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Brazil 2014: Pantanal Wonderland


TonyQ

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SafariChick

@@TonyQ oh my that armadillo is too adorable - that would have been one of my favorite sightings as well - how wonderful!

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Turquoise Fronted Amazon We also saw a brocket deer with a baby which was a bit skittish when we stopped.   Then as we came through a gap in the woodland and MrsQ (a.k.a @@Thursday's Child) excited

Continued... We were thrilled again to have such a good sighting of a Giant Anteater - and enjoyed our cold beer as a sundowner -watched by   Turquoise-Fronted Amazon (?) We continued with a

We then came across a group of Capybara sitting across the track. Although we have seen them on TV, they still surprise us at how big they are. They are fairly common, but we will enjoy watching them

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SafariChick

and wow at those anteater-in-water pix - beautiful - and the puma too? You really lucked out!!

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madaboutcheetah

@@madaboutcheetah

Thank you - I have no idea how you would get there from South India

@@michael-ibk

Thank you - I am sure it is worth a visit!

@@Big_Dog

Thank you!

@@Atravelynn

It seemed untroubled as it went in and came out - but I am no expert on Anteater psychology!

 

Probably to Rio or Sao Paolo via Dubai ...... Would be just as long as getting to the US from India, I assume ....... FAR!!!!

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SafariChick

Even for me to get there from California I remember looking into it once and it seemed to be far and take a long time and was expensive - seemed it should have been closer and less expensive than that!

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Treepol

Excellent puma sighting, how fortunate.

 

These elusive cats are still languishing on my wishlist.

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TonyQ

Continued....

The next morning we had an early start as we were going on a canoeing trip on the Rio Negro. We left a 5am to drive a few miles to the start of the trip. Again we were with the very nice couple from the UK and were being led by Jamie, a young intern from the UK.

 

We arrived at our starting point as it was getting light. We were heading downstream – Jamie said if we didn’t paddle, we would get to the lodge by about noon. As we set off, the mist was clearing and the sun was coming up. It was very peaceful, though we did have to learn to coordinate the efforts in a 2 person canoe. Jamie had a canoe to himself.

 

We stopped for breakfast on a beach (not the sort of beach most people associate with Brazil!)

 

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Pied Plover

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We watched Black Skimmer flying by

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And a Southern Crested Caracara joined us hoping for scraps

Jamie suggested we might want to paddle a bit more as it would be very hot by about 11am – we took the hint, but it was beautiful and peaceful as we travelled along. We caught a glimpse of two Giant Otters (not photo)

 

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Yacare Caiman

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Roseate Spoonbill

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Grey-necked Wood Rail

We then spent a fair amount of time trying to get close to a Neotropical Otter

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Eventually we stopped near a fallen tree

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– the otter was on the other side and kept popping up to have a look at us. When it was behind the tree, we could hear it crunching on a fish.

 

It had been a really enjoyable morning – I think I heard Jamie say we had travelled about 8km. We were ready to relax around the lodge in the heat of the middle of the day.

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Treepol

Stunning photo of the skimmer, and you saw Roseate Spoonbill, such a beautiful bird.

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bettel

Outstanding trip report and beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing!

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Atravelynn

So you did a quick snorkel for the caiman shot? That canoe trip was a favorite of mine. So relaxing. It worked well for your wonderful bird photos.

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TonyQ

@@Treepol - it is beautiful!

@@bettel - thank you for your kind words

@@Atravelynn - it was very relaxing - though sometimes it was difficult to get the canoe in the right position for photos!

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TonyQ

Continued....

 

When we were planning our trip to the Pantanal, we found out that a scientific researcher in Giant Anteaters spent some time each year at Barranco Alto. Her name is Lydia Möcklinghoff (from Germany). In our communication with Barranco Alto, we expressed our enthusiasm for Giant Anteaters, and they said Lydia may be there when we were.

 

During lunch time, Claudia approached us and said that she had been talking to Lydia about us, and that she would join our afternoon drive. Hugo confirmed this over lunch. There are not many people studying Giant Anteaters, so we were really pleased that she would be joining us. It was a great opportunity to talk about her work, but more particularly her enthusiasm. She is keen to do a long term study as this has not been done before.

