Suriname, 22d day, hummingbird and macaw

This video says about itself:

The making of a sculpture of Barack Obama, by the well-known Surinamese Artist, Erwin de Vries.

Also about Erwin de Vries: here.

One of the background sounds of the video is the call of the great kiskadee, a common bird in Suriname, also in Paramaribo city.

Suriname, 24 February 2009.

After coming back from eastern Suriname yesterday, this is our last day.

In the afternoon, we will go to the airport.

But in the morning, still the last opportunity to look for birds around Leonsberg.

And it would turn out that this was the best birding day of all in Leonsberg; in spite of interruptions by a few rainy showers.

On this morning, rusty margined flycatcher and tropical kingbird on a wire.

On a shrub: a blue-black grassquit.

In a ditch: tri-coloured heron, catching a fish.

Male and female wing-barred seedeater.

Black vultures.

Great kiskadee. Buff-throated saltator.

At the ferry: twelve black skimmers together, hunting for fish near the water’s edge.

Two green-rumped parrotlets sitting on a pole in the water.

Semipalmated sandpiper.

Blue-winged swallow. Little blue heron. Snowy egret.

Blue-grey tanager. Tropical mockingbird.

Orange-winged parrots flying overhead.

A whimbrel near the Suriname river.

White-lined tanager.

Then, in a leafless tree, a yellow-headed caracara. Not a very unusual bird around Paramaribo. However, that a blue-and yellow macaw sits below it is really unusual. This species occurs naturally in the coastal regions of Suriname. But catching them as cage birds has really diminished the blue-and-yellow macaw numbers, certainly around Paramaribo.

Is this an escaped cage bird? It calls. Other macaws, who are certainly in cages, call back. The bird in the tree calls back again. Then, it flies away.

This is a video about macaws, both in captivity and in nature.

Then, a much smaller and less brightly coloured bird, much more common about Paramaribo, but beautiful nevertheless: a pied water-tyrant.

A short-tailed swift high in the air.

Ruddy ground-doves.

A turkey vulture, driven away by a roadside hawk.

A pale-breasted thrush on a wire.

A grey-breasted martin.

A wattled jacana in a ditch.

The rufous crab-hawk sits on his usual tree again.

A black-collared hawk flying.

Two brown-throated parakeets in a leafless tree.

In another tree, a snail kite.

Snail kites in Florida: here.

In yet another tree, a ringed kingfisher and a scaled pigeon.

A smooth-billed ani on a wire.

A common tody-flycatcher.

A boat-billed flycatcher on a wire.

A plain-breasted ground dove on the road.

On another leafless tree, a slender-billed kite. A great kiskadee tries to drive it away, but the hawk is not impressed and stays on the branch. The great kiskadee seemingly gives up, and sits down above the slender-billed kite. Maybe realizing that, though a bird of prey, this kite eats snails, not baby kiskadees.

A monarch butterfly.

Two tropical kingbirds on a palm tree.

A plain-crested elaenia.

Two crested oropendolas just behind the swimming pool.

A pygmy kingfisher diving from a branch into a ditch.

Near the sluice, teju lizard and green garden lizard.

Twenty-five black skimmers resting on the muddy Suriname river bank.

A wattled jacana.

A house wren singing from an electricity pole.

A green-throated mango hummingbird sitting on a branch, quite close.

Then, as last Leonsberg bird, a species that we have not seen before: blood-colored woodpecker. Male and female on a small tree.

From the bus to the airport, near Onverwacht: a cattle egret.

After Onverwacht, a swallow-tailed kite.

The last bird of Suriname, which we see at Zanderij airport, is also a swallow-tailed kite.

March 2010. A brightly coloured, new subspecies of Mountain-Tanager has been discovered in Colombia. It was first found in the Serranía de los Yariguíes Mountains, near ProAvesCerulean Warbler Bird Reserve in 2005: here.

Cock-tailed tyrant (Alectrurus tricolor): here.

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Suriname, scarlet ibis, great kiskadee

This is a video about a great kiskadee; one of the most common birds in Suriname.

