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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
South-east Brazil, 25/09 to 30/10 2005,
We spent 36 days in this region of Brazil, a very easy trip; we were lucky with the weather as we had only 3 days of rain. We camped all the time except 4 nights in hotels although the campings are not so cheap, but it is our pleasure and it was off season so we were alone all the time.
We flew from France (Bordeaux) to Sao Paulo on Iberia via Madrid, very good. We rent a good new car Fiat Meriva Flex (fuel and alcool) at Localiza but as their website was not efficient we booked trough www.bresil-decouverte.com a french website and it was much easier for us. We paid 29,50€ with insurance and 200km per day. The roads were good everywhere, exept a short potholed section.
Real was around 0,38€, we changed some euros at the airport, no problem
for payment with credit card in hotels, supermarkets, petrol stations…
If we consider the length of our stay we didn’t see too many species with a total of 394; but after our experience in Argentina where we made so many kilometers we decided to take our time and enjoy the places that we liked; we had a problem with our Ipod too as it didn’t take all the sounds that we had prepared on our computer when we updated it, so we had no sounds of nocturnals birds; anyway we are very satisfied with 63 endemics, particularly the Antwrens and Antbirds, and 152 lifers.
All the birds were nesting, and feeding at the end, so we think
that we should have gone 2 weeks earlier; we heard very few Tinamous; the weather
was dry for the season but we could have had more rain, and we saw on TV the
extreme south completely flooded with very heavy rains.
We had several helpfull trip reports from the web, Van der Woude , Hunter, Hornbuckle, Grosset, George, Hansson, Vermeulen + Forrester’s Birding Brazil. The book All the Birds of Brazil by Souza is not good enough to be the only one you take, we made some photocopies of the plates of The Birds of South America Vol 1 and 2, make all the copies of plates that you can of other field guides. Our road map was very good, by Guia Quatro Rodas, Sudeste 2.000.000, we found it only in USA on the web, or you can try the website :http://guia4rodas.abril.com.br/loja/index.shtml.
We’ll just give concise informations as the other trips reports are well detailed, and for each site we’ll give the most important birds;
Arrived at 6am at the airport we drove to Ubatuba; for the 1st night we stayed at Camping Club Do Brazil along the cost at the north end of the town;
The following day we went to FAZENDA ANGELIM wich was very close, out of town on the main road BR101, and turn right at the blue sign AQUARAL, then right at the fork, the track is going to the Fazenda’s gate;
We asked the permission to visit from France to Paul Trandjean-Thomsen : firstname.lastname@example.org, but you can just go and ask if you can visit, the fee is 10Rs/pers; as we liked the place we asked the permission to camp, and the guard called the owner who accepted; we paid 10Rs/pers, if you don’t camp there are dormitories and a full equiped kitchen. We stayed 5 nights, it is a nice place with several trails and a good base. It rained all the first day, but the birdwatching was good the other days. Our tent has been visited while we were out, and our torch and few other items were stolen, don’t leave important things when you leave.
White-necked Hawk, Roadside Hawk, American Kestrel, Dusky-legged Guan, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Picazuro + Plumbeous + Pale-vented Pigeon, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Plain Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Tawny-browed Owl, Pauraque, White-collared Swift, Saw-billed Hermit, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Versicolored Emerald, Black-throated Trogon, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Spot-billed Toucanet, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Rufous Hornero, Spix’s + Rufous-capped Spinetail, Plain + Streaked Xenops, Buff-fronted + Black-capped + White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, White-throated Woodcreeper, Tufted Antshrike, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Ferruginous + Scaled Antbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Rufous Gnateater, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Spotted Bamboowren, Slaty Bristlefront, Buff-troated Purpletuft, Bare-throated Bellbird, White-bearded + Swallow-tailed + Blue-backed Manakin, Ochre-bellied + Fuscous + Euler’s + Streaked + Boat-billed Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Gray-capped Tyrannulet, Drab-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant, Gray-hooded Attila, Crested Becard, Blue-and-white + Southern Rough-winged Swallow, House Wren, Yellow-legged + Eastern Slaty + Rufous-bellied + Creamy-bellied Thrush, Chivi Vireo, Tropical Parula, Masked Yellowthroat, White-browed Warbler, Bananaquit, Rufous-headed + Brazilian +Azure-shouldered + Flame-crested + White-lined + Palm + Green-headed + Red-necked Tanager, Red-crowned Ant-tanager, Violaceous Euphonia, Blue Dacnis, Double-collared Seedeater, Blue-billed Grassquit, Saffron Finch, Green-winged Saltator, Red-rumped Cacique. We missed the Fork-tailed Tody-tyrant and the Red-eyed Thornbird.
