For many of you who came to check out our tour videos and found nothing for 2012, it means we were TOO busy during this year and only now we have some time to edit some of the tours. Hope you enjoy it.
APRIL 2013. Our Pantanal & Chapada birding tour was again amazing, tons of birds and interesting wildlife as always, high water was synonymous of aquatic flowers in bloom and the pantanal was the way we liked, green all over with practically no mosquitoes, and yes all bird specialties where there waiting for us. It was difficult to do a short video, too much footage must to be cutted off.
MARCH 2013. Two weeks were not enough for some participants and then we were in the field for another week, our Extension tour visited the "Mata do Passarinho" the only reserve where Stresseman's Bristlefront is still found in the wild, and there are very few individuals, indeed no more than three pairs! Then we headed north for the Murici Ecological Station, in Alagoas. A very remote and nowadays quiet remnant of what was part of the Amazonian rainforest in wetter thousands of years ago. Screaming Piha, Red-stained Woodpecker, White-shouldered Antshrike, White-eyed Tody-Tyrant and many others weird looking subspecies. Here is what we manage to get on film.
Our Northeastern Brazil tour just finished and as always we saw a lot, rare species and especially endemics. This video is a small sample of what we saw, great birds, great birders, after all great companion! If you never had been birding in NE Brazil, what are you waiting for? We have fixed departure tours to this amazing area from December to March!
FEBRUARY 2013. For those of you considering coming to the pantanal in the wet season. Can you see the bird specialties? how is the wildlife? and the weather? Well, here is what we saw, including two rainy days at the beginning of the tour and so many other stuff we could not get it on video. Enjoy it and join some of our coming tours.
Not only the Pantanal & Chapada tour was great, we went at the Atlantic rainforest and had great time, both in weather and also birds. Most of the birds were with chicks, so family groups moving around and barely none responding to playback, but even so we manage to see a lot!!!
JANUARY 2013. A new year began with a scouting trip to our neighbor country: Bolivia. Why? because we are just next to it, have a daily flight to Santa Cruz de la Sierra (the start point to any trip to Bolivia) and indeed, we are closer to the Andean mountains than the Atlantic rainforest in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, we wanted to visit habitats you won't find in Brazil and loved the Altiplano with its lakes and deserts. Enjoy a little piece of what we found there and is coming to be add soon in our Tours calendar.
NOVEMBER 2012. A special request with a birdlist attached, ten days to see as many lifers as we can show to a well traveled birdwatcher who came to Brazil several times. A hard work but very delightful.
OCTOBER 2012. Several tours running simultaneously (unfortunately not all our guides are filming their tours), so here we will show part of the tour we had this month.
A Harpy Eagle and Emas NP tour was overwhelmed with maned wolves, for the first time ever the roar-barking of this bizarre canid was filmed in nature.
After this, we had the fortune to go to the amazing Atlantic rainforest of Brazil, where our tour was fully packed with endemics and rare species of birds.
Finally, the cherry of the cake of this month was the Iguassu falls tour, where apart from the falls, some birds picked our attention, among them Pavonine Cuckoo, Southern Antpipit, Southern Bristle-Tyrant, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, the last two not caught on video.
SEPTEMBER 2012. A group from South Africa (extensively traveled in Africa) came to see if our safaris were as spectacular as theirs. So, they booked The Best of the Pantanal and our Cerrado Specialties, and yes they wanted to see a Harpy Eagle too.
So, there we were trying to do our best, but in this case the group's positive and high spirits were essential. After two weeks, this is what they have to say: "28 Mammal species, all lifers, is a big number. Not possible anywhere in Africa inside 2 weeks. Your safari vehicle is just perfect for mammals and birds. The birds seen, both in variety and huge numbers, were awesome."
No more words, let see a portion of what they saw:
AUGUST 2012. This month started with an unusual request, a pre-tour to our The Best of the Pantanal to see the Giant Anteater, a bizarre creature, hard to be seen in the northern pantanal. So, we were there chasing anteaters, and in the way we saw a lot of other things.
Then came The Best of the Pantanal, fully packed with birds and other wildlife too. Better than words, images...
Participants going to our Cerrado Specialties were amazed with how easy was to see wildlife in open (and windy) environment.
But, it was not all, we had a second The Best of the Pantanal tour, which was even more spectacular than previous one this month. Jaguars all over.
