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kittykat23uk

Going Big in Brazil 2018 - A big trip in search of some of Brazil’s biggest beasts!

 

Brazil is a place that I fell in love with back in 2009 when @BigBaldIan and I spent 8 nights in the North Pantanal in search of Jaguars and other wildlife. I had been holding out hoping that Ian would take me back one day, but after 9 years it seemed this was not going to happen any time soon and I really couldn’t wait any longer!

 

So in May 2017 I started planning for a return. After several false starts with previous travelling companions, @SafariChick (Jane) joined me in the planning and we were off and running. We couldn’t justify the cost for two, and in any case Jane wasn’t going to join me for the last six nights. So we added @Botswanadreams (Christa and her husband Herbert from Germany) who were keen to join for the whole trip and another guy from the US called Bob would replace Jane for the last 6 nights. Therefore we were a group of four throughout.

 

All of the planning, liaising with the lodges and organisation was undertaken by myself and Jane. It was no small undertaking to try and get each leg of the tour lined up, but being cost-conscious we had little choice but to take on this role ourselves, rather than employ an agent for the whole business.

 

I had a number of key targets that I wanted to focus on for this tour, many of which Ian and I had missed last time:

 

  • Both anteaters
  • Any of the armadillos
  • Outside chance of Puma and
  • Maned Wolf
  • Tapir

 

We would also plan to spend a good amount of time in Porto Jofre to see the jaguars again and I hoped to come back with some photos of ocelots- having been lucky enough to see one on our last trip but not having been lucky to get a photograph.

 

With these targets in mind we settled on the following itinerary:

 

Date

accommodation

12/09/18

KLM flight from Norwich at 0605 via Schipol and Sao Paolo arriving Campo Grande at  10:40:00 PM

12/09/18

Overnight at Hotel Mohave close to the airport

13/09/18

Meet tour participants over breakfast, driver will pick us up at the Mohave Hotel at 7:00 a.m Collect guide and Transfer to Baia Das Pedras - Cessna 1 hr flight

13/09/18

Baia das Pedras- where we hoped to meet the Giant Armadillo research team and maybe, if we were lucky, participate in a capture and release of a giant armadillo.

14/09/18

Baia das Pedras

15/09/18

Baia Das Pedras - We were meant to transfer to Barranco Alto on this day but shortly before our departure we were asked to stay another night at Baia Das Pedras owing to a problem with our room.

16/09/18

Transfer - Car (game viewing en route)

16/09/18

Barranco Alto - which we chose as a good place for the anteaters, and outside chance of Puma

17/09/18

Barranco Alto

18/09/18

Barranco Alto

19/09/18

Barranco Alto

20/09/18

Transfer - Car (some game viewing en route, some on tarred road)

20/09/18

San Francisco- here we hoped to get good views of ocelots on the night drives, in return for “putting up” with the crowds of daytrippers from neighbouring Miranda.

21/09/18

San Francisco

22/09/18

San Francisco

23/09/18

Transfer - Car (on tarred road)

23/09/18

flight AVIANCA BRASIL O6 6382 Depart 2040 arrive 2155.

23/09/18

Slaviero Slim Cuiabá Aeroporto

24/09/18

Pouso Alegre- which we included to both break up our journey to Porto Jofre and for chance of tapir, amongst other things.

25/09/18

Pousada Porto Jofre (we were originally meant to be staying at Porto Jofre Pantanal Camping in rooms, but  our guide Julio managed to get us into this lodge, which he advised was a better choice).

26/09/18

Pousada Porto Jofre

27/09/18

Pousada Porto Jofre

28/09/18

Pousada Porto Jofre

29/09/18

Pouso Alegre

30/09/17

Depart or continue to extension

30/09/18

Flight Cuiaba dep: 16:50 via Brasilia  to Belo Horizonte Arr: 22:00

30/09/18

Overnight at Linx Confins

01/10/18

Caraca Monastery (for maned wolf & birding)

02/10/18

Caraca Monastery

03/10/18

Caraca Monastery

04/10/18

Canastra National Park (further chances for maned wolf and anteaters)

05/10/18

Canastra National Park

06/10/18

Canastra National Park

07/10/18

Return flight  15:20 from Belo Horizonte via Sao Paolo and Schipol arriving home in Norwich at 13:40 on 8/10

 

 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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13/09/2018 Baia Das Pedras   I got very little sleep the night I arrived primarily because I had a major freakout when I tried to charge my phone. The European adapter that I had brought wit