Suriname, 23 February; after the nightly turtle watching.

Today, from eastern Suriname back to Paramaribo.

First, on Baboensanti beach: scarlet ibises crossing the sea.

And a gull-billed tern, one of few species which one may see both in Suriname and Europe.

A ghost crab leaves its hole in the sand, runs around briefly, and gets back in the hole. A bit unusual, since these crabs are considered to be nocturnal.

The ship leaves, going up the Marowijne estuary.

Just before Albina, a plumbeous kite, and a yellow-billed tern.

West of Albina, there is Moi Wana. Since 2007, there is a monument with Native American cultural symbols by Marcel Pinas there for the 38 maroon and Native American inhabitants of this village, massacred during the 1980s civil war.

A great kiskadee calls.

A swallow-tailed kite flying in Commewijne district.

Flying above central Paramaribo: an osprey.

Suriname, more green turtles

This video is about Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas).

A video which is no longer on the Internet used to say about itself:

Over 275 seaweeds and two seagrasses are eaten by Hawaiian green turtles, Chelonia mydas Linnaeus, the most common sea turtle and the largest marine herbivore in the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian green turtle population has increased in numbers since protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act; however, there has been a long-term decline in immature turtles’ somatic growth rates.

Because forage type and nutrition may have a role in green turtle growth, reproduction and long-term species viability, 16 macroalgal species, two seagrass species, and multi-specific turf from turtle foraging areas on four different islands were analyzed for protein, lipid, carbohydrate, water, ash, energy, amino acid, vitamin and mineral content.

Suriname, 23 February.

Tonight, we start looking for turtles a bit later than yesterday, at 1:15.

Many tracks of green turtles who have already gone back to the sea.

The first and second turtles of tonight have their nests closely together. The first one was still digging; the second one was going back to sea.

The third one was just laying its last eggs; then it started covering and camouflaging them.

Close to the nest, a ghost crab; a predator of baby turtles. The world’s fastest crustacean is the ghost crab, capable of reaching 4.5mph.

Turtles number four and five were still digging nest holes.

Green turtles and seagrass: here. And here.

Suriname, scarlet ibis and jaguar

This video says about itself:

The Amazon rainforest is home to a bewildering array of wildlife, including macaws, toucans, tyrant flycatchers, capybaras, tapir, sloths, squirrel monkeys, red howler monkeys, jaguars, caimans, anacondas, tarantulas, leaf-cutter ants, scarlet ibis, and black skimmers.

Suriname, 22 February.

After the nightly green turtle watching, still at Baboensanti.

On the beach, sanderlings. Sanderlings: these birds are one of the few bird species which one can see both in Europe and Suriname (and in Australia).

Quite some wood, and a piece of rope, with barnacles on it.

A scaled pigeon in a tree.

About 45 scarlet ibises flying over the sea.

A forest walk.

Yellow-rumped cacique; see also here.

Squirrel monkeys not far away.

Red-bellied macaws.

A tortoise between the trees: Geochelone carbonaria; red-footed tortoise.

An armadillo-made hole in the forest floor. Not made by a giant armadillo, like in the Kayser mountains. A smaller hole, by a nine-banded armadillo, a smaller species.

When we reach a savanna at the forest edge, brown-throated parakeets in treetops.

A pirate flycatcher.

A turkey vulture.

Jaguar footprints and faeces.

Frigatebirds overhead, showing that we are not really far from the sea yet.

On the beach in the afternoon.

Many black vultures, but also red-bellied macaws flying noisily.

A green turtle, killed by a jaguar. Acorn barnacles on its back. Tonight, we will see living turtles again.

Magnificent frigatebird in Britain: here.

Suriname, 20th day, green turtles

This is a video about a green turtle feeding from Hawaii.

Green turtles swim not only near Hawaii and Bonaire.

Suriname, 22 February.

We slept in Baboensanti.

Until 1:00. Then, we got up to look for sea turtles.

