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Trip Report: Pantanal September 2015


cheetah80

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cheetah80

Wow, just stunning photos! I have only visited the southern part of the Pantanal and now I regret not making the time or spending the money to get up north. Oh well, guess I'll have to go back ;)

 

@@ellenhighwater thank you! And I was regretting not visiting the South too ;-) ha ha! But hey you always need to leave something unseen for next time right? ;-)

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Part 1 - Pouso Alegre   Here is the first part of our "visual" Pantanal trip report - for those with short attention spans ;-) I'm sorry I don't have the time for a day by day journal, but this is

Part 2 - The Jaguar Zone   This must be one of my favourite videos by Mr Cheetah80     After 3 nights at Pouso Alegre it was time for some rivers and jaguars - we were really looking forward

Part 3: SouthWild Pantanal - It's all about the birds   Video by Mr Cheetah80   Once again I thank you all for your kind words @@KaingU Lodge, @@janzin, @@Big_Dog, @@kitefarrago, @@Atravelynn,

Wild Dogger

Absolutely impressing photos!

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Atravelynn

Somebody even caught that horseback riding - egrets in flight moment on camera! Baby anteater AND baby tapir. Too much luck for you!

 

And I wrote that last sentence before seeing the rest of your photos. Your "fishing" shots are outstanding. Video is excellent for the jaguar and more. You got really close to the action in and along the river.

 

Thanks for the Flotel info. Very helpful.

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kitefarrago

As somebody who was in the Pantanal this (Northern hemisphere) summer I am very much enjoying your trip report. I may have missed it, but could you say when you were travelling?

 

I too was bitten by the annoying insects you report, and I can add that they were capable of penetrating clothing where that was close enough to the skin. So covering up doesn't solve the problem. You can still see some of the bites I acquired more than two months ago.

 

 

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Good lord those pictures were fanatastic!
Wonderful sightings, and wonderful captures of endearing or dynamic moments.

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@@janzin

I want to see your photos and report!

 

Okay, my arm is twisted, but it will take awhile. Still working on the photos! Hopefully in a few weeks :)

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As somebody who was in the Pantanal this (Northern hemisphere) summer I am very much enjoying your trip report. I may have missed it, but could you say when you were travelling? I too was bitten by the annoying insects you report, and I can add that they were capable of penetrating clothing where that was close enough to the skin. So covering up doesn't solve the problem. You can still see some of the bites I acquired more than two months ago.

 

I was there the last week in August, I believe Cheetah80 was just a week or so after me. I think the flies are probably year round :( My bites are only now starting to fade (and they haven't itched for days, fingers crossed I'm done with them!) I only went one day in the boat with sandals...learned my lesson...wore shoes after that. But they got me on my hands and arms and somehow on my ankles (even with socks on!)

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KaingU Lodge

Stunning, stunning photographs Alison.

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cheetah80

As somebody who was in the Pantanal this (Northern hemisphere) summer I am very much enjoying your trip report. I may have missed it, but could you say when you were travelling? I too was bitten by the annoying insects you report, and I can add that they were capable of penetrating clothing where that was close enough to the skin. So covering up doesn't solve the problem. You can still see some of the bites I acquired more than two months ago.

 

I was travelling there in the beginning of September. Not too encouraging to know they bite through clothing too! But I hope feet can be saved by shoes ;-) Thankfully my bites seem to be gone now but I definitely hate them more than the tsetse flies!

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cheetah80

Part 3: SouthWild Pantanal - It's all about the birds

 

Video by Mr Cheetah80

 

Once again I thank you all for your kind words @@KaingU Lodge, @@janzin, @@Big_Dog, @@kitefarrago, @@Atravelynn, @@jeremie, @@Wild Dogger, @@ellenhighwater, @@MR1980, @@madaboutcheetah & @@TonyQ

 

Sadly all good things have to come to an end - all too quickly I must say! We spent our last 3 days in the Pantanal at the SouthWild Pantanal (also known as Fazenda Santa Tereza). I chose this property due to its proximity to the Pixaim river and because I heard that the Toco Toucans are easy to photograph here. I love toucans :)

 

The lodge itself is quite lovely - the rooms are large and the beds comfortable. There is AC and we also had a desk in the room, a nice welcome for all those photo reviews on the laptop. Wifi was available. Food is served in a large screened dining area - buffet style with lots of options even for vegetarians. Quality of the food was good and they make some really nice traditional desserts. The traditional desserts didn't look too appetising sometimes but they were seriously delicious - and sweet! Service was friendly.