The sun started to set and a myriad of colours played out in the evening sky, getting more and more intense with each minute that passed.    20180918_170507 Sunset by Jo Dale, on Flic

We got back to Baia das Pedras (I will call it BdP from here on in as did @Atdahl in his report) and enjoyed our lunch. I won't go into describing BdP too much as Alan did a great job of it in his rep

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kittykat23uk

13/09/2018 Baia Das Pedras

 

I got very little sleep the night I arrived primarily because I had a major freakout when I tried to charge my phone. The European adapter that I had brought with me did not fit the newer style of recessed sockets that were now in widespread use within Brazil. With everyone else coming from different countries, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to charge anything! Not a very auspicious start to the tour! It was by now about 2 AM and I managed to borrow an adapter from the hotel to charge my phone and obtained directions for a nearby electrical store that I hoped to stop at on the way to the charter flight. With that problem temporarily solved, I went to bed, but the morning preparations for the kitchen were soon underway and it was too noisy to get any decent amount of sleep.

 

I met up with Jane, Christa and Herbert over breakfast and clued them in on my problem. We were thankfully able to stop off at the recommended store and I was quickly able to obtain the correct adapter, just as well because several of the lodges we subsequently stayed in used these newer recessed sockets and I would have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle if we hadn’t made this unscheduled stop.

 

As we had arranged for a private charter we headed straight to the hangar where we met up with our English-speaking guide Manoela who would be with us for our time at Baia Das Pedras. We were soon on our way to the remote southern Pantanal.

 

We chose Baia Das Pedras as it was recommended by Jon Hall at mammalwatching.com as they regularly host the Giant Armadillo Project (GAP).  The team spend 15 days per month during the dry season at Baia Das Pedras tracking the giant armadillos. The project currently has seven individuals that they are actively monitoring.

 

Jon had been lucky enough to track a female giant armadillo called Isabelle. We knew the researchers would be on site when we were staying there and I had contacted both them and Rita, the owner of the lodge, to express our interest in joining their activities. But we had no idea how fortuitous our timing would be!

 

As soon as we landed, Rita met us and told us the best news we could have hoped for, the team had already captured a Giant Armadillo and were currently operating on him to implant a tracker. We could drop our bags and go straight there! We couldn’t believe our luck! So after the briefest of stops we were on our way.

 

When we arrived, the team were still finishing up the operation. We were advised to keep back whilst they finished the most delicate part of the surgery but promised that we would then be able to approach and hopefully see the release.

 

Whilst we waited we were given a long talk by Gabriel Massocato, the Biologist. Gabriel has been participating in the Giant Armadillo Project since 2012. The project itself has been running since 2010. Giant Armadillos in particular have had very little study done on them owing to the fact that they are very elusive, live at very low densities and are therefore difficult to find, capture and study.

 

Giant armadillos like a habitat that is made up of flat land that is flooded in the rainy season dotted with little islands of trees and bushes that house termite mounds, termed campo de murundum. Illustrated here.

 

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P9130003 Giant Armadillo habitat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130008 Giant Armadillo researcher- Gabriel by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

This particular individual was  already known to the team as “Robert” . Robert is a male giant armadillo that the captured five years ago.  Robert, named after Rob Yordi, was one of the first males they managed to monitor. Last time he was captured by hand in the middle of the night by Gabriel, Danilo and Arnaud, the project leader, after they returned from capturing Isabelle. He lives about 20 km from the ranch and they caught him during one of his male walk-abouts. This  term walk-about describes when males travel far away from their home range to inspect female burrows. Robert was already and adult when he was first captured and so is probably around 13 years old. He had appeared a few times in camera traps throughout the years, but it had been long time since they had any evidence of him.
 

A male giant Armadillo will have a territory of around 70KM2 This can cover 6 to 7 different properties and overlap with 3-4 females, who have smaller territories of around 25KM2 . The night before we arrived, Robert was caught in another armadillo’s territory, a female individual by the name of “Tex” by chance. Gabriel was training one of the researchers, Amanda, in the use of telemetry. As they walked, guided by the signal, they stumbled upon a fresh burrow.

 

Gabriel believed that it was Tex inside the burrow and made Amanda check carefully that she was not mistaken. Since another armadillo, Mafalda, had disappeared they tried her signal, then another by the name of Emanuel. But neither of these animals seemed to be the owner of this new burrow.  

