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Brazil, Birds, Beasts and Big Waters


inyathi

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kittykat23uk
:D Sounds promising!
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1. Getting off to a good start   Our first morning began with breakfast at 04:45, followed by a fairly short boat ride to the start of a trail over on the other side of the river, that leads

I don’t know about that, but I can certainly promise it will be well illustrated   I’m guessing that to most non birders the average birding trip report can seem like just one great long lis

Our boatman didn't say and I didn’t think to ask maybe I was just too busy taking photos.     We still had another two and a half days to fill at Porto Joffre and it was hard to imagine

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Pennyanne

The suspense is killing me! :)

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Rainbirder

Man you are wicked! :rolleyes:

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michael-ibk

You could teach George R. R. Martin to write effective cliffhangers. :)

 

So, what did you see? Judging by your adrenaline rush I´m betting on a super model having decided to take a morning swim through the river au naturel. :P

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inyathi

Ok to end the suspense here it is (and no as you can see it wasn't Gisele Bündchen with no clothes on. :D)

 

Other than reducing the size this first photo is exactly as it was, so this is what I saw emerge from the water hyacinth.

 

Jaguar Rio Pixaim

Jaguar (Panthera onca)

 

The following photos have for better or worse been cropped and the exposure and focus adjusted a bit with Photoshop.

 

Jaguar Rio Pixaim

 

Jagaur Rio Pixaim

 

Jaguar Rio Pixaim

 

After emerging from the river the jaguar walked along the beach, paused to sniff the leaning tree before disappearing into the forest. This behaviour suggested to me that it was just patrolling its territory and as the forest was pretty thick, I didn’t think it was likely that I would see it again, perhaps I should have waited just in case, but I didn’t.

 

My brief encounter with this magnificent cat was just that brief, only lasting about 30 seconds which just goes to show, the extent to which wildlife watching depends on luck. If we hadn’t spotted the giant otter on our bird walk the previous morning, I probably wouldn’t have gone back up to the river in the afternoon and wouldn’t have had a magical ten minutes with the giant otter and then I wouldn’t have gone back on this morning, for a last look and spotted the jaguar. Or I could have left my room 5 minutes later gone over to the bend in the river and seen nothing at all, not that I would have been disappointed, as even after finding so much jaguar spoor, I had never expected to actually see one at PWC and if I had missed it, I would have left none the wiser.

 

Needless to say when I returned to the lodge, my extraordinary luck was the talk of breakfast and almost everyone at some point, made their way over to the bend in the river, in the vain hope that the jaguar might still be around. So sometimes the early bird really does catch the worm and I might also say that sometimes, the best sighting of an animal doesn’t always mean having the best view, that’s to say that I was confident, that with a bit of luck I should get much better views and better photographs of jaguars at Porto Jofre, but I wouldn’t have a jaguar experience to better this one. Not a bad way to start the day in the Pantanal.

 

Walking out the other side of the lodge, I climbed a little tower put up next to a jabiru storks nest, the storks were no longer in residence but I thought I’d check out the view, which included this nice family of capybaras.

 

Capybaras

 

While the storks were no longer using the nest, there were lots of noisy monk parakeets nesting underneath.

 

Monk Parakeets

Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus)

 

Then back to the lodge garden to photograph this beautiful toco toucan, it had very obligingly stayed around having come to the lodge for breakfast at the bird feeders. After a few shots I went off to have my own breakfast, a very satisfying morning to end my stay at PWC.

 

Toco Toucan

 

Toco Toucan

Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco)

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Rainbirder

A fantastic experience!!!

Much better than seeing an habituated beast up close!

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kittykat23uk

Fantastic! Remind me of our Letaba Leopard sighting, which lasted just a few seconds but was so unexpected that in a way it was more memorable than some longer, closer encounters I've had! :)

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ovenbird

Self found is so much better than one pointed out by a guide...what a magical experience that must have been.

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inyathi

Probably the only thing that would have made the experience even better, at least from a photographic standpoint would have been a bigger better lens and a tripod. Maybe if I’d had the right lens, I wouldn’t in part wish that I’d just watched, rather than take photos, because the view through my binoculars is so much better than through my lens. Of course, if I hadn’t taken the photos, then possibly no one would have believed me when I said I’d seen a jaguar. This was certainly a truly magical experience and one I’ll never forget, it definitely wasn’t how I expected to see my first wild jaguar. One other thing I’ll say, it was quite a relief that the jaguar was on the other side of the river, had it been on my side, I might not have been so pleased to see it.

