Brazil Travel Diary - p 2 of 5

   Pied-Lapwing.jpg (262488 bytes)

3 Sept 2012
How do you photograph birds from a motorboat?   That was our challenge.  In the end, Duncan and I hand-held our bulky 500mm telephoto lenses and hoped for the best.  With an ISO of 400 or higher, and a shutter speed of not more than 1/800", it somehow worked.
    Fortunately, many birds were nonchalant at the approach of a big, noisy motorboat.  When possible Joao would turn off the motor.  As the boat bobbed up and down in the water, we photographed this handsome Pied Lapwing, who was a-steppin' lively along the shore.

I've included this Buff-necked Ibis for no other reason than the fact that large birds ambling slowly along the beach were easy to photograph.    
Buff-necked-Ibis-Pant.jpg (379506 bytes)


In most of North America, we have one species of kingfisher, the Belted.  The Pantanal boasts five different species:  Ringed; Amazon; Green; Green & Rufous; and American Pygmy Kingfisher.   The latter two are seldom seen, however.  We took lots of photos of Green Kingfisher, such as this female in late afternoon, because the Green was by far the most confiding.  Often it continued to scan the waters below for a fish even as we came near in our motorboat. Green-Kfisher-1.jpg (251103 bytes)
Osprey.jpg (227792 bytes)


If a river is teeming with fish, an Osprey is bound to show up and enjoy the feast.  The ones found in the Pantanal are apparently migrants from North America.  They do not breed here.
4 Sept 2012
Another full day on the river.  Our boat has a canopy that provides some protection from the sun, especially during the scorching mid-day hours.  Photography is possible only early in the day or late.  Roadside Hawk obliged us with a pose before the sun's glare became too intense.
Roadside-Hawk.jpg (218128 bytes)
Anhinga.jpg (324115 bytes) We really wanted an action shot of Anhinga.  Say, one that had stabbed a fish and was ready to toss it into the air, then catch and swallow it.
   But late in the day I settled for the classical, drying-the-wings pose that Anhingas, like their relatives the cormorants, must frequently strike.


Behind every bird, it seems, there's a story.  This Black-capped Donocobius, about the size of our Northern Cardinal, is a taxonomic enigma.  At times thought to be related to thrushes, mockingbirds, or wrens, it now seems most closely related to Old World grassbirds in the obscure family Locustellidae.  Unaware of the headache it give taxonomists, the donocobius gleans insects from water hyacinth and other plants along the river's edge.


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Blk-Cap-Donocobius.jpg (212627 bytes)