 

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Barranco Alto is a working ranch

 

“The white cattle bred on the farm for organic meat production are called Nelore. Originally from India, they can be found all over Brazil, where they have adapted very well.” (from BA website)

 

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Mockingbird (Chalk-Browed?)

We also saw Capybara, Caiman, Jabiru, Feral Pigs,

 

We drove alongside a lake – MrsQ drew our attention to a small blob on the opposite side – is it an Anteater. It looked like a bush to me, but when we checked with binoculars, it was indeed a Giant Anteater. (Both joked about MrsQ’s Anteater spotting abilities!).

We drove over, but it wondered into the undergrowth. We walked around the area, and Lydia went close to have a look, but it wasn’t coming out.

 

We drove to an open area with lots of birds around

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White-faced Whistling Duck

A pair of Southern Screamers were jumping up and down and, well, screaming - to draw attention away from

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Chick sits still in grass

We went through more woodland and as it opened to another lake, we saw

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....a Giant Anteater.

Lydia checked the wind direction and we followed her towards it.

 

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Lydia said that this is Karl – and that Karl is a very calm anteater that will let us get close to it. She gives names to the anteaters to help in her research – she recognises them by the pattern of markings on the front legs. I still say “it” as it is very difficult to tell if an anteater is male or female. They all get a male name until they are seen with a baby on their back, when it safe to assume they are female.

 

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Karl was calm, and we spent about 25 minutes with it as the light faded. We didn’t follow it as it wondered into the woods. It was wonderful to have such a high quality sighting on our last night at Barranco Alto, and Lydia seemed really pleased that we were so enthusiastic about her favourite animal.

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TonyQ

We had a celebratory beer as it got dark, and went spotlighting, this time with Lydia operating the spotlight.

 

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One of the highlights was meeting a Crab-eating Fox that decided to stay on the track and not let us through!

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Though it did eventually wander off

Lydia called on Claudia to stop and shone the light to our right.

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And there was a Southern Tamandua

These are much smaller than their Giant relative. (Body 55-90cm, tail 40-60cm). Lydia said we could get down and she would take us towards it.

 

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Sometimes it would stand up to show us how big it was.

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We watched it for a while and then left it in peace. We were thrilled to see this beautiful animal, and to have such a good sighting of it.

 

Yet again, a wonderful afternoon/evening at Barranco Alto – unfortunately our last.

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Atravelynn

"Lydia seemed really pleased that we were so enthusiastic about her favourite animal." Nice to have shared interests. Those enthusiastic shared vibes summoned the tamandua. Standing tamandua, drinking giant anteater. How do you get them to perform?

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Oh my gosh at the number and variety of animal sightings that you had. How wonderful. I've thoroughly enjoyed this repot.

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michael-ibk

Barranco Alto really delivered for you! You must both have been thrilled with all your anteater sightings. Great that you got to see its little cousin as well. Looking forward to what the North had in store for you. :)

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TonyQ

@Atravelynn - thank you, we were thrilled with the sightings

@@PCNW - thank you

@@michael-ibk - thank you, the North will come soon!

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TonyQ

Continued....

Mammal Sightings

Barranco Alto keep a of mammal sightings – what mammals are seen each day (it may be one person sees it, could be everyone sees it – but it shows what is around). For the month of August, including our sightings, these mammals were seen on the following number of days:

 

Armadillo -10

Tamandua -3

Giant Anteater – Almost every day

Puma – 5, all recent

River Otter - 7

Giant Otter -16

Brazilian Rabbit - 8

 

So we were certainly lucky to see the Tamandua!

Edited by TonyQ
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TonyQ

Reflections on Barranco Alto

 

So on our last evening, what were our reflections on Barranco Alto. We loved it! It is a great place to stay – food was excellent, accommodation good, people great. But the reason we went was to experience the environment and to see the wildlife – and from our point of view this was exceptional.