A Native American warden guides us, pocket-torch in hand. Careful: don’t shine light into turtles’ eyes, as they hate that and might break off the egg laying process.

From Atlantic Ocean back to the ocean, it takes about two hours for a turtle. First, getting out of the water. Then, getting up the beach; which is rather steep at Baboensanti. Also, difficult for big animals which spend all of their lives in the sea. With as only exceptions for the females, the egg-laying, maybe three times per laying season occurring once in two to five years. The males hardly ever get out of the water after hatching as babies; with extremely rare exceptions.

After getting up the beach, the female turtles have to decide where to lay their eggs. The further above the floodline, the safer the eggs are from drowning in the sea. However, when the young turtles will hatch, they will then have a longer and more dangerous journey to the water.

The biggest species, leatherback turtles, do the shortest distance in crawling (because they are heaviest? because they are most adapted to the ocean, and least to land??). Usually, they make their nests about two meter above the flood line. Some lay their eggs ever lower down. Wardens dig up these eggs in dangerous places, and transfer them to safer new nests, higher up the beach.

This is a video of a leatherback turtle laying eggs on the beach in Galibi, Suriname.

Leatherbacks eat jellyfish. Unfortunately, plastic floating in the sea looks like jellyfish. One third of all leatherback turtle deaths is linked to plastic.

There is research on Surinamese leatherbacks, including PIT-tagging. Leatherback turtles tagged – For a race and research: see here.

Over half of all leatherback turtle eggs in the world are from the three Guyanas: Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

A Surinamese biologist says: “There used to be a marine turtle hatchery in Suriname, with artificial incubators for the eggs; and a chance for the babies to grow to a size where fewer enemies might attack them before releasing them into the sea. This helped the survival rate of those rare animals. Unfortunately, the government of Suriname closed this down because of short-term money issues”.

The two smallest species, both rare at Baboensanti, hawksbill and olive ridley turtles, crawl up the beach until they reach the vegetation line, to make their nests there.

The green turtle is the second biggest and second heaviest of the marine turtles. They can get over 1.3 meter long and over 300 kilograms. They are unique: it is said that they don’t eat jellyfish and other meat like other sea turtles (however, see also here). As vegetarians, they eat seaweed. Which gives their fat the green colour of their name.

Usually, there are about 5,000 green turtle nests a year in Suriname.

When green turtles crawl up the beach, they go the longest distance of all turtles. They cross the vegetation line and sometimes make their nests beyond the tops of the sand dunes.

First, they then make big holes for their bodies to fit in. Then, they use their flippers to dig a smaller, deep hole for the eggs. Then, they lay about a hundred, hundred thirty, eggs in the hole. Then, they cover the nest hole by throwing sand on it with their flippers. Then, they camouflage the nest hole. Then, they go back to the flood line, and swim back to their mates which may wait for them. As I wrote, about two hours from ocean to ocean.

There is no fixed direction for laying eggs: some turtles lay eggs with their heads to the ocean; some with their heads to the land; and some with their bodies parallel to the coastline.

The first green turtle of tonight is very big. It is making a hole, but it has not started laying yet.

The second turtle is a bit smaller, so probably younger (most reptiles keep growing their whole lives). It has just finished covering the nest. It heads back to the floodline, and swims away.

The third turtle is laying eggs. They are somewhat similar in size and look to table tennis balls, except for the eggs’ beautiful shine.

Apart from these three animals, we see more green turtle tracks, over a meter in breadth, going up to the dunes.

Later, we hear that a jaguar ate three green turtles.

Natural beaches produce more hatchling marine turtles than developed beaches, despite regional differences in hatching success: here.

An international team of scientists has identified a nesting population of leatherback sea turtles in Gabon, West Africa as the world’s largest: here.

Suriname, vultures and snake

This video from Florida in the USA is called Black Vultures working on a dead cat.

Suriname, 21 February.

After going aboard in Albina, sailing for hours, and seeing a yellow-headed caracara, our ship arrives at Baboensanti.

There are unexpectedly few seashells on the beach.