 

One of the features of this place is the observation tower for the Jabiru Storks which is really awesome as you get to see them on their nest at eye level high up in the tree. However it was very windy when I was there and I have a bit of a fear of heights which only kicks in if I don't feel secure. So I did go up once but when the whole structure started swaying with strong gusts of wind I got terrified I would drop my camera and lens. I heard there is also an observation tower for the monkeys but I did not visit. You can also walk on the grounds and take boat rides. Take note that like in the rest of the Pantanal there are many many ticks around. They are very small and easy to miss so it's important you check yourself thoroughly. We only got a few and they were very easy to remove with a pair of tick tweezers.

 

The wind persisted and a cold front moved in which remained there for 2 days of our stay. That means it was cold, raining, windy and pretty much miserable - but we enjoyed our stay there anyway.

 

I have to mention about the frustrating event we had on our last day. We had been looking for the speciality bird in the area, the Agami Heron, for 3 days. Finally on the very last day we found it - very well hidden in some thick branches and vegetation. We were patiently waiting for it to emerge for a proper photo but nature had other ideas. It seems we were under a nest of wasps - and they decided they did not like me. I don't know what would have happened if I wasn't wearing 3 layers of clothing due to the cold wet weather but a few of them attacked me for no reason at all. They stung my clothes a few times - and then horror! two of them got under my scarf and by settled on my neck. I was in a total state of panic by now as I am allergic to bee stings - so I guessed wasp stings on the neck would not do me any favours, especially in this remote location. Thankfully they flew out without harming me. The moral of the story - give wasp nests a wide berth, they don't need too much provocation to attack! Oh and I got no photo of the Agami Heron - my partner got a "proof shot" included in the video.

 

And here are some photos

 

I have to start with my favourite bird - the Toco Toucan. Just got to love these guys!

 

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I also love owls so I was delighted to hear there was a family of Great Horned Owls living about 300m away from the lodge. They were not big on posing, but I got decent photos of both the adults and the youngster. This is one of the adults.

 

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I had heard in advance that there are some Great Potoos living in the area and I was stoked to actually see and photograph this one - what absolutely weird and amazing birds!

 

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Ok small break from the birds. Here is a little Jacare wearing a little napoleon style hat.

 

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The Ringed Kingfishers are the largest ones around here.

 

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A Striated Heron

 

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A Great Black Hawk coming down for a fish. Some of the raptors around here have been habituated to swoop down for scraps left by the fishermen - now the boatmen do it for tourists. It felt a bit weird for me to photograph "baited" wildlife as I have never done it before. But since the birds are already habituated and the food healthy and packed with protein I thought I would give it a try: no different from bear hides in Finland ... Almost all similar photos taken in the Pantanal have been baited though many choose not to disclose this. I on the other hand am the idiot who can't keep a secret ...

 

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And finally a pair of Sunbitterns. They chose to mate, but modesty dictates they do it behind a leaf that was blocking my view.

 

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Fantastic bird photos as expected! We stayed at Fazenda Santa Tereza on our first trip and yes, it is a great place for the Toco Toucans as they come down to the feeders there. At that time they did not have the towers. That tower you are climbing in the video looks a bit sketchy, I don't blame you for being nervous...nothing like the sturdy towers in the Amazon. I don't think I'd have gone up either!

 

Love the potoo shot. The only potoos we saw would just not turn their heads, so I only got the back of their heads :angry: And jealous you got such a great view of the Helmeted Manakin! We spent a long time looking for it at Pouso Alegre--finally got it but not in any situation for a photo.

 

Great video too! It makes me regret that we didn't get a boat ride on the Pixiam in this trip. We actually were supposed to originally, but Delta changed our inbound flight arrival and we ended up losing a half day and having to change a bit of the itinerary around. Next time :)

 

All of these photos make me want to go back...such a great place for wildlife!

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cheetah80

You raise a very valid point @@janzin - the Jabiru stork tower is nothing like those in the Amazon. Have been on quite a few similar birdwatching towers in the jungle and it never occurred to me to be scared as they are usually solidly built. My balance is not very good so the tower was swaying, my balance was swaying, so I was causing even more swaying. But it should be just fine on a calm day.

