Suzanne and I got back from our first trip to South America on Sunday night, after 17 days in Brazil. What an amazing country!
I’ve got literally thousands of photos to sort out in the coming weeks, so this is probably the first of numerous posts, and I’ll just set the scene for now.
We focused on two of the many fantastic wildlife destinations in the country, kicking off with eight nights at the excellent Serra dos Tucanos lodge in the Atlantic Forest, about two hours drive north of Rio de Janeiro. This has been set up and run by Andy Foster, a British birder who moved to Brazil over ten years ago, and he was good enough to put together a package offer for us including accommodation, all meals, free cachaca at dinner (!), and guided excursions every day to good birding areas within an hour or two’s drive. We saw almost 250 species in total, almost all lifers, and including a good number of regional endemics.
One of the major selling points of Serra dos Tucanos is the excellent range of bird feeders around the large garden, which draw in many of the local specialities. These include a range of outrageously coloured tanagers on over-ripe fruit…
… and a fair few hummingbirds on and around nectar feeders.
From here, we took a couple of internal flights (pretty cheap, booked with TAM) across to Cuiaba, and met up with Ricardo Casarin, a guide for Boute Expeditions. Ricardo led us, and another British couple, around the Serra das Araras region to visit a Harpy Eagle site (more of this later), and then down the Transpantaneira highway through the Pantanal to its end at Porto Jofre. The birdlife was again superb, featuring loads of close raptors….
… heaps of kingfishers and other waterbirds…
… and a range of parrots, parakeets and macaws – including these enormous Hyacinth Macaws!
But it would be a huge oversight to focus only on birds in the Pantanal! Our time around Porto Jofre resulted in us seeing no fewer than FOUR of these wonderful creatures:
As a result of an hour-long encounter with one especially showy riverside Jaguar, there are plenty more photos where that came from… so watch this space!