Friday 11 October 2013

Herons of the Pantanal

Just time for one final set of photos from Brazil, before heading off up north tonight, first for Matt and Claire’s wedding in Aberdeen, and then on to Shetland for the week. Hopes are high!

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that the Pantanal has lots of different herons, given that it’s partially underwater for a good chunk of the year. They’re pretty a smart and photogenic bunch, though, so it would be a mistake to overlook them.

First up is the rarest of the bunch, Zigzag Heron:


We finally tracked this down from a late afternoon boat trip from the Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso, midway along the Transpantaneira. They’re absolutely tiny, and very skulking. Fortunately this one was calling regularly, and our boatman skilfully got us in amongst the vegetation. The photo was taken at ISO 6400, with a spotlight on the bird – it was almost totally invisible otherwise!

Another weird looking beast was Boat-billed Heron, picture below. These are coloured rather like Black-capped Night Heron, but the bill is pretty amazing. Again, these are skulkers, sticking to the shady banks all the time.


A couple of more familiar looking species next – Cocoi Heron is pretty similar to Grey and Great Blue Heron, and Striated Heron is a bird that I’ve seen all over the place (including at least three American birds in the UK). Both were pretty common.


One of the most striking species was the fantastically named Rufescent Tiger Heron, below. We thought that the patterned young birds, like this one, were actually smarter than the more rufescent adults!


We also had good views of Jabiru, Wood and Maguari Storks, plus Roseate Spoonbills, Great, Cattle and Snowy Egrets, Capped, Whistling, Little Blue and Night Herons. Not a bad haul!

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