Brasília National Park, Distrito Federal: March 9, 2012

I planned to bird a few new sites in the Distrito Federal today, but I wanted to start the morning off with a reliable circumambulation on the Capybara Trail in the national park. Hearing an excitable mixed flock well off the trail on the border of the gallery forest, I played a recording of the Rufous-Tailed Jacamar a few times, and two responded nicely and proceeded to draw the rest of the flock near to where I was standing. Nothing unusual turned up, but observing all the activity was enjoyable, and for once the trail was relatively clear of other people. After the flock moved on, I searched for Saffron-Billed Sparrow for an hour without success. I understand it’s a reliable site for the bird, but I’ve visited half a dozen times without even hearing, much less seeing, it.

I left the park around 11am and headed west to the Floresta Nacional de Brasília, which I learned is the only site in the district for the Sharp-Tailed Grass Tyrant. Supposedly, you can access the site without authorization, but I was thwarted first at the entrance gate and then at the reserve headquarters as I tried to explain that I only wanted to look around for birds for a few hours. From what I could tell the habitat inside the reserve isn’t very impressive, as it consists mostly of nonnative eucalyptus and pine forests. Clearly, there must be some good campo limpo, or grassland, as that is grass tyrant’s preferred habitat. I’ve made tentative plans with a local birder and photographer to visit in a few weeks, so hopefully I will learn more then about the site’s true potential.

Notable birds seen: Rufous-Tailed Jacamar, Little Woodpecker, Variable Antshrike, Black-Capped Antwren, Lineated Woodpecker, Streaked Xenops, Sepia-Capped Flycatcher, Greenish Schiffornis, Helmeted Manakin, Rufous-Browed Peppershrike, Masked Gnatcatcher, Guira Tanager, Chestnut-Vented Conebill, Gray-Headed Tanager, Burnished-Buff Tanager, Black-Goggled Tanager.

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