JULY 2012. Our The Best of the Pantanal tour, the first of the season, was as always a success, birds all over and the elusive jaguar was there too. One of our night drives was crowned with Striped Owl, a very rare owl to be seen in the pantanal. Also nice was the finding of an active nest of White-fronted Woodpecker, which nail this species in all our pantanal tours during the year.
A second short tour to the pantanal was also very productive in terms of birds, especially the night ones, Mottled Owl and Scissor-tailed Nightjar caught on video.
JUNE 2012. A short trip to Emas NP was incredible rich on birds as always, and some mammals too, a long distance national park from where ever you want to go, but when you get there, it is worth!
APRIL 2012. To those who think the pantanal is not good in the rainy season when the waters are high this is a proof that all specialties could be seen. Also notice this year the wet season was not that long too, is April and water is drying very fast.
NOVEMBER 2011. The endemic rich Atlantic rainforest was our cherry atop the cake for a wonderful year. It was fully packed of birds, and not any bird but an amazing array of endemics and rare species, this is why we enjoy running tours there, also they were very cooperative as you can see in this short video from the highlights.
A private tour to the Cerrado habitats and the southern Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta and Cristalino Reserve with Peter Roberts was as always a great experience, from Harpy eagles in the nest to amazing views of the mighty Jaguar along Cristalino river and a surreal views of Maned wolves at Emas NP, a tour to be remember by all participants.
OCTOBER 2011. Our last month of the dry season started in the pantanal, with a private tour doing the same itinerary of our The Best of the Pantanal tour. Unusual rains at this time of the year made our first day extremely hot, followed by a tropical rain, next days temperature was cool and birds were great. Mississipi kites seen our first day, Agami heron performed quiet well, and our first boat trip at Cuiaba river was crowned with a male jaguar.
We just finished our last The Best of the Pantanal tour of 2011 with 100% success rate of seeing jaguars! As a special bonus to be the last tour, we also saw Puma and Tayra.
Our Cerrado Specialties tour was incredible too, once again 100% success rate of seeing Cone-billed Tanager! We rediscovered the bird and we are fortunate of showing this rare bird to all our clients. Meanwhile, big tour operators not even mention this bird on their tours to Emas NP.
SEPTEMBER 2011. September started with a tour to Cristalino Reserve in northern Mato Grosso, fruits were over around the two towers but a remnant of water in a pond proved very productive with several forest birds. We manage to see Dark-winged Trumpeters (at least part of the group) but all had great views of Brazilian Tapirs, Razor-billed and Bare-faced curassows, hoatzin, perched King vulture and many other good birds. Better than read, watch what was caught on film.
In the sequence of our Cristalino Reserve tour, we had a Pantanal & Chapada tour, run under request during these month and normally run between November to June. We did not go to search jaguars, in compensation we had great views of unusual migrants such as several seedeaters (Marsh, Chestnut and Rufous-rumped) and Black-backed Grosbeak at Chapada. And in the pantanal, Undulated tinamous walking in front of us, ZigZag and Agami herons. Great tour.
Our The Best of the Pantanal tour started with a rainy day but nothing we cannot handle easily. ZigZag Heron and Agami Heron were seen again! And our boat trip at the central pantanal delighted us with great views of Giant otter and a male jaguar.
Then, we headed to Emas NP, in our way we had great views of Horned Screamers, Rufous-sided Crake and Ash-throated Crake as usual. Yes, our stakeout in the middle of nowhere proved very reliable to see these tiny crakes. Emas NP is always delightful, and we found ourselves quiet lucky in finding rare species, what about 03 crowned eagles in the same morning! or the first record of Pinnated Bittern for Emas NP! And yes, we saw White-winged Nightjar (close encounters again), Cone-billed Tanager and Great-billed Seed-Finch. We also were rewarded with 03 Giant anteaters and nothing less than 05 Brazilian tapirs.
To close the month, Cristalino Reserve again, this time was a quiet long bus ride to get there, but once we got there... first bird of the day: Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant (world's smallest passerine), second and third bird: Harpy Eagle!!! We scored very high at our beggining, and then needed to keep it that way. Agami Heron (first record of the year for Cristalino lodge), Amazonian Umbrellabird, Tooth-billed Wren, Great Jacamar, a potpurri of antbirds and all other specialties. One night surprised us with the shape of a big dark cat walking along the river: a melanistic Jaguar!!! That was our September in Central Brazil.
AUGUST 2011. Once again our pantanal experience was supreme. From bird feeders fullfilled with vulnerable and near threatened species, spectacular boat and jeep rides allowing us close encounters with almost all bird specialties and other wildlife, including Giant anteater in our last morning and a massive male jaguar in the river, giant otters fishing and basking in the sun and great sunsets. Better than reading this, watch some of the highlights caught on film during this tour.
