Junglaven is a Fishing Camp located close to the Ventuari River in the
Venezuelan state of Amazonas. It affords a unique opportunity to birdwatch
in lowland rainforest, and due to the lack of disturbance and absence of hunting, a number of species are possible here which are difficult in other areas of Amazonia. This is probably the most predictable place in the world for Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo. A further introduction to the lodge is available at http://www.venezuelavoyage.com/birdvenezuela/junglaven.htm.
7 Mar. 9am flight Caracas-Puerto Ayacucho: Airline: La Venezolana operates clean twin-prop planes carrying approx. 21 pax.---90 minute flight.
Pm at Orinoquia Lodge----a beautiful setting on the Orinoco river, with large thatched roof dwellings with 24hr electricity, fans, mosquito net, etc. $100 for 1 night, including 3 meals. Phone (in Caracas) for reservations: 9771234---'Cacao Travel'
8 Mar. 6:45 am flight Puerto Ayacucho to Junglaven---45 minutes over stunning topography which includes tepuiform mountains rising to 7000 feet, with granite cliffs and expansive primary forest. Our plane landed right at the Junglaven airstrip, but some planes land 12 km away, where you are met by the Junglaven jeep. Airline: 'Wayumi'
9-12 Mar. 4 full birding days (except an afternoon that I took off to go fishing!)
13 Mar. 7:30am flight to Puerto Ayacucho, connecting to 11:00am flight
back to Caracas.
It is inadvisable to visit during rainy season, as many areas are inundated. Dry season begins in Dec., though Dec. access is not always predictable. Jan.-Mar. is prime season. Junglaven is regularly visited by bird tours (Birdquest and Sunbird/Wings in 2004), but receives few independent travelers---we had the place to ourselves while we were there.
Junglaven Lodge is owned by Capitan Lorenzo Rodriguez, who himself is a pilot. He scheduled our flights to and from Junglaven to Puerto Ayacucho, but these flights on Wayumi can also be scheduled through Marcos Braca: 0248-521-0635 (office) or 0248-521-5883 (home). To directly schedule a stay at the Junglaven Lodge is almost impossible (it took us 9 months to get a final response). Hence, the widespread belief that Junglaven has closed. Capitan Lorenzo has authorized Chris Sharpe to handle the booking process, and reservations can now be made directly through Chris. The per person rate is about $125, which includes a local guide, meals, and jeep/transportation. And fishing, should you so desire! After Chris handled all of the local bookings for us, the trip went off without a hitch...
Junglaven Lodge: There are two very nice bedrooms with double beds,
located above the restaurant, both with private baths. There are 10 or
so thatched roof cabins located about the grounds, also with private baths.
Food was quite good, especially when they had fresh fish, and the tajadas
(fried sweet plantains) were excellent. Cold beer was available. The staff
were quite friendly and took good care of us.
There were several 'Junglaven Specialties' that we did not try for,
since I had seen them at other sites: Brown-banded Puffbird, Cherrie's
Antwren, Brown-headed Greenlet. Our list for Junglaven was 170 seen plus
33 heard only.
Great Tinamou, Little Tinamou, and Undulated Tinamou---all seen from the road, as they noisily shuffled through dry leaf litter.
Variegated Tinamou---also seen from the road in primary forest.
Tinamou sp.---in primary forest, we observed a tinamou which phenotypically seemed to be a Gray-legged Tinamou, although it did not vocalize, and we did not hear that species vocalizing during our time in the forest.
Little Chachlaca---heard only.
Spix's Guan---up to 6 in one day.
Blue-throated Piping-Guan---one in early am at savannah edge
Crestless Currasow---can be dependably viewed by taking a boat in the late afternoon---Ismael knows the place where 1 or 2 come to the water's edge to drink between 5:30 and 6:30pm. I also had 3 of these while I was fishing...
Black Currasow---easy on the road, up to 3 at a time.
Marbled Wood-Quail: a group of 6 was seen well as they crossed the road at noon.
Grey-winged Trumpeter-groups of up to 7 seen on 3 separate days.
Scarlet Macaws and Red-and Green Macaws
White-eyed, Brown-throated, Maroon-tailed and Cobalt-winged Parakeets
Orange-cheeked Parrots----several in the savannah
Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo---the major target bird of the trip, they appeared to be 'late risers', and we played the tape on 3 days, but didn't get a response until 9:30am. Once we located a responsive individual, utilizing a tape that had both the 'whoop' call and the bill-clacking sounds, we obtained several views of the bird, with our best views coming as the bird skulked around us in a semi-circle. The brilliant orange-red facial patch is striking and is useful in localizing the bird as it moves---we also got to see the bird run rapidly with its head held low, much like a Greater Roadrunner...It was GREAT to finally catch up with a Neomorphus!
Crested Owl---a couple heard at night from the track.
Long-tailed Potoo---in primary forest at night, it called in response to Black-banded Owl tape, giving alarm calls. It came in, fluttered about our heads, and found a vertical snag to perch on, where we had excellent views in the spotlight. We heard it calling spontaneously on a subsequent night.
Rufous Nightjar---savannah. Perches in bushes rather than on ground.
Cypseloides sp.---small groups were seen on two occasions over savanna-forest borders. No Cypseloides has been recorded from this part of Amazonas.
Green-tailed Goldenthroat---Savannah, feeding on inconspicuous but numerous small white flowers.
Black-tailed, Amazonian White-tailed, and Amazonian Violaceous Trogons
Rusty-breasted Nunlet---excellent views of a bird Chris spotted our last morning.
Tawny-tufted Toucanet---heard only---we would have increased our chances if we had spent another morning at the savannah-forest interface, scanning treetops.
Ivory-billed Aracari---in forest at edge of savannah
Golden-green Woodpecker---a female very close in the forest.
Chestnut, Scale-breasted, and Cream-colored Woodpeckers.
Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner---in a mixed flock
Lineated and Amazonian Barred Woodcreepers.
Fasciated, Blackish-gray, Amazonian, and Cinereous Antshrikes
Rufous-bellied Antwren---stays low in primary forest
Black-chinned, Dot-backed, Rufous-throated (at tiny antswarm) Antbirds
Pale-bellied Mourner---we had absolutely no luck after trying for a couple of hours at the savannah edge, but in varzea close to the Ventuari river itself, Chris found one calling, and we had good views. Phenotypically very similar to Short-crested Flycatcher, best identified by it's call. We had both species calling in one tree. Back at Junglaven Lodge, there were a couple of Short-cresteds, but no Mourners.
White-browed Purpletuft---a pair nesting at the Lodge
Amazonian Umbrellabird---close to Ventuari River
Black Manakin---1M in varzea close to Ventuari R.
Golden-headed and White-crowned Manakins---bathing at streamside in late afternoon
Veery---very close, prolonged views of one bathing along the creek.
Short-billed Honeycreeper---this is one of the few places where this is the most common honeycreeper! We had a pair, in a clearing in primary forest, and had no other honeycreepers and very few tanagers - no Tangaras at all.