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Atravelynn

Lifer sounds like someone imprisoned without parole.

 

Fazendo Barranco Alto – How I spent my 6 nights

11 outings total (shown 1-11)

 

(1) 14 Sept Afternoon drive and night drive with Carol and Carol’s mother who was visiting.

 

A burrowing owl gave us a send off from the fazenda. Our first official sighting was a pair of mating Bat Falcons.

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Burrowing owl Jabiru pair Roadside Hawk

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Mating Bat Falcons

 

Carol and I exited the vehicle and quietly stalked a 6-banded Armadillo who scurried away from us and marched right in front the vehicle, where Carol’s mother viewed it through binocs.

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6 banded armadillo seen on foot after we exited the vehicle Armadillo viewing from the comfort of the vehicle

This is 2-seater with 1 row. There was also a vehicle

with 2 rows and one with 3 rows. I never had

a middle seat and never saw anyone else in the middle.

One of my favorite sightings of the trip was a Southern Screamer and still fuzzy chick.

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Southern Screamer and chick seen from vehicle

 

 

Not long into our first outing I realized what a great place this was for Hyacinth Macaws.

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Paraque after dark

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The color coded sections are:     Muriqui Monkey Mania Pantanal Pumapalooza Itinerary Agents, Accommodations, Arachnids Fazenda Barranco Alto How I spent my 6 nights at Fazendo Barracno Alto

(3) 15 Sept Afternoon and night drive with 4 other guests. Hugo Drove and Carol spotlighted. We had a “capybara crossing.”   Not quite as exciting as wildebeest crossing, but a group entrance

Below are photos from my 2013 Caratinga outings on foot, though we sometimes drove to the spot where we would walk. We were in the field about 3-4 hours each morning and again after lunch. Var

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Atravelynn

(2) 15 Sept Morning walk with Carol.

We departed on foot, right from the ranch. The Capped Heron is my favorite South American bird, but the Whistling Heron ain’t bad.

 

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Pair of Whistling Herons seen on a walk

 

Three Giant River Otters swam across a lake to get a better look at us. The low water levels of the river, well into the dry season, encouraged some of the Giant River Otters to head to the lakes with deeper water.

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Giant River otters swam toward us in the lake

 

We flushed a troop of coatis that had no interest in posing for photos. In contrast, the macaws were obliging.

 

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More Lovely Hyacinth Macaws, seen on foot

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Lineated Woodpeckers. They look like an agitated couple peeking through the drapes of their front picture window at someone walking across their front lawn.

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Spoonbill and Teals

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Atravelynn

(3) 15 Sept Afternoon and night drive with 4 other guests. Hugo Drove and Carol spotlighted.

We had a “capybara crossing.”

 

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Not quite as exciting as wildebeest crossing, but a group entrance into the water nonetheless

 

 

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Unusual heavy rains in June had drowned trees living near water. Dead Tree and Live Caiman in Nice Light.

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Grooming Mealy Parrots

 

Hyacinth Macaws nest in their preferred Manduvi Tree by day and a Common Potoo by night.

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Hyacinth Macaws nesting in Manduvi Tree Common Potoo, known as the stick bird because it looks like an extension of the branch

 

At one point we were transfixed by a fountain of sand shooting up from a hole in the road. Hugo explained an armadillo was digging deeper to expand his home. We couldn’t see the armadillo but the sand was sure flying.

 

Shortly after nightfall 4 out of 5 of us witnessed a puma slip into the forest.

 

Piece of Advice: A big container of water is brought on all drives and cups are handed out. I like to drink more frequently than the water stops so I always brought my own water bottle and sipped every 10-15 minutes during the hottest parts of the day.

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Atravelynn

(4) 16 Sept Morning boat ride with Hugo

A Tegu Lizard watched us motor by.

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Tegu Lizard seen from motor boat

Giant River Otters were commonly seen on every river outing up until a week before my arrival when they became scarce, so we were glad to get to see one along the shore.

The Tabebuia trees were almost done flowering. Those along the banks were dropping their petals into the river.