And we though our July tours were spectacular! After an amazing week in the pantanal we headed to Emas NP. At our first stop, two species of crakes and even better views of Horned Screamer, but just cannot start a tour with crakes because everybody will think birding will be so easy. And yes, was easy and we were very lucky, extremely lucky I will say, especially with the mammals we saw because is hard to see three different maned wolves in the same day, or four Brazilian tapirs together? how about a yellow armadillo with a baby walking down our vehicle? a giant anteater walking in front of the car? or a group of pampas deer grazing with greater rheas? and yes white-winged nightjar male perched and cone-billed tanager male singing at the eleventh hour! And all of this was only at Emas NP, while going to Chapada dos Guimaraes NP our minds were busy thinking what else could be added to the experience. And yes, our grand finale was crowned with spectacular views of a pheasant cuckoo, a pot-purri of hummingbirds and macaws in great light. Enjoy the video below...
To close our amazing August month we had the Safari Brazil: Mammals of Central Brazil, ten days exploring the best area of Brazil for big fauna, but a cold front put down the temperatures to nearly 8 degrees Cesius in our first day, wind and rain were what we had, but even so we manage to find the elusive Brazilian Tapir and the gregarious Giant Otters. A long cold ride to the central pantanal did not diminish our expectations to find the mighty Jaguar, even knowing that our chances were very low due to the climate conditions. But when you have a positive thinking and a marvelous group, there is no cold front which is going to stop us, and there we were, as soon as we embark in our boat the sun clear the sky and we knew nature was playing in our side. No long more, two amazing jaguars shown in a beach playing around in front of us for more than 15 minutes without nobody else around. We had our "own" jaguars for 15 minutes just for us and then another three hours for the delightful of other boats too, but nothing as we experienced. The pantanal was done and then came Emas NP, with a female Maned wolf and two puppies hide in the grasslands, and yes more maned wolf next morning. Other wildlife was also seen, and our video must to be split into two, due to so many great scenes. It took a while to uploaded but finally here is it. Enjoy them.
JULY 2011. As we expected, our first tour The Best of the Pantanal was a success. Six nights in the pantanal visiting three different lodges is the right amount of time to visit the pantanal. Several boat trips provided chances to see Agami heron (twice!), daily encounters with Toco toucans, and yes we saw a gigantic female Jaguar, giant otters and all bird specialties. Here is a sample of most highlights...
Participants who continued in our Cerrado Specialties tour visiting Emas NP and Chapada dos Guimaraes NP were delighted with spectacular views of mostly all cerrado bird specialties, including a close encounter with the mythical White-winged Nightjar and the highly restricted Cone-billed Tanager, both species always missed by most visitors at Emas NP nowadays. Mammal watching was also superb (as always) with Giant anteater, White-lipped peccaries, Brazilian tapirs, Pampas deer, Brown-brocket deer, Pampas skunk, Yellow armadillos, Hoary fox, Crab-eating foxes and even a Grison. The cliffs and cerrado of Chapada dos Guimaraes NP provided great views of Yellow-billed Blue Finch, Horned Sungem, Chapada Flycatcher and Campos Suiriri in the same tree, Blue-winged macaws and Red-and-green macaws. A Tayra and Black-tailed marmosets were add to the mammal list.
When you think two weeks of excellent birding is good, you must to go for a third one. And this is what some participants from our previous two tours did it. Our destination could not be better, only the lush green Amazonian rainforest and its great biodiversity could equal our previous experience in the savannas of Central Brazil. As soon as we were on our way to the Cristalino Reserve at Alta Floresta, all of us knew this part of the trip will be something special, three species of macaw (Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green and Scarlet) overflying the hotel while we were leaving and a cooperative pair of Point-tailed palmcreepers and a South American coati before we reached the river! Then was Cristalino Reserve with its two towers and extensive miles of trails in the forest, a pot-purri of cotingas, toucans, aracaris and tanagers blow our eyes with colors, despite the forest was quiet (most birds not responding to playback due to late nesting season) we manage to find Dark-winged trumpeters (nobody else did it during our stay there), a lot of "antsomething" including Manu antbird and Glossy antshrike, and at night we were delighted with the best views of a Long-tailed potoo on its perch hunting moths. Great birds for a grand finale to our set of fixed departure tours in July, we are ready for August now...
