Poço Azul, Distrito Federal: March 11, 2012

Striking while the iron was hot, I returned to Poço Azul early on Sunday morning to see what else I could find in the campo limpo of this popular recreational area not far from Brasília. Although the reserve supposedly opens at 7am, there was no one present when I arrived shortly after, and so I walked right in and started birding down the 1 km dirt road to the first waterfall. A flight of Tawny-Headed Swallows were in swirling motion just above the wet grass, as the sun fought its way through the stormy sky. I found several male Blue Finches calling in the same location as before, stopping to admire them for a while (one of my Blue Finch photos from Friday has been my biggest hit so far on Wiki Aves, one of the world's most popular birding websites). Meanwhile a King Vulture soared overhead, and a pair of Red-Legged Seriema called from the rocky ridge on the other side of the ravine, a classic Cerrado sensation.

Heading down the other dirt road to the principal swimming hole, the Poço Azul, I didn’t make it very far before stopping to search out a calling Small-Billed Tinamou. It took at least thirty minutes of patience and playback to coax it out into the open, but I figured it was finally time to make a concerted effort to tick it (like antpittas, tinamous are birds you hear frequently but almost never see unless you spend most of the morning trying). The highlight of the morning though came next as I spotted a male Horned Sungem preening on a bare shrub. Another star of the Cerrado, this unique and beautiful hummingbird is a true joy to find, and I had a few seconds to take it in before it sailed away. The road appears to continue on through some taller woodland, but I'll have to return yet again to explore it further.

Notable birds seen: Small-Billed Tinamou, Aplomado Falcon, King Vulture, Horned Sungem, Pale-Breasted Spinetail, Collared Crescentchest, Gray Monjita, Curl-Crested Jay, Tawny-Headed Swallow, Green-Winged Saltator, Black-Throated Saltator, Plumbeous Seedeater, Blue Finch, Grassland Sparrow, Wedge-Tailed Grassfinch, Stripe-Tailed Yellowfinch.

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