The FAZENDA CAPRICORNIO is not far, but we didn’t go inside, only birded the road to the fazenda and a trail in the forest on the right side just before a n enclosed field : Black Jacobin, Red-breasted Toucan, White-barred Piculet, Tufted Antshrike, Squamate + Ferruginous Antbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Buff-throated Purpletuft, Crested Becard, Rufous-bellied + Yellow-legged Trush, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Long-billed Wren, Golden-chevroned Tanager; following the details of the trip reports we went to FOLHA SECA where we stopped at the house of Jonas d’Abronzo, there is a sign km3 sitio capigaba obiru, there are 4 feeders and bananas attracting Plain Parakeet, Saw-billed + Reddish Hermit, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-chinned Sapphire, Brazilian Ruby, Blue Dacnis, Green Honeycreeper, Green-headed + Red-necked + Sayaca + Azure-shouldered Tanager, Violaceous + Chestnut-bellied Euphonia. We left our car here and walked on the road, it was rather quiet and we missed the specialities, we saw Crane Hawk, White-tailed Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, White-throated Woodcreeper, Spot-backed Antshrike, Scaled Antbird, Bare-throated Bellbird, Gray-hooded + Sepia-capped Flycatcher, White-bearded Manakin,Yellow-legged Thrush…
We went to CORCOVADO site, despite
the details in the trip report we are not sure that we found the good place;
it was very quiet and it rained, Plain-winged Woodcreeper, Sulphur-rumped
Flycatcher, Neotropic River Warbler, Olive-green Tanager, and
We left Ubatuba at 10am and drove along the beautiful coast on the BR101 until the town of Pereque.
We followed the explanations in Hunter’s trip report and found the site of the Black-hooded Antwren. But we were disappointed when we faced a fence and a closed gate at the entrance of the trail; anyway we played the song and a male quickly answered and we had a very good view.
We came back on the BR101 and turned left (north) before Angra do Reis. The beautiful paved road climbed in the forested mountain (probably Serra Da Bocaina NP), then arrived in a completely cleared habitat. At Barra Mansa we turn left on the highway until Itatiaia and followed the signs to the national park.
PARQUE NACIONAL DE ITATIAIA (no permit required)
There are several hotels in the park and a campsite (Camping Tapera, 10Rs/pers) behind a small chocolate shop and a snack bar with feeders. In fact there are few trails to bird, the jeep track at the top of the road didn’t produce much, so the trail to bird is the Tres Picos trail leaving from the Hotel Simon; the garden and parking of this hotel are interesting too, with many birds nesting and particularly the Swallow-tailed Cotinga coming every day in the tree where the Oropendulas are nesting. Another good area is the Caminho do Lago and the tarred road on the left down the stairs. Bird the hotels grounds too.
We spent 8 nights in the park, it rained all our first day, then nice weather. Some days were very good, others slow…
At the campsite a pair of Tawny-browed Owl, and a pair of Maroon (Reddish)-bellied Parakeet in the roof of the toilets, completely destroying the wooden ceiling, it was spectacular.