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White Tabebuia petals on the branches and in the Rio Negro Tabebuia trees along Rio Negro, viewed by motorboat

A highlight of our boat trip was a sandbar of nesting skimmers.

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Skimmer Squabble, viewed by motorboat

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Newly hatched Skimmer chick, egg matter still on the chick. Tiny crack in one egg. Future sibling to this little fellow.

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3 chicks Adult Skimmer

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Amazon Kingfisher, seen by motorboat Colorful Troupial, seen by motorboat Ringed Kingfisher, seen by motorbo

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@@Atravelynn

So many beautiful pictures!

THe hyacinth macaws are great - and the Mealy parrots

You give a really good flavour of the activities here (so glad we have booked it!)

It looks a beautiful place - on land and on water

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Treepol

Thanks for this informative report as usual!

 

The Caratinga Research Station sounds like a good destination - did you walk on all the activities or was there an opportunity to be driven?

 

How was the mealtime conversation with the researchers at Caratinga? One of the things I really liked about Barranco Alto was the lively conversation at meal times where the days research activities were discussed and debated and the wise advice that Lucas gave - was Caratinga as lively?

 

Lovely skimmer, hyacinth macaw and oropendula photos. Looking forward to the next instalment...

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Atravelynn

@@Treepol, I believe you had some great skimmer action as well. Those birds are such a treat.

 

The driving at Caratinga was merely to get to where we would walk. We did stop once or twice for birds that we saw while enroute in the vehicle. If we had found muriquis I know we would have stopped to look. But the driving was only to reach a walking trail and not a game drive. That was the same as my first trip, when the transport was by motorcycle.

 

There was not a lot of conversation with the researchers at Caratinga. In fact I actually avoided interfering with them and about half the time I intentionally ate while they were out. The Caratinga researchers are not in the hospitality business, unlike the Barranco Alto staff. Their mealtime is their downtime from work and I did not want to make them feel like they were working overtime by chatting with the visitor. Everyone I encountered was very friendly and those that were comfortable speaking English interacted with me, but their jobs are focused on fieldwork and not entertaining tourists. I kept a low profile out of respect for their time. In the future if more people begin to visit the center, I can imagine there will be more of an outreach and educational aspect to the experience. I know that some of those involved with Feliciano Miguel Abdala Reserve were not at all keen to have any outside visitation, whatsoever. I wanted to do my part to minimize any interference on account of my stay.

 

I did talk extensively (with Guide Fred interpreting) to the field guide who led us around and I was able to learn a lot from him. I felt very satisfied with the informational and educational aspect of my visit through through that process.

 

At the planning stage of your trip, you could mention that you'd like some time with a member of the research staff to discuss their work and mission, so they could be prepared. Though I understand even that type of request is not always heeded.

 

You are right that the BA conversation was very animated and lively and contributed to the overall enjoyment of the stay. I was often torn between remaining at the table to get the scoop and lurking with the domestic cats around the bird feeder. It was possible to see the feeders FROM the lunch table so as to enjoy both the conversation and the birds, but screens interfered with photos.

 

I will soon be off to Easter Island...via your report.

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Atravelynn

(5) 16 Sept Afternoon boat ride with Hugo (Same boat, same Hugo, Same River, Opposite direction, So Totally Different)

 

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Roseate Spoonbill Piping Guan Cocoi Heron

My favorite South American bird in flocks, but I'll take it singly, here.

 

A caiman-intensive outing, this boat ride.

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Seen by motorboat

 

We enjoyed seeing a Neotropic Otter fishing—and catching and eating! Hugo regretted leaving his camera behind, so I sent the shots I got.

 

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Initially well camouflaged

 

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Neotropic Otter eating a fish that it had caught on the Rio Negro

 

On a brief walk after beaching the boat we saw very fresh jaguar tracks, but no cat. While no one saw a jaguar during my stay, there had been regular sightings the previous couple of months.

 

Sunset at about 5:30 pm.

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Sunset on Rio Negro and Me

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6) 17 Sept Morning walk with Hugo

As we drove to our walking spot, we stopped to watch a family of Pampas deer graze together. It reminded me of those collectible miniature bone china animal families of mama, daddy, and baby. The fawn approached the adult male warily a few times and then skittishly backed off.

