We wanted to be on the Burro-Borro River before sunrise, but it has far too little water and so we have to make our way on foot into the forest. Wearing long trousers, full-length sleeves and a hat, we’re protected from mosquitos and the sun.
John David is our young guide this time. Suddenly he motions us to be quiet: there in the undergrowth is the Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo on the hunt for insects. Luke is extremely excited and calls this observation the bird enthusiast’s ‘Holy Grail’, to ensure we really understand what’s happening. This brown bird with a long tail is very shy and there are bird watchers who visit Guyana just to see this creature. And we lucky people get to see it right next to us in the bushes and can observe it for almost an hour. As we continue, something suddenly flies out in front of us – a grey tinamou – and returns immediately to hide in the forest. 80 metres further on we hear rustling noises, scratching, wings beating. John rushes into the forest and finds the grey tinamou lying on the ground. Heavily injured, it quickly dies. Obviously, we’ve disturbed a bird of prey on the hunt. We continue walking and hide a camera close by, in the hope the hunter will soon perhaps return to its prey? And it does: when we fetch the camera we discover a young grey-bellied goshawk that shortly beforehand had been clutching the tinamou in its claws. Downer: the camera didn’t film the action.
We cross a bridge over a small, deep river bed, completely devoid of water. Everything is now very dry, but the rainy season will fill it with water and also flood parts of the forest. John digs a finger-long catfish out of the riverbed, pours water over it, to reactivate it. And whoosh! It jumps like a flash from the bridge and buries itself into the mud again.