Rufous-thighed Kite, Black Hawk-eagle, Crested + Yellow-headed Caracara, Dusky-legged Guan, Spot-winged Wood-quail, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Red-capped + Scaly-headed Parrot, Tawny-browed Owl, Chestnut-banded Nighthawk (lurocalis natterei), Dusky-throated Hermit, Black Jacobin, Frilled Coquette, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Hummingbird, Versicolored Emerald, Brazilian Ruby, White-tailed + Black-throated + Surucua Trogon, Saffron Toucanet, White-spotted + Green Barred + Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Buff-browed + Black-capped + White-collared Foliage-Gleaner, Pale-browed Treehunter, Olivaceous + White-throated + Lesser + Scaled Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Star-throated + Streak-capped Antwren, Ferruginous + Bertoni’s + White-bibbed Antbird, Rufous-tailed + Such’s Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta (heard), Speckle-breasted Antpitta, Sharpbill, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Bare-throated Bellbird (heard), Swallow-tailed + Pin-tailed Manakin, Greenish Mourner, Yellow Tyrannulet, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Large-headed Flatbill, White-throated Spadebill, Black-tailed + Euler’s Flycatcher, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Gray-hooded Attila, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Golden-crowned Warbler, Brown + Magpie + Chestnut-headed + Rufous-headed +Olive-green + Ruby-crowned + Black-googled + Golden-chevronned + Fawn-breasted + Green-headed +Gilt-edged + Burnished-buff Tanagers, Blue-hooded Euphonia, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Swallow Tanager, Green-winged + Thick-billed Saltator.
The 6th day we went
to the higher part of the national park, in fact a road called AGULHAS NEGRAS
to the park’s entrance. From the national park we came back to the highway
and drove a few kilometers until the road A330 (we had to pay 7,10Rs for just
a few km), then follow a tarred road for 26km. At the summit turn right on
a dirt road at the sign for the national park.
Along the tarred road Crested Black-Tyrant and Streamer-tailed Tyrant.
The first kilometers of the road are very birdy, and the Black-and-gold Cotinga was calling, we had a nice view.
There is the Pousada Alsene in a beautiful site at the top of the road before the park’s entrance, a cosy place where the youngs like to stay after the peak ascent. We camped on the ground for 15Rs/pers (Large-tailed Antshrike); about 8 km before the pousada at the araucaria patch there is a road on the left and sign of a pousada and campsite, we regret that we didn’t take the time to visit the place.
The vegetation is changing as you go up and the birds are different. At the araucaria patch (a nice conifer with a very typical form) we saw the Araucaria Tit-Spinetail thanks to the tape, and the Itatiaia Spinetail in the bushes 50/100 meters before.
Agulhas Negras road : Short-tailed Hawk,
Scale-throated + Dusky-throated Hermit, Black-breasted Plovercrest, Robust
Spinetail, Itatiaia Spinetail, White-browed Foliage-Gleaner, Variable
+ Large-tailed Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Mouse-colored Tapaculo, Black-and-gold
Cotinga, Olivaceous Elaenia, Greenish Tyrannulet, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant,
Bran-colored Flycatcher, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Shear-tailed Grey-Tyrant,
Masked Water-Tyrant, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Diademed + Fawn-breasted + Brassy-breasted Tanager, Bay-chested +
Red-rumped Warbling-Finch. Brown-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant heard
several times very close, impossible to see it !
We left the park and were at 1:30pm on the highway and turned west at Volta Redonda to Tres Rios for a few kilometers then to Vargem Paraiba. Nice road following a river, but no campsite. At 4:30pm we stopped in a roadside Hotel-Restaurant along the river (don’t remember the name) and had a very correct room for 30Rs, a few kilometers before Sapucaia. We took a room on the river side and could see some birds from the window and had a great cheap meal of fish in a local and noisy good atmosphere.
The day after at 5:30am we easily found the road to SOUMIDURO following the trip reports. At the described airpin bend we park the car and as soon as we got out saw the Rio de Janeiro Antwren and the Three-toed Jacamar!
We turned back and saw Red-shouldered
Macaw, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Short-crested Flycatcher…
Back on the BR116 then take the road to CARMO, where we saw most of the birds on the dirt road bordering the Fazenda San Jose (on the left at Carmo’s entrance), among the 43 species seen Red-shouldered Macaw, Three-toed Jacamar (nesting), Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Yellow-green Grosbeak and a nice Bahia Hairy Dwarf Porcupine (sphiggurus insidiosus).
Back on the BR 116, drive until the sign on the right of PARQUE NACIONAL DO CAPARAO (no permit required), following a small good road until the town of Alto Caparao then to the national park.
Entrance 3Rs, the campsite (8Rs/pers), is situated at 2000m with a superb view, coatis, Rufous-collared Sparrow and Red-rumped Warbling-Finch coming for food.