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Pampas Deer family, seen from vehicle

We had our exciting mother puma and cubs encounter and then got rained out.

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A mischievous twinkle in this puma cub's eye. Seen on a walk.

 

Hugo was concerned about me catching cold after getting soaked and offered me a variety of hot drinks upon our return. I settled on hot water with lemon and honey that was delivered to my room. The steaming beverage warmed my bones almost as much as snuggling with a puma cub would have, with far fewer scratches.

 

(7) 17 Sept Afternoon & night drive with 3 other guests. Claudia drove and Carol spotlighted.

We meandered to an abandoned shack that was home to a colony of vampire bats.

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Black hooded Parakeets

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Blue and Gold Macaw--Barranco Alto is the best place of anywhere I have been for views of these birds.

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Feral pigs. The ones running all have tails. When the male feral pigs are caught by the Pantaneiros, they are castrated and their tales are cut off. The castration makes the meet tastier and the bobbed tail is a signal that the creature will make a tasty meal. The feral pigs with bobbed tales are usually more wary of human contact for obvious reasons.

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White Lipped Pecaries

When we reached the bats, hundreds were hanging upside down and a few flapping about after we opened a shuttered window. (They don’t fly out at the observers. Not scary or dangerous.)

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Vampire bats

Near the bat house was a Jabiru nest with attentive parents but no evidence of chicks to date, I had been told. Through binoculars we could see some white fuzz in the nest and realized that meant we were the privileged first to glimpse a sign of the newly hatched chicks.

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Jabiru nest--It appears the toucan is as interested as we are in seeing the newly hatched chicks.

 

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Juvenile Black Collared Hawk

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(8) 18 Sept Morning boat ride with Fernando & 2 other guests.

We covered the same stretch of river as I had two mornings earlier with Hugo, but nature is never the same. While watching a Neotropic Otter catch fish, a Pampas Deer started to cross the river, but changed its mind and turned around. Juvenile capybaras were playing along the bank and the otter was checking them out.

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Neotropic Otter Neotropic Otter observing the Capybaras

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Capybaras playing

Moments later we beached the boat along a sand bar and walked to the other side to watch Giant River Otters playing and fishing.

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Giant River Otters, viewed from a sand bank that we reached by motorboat

 

Back on the river, Fernando cut the motor and we were able to glide up next to an unsuspecting coati digging for a meal.

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Coati along the river, viewed by boat

Boating is always a great opportunity for caiman viewing/photography.

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Birds by boat:

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Roadside Hawk, Riverside Southern Lapwing

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Amazon Kingfisher, male Striated Heron

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Toco Toucan Gray Necked Rail Amazon Kingfisher, female

Piece of advice: In advance, check out the several kinds of kingfishers you are likely to find near the water. Their coloring can be confusing based on breed and gender. In order of size, large to small, they are Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green-and Rufous Kingfisher (rare), Green Kingfisher, and Pygmy Kingfisher (rare).

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(9) 18 Sept Afternoon & Night Drive with 2 other guests. Fernando drove and Claudia spotlighted.

 

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Lineated Woodpecker Savanna Hawk

 

We found a pair of Crab-eating foxes (2 of 4 seen during my visit.)

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Crab eating fox seen on a game drive

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Red and Green Macaw

 

Close views of Red and Green Macaws from the vehicle had us so transfixed that we nearly missed the Puma that dashed behind the vehicle and into the forest. Good thing Claudia was scanning the area and saw it.

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Red and Green Macaw

 

The cooler weather signaled the potential for a species we were all eager to view—the Giant Anteater. Fernando pointed out an anteater ambling in a field with a flock of five Rheas nearby. We descended the vehicle and carefully approached on foot. When the Rheas took note of us and moved off, the anteater became spooked and fled.

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Rhea and Giant Anteater. Viewed on foot.

A little later we found a second Giant Anteater that we were able to sit near for about 20 minutes until it became dark. A feral pig joined the anteater at one point and we even had yet another Giant Anteater appear in the distance. This was a fertile field!