 

After trying all the animals they could think of, they rushed back to the ranch to get the trap. It was already late and dark when they installed the trap. The trap sends an automated signal when it is triggered. At 11:30 PM they got the signal- Robert was caught!. His tail has very distinctive marks on it, which means Gabriel recognized him instantly. The project team were ecstatic!  Finding Robert again for them is like suddenly finding an old friend who you’ve had no news from for years. The team cannot wait to follow Robert and see if his home range has changed, which females he now visits and so much more!

 

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P9130024 Look at the markings on the tail- this is how to identify individual armadillos by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

43417699120_5318c6b2e5_b.jpgP9130038 Robert has striking dark spots on his tail. by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130043 Scales by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Due to the anatomy of the armadillo, collaring is not feasible. They instead use two kinds of trackers, one, using VHF  is implanted internally, it has a max range of 300 m dependent on the terrain. Then another transmitter, using GPS is attached to the armoured shell on the outside. It is used to record points every 5 minutes from 6pm to 9am. This one will eventually be rubbed off after about 60-70 days’ use. We waited patiently as Robert was sewn up and were then invited to approach.

 

My research for this trip had not prepared me for the sheer majesty of this magnificent creature. Here was a huge, prehistoric beast with scimitar claws to rival any of Spielberg’s wildest imaginings! The third foreclaws of the giant armadillo can reach over 20 cm (7.9 in)!

 

45180663852_65451e0f0c_b.jpgP9130031 Measuring those huge claws! by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

43417706370_4bea79caba_b.jpgP9130034 Measurements all done, now to wake him up! by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Of course Giant Armadillos  are extremely powerful diggers and their very large excavations are easily recognised. On average, openings are 35 cm (13.8 in) in diameter. These holes are often the only evidence of the species’ presence in an area.

 

Giant armadillos are ecosystem engineers; on average, a giant armadillo spends three nights in a burrow before digging a new one. By doing so, they alter their physical surroundings and constantly create new habitats. The GAP team has analyzed over 55,000 images from camera traps confirming at least 57 vertebrate species use these burrows as a thermal refuge, shelter against predators, and as a feeding ground. Many of these also rest in the soft sand mound in front of the burrow. This rarely seen creature may play a crucial role in the lives of many of the most popular species in the South American landscape.

 

43417766400_1ccf702761_b.jpgP9130014 Gabriel shows us a Giant Armadillo hole by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

We watched as the external transmitter was attached, first a hole is drilled in the shell, it doesn’t hurt the armadillo at all, then the transmitter is fixed in pace with a sturdy bolt. The team used to track the armadillos at night, but they don’t tend to do that anymore, preferring to save the battery power and catch them in their burrows.

 

Measurements and blood samples are taken. In addition to learning more about armadillo behavior, the GAP is looking at the species through the lens of epidemiology and Danilo Kluyber, the Project’s lead Veterinarian, is particularly interested in “zoonoses,” diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

 

Armadillos have slow metabolisms and low body temperatures, which may make them ideal carriers of diseases like Chagas disease, Leishmaniasis, Hansen’s disease, Leprosy and Paracoccidiomycosis. Kluyber’s work is geared toward gaining a better understanding of the overlaps between conservation and human health. Epidemiologists must consider numerous factors in their research – a disease may be compounded and influenced in subtle ways by elements as basic as location, the presence of other species, and much more – so in addition to giant armadillos, the GAP study includes six-banded, nine-banded, and southern naked-tailed armadillos along with giant anteaters and southern tamanduas. With perseverance and a bit of luck, Kluyber could make a discovery that benefits not just armadillos but other wildlife and humans as well.

 

No reliable information is available on the reproduction of Giant Armadillos. However, the Giant Armadillo Project recorded the first evidence of mating and birth. Their observations showed that the gestation period last 5 months and only one young is born every three years, with the young one staying with the mum for 2 years. The project has observed two youngsters who sadly died, one was predated by a puma, the other was killed by a rival male Giant Armadillo. Isabelle has a young with her this year.

 

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20180913_114004 Two Handsome Guys by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Once Robert’s surgery was completed, he was given a reversal drug for the anaesthetic. It was getting extremely hot as the morning drew on towards midday. He was slow to come around. When he started to scrabble around in his box the team felt it was time to move him to his burrow in preparation for release.

 

We waited…. And waited… it was really getting hot. Robert was not making enough of an effort to move and the team felt he wasn’t yet ready for release. So back the box went to the shade. We waited some more, it was getting on towards lunchtime and we were really going to be late back..  We had a discussion with the research team, they felt that he could be a while and it might be better for us to go back to the lodge for lunch and they would radio us if there was any change.