 

Having had such extraordinary luck first with the giant otter and then even more so with the jaguar, I can’t possibly say that I was disappointed or unlucky at the PWC. So I’ll just say that other mammals often seen at PWC that we missed include black & gold howlers, black-tailed marmosets, giant anteaters, southern tamandua (collared anteater), ocelots, red brocket deer, brown/grey brocket, pampas deer in the drier scrubby areas and Brazilian tapirs.

 

Though we didn’t see any of these we certainly heard the howler monkeys and we did also come across tapir spoor.

 

For me the wildlife is always the most important thing, so as long the wildlife performs, I don’t tend to care too much about the accommodation as long as it’s not dreadful. I think it's fair to say the wildlife did perform for me, but what I will say about the PWC is the rooms were a little on the basic side, but comfortable enough, though I didn’t spend too much time in mine. The ensuite bathroom had an electric shower which I couldn’t make work properly and coming from a country where you’re no longer allowed to have light switches in bathrooms, the visible wiring going in to it was a bit off a worry. Otherwise I thought it was a nice place and the food was pretty good, it’s just a shame they don’t provide breakfast at 05:00, as they do at Cristalino for example, but then not being able to get breakfast at the ideal time is a common problem, in many lodges around the world.

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inyathi

Before I carry on I have just realised that I made a mistake earlier I’ve labelled this and the other caiman photos as spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodylus)

 

On 4/7/2013 at 12:21 AM, inyathi said:

Spectacled Caiman

Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)

when in fact these caiman found throughout the Pantanal are now considered to be a separate species the Yacare caiman (Caiman yacare).

 

Hopefully all the other species are labelled correctly, I’m pretty confident about all the birds, if I’m not entirely certain about a bird I note the shooting date & time then check my birdlist, my diary and a bird book for final confirmation.

 

 

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inyathi

Leaving the PWC after breakfast, we carried on down the Transpantanal Highway to the Porto Jofre Hotel on the banks of the Cuiaba River, arriving in good time for lunch. Along the way we stopped to find this gorgeous and unmistakable bird, that we’d missed at Piuval.

 

Scarlet-headed Blackbird

Scarlet-headed blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus)

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kittykat23uk

I wondered about your capuchins, we were told they were brown capuchin in the Pantanal.

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inyathi

@@kittykat23uk attempting to type a reply has revealed another annoying but rather amusing mistake which really wasn’t my fault. If you look at the photo of the capuchin back on page 2 underneath it, it says Tufted Capuchin (Cebus paella) in case anyone spotted this and was wondering, this is a mistake these monkeys don’t have a particular liking for a Spanish dish of seafood and rice nor are they a common ingredient in this popular dish. The actual scientific name should read Cebus apella but Word’s stupid autocorrect changed it to paella and unfortunately I didn’t notice at the time, well I suppose you just have to laugh at these things :lol: if only because it’s cheaper than chucking the computer out of the window. I’ve now turned off the ‘Replace text as you type’ feature of autocorrect so I apologise in advance if any of my subsequent posts have a few spelling mistakes in them. I don’t know why I didn’t do this a while ago because when it comes to typing scientific names autocorrect is nothing but a nuisance; I constantly have to retype words after its mistaken corrections.

 

Anyway on the subject of capuchins

 

The tufted capuchins I saw in the Amazon are also sometimes referred to as brown capuchins and these monkeys and the ones in the Pantanal were regarded as the same species Cebus apella but just recently they’ve been split. I would guess that either this has happened since your trip or your guide wasn’t aware of the change or chose to ignore it, whatever the case the capuchins in the Pantanal are now considered a separate species Cebus libidinosus the black-striped capuchin.

 

From what I can ascertain mainly from Wikipedia is that the brown or tufted capuchin has now been split into four species, the tufted, black-striped, yellow-bellied and black capuchin. As a single species the brown capuchin was distributed throughout the main part of South America basically everywhere east of the Andes all the way from Colombia down to Paraguay and the north of Argentina, which is a huge distribution. So I’m not at all surprised that the species has been split, just to further confuse matters even further some consider that these four monkeys should be placed in a new genus Sapajus instead of Cebus.

