red-and-Black and Yellow-green Grosbeaks.
Within the forest canopy we have chances of Green Aracari, White Bellbird or a fly-by of one of five types of Eagles. The trails may reveal Little Chachalaca, Marail Guan, Black Curassow, Squirrel and Black-bellied Cuckoos, Eastern Long-tailed and Reddish Hermits, Blue-crowned Motmot, Guianan White-necked Puffbird, Collared Puffbird, Pygmy, Todd’s, Spot-tailed, White-flanked, Gray, Long-winged, Rufous-bellied, and Brown-bellied Antwrens, White-lored Tyrannulet and Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant.
Overnight at Iwokrama.
Looking for more Parrots in Iwokrama along the roads and rivers in the various parts of the protected area we go into 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.
In the late afternoon we’ll take a walk on trails around the Field Station to look for Swallow-winged Puffbird, Black-spotted Barbet, Golden-collared, Yellow-throated, Crimson-crested and Red-necked Woodpeckers, Guianan Toucanet, Black-headed, White-browed, Ferruginous-backed, Warbling, Scale-backed, White-plumed, and Rufous-throated Antbirds, Ringed Antpipit, Black-tailed Tityra and Thrush-like Schiffornis. 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, Long tailed Potoo, Zigzag Heron or Blackish Nightjar.
Overnight at Iwokrama.
During our three night stay at Iwokrama we will also be looking for Black Nunbird, Blue Dacnis, Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas, Red-eyed Vireo, White-shouldered, Blue-backed and Turquoise Tanagers, Buff-cheeked, Lemon-chested and Tawny-crowned Greenlets, White-crowned and Golden-headed Manakins, Violaceous, White-vented, and Golden-sided Euphonias, Fasciated, Mouse-colored, Dusky-throated, and Cinereous Antshrikes and Guianan Red-Cotinga, Black-necked Aracari, Rufous-capped and Black-faced Antthrush, Gray-crowned and Yellow-margined (Zimmer’s) Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, White-breasted Wood-Wren and Musician Wren.
The Field Station is also a great place for the Red-and-Green, Scarlet and Blue-and-Yellow Macaws.
Overnight at Iwokrama.
We travel back to Georgetown by road first taking the ferry across the river close to Iwokrama and then the main road back to the city. When I say main road it is practically the only road but even it is a sandy, dirt road.
On the return trip we will bird as we go and hopefully spot Caica and Blue-headed Parrots, Blue-cheeked and Mealy Amazons, Cocoi Heron, Bat Falcon, Lined Forest-Falcon and Pied Lapwing.
Overnight at Georgetown.
Transfer to airport for flight home. Depending on the time of your flight there may be enough time to visit the Botanical Gardens again.
We will visit the Botanical Gardens in Georgetown to see the Parrots that are there first thing in the morning. Once again we should see the Orange-winged, Yellow-crowned and Bodin’s Amazons as well as Red-shouldered Macaws and possibly Green-rumped Parrotlets. We saw all of these in 2016.
We now take an afternoon flight to Kaieteur Falls where we can just stay for 2 hours and visit 3 different viewing platforms to see the falls themselves or we can stay for 3 nights to see the falls from the viewing areas but also see them close up as well as check out all the wildlife in this area which again is home to several parrot species as well as some special birds.
We will be able to photograph the falls from the air as well as on the ground.
Venezuela’s Angel Falls are greater in total height, however their 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, (741ft) nearly five times the height of Niagara.
Overnight at Kaieteur Falls Lodge or return to Georgetown for a home flight the following day.
Today we can birdwatch around the Falls area. 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 colourful Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Orange-breasted Falcon, White-tailed Goldenthroat or Musician Wren.
We have another chance to see the falls again.
The spectacle is the more impressive for its remoteness and it is altogether possible that we’ll be the only people viewing it.
More birding around the falls area.
Parrots possible in this area include Blue and Yellow. Scarlet and Green wing Macaws, White eyed, Painted and Fiery shouldered Conures, Golden winged Parakeets, Black capped, Blue headed, Hawk headed and Dusky Parrots, Orange winged and Mealy Amazons.
Morning birding around the falls before taking an afternoon flight back to Ogle airstrip, Georgetown
Transfer to airport for flight home.
There is one more part to this trip which is another option a pre-main tour trip going to Paramakatoi.
On my last trip to Guyana in 2016 I was reliably informed that we could see Fiery-shouldered Conures at a place called “Paramakatoi”. I checked on the map and it looked a short distance away from Karasabai so when I was planning this trip I asked if we could go there as part of the main trip. What I did not know was how difficult it would be to get to this small town. Driving from Karasabai would take a 2 day journey each way without any time to look for the parrots whilst we would be there, overall making an extra 6 days on the trip potentially to see just one parrot species.
Fortunately, I have contacts and employ local guides so I was told about the difficulties of getting to this destination and although I am up for a challenge I like to get the best out of all my trips for my clients so I have been told the best option would be to fly in and out.
Pre-Main Tour Trip
Arrive Georgetown with a transfer to our hotel.
Transfer to local airport for our short flight to Paramakatoi.
Here we will check out the area to find the Fiery-shouldered Conure. There are a number of parrot species here including Green-winged Macaws and Caica Parrot but our main targets will be the Fiery-shouldered Conures and the Tepui Parrotlets.
Paramakatoi is not normally on the tourist route but if we want to see the Fiery-shouldered Conure then I am reliably informed several groups can be found around the village and we now have a full day to search for them but we should also see many other species of birds.
I saw this Conure on a previous trip to Venezuela but it was a fleeting glance as a small flock flew over our group whilst in the Gran Sabana area. Paramakatoi is very close to the border of Venezuela and this Conure has a very small range so hopefully we will be able to take photographs of a parrot that has very rarely been photographed in the wild. A challenge!!!
Flight back to Georgetown where we will meet the other members of the group who are just arriving to join us for the main parrot watching trip.
Overnight Georgetown and then continue with the main tour.
Due to the logistics for this trip it is limited to 8 people.
Main Parrot watching trip - $5500 per person with $550 single supplement
Kaieteur day visit - $500 per person
Kaieteur extension trip (4 nights) - $1550 per person with $ 155 single supplement
Paramakatoi extension trip - $1550 per person with $ 155 single supplement
$1000 per person for main trip.
$70 per person for Kaieteur day trip
$450 per person for Kaieteur extension trip
$450 for Paramakatoi pre- main tour trip
Balance to be paid 90 days before the start of the trip.
All internal flights, all road transfers within Guyana, all boat trips, accommodation, meals (from dinner on 30th November to breakfast on 15th December extending to breakfast on 19th December if going on Kaieteur Trip), water, transport including driver/boatman, naturalist guide, and all entry fees to National Parks.
Pre-main tour trip includes as above with meals from dinner on the 27th November through to lunch on the 30th November.
NOT included International flights, insurance, drinks, souvenirs, tips, departure tax, any additional activities not mentioned in the itinerary.
Itinerary may change due to weather or local information about Parrots and other wildlife sightings to make the most of the trip.
Due to the logistics for this trip it is limited to 8 people.
Size of country :- 83,000 square miles
Population:- approximately 800,000 mostly living around the capital of Georgetown
Location:- North eastern shoulder of South America
Climate:- Tropical; hot and humid, moderated by northeast trade winds. Mean temperature of 27.5C. Coastal ranges from 20C – 34C and Interior ranges 18C – 40C
Language:- This is the only country in South America where the language is predominantly English
Kaeiteur Falls from the air as we come into the local airfield
Guyanan forest from the air