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Crane Hawk!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Talk about excited. Any time you put the words "crane" and "hawk" together, a birder is bound to get excited. Here's a ruby-eyed beauty, looking for fish and frogs and crayfish along an eroded bank. I love the soft light falling on him. I'm less in love with the branch bisecting him.I couldn't look at the tangled bank behind him without thinking what a nightmare it would be to paint in watercolor. I can see some branches I'd edit out right off the bat. Some really nice ones, too.I do love the pinky-orange legs, the ruby eye, and the stormcloud plumage. The long legs and crane-like coloration probably led to the name, not to mention the red eyes...White windows in the primaries and bands on the tail were spectacular when he took off. It was a fleeting glimpse of a bird I'd love to know better.

We docked and began an uphill walk toward our night's accommodations. The first thing we saw was a Great Potoo, waiting for nightfall, high in a tree--obviously a stakeout. This is a BIG bird, larger than a screech owl. Loosely related to the nightjars (whip-poor-wills) and frogmouths, but not really. It mostly just lives like they do, catching large flying insects at night, so it looks like them.Flash photo taken in desperation. I much prefer ambient light, even when nonexistent.I know, blurry as all getout. 'sOK. You can tell what it looks like, right?

We wound our way through the Amerindian village of Yupukari, enjoying the soft laughter and a very off-tune guitar in the gently falling night. The sun was a blazing smudge behind the palms and thatched roofs.
A black rooster pecked about in some burnt grass, looking as though he'd been caught in the fire.

And a white-fringed antbird reminded me that we were not in Ohio, or Africa.

Toward evening, we arrived at Caiman House, which is a very cool place. We walked up from the river as the sun sank.I liked it immediately, although it had no raccoons. There were some very nice and well cared-for doggehs (a good barometer of the quality of one's accommodations in the tropics). This is the dining room.The food was great and loaded with fresh vegetables, served family style at a long table. Yum!
Just at dusk, a pair of lizards were getting happy on the sundowner deck.The most spectacular sunset I'd seen in 2008 went on and on and on. I loved the black palms against the glowing sky.When viewing sunsets, I always make myself turn around from the main show to see what's going on behind me. It's often as good as the backlit stuff.

But I wasn't expecting a bee-eater, or a fairy tern.


Great photos Julie. I love the last bird in the sky too even though it is difficult to id.


After visiting Guyana through your posts, I just need to say I admire your courage to willingly spend nights and days living in a country so different...the air, climate, culture, food, accommodations, landscape, birds, animals - a surprise around every corner. Some of them not so comfortable, but many breathtaking. You really know how to live and love life. I'm not sure I would adapt so well.


Wow! That cranehawk is outstanding!

I love the colors in that Crane Hawk--so soft, yet strong.
Very dapper looking fellow.
The Potoo, however, needs a bit of grooming.

Oh Mare - those primitive accommodations offer some of the best night's sleep! You tend to feel part of something bigger when you can look up from bed and see the stars and the moon and the silhouette of the forest canopy ablaze with fireflies - all the while knowing that a scorpion is scuttling around under your bed and an enormous bird-eating tarantula is hunting on your palm frond ceiling. Ahh, nature, be still my heart.

JZ - thanks for the crane hawk love. It was one of those things that everyone saw but me. Always love a good reason to go back to places - especially the Amazon!

The crane hawk is cool but a potoo oh my!

We looked long and hard years ago when we were in Costa Rica.

Thanks for introducing us to the Crane Hawk, what a name- you're right about those legs and ruby eyes- stunning!

Holy cow. I love that you saw a potoo! That was one of my favorite parts of The Life of Birds, when the little bird closes his cute little peepers and his mouth and pretends to be a little broken-off stumpy part of a tree.

Now I would be painting that black rooster!!!

Wow, a lot of great shots, but I just can't get over that Crane Hawk. I never knew such a beauty existed!

I agree with everyone here...that Crain Hawk is stunning! I hope we get to see how it is you decide to work out your painting. I love it when you show us that stuff!

But the Great Potoo...what a maw! Thanks for sharing that...even if you don't much like the photo. I've never seen such a mouth!

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