 

As I discovered with the caimans all this splitting does get a bit confusing.

 

In this case if you Google say capuchins Pantanal you’ll find the monkeys referred to as either brown or tufted or black-striped capuchin and as Cebus apella, Cebus libidinosus or Sapajus libidinosus which may leave you just a little confused. :blink: When deciding which name to choose I went with the new name because that’s the one that’s on the checklist I was given.

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kittykat23uk

Fair enough, had a similar problem in India with recent bird splits. :)

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inyathi

Porto Joffre

 

While I had never really expected to see a jaguar at the PWC I did expect that we would see at least one if not more from the Rio Cuiaba at Porto Joffre one of the best places to see jaguars in the world.

 

Jaguar Spotting

 

The jaguar Panthera onca largest of the New World cats once ranged from Uruguay in the south as far north as the U.S. state of Colorado but past hunting for skins, relentless persecution by livestock farmers and major habitat destruction has severely reduced and fragmented their range. They’re now extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador and although occasional itinerant males have been seen in Arizona jaguars are no longer breeding in the USA. Jaguars are now predominantly restricted to remote often thickly forested areas and the combination of their elusive nature and habitat makes actually seeing one at least during the daytime very difficult unless you get lucky as I did at the PWC, however there is now one place where sightings can be almost guaranteed.

 

The Pantanal with its network of rivers and lakes has always been a very popular area for anglers many of whom would come to rivers like the Cuiaba to try their luck fishing for dorado (golden salmon), tucunare (peacock bass) and various “giant” catfish amongst others. Many of these anglers while boating to and from their favourite fishing spots on the Rio Cuiaba would spot jaguars on the river bank in the edge of the forest. Clearly from the number of sightings there was a healthy and therefore very important population of jaguars in this part of the Pantanal so the area was turned into the Parque Estadual Encontro das Águas or Meeting of the Waters State Park in order to protect them. With so many boats going up and down and people starting to come specifically to look for the jaguars these magnificent cats started to become more and more habituated and thus even more visible, so word soon got out that the Rio Cuiaba was the place to see wild jaguars. There is to my knowledge really only one other place that can match the Rio Cuiaba for jaguar spotting and that is the Rio Paraguai which is basically in the same area but just a little further to the west.

 

After checking in at the Porto Jofre Hotel I filled in some of the time until lunch by having a look at the small lake behind the hotel which is home to plenty of birds and also beautiful giant Victoria amazonica water lilies.

 

Wattled Jacana & Victoria amazonica lillies

Wattled Jacana on a lily leaf

 

Victoria amazonica

Victoria amazonica Water Lilies

 

Walkway Porto Jofre Hotel

Walkway across the lake behind the hotel

 

There are also plenty of birds to be seen in the hotel garden but it was a little hot for birding so here are just a couple of birds.

 

Purplish Jay

Purplish jay (Cyanocorax cyanomelas)

 

Rufous Cachalote

Rufous cachalote (Pseudoseisura unirufa)

 

We’d decided to stay 3 nights at the Porto Joffre Hotel this gave us a half day, two whole days and another half day, more time than we would really need to see the jaguars, however while the Pantanal is normally very hot occasionally a cold front may come in, if this happened during our stay our chances of seeing jaguars would be severely reduced, so we’d allowed extra time to be on the safe side.

 

Having been led to believe that the time to see jaguars is actually in the heat of the day which did seem a little surprising we decided to set off on our first boat trip soon after lunch. It was incredibly hot and we travelled at such as speed that spotting anything was extremely difficult and after going up and down many different channels we’d covered a huge distance without seeing anything. While fun at first it started to seem as if the whole exercise was really rather pointless, I couldn’t believe this was really the best way to find a jaguar maybe the heat of the day wasn’t the time to be out and perhaps the driver was just passing time until it cooled down.

