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Brazil, Birds, Beasts and Big Waters


inyathi

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janzin

Resurrecting this trip report as we will be heading to the Pantanal and Cristalino Lodge in just under two weeks time! I was especially intrigued with the Cristalino section as there are plenty of reports on the Pantanal (and we've actually been there once before--didn't go as far as Porto Jofre that time) but not much on Cristalino, at least not complete, illustrated reports like this one :) Hopefully our boatman won't forget us and our guide won't have to swim back to the lodge....crazy story!

 

Impressed with the amount of birds and of course the jaguar sightings! I need to go back and read through the whole thing again more carefully. Thanks for the great report!

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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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inyathi

@@janzin Thanks, great to hear that you’re visiting Cristalino I’m sure you will have an amazing time there but maybe not so crazy, there's no shortage of challenging Amazonian birds to find, I hope that the harpies are still breeding at the Alta Floresta Hotel and you’re there earlier enough to have a really good shot at seeing them. I’ll be interested to hear about it all when you return, have a great trip.

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janzin

@@inyathi from what I've heard, the Harpy's didn't breed last couple of years at the Alta Floresta Hotel. Fortunately we had great sightings of a pair in 2006 at Serra des Araras, but of course it would be great to see them again...with better camera equipment ;) I'll report back for sure--hopefully with a full trip report (eventually!)

 

Harpy from 2006:

 

harpy_5130w.jpg

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offshorebirder

@@inyathi - in post #45 I think your tracks belonged to a Jaguar and not a Puma.

A Puma's tracks would have an indentation on top of the foot pad, toe pads that taper towards the top, and two indentations on the bottom of the foot pad.

But yours has rounded toe pads that do not taper towards the top, no real indentation on the top of the foot pad and only 1 indentation at the bottom of the foot pad.

This track identification web page shows this:

http://www.saguaro-juniper.com/i_and_i/mammals/jaguar/Jaguar-mtnlion_lge.jpg



In terms of the birds in this trip report - WOW! Sunbittern, Sungrebe and Rufescent Tiger-Heron are near the top of my most-wanted-to-photograph list! Don't Sungrebes remind you of African Finfoot?

Thanks for this great trip report - I found it linked from your post "Show us your Tapirs".

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inyathi

@offshorebirder thanks,

 

When I photographed the pugmarks I thought jaguar was more likely, having been warned by the management at SouthWild that there was a jaguar around, but not knowing at the time how to tell jaguar and puma tracks apart, I wasn’t entirely sure. When I actually saw the jaguar, I realised that the same animal was most likely responsible for the pugmarks I'd seen, of course when I took the photos of the pugmarks, I had no idea I would actually see the animal . On my recent visit to Brazil I did see some jaguar pugmarks, at the water’s edge along one of the creeks where we were looking for the cats, when we were staying on the Flotel, but in that case there was no doubt. Looking at those illustrations of the tracks they are quite different and should be very easy to tell apart, if I’d had these pictures at the time, it would have been very obvious that they could only be jaguar tracks. If I go back to South America or go to Central America, I will have to make sure I take a copy of those tracks in case, I forget how to tell the difference. Maybe one day I’ll go birding in the Santa Rita Mts of Arizona, home to El Jefe your only wild jaguar, if his home hasn’t been turned into a copper mine.

 

On 12/6/2016 at 8:17 PM, offshorebirder said:

Don't Sungrebes remind you of African Finfoot?

 

Yes they do, but then that’s because although it’s not called a finfoot the sungrebe (Heliornis fulica ) is a members of the finfoot family Heliornithidae, but they’re not in the same genus as the African species, I’ve seen the African finfoot (Podica senegalensis) a couple of times in different countries and they certainly do look pretty similar. There is also a third species in another genus the masked finfoot (Heliopais personata), in Asia but that’s a bird I have never seen, it’s pretty rare (habitat loss) and normally very secretive, I see from the web that a few years ago there was one on one of the rivers in Khao Yai NP in Thailand near Haew Suwat Waterfall, but I think this bird must have departed by the time I went birding in Thailand. From recollection there was no suggestion that we might see one in Khao Yai. They used to be seen sometimes on boat trips through the mangroves at Krabi in the south of Thailand, where I’ve not been, but they are no longer seen there. I think probably the best place to try and look for one, would be in the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans in India/Bangladesh. Of the three species this one must be the hardest to see, not that African finfoots are that easy to see.

 

Certainly in Brazil the sungrebe would seem to be not at all difficult to see, from a boat on the right river, as well as on the Rio Cristalino shown earlier, I saw sungrebes on the boat trip on the Rio Pixaim at SouthWild Pantanal on both of my Brazil trips, both places seem to very good for seeing these birds. I’m guessing you should also be able to see them in some of the creeks, when looking for jaguars at Porto Jofre, at least I don’t know why not, but I haven’t seen them there, although on my latest visit the weather didn’t really help. Although they have a very wide distribution, I haven’t seen them anywhere else in South America, and I wouldn’t know how easy they are to see in Central America.

 

 

Sunbitterns and Rufescent tiger herons are common, just about everywhere where there is water in Brazil, I also saw a few of both species in Guyana, but didn’t see sungrebes there. If you spend enough time in the Pantanal, you should be able to get those all important photos of a sunbittern in flight.

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offshorebirder

Very cool - thanks for the bountiful info @@inyathi. Brazil is moving up my next-to-visit list - it is starting to look like third in line after Ecuador, then Sangha Lodge in the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve.

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