BIRDWATCHING IN THE SURRONDINGS OF PARAMARIBO

More than 400 species of birds have been spotted in the surroundings of Paramaribo. The website of Jan Hein Ribot has a the total species list. Hot spots are Warapa Creek, Weg naar Zee, Peperpot and the Cultuurtuin.
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WARAPA CREEK

Recently the Warapa Creek has been opened for tourists. The creek can be divided into three distinctive landscapes. First we enter a dark mangrove forest. Then we come into an open grass swamp with some mangroves. Here the canal starts, which connects the creek with the ocean. The last part begins with a dead mangrove forest, a natural habitat, with naked hard mud separated form the ocean by a low beach wall which is overgrown with low trees. From the beach wall we have a marvellous view on the vast mudflats.

The important target species the Rufous Crab Hawk Buteogallus aequinoctialis is extremely common in the whole area. The near-endemic Blood-coloured Woodpecker Veniliornis sanguineus and the endemic Arrowhead Piculet Picumnus minutissimus are also common, but not always easy to spot. The Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea can be seen at close range, when sitting on the large arch-shaped stilt roots of the Red Mangroves in the first part of the creek. There the Ashy-headed Greenlet Hylophilus pectoralis is easy to find. Spectacular birds such as Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber, Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja and Wood Stork Mycteria americana can be seen in the last part near the ocean. An observation hut on the mudflat in front of young Black Mangroves gives a splendid few on the Ibises, egrets, night-herons and the migrating North American shorebirds.

The creek can be reached within two hours from Paramaribo by car and boat.

WEG NAAR ZEE

Weg naar Zee means road to the sea. It is a road about 5 km long through swampy meadows, with a lot of Snail Kites. Sometimes we see a Long-winged Harrier or a Limpkin. Red-breasted Blackbirds, with their incredibly red breasts, are common. Toco Toucan has been seen here. At the end, there are two places where we can reach the Atlantic Ocean: one is a Hindustani Temple and the other a crematorium.

Here we can see thousands of North American shorebirds at the right season. During their breeding season, which lasts from April to September, Scarlet Ibises forage on the mudflats at low tide. Three egret species are common. This is probably the second-best place in the world to spot a Rufous Crab-Hawk. So far we have never missed it. In the mangroves along the coast, we have a good chance to find the Bicolored Conebill.

You had better use insect repellent here, because mosquitoes have an even better chance to find us. There are no mosquitoes in the open area where we spot the shorebirds.

PEPERPOT

Peperpot is an abandoned coffee plantation. It’s full of coffee bushes overgrown with climbing plants with a canopy of coffee-mother trees, protecting the coffee from the sun. The coffee berries are eaten by many birds. One of our guests named it ‘the 100 yards birdwatching’ after two hours of bird watching and only 100 yards walking.

This is the best spot to see the Ashy-headed Greenlet, Blood-colored Woodpecker and the Arrowhead Piculet. Green Ibis and Slender-billed Kite may fly over our heads, while we listen to the song of the Cinnamon Attila, Blackish Antbird and/or Spotted Puffbird.

CULTUURTUIN

Cultuurtuin means Culture Garden. It is a large complex of agriculturally oriented institutes, the Zoo and a Botanical Garden. In the latter we will easily find more than 50 species of common garden birds in less than two hours. Although it does not look like a botanical garden, it was intended to be a copy of Bogor, the botanical garden of Djakarta, Indonesia. Hence we find here a mixture of Indonesian and indigenous trees. On the leaves of the large water-lily Victoria amazonica we often see cayman sunbathing. Least Grebes have been sighted in the pond and we have a fairly good chance to see Lesser Kiskadee. The best attraction is a lek of Crimson-hooded Manakins.
[photos ©] left : Scarlet Ibis by Carla Out, Arrowhead Piculet, and Crimson-hooded Manakin by Candi McManiman
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