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Giant Anteater and Feral Pig, ignoring each other Giant Anteater in foreground and another in the background

 

On my previous Pantanal trip to Caiman Lodge (7 nts) and Refugio da Ilha (3 nts) I had an unbelievable 31 Giant Anteater sightings in late June/early July, including about 3 nighttime views babies on backs. But my best anteater photos and most memorable time spent with an anteater were from this very intimate encounter at Barranco Alto. That right there speaks volumes about the quality of guiding at BA. In this case, Guide Fernando is to thank.

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All of the Giant Anteater photos were taken while sitting or standing a couple of meters away, while it foraged. The anteater eventually walked off slowly, never disturbed by us.

 

We celebrated the Giant Anteater success during sundowners by viewing photos of Fernando’s grandson on his phone.

 

Lydia, the Giant Anteater researcher, explained to me at lunch the next day that anteaters’ brains are so small that they can only focus on one thing at a time. When they are intent on finding food, their senses are virtually oblivious to minor distractions around them, which is why we three of us could sit or stand within a couple meters of the very relaxed and foraging anteater.

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Giant Anteater in the Full Moon

This full moon is likely one of the reasons we did not see much on night drives. We had numerous potoos and night jars, 2 crab eating fox, 1 puma glimpse during heavy cloud cover, and 1 mother and baby giant anteater.

 

Piece of advice: A ladder was always available to assist in getting in and out of the open vehicle, especially useful for the higher seats. But the exiting process could take a minute or two as each person climbed down, one after the next--normally no big deal except when there was an unpredictable anteater nearby who may or may not stick around for long. Climbing out of the vehicle sans ladder was also an option, but one that is best practiced a time or two before needing to execute a quiet, unobtrusive dismount. Not everybody needs to descend without a ladder, but if even one or two people can forgo the ladder, it can save some precious time when it counts most. So I’d suggest a few trial ladderless ascents/descents of the vehicle--if you are so inclined--before departure when everybody is in the milling around stage to be prepared.

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@@Atravelynn

Great report!

So many good sightings and photos + very useful practical tips (I will go through and copy all of those)

I love the sequence with the caiman where you get closer and closer, beautiful birds - and the otter feeding

My favouritesare probably the anteater - such an unusual animal and one we really would like to see

You have a great sequence of photos here - I really enjoyed them

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michael-ibk

What a fantastic Anteater sighting, must have been absolutely wonderful!

 

The cooler weather signaled the potential for a species we were all eager to view

Ah, I didn´t know that, helpful advice. Judging from my own experience, what our guide told us (about anteaters disappearing from the Transpantaneira area) and all the reports here it seems pretty sure to me that the Southern Pantanal is a far better place for seeing these interesting animals than the North.

 

Enjoying this report very much, thank you for sharing. Especially love the bats and the neotropic otter, a lovely find.

 

And you have a striated heron! (A bird that utterly "defeated" me. By no means rare, but hard to get pics of. Doesn´t even have the decency to fly away, always crouches behind some branches.)

 

I really like your photo collages (like with the giant cowbirds) btw, how do you create these?

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@@Atravelynn, more great stuff! I am soaking it all in just like @@TonyQ (I will be copying the tips as well :))

 

Your Giant Anteater encounter was fantastic and one we hope to experience. We have yet to pick our days for next fall but I am looking at times when there isn't a full moon based on my past experience. Sounds like your experience supports that plan.

 

Thanks again for posting such great information!

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Atravelynn

And you have a striated heron! (A bird that utterly "defeated" me. By no means rare, but hard to get pics of. Doesn´t even have the decency to fly away, always crouches behind some branches.)

 

I really like your photo collages (like with the giant cowbirds) btw, how do you create these?

 

You have nailed the behavior of the striated heron. Exactly. I use Publisher to make the collages and then save it as a .jpg.

 

@@Atdahl, looks like your Pantanal trip is about set.

 

Thanks for your nice comments @@TonyQ

 

 

 

 

(10) 19 Sept Morning canoeing. Carol and I shared one canoe. Another couple shared the other canoe.