The following day we birded until 10:30am, the forest is different
but we saw the same birds (31 species) than Algulhas Negras road, except Brown
Tinamou and Rusty-margined Guan. Brown-breasted
Bamboo-Tyrant heard but not seen…
Back to Alto Jequitiba and turn right to the BR262 towards Vitoria. 34 km before the town we turn left at the sign «Camping Rio do Montana 4km» (14Rs/pers). In a patch of forest along the road Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher and Pectoral Sparrow, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl heard at the campsite.
Drove to Vitoria, then Linhares where we could buy food in a big supermarket along the main road and went to Sooretama.
RESERVA BIOLOGICA DE SOORETAMA
After the town of Linhares you pass the village of Sooretama (where there are some hotels), then you’ll see a sign «SOORETAMA RESERVA 16KM» and JUNCADO. Turn left on a dirt road and you’ll go straight to the village of Juncado, then right to the reserve at 5km.
We had a permit by email from France at email@example.com. We arrived at the Administration building wich is on the right side of the dirt road, but it was a public holiday and the chief wasn’t here. The guard told us that we could go to the reserve anyway. We asked if we could camp and he telephoned to the chief who refused.
In front of the administration building there is no forest but coffee and eucalyptus plantations. You follow the road and after 1,300km you arrive to a fork with a gate at the beginning of the road on the right with a sign no traffic from 6pm to 6am. This is the MAIN TRAIL of the trip reports, a long good birding road in the forest. There are 2 abandonned houses at 1.7km and 3.7km. The Estrada Quirańao Trail is at 8.7km on the right, there is a gate that you can pass on foot on the right.
We didn’t know where to camp and wanted to stay close to the reserve; At 500m of the admin building, we took the road at the eucalyptus plantation and asked to the young couple of the first small house if we could camp on their ground, we proposed to pay 10Rs and they said OK; we stayed 3 nights at just 800m of the reserve.
We had a problem : the 2nd day we went to the reserve, and in the afternoon we were taking a picture of a snake on the EQ trail when a jeep arrived, it was the boss; he was very angry to see us here and said with agressivity that we had no right to be there and to take pictures. We quietly answered that we had a permit and that the guard told us the day before that we could enter. How could we know that you have to go everyday to inform that you are entering the reserve? He forced us to come to the admin. building the 2 following mornings and to take a guide (free of charge); we were very disappointed as we prefer to be alone, and the 2 guides that we had didn’t know anything about birds. The worse is that the first day we met a Birdquest group several cameras, so we were bitter to have no right to take photos. Without this problem we would have staid 1 or 2 more days.
Very good birding on the 2 trails, but we missed the Black-headed Berryeater and the White-winged Cotinga. Our last day on the main trail (not far from EQ trail) : the Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, just when we saw it along the road, a nightmare : a car was coming (there is very few traffic)! He ran to the forest but came back after, we were spotting it with the scope, a moto arrived !!! A ran away again, and suddenly came back and crossed the road at full. Ten minutes after it is the Red-billed Curassow that we saw crossing! In early morning we put the sound of Long(large)-tailed Potoo about 1km from the Admin. on the road in front of the grassfield about 300m before the main trail entrance; he answered and came, and we had some great views as the sun was rising.
Some birds seen in Sooretama reserve and around : King
Vulture, Swallow-tailed + Snail + Plumbeous Kite, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Purple
Gallinule, Wattled Jacana, Scaled Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, Gray-fronted Dove, Plain +
Maroon-faced Parakeet, Red-crowned + Orange-winged + Mealy Parrot, Rufous-vented
Ground-Cuckoo, Long-tailed Potoo, Pauraque, Ocellated Poorwill, Minute Hermit,
White-chinned Sapphire, White-tailed + Black-throated Trogon, Rufous-tailed
Jacamar, White-fronted Nunbird, Swallowing, Black-necked Araçari, Channel-billed
Toucan, White-barred Piculet, White + Yellow-fronted + Red-stained +Yellow-throated
+ Blond-crested Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Rufous Hornero, Pale-breasted +
Yellow-throated Spinetail, Streaked Xenops, Ochre-breasted + Black-capped Foliage-Gleaner,
White-throated + Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Sooretama
Slaty Antshrike, Plumbeous
Antvireo, Salvadori’s + Band-tailed Antwren, Rufous-winged + White-fringed
Antwren, Scaled Antbird, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Red-headed Manakin,
Thrush-like Manakin (Mourner), Sooty Tyrannulet, Olivaceous Flatbill, Gray-crowned
+ Yellow-breasted + Swainson’s Flycatcher, Grayish Mourner, Green-backed Becard,
Black-tailed + Black-crowned Tityra, Grey-breasted Martin, Thrush-like Wren,
Chivi Vireo, Yellow-backed + Opal-rumped Tanager, Black-masked Finch, White-bellied
Seedeater,… Heard Yellow-legged Tinamou, Tropical Screech-Owl, Tawny-browed
Owl, Common Potoo.