 

Eventually later in the afternoon close to five o clock when it was a good deal cooler we headed up one of the smaller channels and found some giant otters swimming ahead of us. Every so often a large otter head would appear but as soon as I raised my camera it would immediately disappear and if I waited with my camera ready for it to come up again it would reappear on the other side of the boat, making it difficult to know which way to look. There were actually I think 3 otters but getting a decent in focus shot of any of them proved to be a real challenge as they were constantly diving pursuing the local fish with ruthless efficiency it’s no wonder their Spanish name is lobo del rio river wolves. A flock of neotropical cormorants were swimming alongside the otters catching any fish that tried to escape. It soon became clear that the otters were heading home to their holt which was well hidden behind a curtain of tree roots where they had cubs waiting. My experience with the otter at PWC had been wonderful but to really appreciate these magnificent animals you really have to see them in a family group like this.

 

The hangings roots made seeing them a little difficult and photography almost impossible my autofocus really couldn’t cope, hence the lack of pictures, however if we couldn’t see them very clearly we could certainly hear them the noises they were making were just extraordinary. An adult would come in with a fish a youngster would approach whining pitifully “I’m hungry can I have some fish” to which the response was a kind of loud gnung nung nung ning nung nung which seemed to mean “no this is my fish, go away and catch your own”. The cub would whine again “please can I have some fish”, the adult would reply again “no go away” while continuing to chew on its fish with a loud chomp, chomp, crunch, crunch. Sitting in our little boat next to the holt listening to these astonishing sounds and watching the otters come in with fish after fish more than made for all the boating up and down we’d done during the heat.

 

Shortly after leaving the otters we saw this screamer on the top of a tree

 

Southern Screamer

Southern screamer (Chauna torquata)

 

and then came across a nice marsh deer stag just coming out of the river and climbing the bank it soon disappeared from view so we moved on.

 

Finally at just after 17:30 we finally came upon a beautiful male jaguar lying stretched out on a beach.

 

Male Jaguar

 

 

Jaguar

Like so many animals these days he was sporting the latest fashion in electronic neckwear.

 

Perhaps bothered by biting flies, he sat up then rose to his feet strolled a little way along the beach and lay down again, the light was rapidly going so my camera set on auto ISO was giving me 1600, we were so close that unlike with my first jaguar, I was able to get decent enough shots at 400mm, so I took plenty of them. During our time with this jaguar there were just three other boats present after about 10 minutes, we left just as the sun was setting and headed home, on our way back in the dark, we saw a boat pulled in close to the bank watching or trying to watch another jaguar, frustratingly I’d left my flashgun in my room so I wasn’t able to get any worthwhile photographs, as it was almost pitch dark and my built in flash wasn’t up to the task. We decided it wasn’t worth staying and returned to the hotel.

 

To have started the day back at the PWC with my own personal jaguar, just after sunrise and then ended it with two more was just fantastic and on top of that the wonderful family of otters, made this perhaps the best day of the trip so far. :D

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kittykat23uk

Nice! Did they say anything about how old this guy is or any name he is known by?

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inyathi
On 4/12/2013 at 8:50 PM, kittykat23uk said:

Nice! Did they say anything about how old this guy is or any name he is known by?

 

Our boatman didn't say and I didn’t think to ask maybe I was just too busy taking photos. :)

 

 

We still had another two and a half days to fill at Porto Joffre and it was hard to imagine that we would be able to match or let alone surpass our first afternoon, but on our first full day we did.

 

Just another boring day watching Jaguars.

 

Straight after breakfast at 05:00 I visited the lake, the beautiful white flowers of the Victoria amazonica water lilies open at night, so if you want to see them at their best you need see them first thing in the morning, when they're still open.

 

Victoria amazonica Flower

 

 

Victoria amazonica

 

 

Cattle Tyrant

Cattle tyrant (Machetornis rixosa)

 

We set out in the boat at just after 06:00 and within not much more than ten minutes the boatmen spotted our first onça of the day, a nice male on the end of a spit, we nosed into the water hyacinth and sat and watched. The jaguar lit by the full morning sun walked along the water’s edge between the forest/bush and the water hyacinth, we could only see the upper part of his body over the hyacinth as he walked away. He then sat down so we moved in closer but still only his great broad head was visible

 

Jaguar

 

until he got up and walked back into the bush revealing his whole body,

 

Jaguar

 

We thought perhaps we’d now lost him, but a few minutes later he reappeared a little further along. Giving us a stunning view, this time I was getting an ISO of 200 and taking full advantage as he walked along the edge of the water and then up to the edge of the forest on the other side, before turning and walking back in our direction. Clearly he was on the prowl and when he came back to the water, he started to sniff the ground and then sat down opening his mouth in a wide flehmen grimace, suggesting that a female had passed this way.

