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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Brazil 2 - 31 July 2005,
Peter Collaerts, e-mail: Peter.Collaerts[replace by at]scarlet.be
For my brother and me this was our second trip to Brazil. For Tom and Wim, this trip was their first on the South American continent. The first trip was concentrated in the Atlantic Rain Forest region with Ubatuba, Itataia, Algulhas Negras Road, Serra dos Orgaos NP, Carmo & Sumidouro Road, Augusto Ruschi, Linhares CVRD, Sooretama and Fazenda Pindobas IV. We also visited Serra do Cipo and Serra da Canastra. This time we spent most of the time in southern and central Brazil so the species we were able to see differed a lot from those of the first trip. At the end of the trip, we spent more than 1 week in the Atlantic Rain Forest zone south of Sao Paulo.
We flew with Air France (984 euro) from Paris CDG to Sao Paulo International Airport. Since it was not a direct flight, we had to change aircraft in Rio de Janeiro. Retour domestic flight with TAM from Sao Paulo domestic airport to Cuiaba (312.5 euro). There is a bus shuttle organised by TAM between the international and domestic airport.
We hired a car twice. First car was a GM Astra and we rent it in Cuiaba at Avis from August 3rd until August 11th (843 euro). Second car was a Meriva Flexpower and this car was hired at Localiza in Sao Paulo from August 22th until August 30th (542 euro).
We took a night bus from Cuiaba to Alta Floresta. The price is ± 50 USD per person, one way. Departure time in Cuiaba on August 11th was at 19.00h. We arrived in Alta Floresta at 7.45h the next morning. On the retour drive we left Alta Floresta at 19.00h and we arrived in Cuiaba at 6.45h the next morning.
Average exchange rate during our stay: 1 euro = 2.86 Brazil Reals (BRL). We exchanged money at the international airport. Using our VISA and Maestro bank cards at the money terminals was very often problematic. We could only use our bankcards at the HSBC Bank Brazil, we found cash dispensers of this bank in every city or bigger town.
All of the visited sites are extensive described in other trip reports. Therefore, I do not repeat all this information in our report. Especially the site of Arthur Grosset is recommendable.
This is the list of the sites we visited:
Chapada dos Guimaraes
Alta Floresta – Cristalino Jungle Lodge
Serra de Graciosa
Salto do Pirai
Weather and roads
In the Pantanal weather was fine. Temperature was getting high at noon and bird activity was low at that time. However, during mornings and evenings the circumstances for birdwatching were very good. We only had rain during one evening and this made the Transpantaneira a very slippery road. It was impossible for us to reach Porte Jofre in these circumstances. Mud sliced at the wheels of the car and the bridges were very slippery. We passed a few bridges but a truck that slipped off blocked one. Therefore we had to turn back.
Weather was great in Chapada dos Guimaraes, sunny all the time.
In Cristalino Jungle Lodge we also had no rain during our 11-days-stay. Only during one morning it was cloudy and windy. All the other days we had very good weather. At noon it was even to warm for birdwatching.
In Intervales it was raining nearly constantly during our first two days there. This made birdwatching hard and we surely dipped a few species for this reason. The last two days in Intervales, the weather was great. It was freezing in the morning but temperature was rising soon and the rest of the day sun was shining, and there were no clouds. More to the south we had fine weather, except on our second visit to Serra de Graciosa, where it was very cloudy. Temperatures were near 20°C during the day in the higher parts, somewhat higher in the lower parts. This was an excellent temperature to have bird activity all day long.
We used the Deodato Souza guide, “All the Birds of Brazil”. Until now this is the only guide that is covering all the birds of Brazil, with a few exceptions (+/- 20 species). The drawnings however, are terrible, which is the reason why we made copies of the plates from the Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vols 1 – 10. This was an enormous work but it paid off well, except for the hummingbirds and tyrant flycatchers. For these two families we experienced that the colors used in the HBW were not very realistic. This was most significant with the hermits and bamboo-tyrants.
Despite a few determination problems, we were able to identify most of the birds by using the combination of both guides.
We also used “Where to Watch Birds in South America” by Nigel Wheatley.
Internet resources and trip reports
Very helpful were the following general sites:
its comprehensive information on Brazil.
The site www.arthurgrosset.com has a lot of very usefull information on birdingwatching places all over Brazil. Great site!
