Brazil Travel Diary - p 5 of 5

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9 Sept 2012
I really enjoyed setting up the camera with flash unit near Santa Tereza's hummingbird feeder.  Birds landed on a shady limb and then drank from the feeder.  In the shade of the terrace, I sat in a comfortable chair and got photos of some colorful birds like this Troupial Oriole.


This afternoon we left the Fazenda and drove back toward Pousada Piuval.  We will end our trip to the Pantanal where it began. 
    Along the Transpantaneira was a stretch of wetlands, rife with birds and caimans, or jacare in Portuguese.  We had Green and Plumbous Ibis, Snowy and Great Egrets, Rufescent Tiger-Herons, Savanna Hawk, and even a passing White Woodpecker.
    Cocoi Heron is the most abundant heron in the Pantanal.  In this photo, the Cocoi is too big in the frame, and the background is busy.  But I liked the shot of it with a big fish it had just caught and soon managed to swallow.


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This Capped Heron had a punk look as it fluffed its feathers. 


10 Sept 2012
On our last day in the Pantanal, we set out in the morning with Jean, guide and driver of our pickup truck.  He asks us what we especially want to see.  Coatis, we reply, and a Whistling Heron too.  Ten minutes later, there they are, as if on cue.  On our right is a family of half a dozen coatis messing around near a forested area to which they soon retreated.
   And on the left, two handsome Whistling Herons, whose ecological niche seems to be wet grasslands, not bodies of water.   




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Jean then leads us to a tree containing a Hyacinth Macaw nest hole, one of two active nests near the pousada.  Then he shows us a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.  Although detested by all songbirds, the owl was quite good-natured about posing for a shot or two.
The Pantanal has lots of noisy birds.  One, a sort of oversized duck, is aptly called the Southern Screamer.   Then you have those Rufous Horneros around the lodges who squawk from dawn to dusk.
    The last bird photographed was also making a racket.  This calling Red-ledgged Sereima's claim to fame is that it is one of two surviving member of phorusrhacids, the so-called "terror birds."  These carnivorous flightless birds were among the dominant predators in South America during the Miocene period. 

Epilogue:  I visited the Pantanal 20 years ago, before it was on the birders' & ecotourists' radar.   Now it has become "Africanized." Just as in Africa, the Pantanal has numerous ecolodges whose clients are mostly participants in birding and wildlife tours.
   But that is good.  The $$ we ecotourists put into the local economy helps insure the survival of Hycinth Macaws, jaguars, and even those otters.  All seem now more plentiful than ever.


Travel Diary

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