JUNE 2011. Great month to witness nesting behavior in the pantanal. Most of all bird species were nesting or in the process of building a nest, most remarkable were the incredible views of Jabiru adding nesting material to its already huge nest. Another great moment was a Nine-banded Long-nosed Armadillo at day time, when we could observe all details on its armor.
APRIL 2011. This is the highest flood in the southern pantanal, and here in the northern part is big but not a big problem. Indeed the landscape is beautiful, flowers all over the area, flooded fields with running water and some rare birds showing up, this is the case of Zigzag heron that we came across in our walk, once again, only found because our guide recognise the call. Other birds were with chicks, just like this couple of Black-bellied Whistling Duck and their offspring.
MARCH 2011. The flooding season just has started, rainfall is quiet big this year and is raining in the surrouding plateau nearly every day. The pantanal is full of colors, fields are becoming marshes and aquatic vegetation are in full bloom. Snails are floating all over the place and snail eaters such as Limpkin are very happy with plenty of food, and even the cattle explore the flooded fields to feed on water hyacinths.
JANUARY 2011. This year started with our brand new tour A Natural History Journey to Waterworld with heavy rain, since long time ago we did not see so much rain for several days. But as always mentioned, the rain did not stop us to go birding and neither go snorkeling. Rain also did not stop a Red-legged Seriema to sing its territorial song and when we were for the snorkeling, we manage to see no less than four Spotted River Stingray and several other fish. It was nearly magical, we floating down the stream with the snorkels while Buff-throated Woodcreeper and Black-striped Tufted Capuchin monkeys calling above us.
DECEMBER 2010. Once again our Christmas Special Safari to the Pantanal & Emas NP was the cherry on top of the cake for this marvelous year of 2010. A very dry year ended with heavy tropical showers in a dry environment. Birds loved it, especially egretts, and several hundreds of them congregate looking for the last easy meal. We even manage to find the very rare and elusive Pantanal swamp turtle, described to science only in 1984! While at Emas NP, once again we had great views of Maned Wolf (as always), but this time running very fast, it is hard to imagine this canid can run that fast, especially because it walks just like a robot, both members of the same side at a time.
DECEMBER 2010. Our Northeastern Brazil just started and we are already checking our birdlist with several endemics: White-browed Guan, Long-billed Wren, Caatinga Antwren, Planalto Slaty Antshrike, White-naped Jay, Tawny Piculet and Araripe Manakin seen in our first morning.
Birding the Caatinga is a superb experience; today we saw Caatinga Barred Antshrike, Red-shouldered Spinetail, White-throated Seedeater, Caatinga Cacholote, Bahia Wagtail-Tyrant, Caatinga Wagtail-Tyrant, Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, White-browed Antpitta, Red-cowled Cardinal, Caatinga Parakeet, Spot-backed Puffbird and White-naped Jay, all of them Brazilian endemics. We also saw Black-bellied Antwren (subspecies bahia, a strong candidate to be split and endemic to Brazil) and the beautiful Stripe-backed Antbird. By the way, today was mostly a driving day!
One day devoted to find the mega-rare Lear's Macaw, as always we saw them greatly and also manage to have a bonus finding with the endemic Scarlet-throated Tanager. Other good birds seen were Campo Oriole, Caatinga Cacholote, Red-legged Seriema, and the Bahia Spinetail, way far north from its habitat.
We are leaving the lowlands of the caatinga behind and the landscape now are mountains, some tablelands are the habitat of the Hooded Visorbearer and the last years two new species to science were described from here, one is the Sincorá Antwren seen in less than 10 seconds!!! and the other is the Diamantina Tapaculo, both endemics.
Today we are leaving Chapada Diamantina and going to Boa Nova, another endemic spot. Our morning was very succesful we saw the São Francisco Sparrow and the enigmatic White-browed Antpitta, other birds seen were Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant, Collared Crescentchest, White-banded Tanager, Diamantina Tapaculo.
Boa Nova has a big array of habitats in such a tiny area, from Vine forest (mata de cipó), to Atlantic Rainforest and the bizarre rock outcrops full of hummingbirds. It was in the "dry area" that we saw the Slender Antbird and the amazing Ruby Topaz.
The "wet forest" was also impressive with several manakins coming to us, among them Pin-tailed Manakin, Blue Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, an antswarm attended by White-shouldered Fire-Eyes, Plain-winged Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper and Black-googled Tanager. A superb finding was the rare Rio de Janeiro Antbird.
