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Pantanal 2019 & 2020


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jeremie

I want to share some pictures from two trips we had in September 2019 and September 2020 in the Brazilian Pantanal.

I don't think it really need to detail the places where we stayed, as they were described in detail by many different trip reports on ST before.

 

We traveled for a week in september 2020 to Southern Pantanal (Mato Grosso do Sul) and came back to the fantastic Fazenda Barranco Alto, and discovered Fazenda Baia das Pedras. Both places are located in the Nhecolandia region of Southern Pantanal, probably the most beautiful area of the largets swamp on earth, covered by thousands of fresh water and salty lakes in the basin of the Taquiri and Negro rivers.

 

We first went to FBA in 2015 where we had an amazing trip and really wanted to come back there. We tried to combine the place with Baia das Pedras. Contrary to FBA, Baia das Pedras is not located on the bank of a river, but on the edge of a Vazante or seasonal river/swamp that connects downstream with the Negro River. There are currently two projects led at Baia das Pedras: the Anta project where scientists trap and monitor tapir with radio-collars, and the famous Giant Armadillo project. Researchers were not at the Fazenda when we went there, but our local guide showed us the traps of the anta and one active giant armadillo burrow. The lodge also has a very nice Ipad with lots of materials of from camera traps located on the burrow, so we technically did see the Tatu Canastra, but not on live! Interesting to understand that many mammals use the burrows to live: ocelots, foxes, coatis, southern tamandua, ane even pumas! The giant armadillo is playing a crucial role on the ecosystm and offers shelter to many animals from the Pantanal ecosystem.

 

We had a fantastic time at Baia das Pedras photographically speaking. If we did not see the giant armadillo, we saw in 3 nights, a couple of tapirs, dozens of pampa deers and brocket deers, 4 different marsh deers, a couple of giant anteaters, 1 maned wolf, dozens of hyancinth, blue and yellow, and red and green macaws (not need to go far from the lodge, just nesting or resting inside the garden).

We saw one tayra twice, puma and ocelots footprints, the hundreds of caimans, capibaras and white lipped pecaríes daily and few armadillos.

The most promising area is the Vazante, and then the Baia areas to the Eats of the farm.

 

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jeremie

We then went to Fazenda Barranco Alto for 3 nights after a long 3 hours amazing drive through the heart of the Nhecolandia region. Expect to spot many more pampa deers, brocket deers and capybaras along the road. We did not see any tapir of giant anteaters, but they are common to see there, especially when weather is cooler, which is much better for them.

 

Fazenda Barranco Alto is probably my best place in Pantanal. Service is outstanding, guiding is almost private and very profesional. Food is great and the owners take lunch with the clients at the lodge to guarantee the best service. Sundowners in lovely locations are included in every single afternoon activities. Caipirinhas are included and served for clients at the way back of the afternoon activities.

The farm is located on the bank of the Rio Negro, where more and more jaguars are seen the last years. They were indeed seen at least weekly in 2019, and some guest indeed saw 2 cats mating on our last morning on the river.

This location offers maybe a most diverse range of activities for guests as a comparison with the excellent Baia das Pedras: horse riding, game drive, walks, canoe and boat on the river. 

 

We tried to invest a lot of time on the river, both boat and canoe options are great to enjoy amazing and intimate experiences with wildlife along the river. Expect to spot skimmers and terns nesting on the banks of the river, many black faced curassow, white lipped pecaríes, capibaras, caimans and giant otters. Giant otters densities in the Rio Negro - Aquidauana rivers are the highest in the world, probably due to large number of oxbow and Baia lakes around the main shallow rivers. If jaguars and tapirs are not uncommon, neotropical otters are probably the real stars from FBA.

 

In mainland, a wonderful mosaique of baias and cerrado dry forests are home from tapirs, huge groups of white-lipped pecaries, pampa deers, brocket deers, american rheas. activity is really interesting even very close to the lodge with rheas, pampa deers and pecaries living very closeby. Giant anteaters are very easy to spot at FBA and much more common than in Northern Pantanal, where the majority of the land is flooded during the rains. 