 

Flehmen

 

He then stood up turned and just as I'd hoped he would, he stepped in to the water and proceeded to swim across the little bay in front of us

 

Going for a swim

 

 

Jaguar

 

 

Swimming

 

emerging from the water just as my card ran out some 17 minutes after we’d first spotted him. The entire time that we’d been watching him ours was the only boat there, we honestly couldn’t have asked for a more perfect sighting. Soon afterwards we found another rather less visible jaguar, we watched it for a few minutes until it disappeared from view, it eventually reappeared but we knew it wouldn’t gives us anything like the view, that the last one had and as there were quite a few other boats there, so we moved on.

 

Jaguar Watching

 

It seems as if this area could well turn in to something like the Maasai Mara with boats, I hope it doesn't get busier than this. After a bit more searching around we concluded that we weren’t going to see anything else and decided to return to the hotel getting back quite early just before 10:00.

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inyathi

Getting back to find my room was still being cleaned, I made use of the time photographing more birds in the garden and by the lake.

 

Southern Caracara

Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus)

 

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthus)

 

Black-collared Hawk

Black-collared hawk (Busarellus nigricollis)

 

Southern Screamer

Southern Screamer

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inyathi

After our experience the day before, there seemed to be no point in going back out in the boat too early in the afternoon, so we agreed with the boatmen to depart at 15:00, this allowed me to spend the preceding few hours birding by the marsh. Going back out in the boat we headed straight over to the giant otter holt, for a repeat performance after a wonderful 25 minutes watching and trying to photograph and best of all listening to the otters, we moved on. This time I managed to get a few photos.

 

Giant Otter

 

 

Giant Otter

Bringing back another fish

 

Two common birds

 

Male Amazon Kingfisher

Amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)

 

Pied Plover

Pied lapwing (Vanellus cayanus)

 

We fairly quickly found a magnificent male jaguar lying on a beach; jaguars are a lot chunkier and less elegant than leopards, but they’re still very beautiful animals. Though I have to say once you’ve got over the initial excitement of seeing one up close, they can be a little boring to watch certainly in comparison to the otters, but this one posed for us rather nicely

 

Jaguar

 

 

Jaguar

At one moment he almost looked as if he might be about to jump into our boat, but thought better of it,

 

 

Jaguar

 

 

Big yawn

 

 

Returning to the Jungle

Eventually he wandered off back into the jungle.

 

 

We then just on sunset found the same collared male from the previous day but after a few minutes decided he wasn’t doing much and it was getting a bit dark so we left him to the few other boats and returned to the hotel. So again three different jaguars on the same day amazing, I honestly never expected our jaguar viewing would be this good.

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michael-ibk

Seconded. A wonderful "trailer" for our own trip to the Pantanal this September, and judging by your stunning report, the chances of seeing a jaguar and giant otters are really, really good. :)

 

How many boats are around there? Is it only Hotel Porto Joffre that has this "onca spotting fleet", or others, too?

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kittykat23uk

Wonderful stuff!

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inyathi

Getting a little bit wet

 

Having had two fantastic days with jaguars and giant otters, we really wondered what our last full day at Porto Joffre would bring, what else could we hope to see, we almost certainly couldn’t better our previous two days sightings. After breakfast and some birding by the lake/marsh area we walked over to the boat at 06:00, by this time we could see that already the weather wasn’t looking that promising. We could have taken one look at the sky and decided not to go out after all, that we’d probably seen our last jaguars and that it would be better to stay at the hotel and take it easy instead. Of course we didn’t do this, because as I said in an earlier post, you have to keep your fly in the water, you have to keep going out, after all half the fun of being on safari whether in the Pantanal or the Serengeti, is that every time you go out you never know quite what you’re going to see.

 

Of course sometimes you may not see much at all and for nearly all of the first hour we didn’t, until we came upon this cocoi heron swallowing a decent sized fish.