 

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P9130039 Scales by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130051 Wakey Wakey Robert! by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130057 Sleepy boy, didn't want to go back to his burrow! by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Reluctantly we agreed and were just getting back on the vehicle when Gabriel waved us back over, Robert was ready to go! The box was brought back down to his burrow. We waited, he peered out, and then turned the other way! Come on Robert! Get with the programme! He scrabbled around, and with a bit of gentle encouragement from the team he finally slid down into his hole.

 

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P9130063 "Just leave me to doze please!" by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

We all let out a cheer, but that wasn’t the last we saw of him. For the next ten minutes he undertook a bit of housekeeping, excavating his burrow to his liking before finally sealing the entrance with a barrier of sand. It was a fantastic start to our safari and an opportune time to head back for a spot of lunch.

 

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Robert eventually got the idea and practically fell into his burrow. Then he started digging. by Jo Dale, on Flickr


 

 

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SafariChick

Well, Jo you certainly remembered a lot more than I did and I know you took better notes!  I only remember a few little details not mentioned.  The fellow Robert was named after, who Jo mentioned,  Rob Yordi, is the zoological director of SeaWorld/Busch Gardens in Florida and he was with the project when they found Robert the first time. Busch Gardens supports the project financially.  Also, Giant Armadillos are rarely seen, and when they are it is normally only late at night. Over the years the project has been running, it has identified just 29 individuals, and our guide, who's been guiding there for years, had only ever seen one before - in a similar situation to this with the project researchers - so we felt very very lucky to have gotten to spend a whole morning with one.  I will add a few photos:


Flying over the Pantanal in our charter plane before landing at Baia das Pedras:

 

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Robert's Recovery Box:

 

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Robert's claw was almost as big as Gabriel's hand!

 

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Robert and I: (note, we were supposed to wear gloves before touching him but they forgot to mention that to me before I posed with him for my photo - so that's why I am the only one not wearing any - oops!)

 

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Sleepy Boy:

 

45046706934_0bd4e81bd2_c.jpg

 

All in all, quite a spectacular start to our Pantanal journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let´s see if Pousada San Francisco is worth the effort. Thinking of going there by myself in July. :) 

Also curious about Canastra. 

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19 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

but being cost-conscious we had little choice but to take on this role ourselves

 

Sounds like you are of my kind! Was also all the reservations done directly with service providers? I would of course be very tempted to ask about how much the budget for Northern Pantanal part of this trip was ... but by now I know financial questions are sensitive.

 

Looking forward to read each and every detail, and I am assured there will be plenty of those. BTW are you planning already for 2020 :D?!

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Kitsafari

So awesome and so fantastic to spend so much time with the armadillo - even if he was knocked out most of the time. 

Really appreciate all the details - they were very informative, Jo. So enjoyed the video of him house cleaning too.

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kittykat23uk

Well I am happy to share the spreadsheet with all the costs detailed but of course no guarantee that prices won't change. 

 

For the south we booked direct  with the lodges and we booked the transfers through a recommendation from, iirc, baia das pedras.  

 

For the north I used Julio, pantanal trackers, our guide from 2009. He booked our accommodation, did all the driving etc. The full works.

 

For canastra and Caraça I had approached a recommended bird guide and hoped to work directly with him but in the end he asked me to work through his booking agent, Neblina Forest. It added a bit to the cost that I was originally quoted but c'est la vie! 

 

ETA: we booked all our flights and the nights at the airport hotels separately as well.

 

I should also say, don't expect the rest of the report to be so detailed, I just wanted to showcase the Giant Armadillo Project. :)

 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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michael-ibk

A great start to your trip and this report, how lucky to see this fascinating animal. Reminds me a bit of an Ankylosaurus. (Yes, huge Dino nerd here.)

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SafariChick

We got back to Baia das Pedras (I will call it BdP from here on in as did @Atdahl in his report) and enjoyed our lunch. I won't go into describing BdP too much as Alan did a great job of it in his report 

but I will say the atmosphere there was just so homey and we had some very enjoyable discussions around the table, especially at dinner lingering over wine.  Rita's husband, Carlos, was away at the time we stayed, but her son joined us for meals in addition to Rita. Rita claimed not to really speak English so she rarely spoke but her son spoke English well. In reality we think Rita understood every word, and when she did speak, often on a game drive (she was always the driver), when she would point out a bird or animal, it would be in very good English!

