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CHECKLIST

IWOKRAMA RESERVE

GUYANA
LOCALE

Area (ha):371,000
# Species:248
# Excl Vagrants:248
# Endemics:0
# Near Endemics:9
Species/100 ha:0.1
Habitat: Rainforest

ABOUT THE BIRDING

The Iwokrama Forest Reserve is an area of 360,000 hectares of primary rainforest established as an experiment in sustainable tropical forestry. A limited amount of logging goes on in the forest under stringent rules. For instance, only large trees above a certain diameter can be harvested, and no two trees can be harvested within a 50-meter radius during a 50-year period. The field station acts as a research facility and also provides accommodations for visitors.

The forest itself supports some 450-500 species of birds. The most accessible areas are along the main dirt road. Birding is excellent along the road and Jaguars are commonly sighted around nightfall, particularly in an area known as Mile 26 south of the field station. The primary trail going into the forest is the Turtle Mountain Trail, which is reached by a 30-minute boat ride up the Essequibo River. The boat landing during dry season is about a mile from where it is during the height of the rainy season. This seasonally flooded varzea forest attracts a variety of specialty birds, notably Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant and Tiny Dwarf-Manakin. Above the highwater mark is a camp used by researchers. Numerous birds can be found along the trail up Turtle Mountain through terra firme, including a variety of antbirds and antwrens, several species of parrots, Gray-winged Trumpeter and the near-endemic Red-and-Black Grosbeak.

An area along the main road known as the Mori Scrub features a trail through sandy soil that supports unique vegetation. This is a good place to look for Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Black Manakin, and Red-shouldered Tanager. Farther south is the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, a short distance by trail from Atta Rainforest Camp. The canopy walkway consists of 5 platforms on large trees near a ridgeline interconnected by suspension bridges. A good variety of canopy birds can be seen from these vantage points. Half way between the canopy walkway and the turn-off to Surama is the Cock-of-the-Rock Trail. A 20-minute walk up this trail brings one to a reliable nesting area where Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock can be seen at all times of year.

Farther south toward the turn-off to Surama, a known Harpy Eagle nest has been active in recent years. An hour hike along the trail from the main road brings one to the nest. This trail is not well established and requires use of a local guide for safety's sake. A number of other birds are possible along the trail as well, especially antbirds. The nest can also be accessed from Surama Village via a longer trail. Again, a local guide is required to find the nest.

LOCATION OF SITE

Iwokrama Field Station is located within the Iwokrama Forest Reserve on the Essequibo River. The only access until summer of 2008 was by 5-minute boat trip from the main road. Now there is a side road off the main highway that accesses the field station by vehicle just south of the Essequibo River crossing. Vehicles traveling the road from Georgetown require a ferry crossing at the river since there is no bridge. Access is either by road, very long boat trip up the Essequibo River, or air. Trans Guyana Airline flights can be arranged to land at nearby Fairview, but a surcharge applies unless 4 persons are disembarking there. The alternative is to fly into Annai near Rock View and arrange for land transport up the road from there.