There are many dead catfish: crucifix sea catfish. Apparently, this estuarine species is often thrown overboard by fishing ships. If a big catfish, nearly a meter in size, beaches, it attracts five or more black vultures to eat it. Smaller catfish attract only about two vultures. If one knows that they are basically beautiful fish, then this is a somewhat sad end for them, here as rotting cadavers on the beach. Good then to have the vultures.

One other dead fish species on the beach (not as often as the catfish): puffer fish.

Also dead on the beach: a Leach’s petrel.

A snake on the beach. Not a dead snake, and not a sea snake: Hydrops triangularis, the water coral snake.

Talking about reptiles: we are here mainly for the marine turtles. Four species nest here: leatherback turtle; green turtle; olive ridley; and hawksbill turtle.

It is still early in the egg laying season. Now, mainly green turtles are to be expected. Occasionally, a leatherback turtle coming earlier than most of this species. The turtles lay the eggs at night. So, we will have to wait until 1:00 to see them.

Suriname, osprey and whimbrel

This is a whimbrel video.

Suriname, 20 February.

Today, we arrived in Paramaribo from the upper Suriname river.

Cattle egrets along the road to Leonsberg.

In Leonsberg, a wall with ruddy ground-doves and blue-black grassquits on it.

A pied water-tyrant near a ditch.

A pale-breasted thrush.

On the same tree as days ago, a rufous crab-hawk.

Black vultures.

An osprey with a fish in its claws flies across the ferry landing.

Semipalmated plovers on the mudflats.

A whimbrel, also on the mud flats.

Semipalmated sandpipers. Little blue heron.

On a wire, a tropical mockingbird, a grey kingbird and a great kiskadee.

On a pole and flying across the Suriname river: blue-winged swallow.

Suriname, 18th day, back to Paramaribo

This is a video of Kizzy Getrouw, singing the national anthem of Suriname.

After yesterday, today is 20 February: from Isadou to Paramaribo. First by boat.

Before we leave, a look at the ladder-tailed nightjar, which had been missing from its usual sleeping branch yesterday afternoon. This morning, it is sleeping there again.

Red-rumped cacique.

A spotted sandpiper on rocks in the river. The pied lapwings on the other bank.

A lineated woodpecker.

A ruddy ground-dove.

A female silver-beaked tanager sits down on water melon leftovers.

A squirrel cuckoo.

A swallow-tailed kite.

A mouse-coloured tyrannulet.

The boat goes to Ladoani. Then, the plane leaves from Ladoani airstrip for Zorg en Hoop airport in Paramaribo.

Suriname, 17th day, upper Suriname river

This is a video about the upper Suriname river.

19 February, on Isadou island; like yesterday.

A ringed kingfisher flying overhead.

The ladder-tailed nightjar sits on the same branch as yesterday; five centimeter more to the left.

Red-rumped caciques.

Two ruddy ground-doves.

8:45: one pied lapwing on the same rock as yesterday. Then, it flies away.

Great kiskadee. Piratic flycatcher.

A king vulture high in the sky.

From the boat: swallow-tailed kite. A plumbeous kite flying. Amazon kingfisher.

A striated heron.

Southern rough-winged swallow.

We land near Ladowani village. A red-rumped cacique breeding colony hanging from a tree. A smooth-billed ani.

Unlike many other villages on the upper Suriname river, Ladowani was not founded as a “transmigration” village for people who had to flee from the rising waters of the Brokopondo-Van Blommestein lake. It existed already before the 1960’s.

Its people are African-Surinamese maroons: their ancestors ran away from slavery in the coastal region and founded communities in the interior.

Near the airstrip of Ladoani (as it is also spelled sometimes), ten white-winged swallows sitting together on a wire.

The people in Ladowani mainly have an “animist” religion, with historical origin in traditional African religions. A few hundred meters away, another village, Nieuw Aurora, is mainly Christian: Evangelische Broedergemeente, the biggest denomination among African-Surinamese.