 

Manoela our guide was very good company, of course very knowledgable about the wildlife and also helped me with some technical issues figuring out where the videos  I was taking were living on the memory card of my new camera.  The only other person staying there besides the four of us was a young French film director and journalist who was writing a story about BdP (or the Pantanal in general? I can't quite recall - must have been the wine!)  He was also fun company.  Here are some photos of some blue-crowned Parakeets around BdP:

 

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We had had a very late lunch after the whole adventure with Robert, and it gets dark early at that time of year, so Manoela decided we should simply do a walk around the area in the afternoon to get acquainted with what it was like.  Rita's son also accompanied us. It was a very scenic area with flowering trees all around. The fazendas we stayed at are all working farms in addition to hosting their wildlife activities. The wildlife and livestock seemed to co-exist peacefully from what I could see. 

 

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It was getting to be dusk when suddenly just off the path where we were walking, what should appear? Our first Giant Anteater!

 

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And here's a short video. Sorry for a bit of shakiness.

 

 

They are the coolest creatures! After it walked off into the trees, we continued on our stroll. We were just feeling on top of the world - how lucky were we to have seen both Giant Armadillo and Giant Anteater up close on our first day?!  We continued to a lake where there were two little boats and it was suggested we might want to go out on the water. I wasn't sure at first, but everyone else seemed keen so I decided to go ahead and join and I am glad I did. It was very peaceful and lovely. Here's a photo with Manoela at the back,  @kittykat23uk in the middle and @Botswanadreams in the front in their boat.  

 

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Afterwards, we returned to the lodge and found waiting a delicious pitcher of Caipirinhas. All in all, it was an excellent first day. 

Edited by SafariChick
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kittykat23uk

Not much to add to the afternoon's activities, Jane has summed it up very well. Only things left to say were that the food was easily the best we had all trip, and the wine was all the more delicious for being included in the package (the only lodge that offered this). 

 

The delights continued with our first Giant Anteater- a fantastic beast if ever there were one! I was so ecstatic to finally see one, Manoela did a great job of helping us get close, by checking the wind direction. Little did I know then how many we would encounter on our tour! The boat trip itself was quite pleasant, but could have been more productive had we come prepared with spotlights. Speaking of which, it seems we were not offered night drivves, unlike @Atdahl though considering the lack of sleep, I don't know if I would have stayed awake for it even if we had... who am I kidding? Of course I would have! :D

 

Well I didn't take too many good shots that afternoon, better opportunities presented themselves in the following days. But here's a few of the anteater and a few other bits. 

 

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P9130084 Our first sighting of Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130121 Our first sighting of Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130187 Our first sighting of Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130226 Our first sighting of Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130007 Sunset by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130250 Frog by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9130261 Cane Toad by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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What an incredible first couple of days @kittykat23uk, @SafariChick, and @Botswanadreams.

 

That Giant Armadillo is amazing and gives us a reason to go back some day (as if we needed another reason).

 

Regarding night drives at BdP, I only knew they offered them because it was mentioned on their website and we asked in advance.  It did make for a long day and while we really didn't see anything too unusual, you just never know.  Plus, the fresh air helped clear the head after a few too many drinks :).

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SafariChick

On day 2, we went out for our first proper game drive around 7 a.m. There were many feral pigs as well as peccaries around BdP but the pigs hung around close to the lodge enjoying the bounty of fruit that fell from the trees there. We learned to tell the difference at a distance: the feral pigs have tails and the peccaries don't. Here are some feral pigs with cute little piglets right in front of BdP:

 

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There was a jaiburu stork nest on the property with some young ones testing out their wings. I found it hard to photograph their faces well, but maybe @kittykat23uk has some better face shots.

 

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About 15 minutes later, we came upon some coati. I had seen them before in Costa Rica but these were closer views and for longer. Really enjoyed watching these cute little guys (gals?)

 

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of course we saw many birds, and I got more into trying to photograph birds on this trip with my new camera than I've been before, but Jo is the birder and better photog, so I'm sure she will have more to show!

 

Whistling Heron:

 

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Wattled Jacana:

 

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Seriema

 

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And some beautiful and amusing Hyacinth Macaws

 

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And we were lucky to encounter some more mammals as well on this morning drive:

 

I fell in love with Capbara and I am afraid I took way too many photos of these cuties. I will try to restrain myself from posting every one!