Serra Bonita Private Reserve is one of our favorite places to visit, and this year they won a National Geographic Award as The Best Conservation Project in Latin America. Birding here is superb, feeder packed with tanagers, hummingbirds, parakeets, Spot-billed Toucanet, marmosets, crab-eating fox with five puppies, and the lodge surrounding forest just amazingly birdy, we saw Buff-throated Purpletuft, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Rufous Brown Solitaire, Sharpbill, Pin-tailed Manakin, and of course the Pink-legged Graveteiro!!!
Our last morning in Serra Bonita was colorful at eye level, with Red-necked Tanager and Maroon-bellied Parakeets attending the feeders, while the forest gave great views of Bahia Spinetail, Rufous-headed Tanager, Gray-capped Tyrannulet, Plumbeous Antvireo, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Golden-spangled Piculet, Rufous Gnateater and others.
NOVEMBER 2010. Fish spawning season started and goes all the way until March, but as we do not fish we still were watching birds. Have great views of very cooperative Golden-collared Macaw and even nicer views of King Vulture drinking water in the river, yes it was that hot!
OCTOBER 2010. Our fixed departure tour to the Pantanal & Chapada is finishing and we have great views of Mottled Owl in the "new" stakeout we found, four tours in a row and did not fail! Also was good to see two species of tinamous in the pantanal (Small-billed and Undulated) and of course the full-house of kingfishers, all five resident kingfisher in South America were seen very, very well: Ringed, Amazon, Green, American Pygmy and the Green-and-rufous Kingfisher in two consecutives boat trips.
OCTOBER 2010. Due to our vast experience and local knowledge, time to time we receive “odd” requests for trip wish lists. This one was the dream of every neotropical traveller, nothing else than Jaguar and Harpy Eagle, and what ever comes along in the length of week only. Most tour operators probably will decline, both are ultra rare and NEVER are guaranteed, and a week is far too short. But (there is always a but…), we like challenges and decided to take it, just to see if we are really as good in what we do. To make the story short, this is how it ended: 03 jaguars seen for more than an hour each (we only had one day and half to look for them); a 18 month-old Harpy Eagle seen for over an hour and we left the area and the eagle was still there (a group of birders fail to find it during two full consecutives days once we were there, we saw it within the first 45 minutes!). Mission accomplished.
SEPTEMBER 2010. Our extension tour to the Harpy Eagle nest area at Serra das Araras was a success, we manage to see adult and juvenile in the first half hour, we were very lucky to see the male adult bringing food to the juvenile. Despite the enormous fire which burned down all the area, we managed to see all specialties from the region: Sharpbill, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Southern Tawny-bellied Schreech-Owl, Spectacled Owl, Striolated Puffbird, Rondonia Warbling Antbird and many more.
SEPTEMBER 2010. Our fixed departure tour to the Pantanal & Chapada is finishing and even watching Agami Heron, Hyacinth Macaw, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, hundreds of Jabirus, the best memories are coming from night outings: ocelot, crab-eating racoons and crab-eating foxes all over the place, but nothing will be more memorable than a Gray Potoo at least than two meters with its enormous yellow "M&M's" eye or the two Ciccaba (now Strix) owls, Mottled and Black-banded Owl, in our opinion the most beautiful Brazilian Owl, sitting in the same forest just three meters difference vertically! What a show these owls provided.
SEPTEMBER 2010. Just finished our Cristalino Reserve tour and were delighted with Cryptic Forest-Falcon during our first morning walk. The canopy tower was excellent to see Black-girdled Barbet at very close range, but the excellent views of Rufous-necked Puffbird was the highlight of the tour.
SEPTEMBER 2010.A combination of Pantanal, Chapada & Cristalino reserve tours during September is filling our checklist with such a good birds and great mammals. Jaguar seen again in the pantanal (always a strong candidate for a video here) lost the position to a nice Greater Rhea with around 20+ chicks, probably the same Greater Rhea we saw a week before sitting on eggs. I wonder how many of them will survive until take their own kids around. A nice sighting of Checkered Woodpecker in Chapada, turn our smoky days there more breathable.