In addition we saw 4 species of snakes, 1 ocelot, Titi monkeys;
When we left the reserve at 12am, we drove to the BR 101, after a few kilometers we turned left at the sign Reserva de Linhares. We went to the Hotel do Rio Doce were we paid 120Rs a big room without meals (instead of 270Rs with meals) and spent one night, we could wash our clothes and camping gear. We birded the garden and around and saw some birds of wich Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Red-crowned Amazon, Orange-winged Parrot, Cocoa Thrush… Good site for taking pictures.
The next morning we headed to Santa Tereza ; once in the town you stay on the main street until the sign to Augusto Ruschi on the right.
RESERVA BIOLOGICA AUCUSTO RUSCHI (NOVA LOMBARDIA)
The road climbs then we saw an IBAMA building on the left with a small pond, this is not where you must stop, further on the right is the «reserve», there is a guard and the administration building and we showed the permit that we received by email at home after writing to Jose.firstname.lastname@example.org. The chief was nice and asked us to send him the list of the birds we saw.
We were rather disappointed, in fact the reserve is just a patch of forest crossed by 2 roads leading to villages and plantations. There were some cars passing on the left road, the right one was more quiet. We really wondered why they annoy the birders with a permit, this is laughable; anyway we spent a few hours there and all the following day (there are good feeders at the administration). We were not authorised to camp.
The birding was not fantastic, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, White-tailed Trogon, Saffron + Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-throated + Robust Woodpecker, Ochre-breasted Foliage-Gleaner, Olivaceous + White-throated + Planalto Woodcreeper, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Sharpbill, heard Bare-throated Bellbird, Wied’s Tyrant Manakin, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Gray-hooded Attila, Syristes, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Black-tailed Tityra, White-necked Thrush, several usual Tanagers, Buff-throated Saltator… A big Three-toed Sloth was in a tree with a baby.
The museum in town is interesting to visit, and there are several feeders teaming with hummingbirds, we added to our list Rufous-breasted Hermit and Festive Coquette.
There are several hotels in Santa Teresa, but we wanted to camp. We found the camp SITIO CANAA (www.sitiocanaa.com.br) at 8 km from town, when you are in the main street with the sign Augusto Ruschi reserve on your right, the yellow sign for the camp is in the further street on the left. This is not only a camping, it is a resort with chalets and rooms in a very nice site surrounded by forest. The house of the owner on the bank of a lake has several feeders where we saw 9 species of hummingbirds. We liked the place so much that we stayed 4 nights and the birding was very good. Avoid the holidays as it must be a nightmare for birders, but we had all the site for ourselves and it was great. We camped for 8Rs/pers close to a pond behind some dwarf cabins. Concert of frog at sunset! Some Hooded Berryeater were calling close to the tent and we saw them easily; there are several small trails in the forest, and at 300m from the entrance another trail is going to a waterfall through good forest. Two Wing-banded (Band-tailed) Hornero to the bottom of the owner’s house on a small muddy zone.
We saw 90 species of
birds at Sitio Canaa, of wich Brown Tinamou, White-tailed Hawk, Tawny-browed
Hummingbird, White-vented Violetear, Lineated Woodpecker, Wing-banded
Hornero, Buff-throated woodcreper, Ferruginous + Ochre-rumped Antbird, Hooded
Berryeater, White-bearded + Blue-backed + Swallow-tailed + Pin-tailed Manakin, Yellow-lored
Tody-Flycatcher, White-throated Spadebill, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Purple
Martin, White-necked Thrush, Cinnamon Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator.