 

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and I think this was our first sighting of peccaries on the trip, though there would be several:

 

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Finally, there were some lovely flowering trees all around, including this pink-flowered Ipe tree that really added to the scenic beauty of this place:

 

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These were some of the highlights of the morning drive for me. 

 

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kittykat23uk

As you may be able to tell, the weather had turned and we had a bit of a damp squib of a morning drive. Thankfully the wildlife we taking full advantage of the cooler weather, quite a difference from the previous day's 40c heat!

 

I don't think some of the birdlife was too impressed with the weather, these poor Guira Cuckoos were busily trying to dry out:

 

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P9140287 Guira Cuckoo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140293 Guira Cuckoo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

The Coatis were the sighting of the morning for me, so delightful with their antics. They come in many different shades, some, like this one are quite dark.

 

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P9140331 South American Coati by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Others are blonde:

 

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P9140386 South American Coati by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140387 South American Coati by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140459 South American Coati by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

The whistling heron could apply for a job at the ministry of silly walks! Probably got lessons from John Cleese? 

 

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P9140471 Whistling Heron by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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Buff-necked Ibis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Peccaries were also in evidence as mentioned by Jane:

 

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P9140539 White-lipped Peccary by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

Around the lake, herds of the world's biggest rodents,  capybaras, sat seemingly waiting for the weather to improve. 

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P9140569 Capybara by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

44544170084_3ecf744bd3_b.jpgP9140575 Capybara by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140590 Capybara by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140643 Capybara by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Manoela spotted a female black howler monkey with a little baby. They were quite high up in the trees and the baby was obscured somewhat. 

 

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P9140649 Female & Baby Black Howler Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140665 Limpkin by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We saw several red-winged tinamous,  the guides always seemed to get excited about these dumpy little birds.

 

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P9140687 Red-winged Tinnamou by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We saw a lot of birdlife around the lake, Roseate Spoonbills, back collared hawk, herons, Jabirus, egrets and stilts. The mucky light didn't really help with the photos though.

 

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P9140708 Black-collared Hawk by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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OI000090 Roseate Spoonbills by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140787 Jabiru, Cocoi Heron, Roseate Spoonbill , black-necked stilt by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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OI000087 Jabiru by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140803 Jabiru, Cocoi Heron, Roseate Spoonbill , black-necked stilt by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20180915_135053 Blossoming Tree by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140942 South American Coati by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140963 South American Coati by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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kittykat23uk

No trip to the Pantanal is complete without seeing the beautiful Hyacinth Macaws. 

 

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P9141030  Hyacinth Macaw by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Nesting female

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P9141054  Hyacinth Macaws by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141070  Hyacinth Macaw by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141078  Hyacinth Macaw by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Getting frisky

 

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P9141165  Hyacinth Macaws by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141180  Hyacinth Macaws by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

And some mutual preening to cement the bond

 

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P9141197 Hyacinth Macaws by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I was also hoping to see some other species too, and I wasn't disappointed:

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P9141283 Blue and Yellow Macaws by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141296 Great Kiskadee by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

After that it was back to the lodge for another delicious meal. There was some down time after lunch, but not being very good at sitting around I had a wander around the grounds of the lodge. Birdlife abounds in the local surroundings. 

 

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P9141411 Palm Tanager by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141431 Yellow-chevroned Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141465 Yellow-chevroned Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141478 Green-barred Woodpecker by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141501 Chopi Blackbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141546 Red-billed Scythbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141565 Blue-crowned Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141570 Blue-crowned Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

 

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kittykat23uk

We set out again  around 1530. Our first sighting were some delightful burrowing owls. 

 

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P9141672 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141717 American Kestrel by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141759 Red-legged Seriema by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141777 Red-legged Seriema by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We were covering a drier part of the ranch, away from the lakes. Here were countless armadillo holes and I was hopeful we might see their owners. I wasn't disappointed as it wasn't long before we had our first sighting of the commonest armadillos in the area, the six-banded or yellow armadillo! We were able to approach quite close to this little cutie.

 

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P9141909  Six-banded Armadillo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9141966  Six-banded Armadillo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Manoela tried her best to coax the armadillo to stand up on his hind feed by deliberately allowing him (or her) to catch her scent once we were in a good position for a photo. It didn't quite stand all the way up, but this was close enough! 

 

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P9142034 Six-banded Armadillo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Another lifer and another mammal off my list of Brazil's most wanted! It was only day 2! This was going very well! 