AUGUST 2010. A huge fire burned 70% of Emas NP and the park is closed for a month, our itinerary to our Mammals of Central Brazil: A safari in search of South American Big Five tour must to be changed. After a great pantanal portion of the trip, where we saw Jaguar, Giant Anteater, nine sightings of Brazilian Tapir and several families of Giant Otters, we were very concern about not seeing the fifth mammal of the "Big 5" Maned Wolf as usual in our safaris. We decided to go to Chapada dos Guimaraes NP, where we had seen them before (twice in 20 years!) but we never look hard for them anyway there, indeed we never look for mammals while in Chapada. The second day there, we were rewarded with a great male Maned Wolf chasing cavies, we follow this beautiful beast for 100 meters while he jumped and sniff the grassland in order to chase the cavies, them jumped into the air with the tail up, both feet together to knock down the prey. Our efforts were not in vain, and we still keep the record of seeing the Big Five in all our safaris, no matter where we go to look for them. The Maned Wolf hunting cavies could be the best part of the Chapada portion of the trip, but a small jewel: Fiery-capped Manakin show itself in such a way that now our hearts are divided, both were the best sightings in Chapada.
AUGUST 2010. Just during a week in the middle of the dry season Tabebuia trees bloom in full pink color and bring life to the dry landscape. Hummingbirds feed in the nectar, bees also do it. Nearly all cracids gathered in Tabebuia trees to feed on their flowers. A sequence of Chaco Chachalaca, Blue-throated & Red-throated Piping-Guans, Bare-faced Curassow and the vulnerable and Brazilian endemic Chesnut-bellied Guan could be seen without difficulty. This year, we were fortunate to coincide our tour to the Pantanal & Chapada with the Tabebuia blooming, all at once, driving through the fields with pink trees was unreal and a experience to be remember.
AUGUST 2010 The month just started and we were delighted with Agami Heron in our Pantanal & Chapada afternoon boat trip, a want-to-see bird for everybody. We experienced a very cold front in the pantanal, but despite this fact the tour was superb. All bird specialties seen, as always. But the supreme experience was to see a Jaguar hunting a Yacare caiman, we did not believe our eyes when the jaguar jumped to the river and came out with an enourmous caiman.
JULY 2010 It is hard to say what was most impressive until now, Crowned Eagle at Emas NP or Pheasant Cuckoo at Chapada dos Guimaraes NP. Both seen extremely well and for periods of over an hour. Certain details of a Crowned Eagle are worth to mention: it is the largest raptor in the open cerrado habitat, impressive and massive beak, enormous feet, especially the nails, a real daggers to kill armadillos. When this bird of prey is seen it is hard to note these details, due to the adrenaline running into our blood, but watching the video below, you should agree with us. The Pheasant Cuckoo is so secretive, a parasitic species which lay their eggs in tiny Tody-Tyrant's nest and let the dwarfs to take care of the gigant chick. When responde to playback, it flights silently through the forest and sit in dark branches to camouflage itself, and really does. It is very shy and take off as soon as you notice its presence, but when you are really lucky you can enjoy views such as the ones our group experienced.
JULY 2010. We are in the middle of our first Mammals of Central Brazil: A safari in search of South American Big Five tour this year, and we already had seen Brazilian Tapir (twice), Giant River Otter (at least 06 different groups) and the mighty Jaguar (twice). Other mammals seen during the pantanal portion of the trip were: Southern Tamandua, Crab-eating Fox, Crab-eating Racoon, Marsh Deer, Gray Brocket Deer, Red Brocket Deer, Black-and-gold Howler Monkey, Black-striped (Brown) Capuchin, Black-tailed Marmoset, Azara's Agouti, Neotropical Otter, Brazilian Tapiti (Rabbit), Capybara, Cavie. The female jaguar in the video below was seen for more than 03 hours!!!
We arrive at Emas NP and our first morning we saw Pampas Cat, Pampas Deer and Maned Wolf (we saw it for 30 minutes while hunting cavies, video below was done while crossing the road inside the National Park). Other mammals seen were Hoary Fox, White-lipped Peccary, Collared Peccary, Marsh Deer and Crab-eating Fox. Our final day we saw more of the same and Yellow Armadillo and the bizarre Giant Anteater.