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Sunrise before canoeing Pied Lapwing at breakfast

 

Depart at 5:30 am, which is sunrise in Sept. Drive about 30 minutes, eyes peeled for nocturnal creatures (none spotted), with canoes in tow. Spend 15 minutes getting canoes to the Rio Negro River (no heavy lifting by guests) and boarding the canoes (with assistance as needed). Then a beautiful, peaceful paddle down the river begins, with a stop for a picnic breakfast.

 

A few raindrops produced a rainbow and lovely skies.

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While canoeing

Several Giant River Otters took note of our two-canoe caravan and proceeded in front of us at a distance of 100 meters, as we made our way down river. Occasionally, the otters would come in closer to fish. They ended up escorting us all the way downriver back to the ranch.

 

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Seen from canoe

 

A tapir walked down to the river to drink and likely would have crossed except the playful otters sent it trotting back up the bank to shelter. I actually was wishing the otters would disappear at that moment.

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Tapir seen from canoe

Such a lovely and tranquil 5-ish hour activity! Don’t miss this one!

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Canoeing Anhinga from canoe

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Bare faced Ibis from canoe

(11) 19 Sept Evening drive with Fernando & 2 other guests.

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Peeking out of Manduvi Tree nest, seen on drive

 

After revisiting the vampire bats we stopped by the Jabiru nest for a second time to find 3 chicks visible.

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Vampire bats

 

The parents took turns flying in with water from a nearby pond. A precious scene!

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Water for the chicks

 

We followed a 6-banded Armadillo on foot and later when I reviewed my photos I noticed all the flies surrounding him and likely serving as his snack. It was my surprise shot of the trip.

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6 banded Armadillo seen on foot

 

In anticipation of possible night photo ops and to increase the slim odds of capturing an image of a baby anteater on its mother’s back, I went out a few days before the trip and bought an external hotshoe flash for my camera. The only “baby on board” anteater sightings I had from previous Pantanal trips were at night in the dark and my flash was not strong enough for a reasonable photo.

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Great Potoo

Our last outing driving back to the lodge we saw the anteater in Fernando’s spotlight. I immediately noted the shape clinging onto the back. A baby! The mother anteater did not linger long so we fervently viewed through the binoculars and snapped some flash photos. While not a Nat Geo centerfold, it was reasonable. I got my baby on board photo—the final shot at Barranco Alto.

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Baby on the back of the mother Giant Anteater

Piece of advice: Because night drives offer unique wildlife photo ops in the Pantanal, consider an external flash. Mine was about $230 and well worth it for capturing the baby anteater image (and some potoos) and I’ll have the flash for future use.

 

Piece of advice: On night drives I wore clear protective eyewear. After my first trip to the Pantanal, I noted the abundance of flying insects at nightfall. (Far more than in Africa.) On my second trip I did not bring any protective glasses and a giant bug smacked me in the eye during the first few minutes of a night drive, actually knocking the wind out of me. I had to keep that eye closed for the next several days as it healed. One place I visited on that second trip that is known for night drives (Pousada San Francisco) required safety glasses for everyone going on a night drive. So I learned my lesson this time and every night I put on protective eyewear that I use for bicycling at home.

 

I remarked to Lydia, the anteater expert, that the baby anteater seemed rather large to be getting a ride. The way this baby was draped across its mother’s shoulders, it reminded me of those fancy fur stoles from the 50’s and 60’s with the heads and tails on them. Lydia replied that even very big babies hop on for a ride now and then, especially if they are frightened. She told me about a pair of Giant Anteaters that were mother and 6-year old daughter, housed together in a zoo. When the cages were vacuumed, the noise always scared the full grown daughter, who’d react by leaping onto her mother’s back!

 

Leaving Barranco Alto

On the road transfer back to the airport, departing Barranco Alto at 8:00 am I resumed my gate keeping duties x 42 while Vavah drove. Again it took 5 hours. For our return trip, Vavah had brought a couple of towels for me to cover my exposed forearms from the sun’s rays that became more intense through the open windows as the day wore on. We bounced along the dirt paths, our forearms protected by a strategically draped towel.

 

The Brazilian music we had listened to on the journey to Barranco Alto was replaced by Hits of the 80s for the drive out. As Belinda Carlisle sang, “Ooh, heaven is a place on Earth,” I wondered if the Go-Gos had spent time at Barranco Alto in the Pantanal.