 

We were lucky the Potoo was in a place where we could circle it completely to choose a good angle - I was really hoping it would be "photogenic" as I knew beforehand we would visit it, and it wasn't in its "usual" place. Even with their eyes closed they can see well - at some point I remained near it while our guide and Mr Cheetah80 went to investigate something else. I could see with my binoculars how it was following them with its gaze, turning its head and opening its eyes ever so slightly. Fascinating. If I recall correctly the eyelids have a little "gap" just for this purpose, so that they can keep an eye on danger without compromising their camouflage.

 

It's a pity you didn't get to go on the Pixaim - damned airlines!!

 

If it weren't for our guide we would have never seen the helmeted manakin - I didn't even know people actually saw them here and I was pretty skeptical, but he was very enthusiastic about showing us one and persisted till he found us a couple of them. The second one had to be found because we couldn't take a photo of the first one because it was too dark. Here is a photo - more of a proof shot as like you say they are not particularly cooperative with photographers.

 

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ohhhh beautiful, I'd be VERY happy with that shot of the Helmeted Manakin!!

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Livetowander

Wow, what great shots, and the video was inspirational! Well done.

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Alexander33

@@cheetah80

 

I would volunteer to be stung by those wasps if I could capture a portrait of the Toco Toucan as good as yours. The detail in the black and white is impressive, and the colors in its enormous beak are almost luminescent. Fantastic!

 

Your video is wonderful as well. I think the giant river otter is one of my favorite mammals. We saw them in Peru, but in dim light, and we were not able to get as close. Nevertheless, they enchanted me. I hope we will be able to see them when we go to the Pantanal next July. Send good vibes my way!

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Superb photographs and excellent video - I really like the way it is edited

You bring back many memories of our trip to the Pantanal and it is wonderful to see it through different eyes (lenses)

Thank you

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michael-ibk

Just brilliant photography, absolutely awesome stuff! How wonderful you saw Baby Tapir and Giant Ant-Eater, really jealous about the latter (missed it myself). And strongly disagree about the "poor" quality of the Tamandua pic - love that one!

 

15 - 30 boats for the Jaguars? Ouch, it seems to get worse and worse each year, in 2013 it was 10 max. at sightings, and that felt quite a lot already.

 

Gorgeous Jaguar shots, especially of "Mick" - I think a lot of us have seen him.

 

The videos are great fun, especially love seeing the Otters, they are every bit as special as the Big Cat there, and certainly so much more active. And lots of gorgeous bird pics, the Aracara and the Manakin are the standouts for me.

 

Many thanks for sharing!

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cheetah80

Just brilliant photography, absolutely awesome stuff! How wonderful you saw Baby Tapir and Giant Ant-Eater, really jealous about the latter (missed it myself). And strongly disagree about the "poor" quality of the Tamandua pic - love that one!

 

15 - 30 boats for the Jaguars? Ouch, it seems to get worse and worse each year, in 2013 it was 10 max. at sightings, and that felt quite a lot already.

 

Gorgeous Jaguar shots, especially of "Mick" - I think a lot of us have seen him.

 

The videos are great fun, especially love seeing the Otters, they are every bit as special as the Big Cat there, and certainly so much more active. And lots of gorgeous bird pics, the Aracara and the Manakin are the standouts for me.

 

Many thanks for sharing!

 

Thank you @@michael-ibk thanks for your kind words, glad you enjoyed the photos and video. We had some very lucky sightings indeed - I never imagined I would see a baby tapir!! :)

 

The problem with the many boats is really being felt now. The guides at Southwild were having very animated discussions about this every night trying to come up with some solutions including a "code of conduct". There has even been an incident of a boat crashing into another almost throwing a lady onto a jaguar (that was earlier on in the season not when I was there). There is also a problem with underaged unlicensed boatmen merrily conducting tours. The boatmen will try their best to give everyone a good view, and they do manage most of the time through cooperation but there are always some self-important guides/boatmen who couldn't care less and just cut in in front of everyone else. It's still a wonderful experience but definitely something to be aware about for those who have never visited before.

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  • 4 weeks later...
cheetah80

Bonus video: a compilation of our Jaguar sightings :D

 

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Alexander33

@@cheetah80

 

Just wonderful. We are headed to the Pantanal next June/July, so this is very inspiring and timely. And if I manage photographs half as good as yours, I will be thrilled.

 

Thanks for sharing this.

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