JUNE 2010. Just finished a MARVELOUS Southern Brazil birding trip with extension to Iguazu Falls and Ibera Marshes. This month is winter in Brazil, and south of the tropics proved to be chilly. Three layers of cloths tried to warmed us while birding early morning. The birds were spectacular with amazing responding Rusty-barred Owl and Long-tufted Screech-Owl at our first half an hour of morning the first day. Then came Chesnut-backed Tanager, a flock of 400 hundreds or more Yellow-cowled Blackbirds, Black-and-white Monjitas, Vinaceous-breasted Parrot, Planalto Tapaculo, Long-tailed Cinclodes and all Araucaria forest specialties. Then we visited Lagoa do Peixe NP and Taim Ecological Reserve, both to be included in our future southern Brazil tours, due to its magnificent avifauna, from Chilean Flamingos to Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, Many-colored Rush-Tyrants, Spectacled Tyrants, Southern Screamers in flocks of 200 individuals or more. Rio Grande do Sul showed us good colorful birds, and we did not know what Parana state will offer, we started with Hooded Berryeater over our head, always skulker Canebrake Groundcreeper in full view and Green-headed Tanagers coming to feed in our hands. But this was not enough, how about 200 or more Red-tailed Parrots coming to roost in their isolated island in Superagui NP, it was around here that we manage to see the near-mythical Rufous Crab-Hawk (got good video of it calling!) too. We arrive in Iguazu Falls in a full moon night, and we took the Moonlit tour to the falls, what an experience. We headed south into Argentina, especifically Ibera Marshes were Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper and Brown Cacholote share the fields looking for food, while Yellow Cardinals turn out to be a common companion to our party, White-tipped Plantcutter and a juvenile Ash-colored Cuckoo were good findings in Espinilho forest. But the family of Cream-backed Woodpeckers responding to our tape from a distance that 60x zoom scope views were still black points with some white, was amazing! Yes, we saw the Strange-tailed Tyrants, not in full breeding plumage males but still impressive.
MAY 2010 found us in the rich bird environment Cristalino Reserve, northern Mato Grosso. Our group arrived there and the whole lodge staff knew what we were going to do there: chase Trumpeters!!! These "walkers" wander around the forest without any schedule programme, looking for food, roosting at trees when the sun sets, but never ever are promised to be seen. When this occurs is always something unexpected. The whole avifauna was silent, most of them already with nest and chicks, so playback was a little frustating, even for antbirds and furnarids which normally responde very fast. We worked hard for all our birds. It was a full week tour, so we chose our first morning to explore the trails nearby the lodge, the ones we had seen trumpeters more times, a kind of "territories" but nothing happen. We did see all birds our eyes and our guide´s ears could ID, was a good pack of birds, but none of them were big enough to be compare with a trumpeter. In one of these walks through the forest, our guide heard a Scaled Ground-Cuckoo calling, we were the only ones who show this mythical bird to clients in 2007, and guess what? we did it again, and again and again. Yes, the ground-cuckoo came to us for three times, it was seen coming so close that our binoculars were fullfilled with its shaggy head, then running as a velociraptor, then cocking its green tail, how we did it? it is a new trick we were planning for special occasions like this. It proved to work, and how!!! Every lunch and dinner we were asked if we saw the trumpeters, the answers was always a negative until our last full day when a Gould´s Toucanet call our attention and we were looking the bird high in the canopy, forgetting the trail ahead, when we were fully satisfied with the toucanet, our eyes turned back to the trail and they were there, a family group of Dark-winged Trumpeters, staring at us, while feeding in the trail in front of us, a grand finale for our week adventure. How about all other regional endemics such as Bare-eyed Antbird, Black-girdled Barbet, etc, etc...yes, we did see them all too.
2010 started pretty well, our first Pantanal & Chapada birding trip was a surprise, we were expecting more water for February, but it was a few, this year seems is going to be dry. All bird specialties were present as always, Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Helmeted Manakin, Blue-crowned Trogon were seen nearly together in the forest. Sungrebe and Sunbittern did the same in the river. Bare-faced Curassow, Chesnut-bellied Guan and Chaco Chachalaca were seen in the walk from the rooms to the river, less than 100 meters apart. Blue-throated (Pipile cumanensis) and Red-throated (Pipile cujubi) Piping-Guans with local sub-species White-throated Piping-Guan (Pipile cumanensis grayi) were seen all together feeding along with Chesnut-eared Aracari and Toco Toucan. But the biggest surprise was during our visit to one of the Hyacinth Macaw nests, as soon as we left our vehicle our guide heard a Zig Zag Heron, after playback this elusive heron came very responsive to the tape and what a show (video below), after hundreds of pictures and several minutes of filming, we left the heron and went for the macaws. We left the forest and the heron was still singing. During this morning, several other groups of tourists visited the forest, saw the macaws, walked looking for monkeys and left the area without noticing the heron singing. This was a good example that if you want to see what your eyes cannot see, hire a guide who knows the birds and animals by ear! Of course, when things like this happen, there is always something else to happen to proof your experience was not enough. A night walk in the forest was very productive finding the very elusive Southern Red-necked Night Monkey, a raritie in the pantanal. We also manage to see a family of Giant Otters (rare for this season once the water overflow the rivers) and a Southern Tamandua in Chapada. It was in Chapada too, that we found a pair of Chapada Flycatchers (Suiriri islerorum) displaying, we manage to do a nice video of it and here we are sharing it with you. For these guys (and guides) who could not tell apart Campo Flycatcher of Chapada Flycatcher, here is our contribution. Not bad for February at all.