 

We did see 2 different tapirs, many pampa deers, had outstanding sightings of neotropical otters (even one killed and eaten by a yacare caiman), red-footed turtoise, coatis, two groups of giant otters fighting.. If we missed the jaguar, we had an extraordinary night sighting of a shy puma. It was a very nice sighting on a baia far away from the lodge, with capibara alert calls in the middle in the night. We enjoyed it!260598260__DSC2924copia.jpg.3f0c2d7edd0a6366b6d6e69ab1c08be6.jpg1041935091_DJI_0489copia.jpg.d1798aa755afd069fe031e77b21d7179.jpg_DSC3229.jpg.c92e0cd9ed9db31aed909c24eba79d6d.jpgDJI_0535.jpg.9e8b3ce07257bbf1f20485bb41f74cd5.jpg197540600__DSC3683copia.jpg.7a62aef5fbd1715f7f640454fa01b510.jpgDJI_0520.jpg.9cbccde063c2c245fe1ef55e62e10658.jpg74184033_10156885917148337_1774890845615423488_o.jpg.f591bac0821f8bc0f95c9d334e518a48.jpg797614423__DSC3671copia.jpg.f0e085fca8d32f2b3d42a7a0d1febef7.jpg1121529505__DSC3212copia.jpg.88000ec8dd454c635505eaf3c3072bcd.jpgDJI_0522.jpg.6b9054f2d347c11d9ccf3415aebf5cad.jpg1041935091_DJI_0489copia.jpg.d1798aa755afd069fe031e77b21d7179.jpg

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Nice trip and pictures. Thanks for sharing.

 

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jeremie

I come back to Baia das Pedras with more pictures.

 

One highlight of the place is the Jabiru nest located just above the goat house 200 meters away from the Fazenda.

 

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Edited by jeremie
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jeremie

Game drives and horse riding are the main activities at Baia das Pedras, but canoes are also available to paddle in the Vazante. Another great activity was to do a short walk around the fazenda to find birds, especially ibis, flickr and macaws.

 

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Edited by jeremie
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mtanenbaum

Thanks for sharing! Beautiful photos--I especially like the otters!

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ElenaH

Amazing photos, @jeremie ! Some of them have post-processing blur-gradient added but some were taken really from a low angle.  You must have been out of the vehicle? I wonder that animals didn't run away... 

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LarsS

Excellent photos @jeremie! What a great wildlife sightings you had. I was in the northern part of pantanal last year, but start to believe we did it all wrong. This looks like a much better trip with so much variety of animals. How did you explore the area, by car, boat and on foot? Awesome to see baby anteater and capibara, but also amazed by the tapir, armadillo and wolf. I believe I might have to retry the pantanal in a few years.

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jeremie
17 hours ago, mtanenbaum said:

Thanks for sharing! Beautiful photos--I especially like the otters!

 

Thanks a lot @mtanenbaum! You should definitely visit Southern Pantanal and Fazenda Barranco Alto. In 2015 we spotted a female netropical otter with two calves playing 2 meters away from our kayak, and this year many of them, including one feeding below our canoe! Giant otters would definitely be on the menu too! We saw them hunting in the Baia just outside the owner's house, and in the main river.

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jeremie
12 hours ago, ElenaH said:

Amazing photos, @jeremie ! Some of them have post-processing blur-gradient added but some were taken really from a low angle.  You must have been out of the vehicle? I wonder that animals didn't run away... 

 

@ElenaHThank you very much! The good thing with Baia das Pedras and Fazenda Barranco Alto is that you can precisely go out of the vehicle. Some of these pictures (especially bird) were taken during walks too. We just went back from a week trip in Porto Jofre, by boat. This low angle effect with the blurry foreground in this case cannot be done, but there are plenty of oportunities of low angle shot when animals are located on the clay cliffs 2 meters over the water. I would say that both options are very cool. I also went out of the vehicle in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park and got the my best pictures ever from there.

 

I use a classic edition on ACR, then Nik Collections Color Effects Pro. I very little use focusing or blurring functions of Photoshop.

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jeremie
8 hours ago, LarsS said:

Excellent photos @jeremie! What a great wildlife sightings you had. I was in the northern part of pantanal last year, but start to believe we did it all wrong. This looks like a much better trip with so much variety of animals. How did you explore the area, by car, boat and on foot? Awesome to see baby anteater and capibara, but also amazed by the tapir, armadillo and wolf. I believe I might have to retry the pantanal in a few years.

 

I have to repeat that we were very lucky. It's very easy to spot pampa deers or giant ant eaters in Southern Pantanal, but it is very hard to spot anacondas, and nearly impossible to see maned wolves. Our guide at Fazenda Baia das Pedras told us we were only the thirst tourist group to see one at the Fazenda. Locals obviously see them more often, but it seems they are not as common in Pantanal than in the Cerrado biome.

 

We tried to vary a lot, between boat rides, game drives, canoe and walks. We usually try to avoid horse riding, we just tried once at Baia das Pedras after we had exepcional sightings. We thought that it was worth trying to do something different as all our main wildlife targets had been achieved.