We left Santa Teresa and made the way back; Not enough indications for the Cherry-throated Tanager’s site out of Fazenda Pindobas, we decided to try it at the Monteverde Hotel & Golf (sadly when we came back home we had received the Cotinga n°24 about the record of the bird at Caetes wich is closed to the Hotel). We spent the night in a good roadside hotel called Estalagem Pedra (40Rs, close to the petrol station) just about 2km before the road to Vargem Alta (Hotel Monteverde and Caetes on this road). There are several Pousadas around this crossroad and on the Vargem Alta rd.
The following day we went to the Hotel Monteverde, they give you a card at the entrance, you park the car on the left of the reception and go left to the beginning of a very good trail (3,5km) making a loop up and down. We had a great birding here and saw some birds not seen elsewhere. When you come back you can take a drink or a lunch, and when you pay at the reception they sign the card wich permits you to get out. Dusky-legged Guan, Southern Lapwing, Golden-tailed Parrotlet, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Frilled Coquette, Ringed Kingfisher, Red-breasted Toucan, Olivaceous + Planalto + Scaled Woodcreeper, Variable Antshrike, White-bibbed Antbird, Such’s Antthrush, White-breasted Tapaculo, Sharpbille, Shrike-like Cotinga, Bare-throated Bellbird, Swallow-tailed + Pin-tailed Manakin, Gray-hooded Flycatcher, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Hangnest Tody-Tyrant, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Black-tailed Tityra, Chestnut-headed + Rufous-headed + Ruby-crowned + Black-googled + Fawn-breasted + Brassy-breasted + Gilt-edged Tanager…
We came back the following morning until 10:30am but saw few birds. Just before the hotel there is a dirt road on the left passing through good patches of forest and going round the hotel’s forest; we saw a Red-legged Seriema in a field.
Back to the road and took west, about 40 km
there is no more forest patches, all is cut on 116km until the cross of
the BR116, straight on the BR262, long road not very interesting until
Serra do Caraça where we arrived at 4:30pm.
PARQUE NATURAL DO CARACA (no permit required)
It is not allowed to camp in this beautiful park; there is the possibility to take a room at the monastery inside the park, but we camped at 2 km from the entrance at the Pousada Pico Do Sol for 10Rs /pers (Tropical Screech-Owl). We stayed 3 nights because we liked the park and didn’t find the Serra Antwren quickly.
The gates are open from 7am to 9pm. They give you a paper and you go to pay at the reception of the monastery, you can take a ticket as well for the lunch or the diner(8Rs) at the restaurant wich is very good. There are several trails in the park, we tried the Tanque Grande trail, Cascatina trail leaving from the monastery garden, the trail going the Gruta leaving from the car park (Hyacinth Visorbearer). But the best area is the small trail leaving on the right at the car park, passing through the football pitch, joining the picnic site. Many birds around the wooden bridge, after the bridge in the cerrado Gray-backed Tachuri. The Serra Antwren was heard on the other side of the river at the picnic site but impossible to see, but the last day we took the Piscina trail and saw a beautiful male on the right side at the entrance of the picinic site; the mirante after this picnic area is nice and good for hummingbirds.
Savanna + White-tailed Hawk, White-eyed Parakeet, White-vented Violetear, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Hyacinth
Visorbearer, Checkered Woodpecker, Spix’s Spinetail, Pallid Spinetail,
Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Black-capped Antwren, Serra Antwren, White-shouldered
Fire-Eye, Rufous Gnateater, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin,
Highland Elaenia, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Planalto Tyrannulet, Gray-backed
Tachuri, Drab-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant, Euler’s Flycatcher, Velvety Black-Tyrant,
Shear-tailed Gray-Tyrant, Green-backed Becard, Eastern Slaty-Thrush, White-bellied
Warbler, Magpie Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Golden-chevronned Tanager, Blue-hooded
Euphonia, Yellow-bellied Seedeater…
Left the park after a last visit in early morning, took the airport road at Belo Horizonte (you must follow the airport signs until the lagoa Santa turn off) then followed a long tarred road to the village where the Serra do Cipo park entrance is.