The primary school in Nieuw Aurora has eight teachers for 400 children. The head teacher says that teaching is in Dutch. She adds: “and sometimes in our mother tongue, Saramaccan, so that everyone can understand”.

The Saramaccan language was made by fugitive ex-slaves, from various African and European languages. These were the “building blocks” for Sranan Tongo as well, but Saramaccan is really different from Sranan Tongo.

If children want to go to high school, then they have to go to Paramaribo.

A swallow-tailed kite circling above the village.

The boat goes back to Isadou. In a tree on the bank, a black hawk-eagle. It flies across the river, to a tree on the other bank.

On Isadou, a black-tailed tityra in a palm tree.

On the other bank, two pied lapwings and a spotted sandpiper.

A white-necked puffbird, trying to eat termites from a nest in a tree.

A buff-throated woodcreeper in a palm tree. A house wren.

A juvenile plumbeous kite on a tree on the other bank.

In the evening, there is music by the Isadou Boys band from Nieuw Aurora. The band has five different drums, each with a role of its own. Plus voices of the drummers and some non-drummers.

It is danceable music with lyrics in Saramaccan. The musical style is Saramaccan, with many African influences; the instruments are kawina: an acoustic music tendency, originally from Commewijne (=Kawina) district.

Kawina music should not be confused with the only meaning which Wikipedia has for the word “Kawina”, an extinct trilobite. The Dutch Wikipedia does not have any Kawina article. UPDATE December 2013: it has by now; still not with links to Wikipedia articles in other languages.

UPDATE February 2019: by now, there is an English Wikipedia article on kawina music; linked to from the Dutch language article.

This video in Dutch is about kawina music; especially about the band Bosse Krioro.

A new bird for American birders has appeared in the south of Texas, found by two visiting birders from Canada. The rare [Amazon] kingfisher is normally found further south in Mexico: here.

Kaseko music history: here.

Suriname, 16th day, to Isadou island

This video says about itself:

While drawing in the Amazon in northern Peru, I’m joined by a helpful Gray-winged Trumpeter. This bird is tame but not captive, lives in the forest and comes and goes as it pleases. It seemed to like art, at least it liked pencils…we nicknamed it, “Birdito”.

Suriname, 18 February.

After yesterday, we will go to the south from Brownsberg today.

In the Brownsberg morning, a red howler monkey chorus. And the sounds of various frog species.

A red-necked woodpecker on a tree (see also video here).

A late bat flying between the rainforest trees, as there is still fog stopping much sunlight.

White-tailed trogon sound.

A giant millipede (see also here).

A blue-headed parrot.

A painted parakeet.

A squirrel cuckoo.

Just after the pickup truck starts its downhill journey on the awful dirt road, grey-winged trumpeter birds.

Screaming piha sounds.

After we arrive in Brownsweg at the foot of the mountain, the road to Atjonie proves to be not really better.

The bus has to stop. Chinese lorries manage to make the road more level by driving across the high spots. We can continue.

13:35 we arrive in Atjoni port on the upper Suriname river.

This is a video about korjaal (Surinamese river boat) traffic on the Suriname river.

From a korjaal, an osprey. A swallow-winged kite. Barn and white-winged swallows.

Spotted sandpipers on rocks in the river.

A swallow-winged puffbird on a tree.

Ringed kingfisher.

We arrive on Isadou island.

Silver beaked tanager. Palm tanager.

On a big rock on the other bank, two pied lapwings.

Giant cowbird.

Green garden lizards.

House wren. Grey kingbird.

On the other bank, a juvenile rufescent tiger-heron. It is drying its wings, so the beautiful water drop like-spots on its wings show. Only many minutes later, it folds it wings, then it flies away.

A bit further, a ladder-tailed nightjar is sleeping on a branch just above the river. An Amazon kingfisher sits on a branch above it.

An hour later, the nightjar is still asleep on the same branch; from where it will fly away after dusk, to catch insects. The pied lapwings are also still there.

A green kingfisher.

Endemic Neotropical Shorebirds: here.

Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 77 – The Northern Brown Howler Monkey: here.

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