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Brazil - the Pantanal and a bit of Atlantic rain forest

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Old Saturday 23rd January 2016, 21:07   #51
kitefarrago
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We also get good views of a Chestnut-eared Aracari as we head back to camp. In the lodge grounds there are some additional birds that lure us photographers, such as a pair of Peach-fronted Parakeet who seem to want to nest, and a pair of Great Horned Owls with a fledgling that looks as if it can't be that far away from trying to fly. For some reason they are roosting in the tree above the driveway, which seems a rather busy place to pick!

Peach-fronted Parakeet
Great Horned Owls
Their youngster
No idea what attracted his attention
Jabiru

Andrea
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Last edited by kitefarrago : Sunday 24th January 2016 at 13:04.
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2016, 21:10   #52
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Octavio also finds a Sunbittern, which is extremely shy and thwarts any efforts to take its picture. There's also a small bird bath, and as the temperature begins to rise, more birds come in. Unfortunately this is located next to reception, which means that there are forever people walking by disturbing the birds.

The morning passes quite quickly, and lunch is soon called. After that it gets hotter and hotter, and I intersperse looking for birds with resting on the hammock in front of my room.

Chestnut-eared Aracari
Ditto
Purplish Jay
Looking through its legs
Saffron Finch

Andrea
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2016, 21:15   #53
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There's another outing this afternoon, but it turns out that the others just want to stay at the lodge.

We drive a short distance and then Octavio, our driver and I go for a walk. It's very quiet, no doubt thanks to the heat, and Octavio reciting what they've seen here on previous trips. On the way back from a lake we do find two new birds in the form of Flavescent Warbler and Cream-coloured Woodpecker, and we have a nice sighting of Capuchin monkey and coati.

We get back after five, and I do have another look around the grounds until it gets too dark, and we all retire for a shower before dinner.

Capuchin monkey
Ditto
Coatis
Saffron Finch female
Solitary Cacique


Andrea
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Old Sunday 24th January 2016, 13:11   #54
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And there it was, our very last day in the Pantanal. Thanks to another airline changing its schedule we were going to lose the morning's birding along the Trans-Pantaneira that had been planned.

Originally we were supposed to leave Cuiaba in the afternoon, arriving into Sao Paulo at 18.00, or so. This had meant for some of us an extra night in Sao Paulo to connect with a flight back to Europe in the middle of the following afternoon. In the event our flight now left Cuiaba at 10.00.

Octavio gave us a choice between having breakfast at the lodge and driving through, or leaving without breakfast at 5.30 and having around 45 minutes for a stop along the way. Unanimously we voted for the latter.

So we left in the dark, and since we were already not too far from Pocone our stop was even before sunrise. There were a lot of birds in the sky, various herons, Wood Storks, Jabirus, White-faced Whistling Ducks, Neotropic Cormorants, Roseate Spoonbills, all flying overhead, often in small groups.

The light was so bad that I ended up deleting almost all the pictures I took in the first part of this period though. There were Large-billed Terns fishing in s pond just in front of us, and a few Black Skimmers skimming.

Flight photos when light is at a premium are a problem: You can't really afford to use the speed you'd like because the ISO is going to be something crazy.

It was great fun, but the results don't bear too much scrutiny. A close pair of Great Kiskadees and a Tropical Kingbird allowed us to switch from flying to stationary targets occasionally, but the best photos of that morning were the ones I took of the Yacare Caymans.

This was the sky after we'd already birded for a while
Great Kiskadee
Tropical Kingbird
Black Skimmer
Ditto

Andrea
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Old Sunday 24th January 2016, 13:15   #55
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But all too soon it was time to pack up our gear for the very last time and drive the rest of the way to Cuiaba, a Little Blue Heron the last Pantanal bird we saw.

All in all it was a great trip with memories I will cherish for a very long time.

We saw some amazing mammals, including great views of the main target, Jaguar, and it was a more gentle introduction to South American birds than a lot of other locations would have been. There were a lot of great photographic opportunities as well. The organization was spot on, the locations extremely well chosen, and Octavio a brilliant guide with whom I'd very happily travel again.

The downsides: at the time I found the heat (and the enforced inactivity) tedious, and my insect repellent didn't seem entirely up to the task, which was distracting at times (I also should have used it more, rather than waiting for it to be needed, and then not realizing when I was being bitten until the bites started to itch in the worst way I've experienced) . There was a fair amount of `nothing's happening' even when we were out looking, but I can't really judge to which extent this was a function of the unseasonably hot weather. Somewhat to my surprise I found the food a bit meh (and I vowed there wouldn't be any rice for a few weeks after my return).

We saw 303 species of birds from 64 families, which is pretty good allowing for the fact that this was not primarily a birding holiday. If one includes heard-only records this rises to 312 species from 66 families. The northern part of the Pantanal is certainly doable as a DIY trip, although accommodation is apt to be pricey for the most part (and I don't think I'd have wanted to camp at Porto Jofre).

I'd be happy to answer questions about anything that wasn't covered in
the report.

Large-billed Tern with breakfast
This one's still looking
Great Egret
Yacare Cayman
Ditto

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Old Monday 25th January 2016, 11:58   #56
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Great report and photos :-)
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Old Friday 29th January 2016, 21:37   #57
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Thanks for the excellent report and great photos!
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Old Saturday 30th January 2016, 12:28   #58
Robert L Jarvis
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A superb report and Photos. But can I ask what company was the trip with, costs etc as there seemed to be no detail on these aspects.
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Old Sunday 31st January 2016, 12:56   #59
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I didn't include any details since this was an organized trip, rather than a self-planned one, so all the logistics were taken care of by the organizer. I did include the names of the lodges where we stayed so that people who want to plan their own trips can use the information of what we saw where.

The organizer of the trip was Octvaio Campo Salles. He's a Brazilian photographer and guide. Octavio began to offer trips aimed at photographers a few years ago, and you can find details on the webpage. Octavio also works as a free-lance guide. I was very happy both with the locations we visited, and with Octavio in his function as guide, and would recommend him without reservation.

Andrea
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Old Monday 1st February 2016, 00:44   #60
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Again, thanks for the report. I've really enjoyed reading it and looking at your beautiful photographs. It definitely bumps the Pantanal up higher on my to-do list!
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