 

Cocoi Heron Enjoying Lunch

 

Then shortly afterwards, we suddenly chanced upon a Brazilian/lowland tapir that must have literally just swum across the river and climbed out on to the bank.

 

Brazilian Tapir

 

 

Brazilian Tapir

Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)

 

This odd looking animal (though not quite as odd looking as the Malayan species) resembling a small hornless rhinoceros, walked up the bank to edge of the forest and then melted away, it was there so briefly that we were very lucky to have seen it at all. After a good deal of further travelling we came upon a single otter swimming along the edge of the river, but this one wasn’t a giant it was much smaller, a Neotropical river otter or lontra, although we tried to follow it for some time ,I just wasn’t quick enough with my camera to get any decent photos.

 

Not too long after that we found another pack of giant otters, which proceeded to put on an audiovisual display similar to the otters at holt, except that this time they were entirely in the open. Taking full advantage of this wonderful photo opportunity, I tried my best to fill another card with lots of otters chomping on fish, knowing that even if I returned to Porto Jofre someday I might never get to see giant otters this well again.

 

Giant Otter

 

 

Chomp Chomp

Chomp! Chomp!

 

 

Giant Otter

 

 

Giant Otter

 

 

After following alongside the otters for quite some way, we started to look more and more at the sky which was really starting to look ominously stormy.

 

 

Stormy Sky Rio Cuiaba

 

 

I took a couple of quick shots of the beautiful dark steel blue/grey clouds over the river, then at this point fearing we might be about to get wet, we decided it would be wise to head straight for home fast. The wind started to pick up and it soon became clear that the rain was coming and we most likely wouldn’t make it back in time, in fact we were probably going to get very wet very quickly. The hotel’s boats just have a folding canopy which can be raised to keep the sun off, but otherwise they’re completely open as you can see in the photo at the bottom of post 68, so if it rains there’s no way to keep it out.

 

These days on trips I store all the photos I take on a Nexto PSD which I normally leave in my room, unless I’m going to be out for the whole day, but this morning because I'd taken a huge number of photos the previous afternoon, I’d decided to bring it along, just in case we got very lucky again. A decision I now hoped I wouldn’t come to regret, especially as I hadn’t really needed it, I did in fact take over 300 RAWS mostly of the otters, so perhaps if we'd encountered more jaguars, I might have needed it, although with two 8GB cards I can happily take over 600 RAWS so even then I probably wouldn’t have. With all my photos from the whole trip stored on my PSD, I was very keen not to get it wet and was really cursing having brought it, I’d also in addition to my EOS 50D & 350D cameras, brought along my flashgun another thing I hadn’t needed and wished I’d left behind.

 

Putting on my poncho I just had to hope that it would keep all my gear dry and not just my gear, our bird guide Andrew who was sat at the back, not quite under the canopy didn’t have any waterproofs at all, so he passed me his EOS 7D which I placed on my lap just as the rain really started to come down. The boatmen decided to take us into the bank to shelter under some trees, for a while in the hope that the storm might pass

 

 

Very Wet

 

 

but the rain was seriously hammering down and despite the trees, we were all getting pretty wet, the storm was showing no sign of passing, so we decided we would probably be better just to keep going. The boatmen started the engine and put his foot down and we sped off, back through the rain, despite wearing my poncho I was starting to get very wet, water was coming in at the neck and soaking the front of my shirt. Water was also running down onto my seat soaking my trousers and it was starting to get really quite cold, being at the front the rain and spray was also lashing my face which made the journey decidedly uncomfortable. Hunched up grasping my poncho at the neck, in a desperate attempt to stop the rain coming in, I gritted my teeth and hoped that we’d get back soon enough and that my precious cargo of camera gear was still dry, even if I wasn’t. Making a run for it was probably the most sensible thing to do, but the hotel did seem an awful lot further away than I’d thought; still we eventually made it home and I was very pleased to get back under the porch of my room.