2009, December 14th Our Northeast extension trip to Murici Reserve started with two cotingas: a distant White-winged Cotinga in the horizon treeline, and a dwarf canopy dweller Buff-throated Purpletuft at eye-level. It is always great to see this gem, and at eye-level even better!
2009, December 08th Hot, hot news from the field!!! Our guide Braulio A. Carlos found three WHITE-WINGED POTOOS during our Northeastern Brazil tour in Porto Seguro!!! Closest territory was Una Biological Reserve, where access is a hard piece of work. Porto Seguro also produces Harpy Eagle, Racquet-tailed Coquette and White-winged Cotinga.
2009, December another excellent Northeastern Brazil main tour is finished and we had spectacular views of Araripe Manakin, Lear's Macaw, White-browed Antpitta and Variegated Antpitta, Great Xenops (several pairs in several locations) all caatinga specialties, recently described Diamantina Tapaculo and Sincorá Antwren, an amazing festival of 32 hummingbirds, 44 antbirds, and 86 Brazilian endemics from 437 species recorded!!!
December 2007 ended the year with impressive mammals collection in our Xmas special tour to the Pantanal & Emas NP. Emas NP is the jewel in the cerrado's crown. Our first half an hour in the park and we were having scope views of a Crowned Eagle. Then a herd of White-lipped Peccaries split our attention with tiny Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant and Chapada Flycatchers. Worth of mention was the magnificent views of a Puma walking in front of our car, or the several Maned Wolves when one came close to our vehicle at our first night in Emas NP, or even the other eating mango fruits for more than an hour in front of us, such a long legs gave him the look of a giraffe. Cone-billed Tanager performed very well and we were delighted by the bioluminiscent show in the termite mounts.
October 2007 was a special month for raptor enthusiasts, the combined three Mato Grosso tours ended with sightings of no less than 33 raptors (not including vultures). Harpy Eagle, Crested Eagle, Crowned Eagle (a pair!), Ornate Hawk Eagle, Black Hawk Eagle, Orange-breasted Falcon, White-browed Hawk, Long-winged Harrier, Gray-headed Kite to mention just a few a them. October 2007 was also the month for "long-tailed" flycatchers, some participants took several tours and were delighted with excellent views of Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Cock-tailed Tyrant and the marvelous Strange-tailed Tyrant, this last one in our Ibera Marshes birding tour.
September and October 2007 will be remember as the Jaguar months, two consecutives Safari Brazil tours enable participants to see nothing less than 10 jaguars!!! Five jaguars each group, if we would planned like this, probably will be impossible to do it.
September 2007 certainly will last in the memory of all participants in our Mato Grosso tours. Our pre-tour to Alta Floresta & Cristalino Reserve, the first tour of a set of three, started with a juvenile Harpy Eagle and a kinkajou in the claws. But when you see a harpy eagle eating a prey in the first morning what else could exceed this experience? Who knows the voice recording and sighting of the extremely rare Scaled Ground-Cuckoo? Yes, we did it. Ours was the first organized group of tourists who saw this bird in Cristalino Reserve and maybe elsewhere, and was not attending an ant-swarm, we track it down until the tree it was vocalizing and saw it for several minutes. What an experience!
Participants from Alta Floresta & Cristalino Reserve join the other participants for the main tour to the Pantanal & Chapada with several stories to tell and 11 Tapirs in the pocket, not counting the birds. But 11 Tapirs only could be exceeded by Giant Otters, Giant Anteater, Southern Tamandua, Marsh Deer, Ocelot and Jaguar sightings. Not mentioning Agami and Zig Zag herons the same afternoon. Over 300 species of birds only in the main tour.
Our extension tour to Emas NP was, as always, a superb experience. Giant Snipe landed at two meters from the whole group and what a bill this bird has, Cone-billed Tanager performed very well, two different territories, White-winged Nightjar male and females, perched atop termite mounts and allows excellent photographs, Maned Wolf and Tapir show up as always, but certainly the Puma was the cherry on the cake.
A total of 563 species of birds (36 heard only), 41 species of mammals and 31 species of reptiles and amphibians were seen in only 17 days in our Mato Grosso tours.