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Red and Green Macaws seen on drive

The End

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michael-ibk

Thank you for this report, I´ve enjoyed it immensely. I think Barranco Alto is a must for my return trip to the Pantanal. Wonderful Tapir sighting, and the Giant Anteater is the perfect sendoff gift you were given. What are the chances of seeing Giant Anteaters here, were you exceptionally lucky (as with the Pumas) or can one expect a sighting with some kind of certainty during a 3-4-day stay? (Anteaters - and Armadillos - would be a priority for me.)

 

I understand Pumas are hard to spot, but is there a best time of the year for them?

 

And what´t next for you, Namibia?

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Atravelynn

@Michael=ibk

I think Giant Anteaters and Armadillos are a reasonable possibility, not an extraordinary find such as the puma. Around the BA lunch table there was discussion of an operator who was contemplating bringing guests to BA FOR the Giant Anteater, similar to to people visiting PJ FOR the jaguar. My count for 11 outings consisting of 4 water activities, 2 walks, 5 drives was:

 

Giant Anteaters = 5. On outing #9, a drive: 1 short-lived sighting with a flock of Rheas, approached on foot; 1 we were able to sit with for 20 minutes; 1 that appeared in the background, while we were occupied with the anteater in the foreground; On outing #11, night drive: 2, which were the mother with baby at night

 

Armadillos = 2 On outing #1, a drive, 1. On outing #3, a drive, an unseen digging Armadillo. But I think we did not see the digger because there were 5 people and several gathered around the hole to peer in. That brings up the advantage of a private guide if you have specific wants, such as a Giant Anteater. If I had been alone, I would have waited to see if the Armadillo would come out of the hole. On outing # 11, a drive, 1 Armadillo.

 

Since you asked for "chances" I'd probably say that you could see either an anteater or an armadillo on 20%-25% of the drives. From my experience, drives produced all sightings of these creatures rather than walks or boating/canoeing. But at BA we did exit the vehicle to carefully approach the anteater or armadillo on foot with our guide. So again, a private vehicle allows you to do the activities you want, within reason. You might not be able to do only drives every single day if other people are at BA who want to do drives too. I saw 3 vehicles, which gives a good deal of flexibility.

 

Lydia, the Giant Anteater researcher, said that she had done some of her earlier work in mango plantations because of the plentiful Giant Anteaters, more than would normally be expected per square km or mile. I was thinking if there was a mango plantation that catered to visitors, similar to the cattle ranches, that would be good for Giant Anteaters.

 

I'd allow at least 4 nights if there is a particular species you are interested in. Based on my 31 Giant Anteater sightings in 2 locations (Caiman Lodge & Refugio da Ilha) over 10 days in late June/early July 2009 when there was a cool spell (something like highs of 68F for several days), I might book June or July for Giant Anteaters. The weather is typically a little cooler in June-July than Sept, which encourages them to come out earlier, even during daylight hours. I'd also pick a time when there is no full moon.

 

Weather chart for Brazil, including Pantanal and Brazilia table weather

http://www.brazil-travel-guide.com/Brazil-Map-Weather.html#Pantanal

 

Best time of year for pumas? I understood they are seen quite randomly, which is so catlike. The best odds for pumas from what I have heard is Torres del Paine National Park in Chile's Patagonia. Wild Wings does trips there. Never been.

 

I have Namibia booked for June with Wild Dog Safaris. Back with Guide George in Tanz this Feb. George switched companies and is now with Wild Source, which means I am too. Two Africa trips in the same calendar is a new experience for me. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I think it will be a one-time thing.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Wow @@Atravelynn, what a great last day to a great adventure at BA. You should get some referral fees from them since your fantastic reports will likely send some business their way. :)

 

I have been in touch with Hugo a couple times and he states that they only do 2 activities a day (6:30AM to 10:30AM and 3:30 to 6:30PM). That is true even if we were to hire a private guide. For your reports, it sure seems like you had more flexibility than that so I asked him again and he was firm on that. Does that coincide with your experience? We sure would like the opportunity to wander around outside of those times and possibly do a night drive or two after dinner. I wonder if they would charge extra for that?