You can perfectly do all these options in Northern Pantanal. Pouso Alegre or Piuval have exceptional wildlife. in 2015 we saw 12 tapirs in 3 days/3 nights there and 1 giant eater. Piuval is also exceptional and you have real chances to spot jaguars.

 

We went this year to Porto Jofrè in the middle of the Covid (and without the crowds), we did see 14 different jaguars almost always alone with the cats. We were the only foreign tourists on the river and there was a total of 3 boats in all the area to look for jaguars.

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janzin

Wonderful photographs @jeremie Next trip to the Pantanal I will definitely need to visit the southern section.

 

I hope you will be posting some photos from Porto Jofre--Pixana and Fenix! I saw your funny interchange on Facebook with the guy who insisted the jaguars were leopards :rolleyes:

 

I would also like to hear what you saw and heard of the devastating fires. 

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Zubbie15

Beautiful photos @jeremie. I was going to ask the same question at Janet, were the fires at all of an issue? 

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LarsS
10 hours ago, jeremie said:

 

I have to repeat that we were very lucky. It's very easy to spot pampa deers or giant ant eaters in Southern Pantanal, but it is very hard to spot anacondas, and nearly impossible to see maned wolves. Our guide at Fazenda Baia das Pedras told us we were only the thirst tourist group to see one at the Fazenda. Locals obviously see them more often, but it seems they are not as common in Pantanal than in the Cerrado biome.

 

We tried to vary a lot, between boat rides, game drives, canoe and walks. We usually try to avoid horse riding, we just tried once at Baia das Pedras after we had exepcional sightings. We thought that it was worth trying to do something different as all our main wildlife targets had been achieved.

You can perfectly do all these options in Northern Pantanal. Pouso Alegre or Piuval have exceptional wildlife. in 2015 we saw 12 tapirs in 3 days/3 nights there and 1 giant eater. Piuval is also exceptional and you have real chances to spot jaguars.

 

We went this year to Porto Jofrè in the middle of the Covid (and without the crowds), we did see 14 different jaguars almost always alone with the cats. We were the only foreign tourists on the river and there was a total of 3 boats in all the area to look for jaguars.

 

Thanks for your advice and good to know all the different activities. Great you had so many jaguar sightings and almost alone. I might have said 'I dit it all wrong', but I still do consider myself as lucky for the sightings we did have (and being able to visit the pantanal ofcourse). We had an anaconda on the way in, crossing the road, several jaguar sightings and a giant ant eater on the way out. Also, we weren't well prepared (focus was round trip Brazil) and were unlucky to visit it during a cold spell (we had no clothes for that). Still, your TR looks amazing and more like the experience I was hoping to find. So I've added your destinations to my bucket list :) 

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wilddog

Absolutely wonderful sightings and stunning photographs.

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xyz99

Fabulous photos, as always, thanks for sharing. Pantanal is still on our list, the trip we planned a couple years ago did not happen but I'm sure it will at some point. The anaconda is amazing!! How close where you? It's amazing to see how small the head is compared with the girth of the body.

 

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jeremie
On 10/26/2020 at 8:57 PM, janzin said:

Wonderful photographs @jeremie Next trip to the Pantanal I will definitely need to visit the southern section.

 

I hope you will be posting some photos from Porto Jofre--Pixana and Fenix! I saw your funny interchange on Facebook with the guy who insisted the jaguars were leopards :rolleyes:

 

I would also like to hear what you saw and heard of the devastating fires. 

 

@janzinPixana is indeed a leopard he told us!!!  So funny!!!! We were laughing a lot with André Moratelli. This guy knows so much hahaha.

Be sure I will post my views about the fires!

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jeremie
11 hours ago, xyz99 said:

Fabulous photos, as always, thanks for sharing. Pantanal is still on our list, the trip we planned a couple years ago did not happen but I'm sure it will at some point. The anaconda is amazing!! How close where you? It's amazing to see how small the head is compared with the girth of the body.

 

 

@xyz99We were actually very close, maybe 2-3 meters away. It was actually one female anaconda with 3 cubs. We first thought it was one male mating with one large female. But we eventually found this female was moving to the Vazante carrying here three cubs on the back. This behavior seems quite rare and our guides in Baia das Pedras, nor in Barranco Alto had heard about before our sighting. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
jeremie

Nhecolandia is a real haven, landscapes are impressive and the mosaic of forests with lakes and flood lands is very productive.

I tried to fly my Mavic II drone around the Fazenda Baia das Pedras to try to take advantage of the impressive colors and textures.

 

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jeremie

Here is a short series of the jabiru nest

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Edited by jeremie
mystake
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jeremie

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jeremie

Ups, it seems there is a problem, I posted 3 times the same message. I tried to delete or edit the previous posts but it seems it's too late...

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