This year, the BBC presented a wonderful programme about Guyana situated in the northeast corner of the South American continent. At the same time the British Birdwatching Fair also promoted this wonderful country; a place where the forests are virtually untouched.
In May 2008, Bird Holidays spent almost a month touring the country in search of the best birds and sites with a view to running a tour there.
In the process, we made many friends and checked various accommodations with a view to presenting our clients with a great birding experience. During our visit, we were to see some of the most sought-after birds like Guyana Cock-of-the-Rock and Harpy Eagle, as well as the endemic Blood-coloured Woodpecker. These are all high on many Neotropical birder's wants list.
Great views were had of Giant Otters, Anteaters, Potoos and Macaws. We even met the Prime Minister of Guyana and expressed our delight at his vision to retain as much forest as possible for future generations. Everywhere we went, we were very impressed with the amount of preserved forest and savannah.
There is no doubt that the habitat of Guyana has remained virtually untouched. The forest is pristine with few roads and little logging activities - ideal attributes for a successful birdwatching tour. There is economic pressure on the Guyanese Government and so it is imperative that conservationists do as much as they can to help them. To this end, ecotourism is an extremely effective conservation tool.
There are so few roads that man has been slow to remove the trees. This provides a real feeling of remoteness and many areas are only reached by boat or plane. Some lodges do not yet have the high standard set by other South American countries receiving large numbers of birders, but this is slowly changing.
During our visit some accommodations were a little 'rustic' but the bricks for new buildings were on site and building will continue in 2010. Our friends in Guyana will be keeping us up-to-date with progress and we intend to re-visit, to ensure that things will be ready for our first tour in 2011.
We hope that you will enjoy the photographs on this page as a taste of what gems Guyana holds for us. We also hope that you will support conservation efforts there and consider joining us in 2011.
male Guyana Cock-of-the-Rock, the female on a nest below
Sunbittern among the mangroves
Swallow-tailed Kites are often seen above the forest.
The Agouti is common in the forest
Phil specialises in Nightjars and so this Blackish Nightjar was an exciting find for him.
The tiny Blood-coloured Woodpecker, is only found on the coast.
Crimson Topaz hummingbirds duel above the forest streams.
This immature Harpy Eagle was sheltering from the rain keeping an eye on us.
This tiny Tree Boa was only found by using a spotlight at night.
The flower of the Giant Water Lilly opens at dusk. This one took 45 minute to open
This research station at Iwokrama allowed us access to trails in the forest.
Boat-billed Heron is best seen at night from a river cruise
the extraordinary moo-ing call from leking Capucinbirds carries far across the canopy
The Rufous Crab Hawk is one of the must-see coastal endemics