 

Though I regretted having taken my PSD fortunately it hadn’t got wet at all, this was a huge relief, the holster pouch containing my 50D had got really quite wet, but I have a ‘raincoat’ for the camera (for taking photos when it’s raining) and this had kept the camera completely dry. While my poncho may not have kept me entirely dry it had saved my (and Andrew’s) camera gear and that’s the main reason why I have one. After this experience if I ever go back I’ll definitely remember to take waterproof trousers and a waterproof stuff sack both of which I’d left at home, I'm not sure why because they would have been very useful.

 

Although returning through the driving rain had been a pretty unpleasant experience, the boat trip had produced the only tapir and Neotropical river otter of the trip, both new mammals for my list and had also given us another unforgettable encounter with giant otters, so on balance I was very glad we’d gone out on the river again. Indeed this really illustrates for me, why you should never turn down the opportunity to go out on a boat trip, game drive or walk, unless you are perhaps really ill, because you just never know when something unexpected may appear.

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inyathi

In the absence of any sun to dry my clothes, I went in to the room, attached a washing line to the television bracket on the wall and the other end to a hat stand, which they have in all the rooms, this meant I could hang my wet clothes in front of the air-con, though I did need to hang my camera bag from the hat stand, as a counterweight to keep it upright. This proved a very effective way of drying my clothes but the obvious disadvantage was that it made the room freezing cold, not ideal on a rather cold day, however, as we were leaving the following day I wanted to make sure everything was dry.

 

Not too long after we got back the rain stopped entirely and as is so often the case, it really brought out the birds, so having dried off and had lunch, I was able to spend a happy afternoon wandering around the garden photographing them.

 

Streaked Flycatcher

Streaked flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus)

 

Yellow-chevroned Parakeet

Yellow-chevroned parakeet (Brotogeris chiriri)

 

Squirrel Cuckoo

Squirrel cuckoo (Piaya cayana)

 

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Yellow-rumped cacique (Cacicus cela)

 

Best of all, I found these very obliging hyacinth macaws feeding on the fruits of a palm tree growing on the edge of the airstrip, so I was able to take plenty of shots of the Pantanal’s most iconic bird. These very rare birds, are much the best thing about the Porto Jofre Hotel, we did see them both at Piuval and the PWC, but nothing like as well as we did here, where they are a garden bird.

 

Hyacinth Macaw

 

 

Hyacinth Macaw

 

 

Hyacinth Macaw

 

 

Southern Screamer & Chick

Southern Screamer with Chick

 

This screamer certainly lived up to it's name and really didn't want me getting anywhere near its chick, screaming loudly and constantly, even though I hadn't actually got that close (the photo is cropped) after taking a couple of shots, I backed away and the bird relaxed again.

 

The marshy margins of the hotel's lake were often full of beautiful seedeaters, this first one was remarkably tame

 

 

Rusty-collared Seedeater

Rusty-collared seedeater (Sporaphila collaris)

 

 

Lined Seedeaters

Lined seedeater (Sporophila lineola)

 

While the rain had done wonders for the birds, we knew that the cold that had come with it would not be good for the jaguars, so I didn’t have high hopes when we set off on our afternoon boat trip. After a good deal of searching we’d failed to find any jaguars, so we decided to pay a brief visit to the otter holt, but with two boats parked right alongside the holt, we quickly left, after the wonderful otter sightings we’d already had, there was no point in staying. More boating up and down revealed nothing more interesting than a few capybaras, though this boat trip may have been a little disappointing thanks to the cold weather, it did at least end with by far the best sunset of the trip.

 

 

Sunset Rio Cuiaba Porto Jofre Hotel

Edited by inyathi
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kitefarrago

Glad to hear that nothing happened to your, or your friend's gear! I really, really like the very light waterproof bags made out of ultra-sil, for example by Sea-to-Summit. They have a roll-top closure and close up tightly enough (if you roll a couple of times) to be almost air-tight. This allows keeping some air in the bag with the gear, which gives cushioning, and I now use these as light-weight gear bags for lenses and camera. They weigh next to nothing, so having them along doesn't give a weight penalty. I also tend to have one of those heavy-duty rubbish bags with me, just in case (it ended up serving as a dust-cover in India).

 

The Pantanal is fairly high on my list of `where to go next' places, and your trip report really makes it a very tasty proposition indeed. Thanks for sharing.

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Rainbirder

Sometimes you make your own luck in this game!

Carpe diem! B)

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