PARQUE NACIONAL SERRA DO CIPO (no permit required)
In fact the birding area is not in the park (but we regret that we had not enough time to visit it) but from the main road going up after the village; it is now nearly all tarred, only 3km are still dirt road but they are working. We camped (2 nights) at the bottom of the road at the Camping Veu da Noiva for 15Rs/pers. Following the trip reports we parked 2,5km after the Pousado Chapeu do Sol and took the trail. We had very good views of Hyacinth Visorbearer, a pair of Horned Sungem, Gray-backed Tachuri, and Buff-throated Pampa-Finch. At the top the trail is going left in the mountain, about 500 or 600 meters further we saw a Cipo Canastero (with 3 rings), a second higher, and White-vented Violetear. Other birds seen in the area along the main road and the dirt road going down to the river (sign Camping Azuis): Pale-vented Pigeon, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Gray-rumped Swift, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White-tailed Goldenthroat, White-eared Puffbird, White-spotted Woodpecker, Plain-crested + Lesser Elaenia, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, White-rumped Monjita, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, White-winged Swallow, Cinnamon Tanager, Purple-throated Euphonia, Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Grassland Sparrow, Black-throated Saltator, Yellow-rumped Marshbird.
Back to Belo Horizonte, going round the town and heading west to Serra da Canastra NP; the road is good and it took us 6 hours to join at Vargem Bonita.
PARQUE NACIONAL SERRA DA CANASTRA (no permit required)
There are 2 areas to visit in the park with 2 different access. The lower part is after the Village of Vargem Bonita (it is now tarred until the village), we camped 2 nights at the Camping Restaurant Buteco 17km passed Vargem, a farm with a fantastic campsite on the bank of the river. The NP entrance is further on (follow the signs Casca d’Anta) 3Rs/pers, with a trail leading to a cascade, and 2 picnic sites along the river. We saw the Helmeted Manakin at the 1st picinic site, Great Dusky + White-collared Swift on the cascade cliffs, Toco Toucan, Planalto Hermit… At Vargem Bonita we tried to find the feeders described in some trip reports (we failed even with the GPS point in Van der Woude’s), anyway we saw some Yellow-chevroned Parakeet in a garden, and a male Stripe-breasted Starthroat on an electric wire. Between Vargem Bonita and the campsite, after 8 km there are some views on the river where we made some stops, but it is at the campsite that we saw the Brazilian Merganser in flight in the late afternoon. We know that 2 days later some birders saw a pair on a rock from the campsite in the afternoon, so we are a little bit bitter to have a so brief view, anyway we saw it… Some Muscovy Ducks flew every evening too over the campsite. The birding was very good in all this area.
In early morning we went to the higher part of the park, taking the road to Sao Roque de Minas (nearly all tarred). From the entrance of the village you go straight and a dirt road climbs to the park entrance (There are 2 campsites on the way, we stayed at the one at 1km on the right) It is a beautiful plateau that we liked very much, and you have the excitement to look for the Giant Anteater that we missed, and the Maned Wolf that we saw only in a cage behing the staff building called Jaguarę. We saw good birds like the Brazilia Tapaculo 4 km from the entrance in a small rio, 3 Campo Miner in the fields at 12km200; We saw the Ochre-breasted Pipit at the site described by Van der Woude, we walked on a jeep track on the right and saw them in the fields a little bit further; Red-legged Seriema, Burrowing Owl, Little Woodpecker, Gray Monjita, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, Gray-backed Tachuri, Yellow-rumped Marshbird, Plumbeous Seedeater, Black-masked Finch…
We had big storms in the evening the 26th and 28th, and we left the park the 29th at 10:30am when a big mass of dark clouds arrived and that we suddenly felt at night;
We took the road to Sao Paulo as we had our flight the day after, and at about 135km from Sao Paulo we looked for a place to stay for the last night. We had no information at all, it was a landscape of green small valleys reminding France countryside; we stopped at a town called Holambra, what a surprise to find a typical dutch town, built after the World War II! We slept at the Hotel Villa de Holanda, 110Rs the room with breakfast, and had a good dutch diner at the nearby restaurant.
We went around 4600 kilometers. Budget for
2 persons : 3607€ (flights 1320€ +
car rental 1067€ + expense 1220€)