....and 4AoS is back to normal, whatever that is.
How was Venezuela? Fantastic! And bug-filled, and ridiculously hot. Oh, and very dangerous. It's a far crazier country than I'd ever imagined.
Ok, geopolitical analysis over, on with the birds and butterflies. I've got a big backlog but I don't want to try the patience of 4AoSers so let's set a limit of 4 weeks, after which I promise I won't mention Venezuelan wildlife for another year.
As mentioned before, I didn't set out to just list new birds but it's still fun to 'bag' new species . My life list for Venezuela stood at 187 (you'll remember, I'm sure, the Pale-breasted Thrush - Turdus leucomelas - back in June 2011) and I'm hoping I've at least topped 200 now, with the new ones from this trip.
Here's bird number 188 then:
And here's another shot, cropped.
What is it?
But what kind of Swift? In Britain, there's only one species but in Venezuela things are more complicated,there are 15 to choose from. Which one is it? Here's the page from the field guide by Steven L. Hilty.
(Hint: look at the shape of the tail)
You'll probably agree that it looks most like number....
Which happens to be one of the most common species anyway. Shame the photo isn't better though. I must confess, I'd never even managed to photograph a swift before because they are so, well, swift, but by filming for 5 minutes I was able to get about 7 half-decent frames, and the best is the one above, though it's still pretty poor, because we really need to see the white collar in order to be sure for the lifelist.
By stretching the Levels in Photoshop though, joy of joys, look what appears!