 

We came here hoping we might see Giant Anteater – the number and quality of sightings was so much better than we could have hoped for. A real treat was seeing the Armadillo and the Tamandua, and the Neotropical Otter. And of course it was exciting seeing the Puma. The birds were also a highlight for two non-birders – the variety and their willingness to let you get close. I am sure that proper birders would see a much greater variety.

 

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What would we do differently – stay longer (at least one more night) and leave more time for wandering around the grounds on our own.

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TonyQ

Transfer

We had decided to take an overland transfer back to Campo Grande so that we could see more of the countryside – and it was a lot cheaper than the flight in.

 

A couple of weeks before our trip, we were contacted by Azul to say that our flight from Campo Grande to Cuiaba was now two hours earlier. When we contacted Hugo with this information, he told us that there had been some unseasonable rain making the road difficult, and that we would need to leave Barranco Alto at about 5.30am (so obviously no morning activity).

 

Staff had prepared a packed breakfast for us and we waited in the dining room. The car was late in getting to us so it was closer to 7.00 when we set off. We had been asked if we could give a member of staff a lift to Aquidauana – which we were happy to do, and she opened the numerous gates on the route.

 

The road was rough, and we didn’t have time to stop very often, though we did see

 

 

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Jabiru

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Coati - part of a family

We also saw pair of Blue and Yellow Macaws fly overhead, and MrsQ managed to spot a Giant Anteater for us – clearly visible with binoculars (no photos).

 

We managed to get stuck in the mud twice and needed to be pulled out – once by the pick-up truck behind us, and the second time by a handily placed tractor.

 

After all that, we got to Campo Grande very early for our flight. I think a drive in to Barranco Alto and a flight out would be a better combination, but it wouldn’t work for us because of our flight times into Campo Grande. With hindsight we would have done a morning activity at Barranco Alto and taken a flight transfer (but that is the wonder of hindsight!).

 

Campo Grande is a small airport, with a café/bar before security. It was fine and fairly efficient (apart from signs for which gate flights were leaving from – but as there were only three gates and they were all next to one another, we managed to avoid going to Brasilia).

Edited by TonyQ
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Puma and Tamandua; the Pantanal delivers! Excellent photos throughout. (Will have to push back my own TR of it to let the dust settle now...)
Lovely baby Screamer chick too!

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TonyQ

@@Big_Dog

Thank you - but I will certainly look forward to your report. You will have a different perspective, but I think all the reports go to show what a great place the Pantanal is!

When we were planning we read as many as we could and they all helped us put this trip together.

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TonyQ

Continued...

31 Aug Fly to Cuiaba (AZUL) o/n Hotel Gran Odara

 

The Azul flight was fine, comfortable and smooth. We took a pre-paid taxi from the airport and drove through Cuiaba to the Hotel Gran Odara (booked online). This is a good, modern hotel.

 

Early in the evening, we had a call from reception saying the Julinho (our guide for the next part of the trip – more about him later) was downstairs. He had popped in just to say hello, and he also brought his wife to meet us. It was a really thoughtful touch turning up the day before our trip started with him.

 

We were tired so we decided we would eat in the hotel – which was fine. After a good night’s sleep we had an excellent breakfast (one of the best hotel breakfasts I have had wonderful fruit) and met up with Julinho at 7.30 to begin our trip to the northern section of the Pantanal.

 

First stop would be Pocone, where we would pick up some large bottles of water and other bits and pieces. One crucial item was to be an electrical adapter!

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TonyQ

Brazil and Electricity.

 

Brazil does not have a standard plug or plug socket, or indeed voltage. They all vary in different parts of the country. When we were in the hotel in Cuiaba, we found that our adapter, which had worked well in Barranco Alto, did not fit – leading to a mild panic. We told Julinho, and he found a shop in Pocone that sold an adapter that would work.

 

We found a mixed picture in the lodges that followed, but one or both of our adapters worked in all of them. I have put pictures of both types so that any of you thinking of going can avoid the anxiety!

 

med_gallery_45513_922_27446.jpgsml_gallery_45513_922_32388.jpg Type 1

 

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Type 2

 

 

 

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