 

Things were not going quite so well for poor Kermit here, despite trying his best to avoid being dinner! It seemed to be working too for a while as spreading his substantial back legs was making him quite a difficult meal to swallow and this Guira Cuckoo took quite some time to get the right angle, but eventually swallowed poor Kermit whole! 

 

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P9142069 Guira Cuckoo with froggy dinner by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142086 Guira Cuckoo with froggy dinner by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

As we continued our way around we encountered more burrowing owls. 

 

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P9142222 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142231 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

As the day wore one, the crepuscular mammals started to appear. Crab-eating foxes seemingly more common in the south were often to be seen in pairs. These little canids are not actually closely related to foxes and are the only representative species of the genus Cerdocyon. The name comes from the combination of the Greek kerdo (meaning fox) and cyon (dog) referring to the dog-and fox-like characteristics of this animal.

 

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P9142267 Crab-eating Fox by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142316 Crab-eating Fox by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142320 Crab-eating Fox by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142344 White-rumped Monjita by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

ETA my photos seem to have got mixed up, I missed out the caiman:

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P9140139 Yacare Caiman by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9140091 Yacare Caiman by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142363 Roadside Hawk by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9142393 Crab-eating Fox by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

An impressive marsh deer stag was one of our final sightings before we headed back to the lodge for dinner.

 

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P9142425 Marsh Deer by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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SafariChick

It was very cool to see a second kind of armadillo within two days.  I'll just add one more photo:

 

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Later we came upon a caiman out of water. Manoela said it was probably moving between bodies of water, which they do fairly frequently. I found it surprising as it seemed rather far from any water. It stayed completely still while we watched it. Manoela said it was ok to approach it more closely to get photos, and we slowly got closer and closer ....

 

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Getting close to the caiman:

 

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Atravelynn

Exciting start to the trip with Robert and the Giant Anteater.  What luck you were there for Robert's release. The caiman had to feel special with all the attention.  Great itinerary!

 

I'll be anticipating big things from the trip!

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kittykat23uk

15 September 2018

 

We took a drive in the morning. Our first sighting was one of my favourite birds, a Toco Toucan feeding in low bushes on some berries:

 

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P9152533 Toco Toucan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Some howler monkeys were spotted in a stand of trees. These were surrounded by some low, spiky vegetation. Once we managed to pick our way through that prickly obstacle our guides did a great job of relocating the monkeys and soon we were craning our necks to view them. 

 

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P9152563 Black Howler Monkey (Male) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152597 Black Howler Monkey (Male) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152602 Black Howler Monkey (Male) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152644 Black Howler Monkey (Female) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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OI000145 Black Howler Monkey Female by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Moving on, we passed another Jabiru nest

 

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P9152703 Jabiru by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152739 Turquoise-fronted Amazon (Blue-fronted parrot) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152755 Pampas Deer by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We took a walk around one of the lakes. There were a few caiman and some nice birds

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P9152761 Yacare Caiman by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152774 Grey-necked wood Rail by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152803 Turquoise-fronted Amazon (Blue-fronted parrot) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152815  Rufescent Tiger Heron by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152851 Yacare Caiman by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A herd of Pantanal cattle came down to drink. They may seem skinny but they are perfectly healthy:

 

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P9150174 Cows by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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a cow by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150179 Cows by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A Southern Lapwing was sitting tight as the cows moved back and forth. Only when one cow got too close for comfort did we finally see the reason for sitting tight. 

 

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P9152870 Southern Lapwing protecting its nest by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152877 Southern Lapwing protecting its nest by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150198 Southern Lapwing eggs by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

It pays to watch your step around the caiman:

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P9150206 Caiman Poop by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

The boggy ground was carpeted with little flowering plants, a chance for a spot of macro:

 

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Flowers by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152885 Flowers by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152903 Pampas Deer by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We then took a sandy track in some woodland. I was delighted to spot these Blue-crowned Trogons. First the female and then the Male posed nicely for us.

 

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P9152950 Blue-crowned Trogon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152957 Blue-crowned Trogon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9152996 Blue-crowned Trogon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153018 Blue-crowned Trogon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153032 Blue-crowned Trogon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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kittykat23uk

We arrived back around 11:00. I spent a bit of time photographing the birds before lunch. 

 

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P9153050 Crested Oropendola by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153057 Crested Oropendola by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Hummingbirds were a challenge to photograph, But I persevered for a while.