 

Thanks so much for your detailed and well written report. We are getting close to booking our trip and your report makes us that much more excited about it.

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@@Atravelynn

Thank you for a fantastic report - very enjoyable and very helpful all of the way through

Great pictures right up until the end

The hyacinth macaw peeking out of the tree, the bats (was that with your external flash?), stork with babies, the armadillo amazing.(and the otters and the tapir!)

And brilliant seeing the baby anteater on its mothers back!

We chose 4 nights at BA because we hope to see an anteater!

 

Again thank you for putting this together and inspiring Safaritalkers

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Atravelynn

Let the staff know you'd like to see an anteater, @@TonyQ, like I need to suggest that. The first bat photo in post #17 was with the external flash. The other 2 were with the flash that is part of the SONY DSC HX1, but our guide also shined a flashlight in for additional light for those 2 pics. I would have suggested (in a piece of advice) to bring a flashlight for more light, but I was concerned that might be too much light and could disturb the bats.

 

Glad you enjoyed the report and hope you have a a wonderful time at Barranco Alto when you go.

 

 

@@Atdahl, Hugo described pretty much what I did. In the evening we got back a little later than 6:30 pm usually, maybe because everyone was always so enthusiastic and because we did not see that much at night and I think our guides kept hoping for something big to cross our path. (I've blamed the full moon throughout the report for the lack of night sightings, save the spectacular unphotographable puma quickie and then the mother and baby anteater grande finale.) When I did an afternoon boat ride, I got back about 5:30 pm without a night drive component.

 

I think we got underway slightly before 3:30 pm in the afternoon because everybody was raring to go. But those afternoon times are right along the lines of what I did.

 

If you do the early departure canoe trip, then you leave the ranch about 5:30 am and get on the water about an hour later. Otherwise a departure around 6:30 am is about right, sometimes it was later when my boatmates were lingering over breakfast, but I calculated we might see more once it got warmer and animals were sunning themselves along the banks, so that was ok.

 

Every afternoon game drive turns into a night drive, included in the cost. On other Pantanal trips we have occasionally gone out again after eating dinner, usually when we hadn't seen much before dinner. I suppose you could make such a request in advance and agree on a cost. Middle of the day can be stifling hot. I did wander around on my own most middays at some point with plenty of water. You can go all the way around the lake, stroll along the river, and cover acres of the ranch, along with canoeing and kayaking. BA allows the most independent exploration of any wild place I have been.

 

I was out every morning walking around at sunrise, about 5:30 am. I never saw anything at that time. Also when it was not too unbearably hot I was wandering around just before or right after lunch. I picked a slightly cooler day to head out midday on the canoe. So my time out and about was far more than on the scheduled activities. The photos indicate "seen on the fazenda" or "seen at the ranch" or "while canoeing alone." I saw a lot more while walking and canoeing on my own than I included in photos, though no big mammals on my own. Canoeing with the caiman all around and not another sole in sight is very, very cool. I don't know where else you can do that.

Edited by Atravelynn
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twaffle

It has taken me a while but finally I've managed to look through your excellent report. I probably need to read through it again as I did a bit of speed reading, time being short, but I thought the birds were a standout. I love the variety of the photos you've presented. The pumas were such a huge bonus, the photos almost don't matter as the sightings themselves would have been very exciting. I have a soft spot for tapirs, so that sighting would have thrilled me. In fact, the variety in all the sightings was pretty good, I would have thought.

 

I laughed at the tardy couple, why people bother to go if they can't get going in time! :rolleyes:

 

I like to think that the spider survived the truckers ..............

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  • 8 months later...
Bush dog

Hi Lynn,

 

I just went through the part concerning BA to already put myself in the BA atmosphere

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Atravelynn

You are frequently in the BA atmosphere, in the Pantanal @@Bush dog! You could probably leave some of your gear there rather than haul it back and forth all the time.

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Bush dog

Lynn,

 

Though I am travelling lighter than in the past, it might be a good idea, but then what will I take to go to Africa???

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