 

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P9153176 Gilded Sapphire Hummingbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153205 Gilded Sapphire Hummingbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153259 Gilded Sapphire Hummingbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153261 Gilded Sapphire Hummingbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9153295 Gilded Sapphire Hummingbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

After lunch I went for a little wander, spotting a Greater Rhea

 

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P9150044 Greater Rhea by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150050 Greater Rhea by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150055 Greater Rhea by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150061 Cattle Tyrant by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150078 Buff-necked Ibis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150085 Blossoming Tree by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150095 Blossoming Tree by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150110 Purplish Jay by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150133 Rufous Hornero by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150144 White-tipped Dove by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A raucous screeching at the far end of the Lodge complex betrayed the presence of our third species of macaw, the spectacular Red and Green Macaw the second macaw lifer for me! 

 

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P9150177 Red and Green Macaw by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150232 Red and Green Macaw by Jo Dale, on Flickr 

 

A stunning American Kestrel was feeding on a rather impressive looking bug!

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P9150277 American Kestrel by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150312 Chaco Chachalaca by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150327 Chaco Chachalaca by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150340 Blue-fronted Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

@BigBaldIan's Favourite bird:

 

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P9150388 Chalk-browed Mockingbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150408 Rufous-bellied Thrush by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Did you know that the Rufous-bellied Thrush is the national bird of Brazil? It is one of the most common birds across much of southeastern Brazil, and is known there under the name sabiá-laranjeira .  It was famously referred to in the well-known first strophe of the Brazilian nationalist poem Canção do exílio. The rufous-bellied thrush has been the state bird of São Paulo since 1966, and the national bird of Brazil since 2002. It is highly regarded in Brazil, where its song is often heard on afternoons, bringing joy to many after a hard day of work. Because of this, it is often seen as "the spirit of the Brazilian commoner"- source Wikipedia.

 

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P9150416 Rufous-bellied Thrush by Jo Dale, on Flickr


 

 

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kittykat23uk

We were in for a treat on our afternoon drive. Firstly the White-headed Marsh Tyrant posed nicely:

 

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P9150435 White-headed Marsh Tyrant by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150446 White-headed Marsh Tyrant by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150497 White-faced ibis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A pair of white woodpeckers hunting for ants

 

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P9150517 White Woodpecker by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150524 White Woodpecker by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

And then! Another Giant Anteater in much nicer light than the last one. We were able to approach very close. Firstly he/she was backlit:

 

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P9150551 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150553 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150557 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150595 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Such a handsome beast! 

45238741342_bb357de1cf_b.jpgP9150635 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150644 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

With patience we were able to get to a position where it was more front lit and the sun was lower in the sky too:

 

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P9150662 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150669 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150676 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150696 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150716 Giant Anteater by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We then spent a lot if time trying to sneak up on a sunbittern to try and get the perfect shot of the bird in flight. I totally failed in this endeavour! 

 

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P9150735 Sunbittern by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150784 Sunbittern by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

More burrowing owls, always little charmers, were next:

 

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P9150798 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150820 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150822 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150832 Burrowing Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Around a lake, we saw a range of waterbirds, including egrets, Maguari Storks and Ibises. 

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P9150896 Waterbirds by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

As the sun went down we saw an Undulated Tinamou

 

44376417535_7140989201_b.jpgP9150897 Undulated Tinamou by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We did some spotlighting around the lake before heading back to the ranch. Birds were in evidence including nightjars and Potoos

 

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P9150916 Little Nightjar by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150923 Little Nightjar by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P9150929 Little Nightjar by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

This one looks like some kind of muppet with it's mad staring eyes! 

45288366661_a25e894f4d_z.jpgP9150951  Common Potoo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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Common Potoo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Another lifer mammal was our last sighting of the day, a crab-eating raccoon. Unfortunately he was quite distant and before those of us with cameras could sneak up on it, it was spooked by Herbert who for some reason had casually strode off ahead of the rest of us right towards the raccoon. I'm not sure if he was just hoping to get closer or if he didn't realise it was there, though I desperately tried to call him back, either way I only managed a blurry record shot of it shooting off back into the reeds! Sadly it was the only one we saw the whole trip.. 

 

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P9151028 Crab-eating Raccoon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

Here's a link to my bird list from BDP: https://ebird.org/edit/checklist?subID=S50337569 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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What a spectacular range of wildlife you have seen already.

Wonderful Hyacinth Macaws, lovely armadillos, superb birdlife generally.

 

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13 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

Glad to have you all following along.

 

It would be much better if we could follow you around on the grounds, but hey, following your trip report is the second best thing :)

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