Other trip reports are easy to find on www.travelllingbirder.com and www.birdtours.co.uk
Also we found trip reports on http://Ornifolks.org
Specific information about Cristalino Lodge can be found on http://www.cristalinolodge.com.br/english/presentation.htm
Other report we used were:
Southeast Brazil 10 October – 2
November 2003 by Mark Van Beirs Birdquest
World-Kontinentalkarte 1:4 mio – World Cart Map of America
Cento Oeste – Mapa Rodoviario da regiao
Rodovias – Mapa do Rio Grande do Sul
These are just a few of the road maps we used in Brazil. I just bought the first general map in Belgium. All the others were bought in Brazil. These are details maps per province. You can find them at the airport and in petrol stations. Furthermore, we borrowed a few maps from David Van den Schoor.
…Hans Matheve and Peter Boesman for providing us their sound recordings. Also thanks to Mark Van Beirs and David van den Schoor for their very usefull information. This information was very valuable for planning our trip and for finding a lot of the special birds.
July 2nd: flight from Paris to Rio de Janeiro
July 3rd: flight from Rio to Sao Paulo international airport. Transfer to SP domestic airport. Flight from SP domestic airport to Cuiaba
July 4th: Pantanal – Pousada Santa Teresa
July 5th: Pantanal – Pousada Santa Teresa and Transpanteira to Jaguar Lodge
July 6th: Pantanal – Jaguar Lodge to Pousada Santa Teresa
July 7th: Pantanal – Pouso Alegre – Transpantaneira to Poconé
July 8th: Chapada dos Guimaraes – a.m. Agua Fria Road, p.m. Portao da Fé and Véu de Noiva
July 9th: Chapada dos Guimaraes – a.m. Portao da Fé, p.m. Agua Fria Road
July 10th: Chapada dos Guimaraes - a.m. Portao da Fé, p.m. Véu de Noiva waterfall
July 11th: Chapada dos Guimaraes – a.m. Agua Fria Road
July 12th: a.m. Alta Floresta - Floresta Amazonica Hotel, p.m. Cristalino Jungle Lodge – near lodge
July 13th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. tower, Rocky and Saleiro Trail, p.m.on the river upstream
July 14th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. Serra and CacaoTrail, p.m. Rocky and Caja Trail
July 15th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. river upstream, Lago da Sigana, p.m. Rocky Trail and tower
July 16th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. Haffer and Amazon Kawall Trail, p.m. Ficus, New and Caja Trail
July 17th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. Lodge and Taboca Trail, p.m. Caja Trail and river downstream
July 18th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. river downstream, Rocky, Caja and New Trail, p.m. Ficus and Taboca Trail
July 19th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – Castanheiro, Haffer and Kawall Trail, Limao, p.m. lodge, Rocky Trail and tower
July 20th: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. Barboletas Trail, p.m. lodge, Rocky and New Trail
July 21st: Cristalino Jungle Lodge – a.m. Teboca, Manakin, Saleiro and Caja Trail, p.m. road between Cristalino Jungle Lodge and Alta Floresta, Floresta
July 22nd: travel from Cuiaba to Intervales
July 23rd: Intervales
July 24th: Intervales
July 25th: Intervales
July 26th: a.m. Intervales, p.m. to Serra da Graciosa
July 27th: a.m. Serra da Graciosa, p.m. Flor da Terra near Curitiba (Wetland Tapaculo)
July 28th: a.m. Garuva, p.m. Gurabatuba
July 29th: a.m. Salto do Pirai, p.m. Serra da Graciosa
July 30th: a.m. Intanhaem
By Thalys from Brussels to Paris. Our flight was at 23.15h. The flight was overbooked but we already received our boarding passes in Brussels. Lucky us.
We arrived in Rio at 5.25h. We had to get our luggage to check in again for our domestic flight to Sao Paulo. This domestic flight was also departing from the international airport. At the airport we saw our first birds of the trip, Southern Caracara, Southern Lapwing and White-rumped Swallows. We left Rio at 8.30h and arrived in Sao Paulo at 9.30h. Here we took the TAM shuttle bus to the regional airport Aeroporto Congonhas. At 15.00h we had our final flight of the day, to Cuiaba. We made a stopover in Sao Jose do Rio Preto. We saw one Burrowing Owl on the runway. At 16.30h we arrived in Cuiaba. An employee of Avis was waiting for us. As soon as we got our car, we left Cuiaba. Just outside the city we saw a Nacunda Nighthawk. It was already dark when we turned left of the mainroad, into the Pantanal. In the lights of the car, we saw our first alligators, Black-crowned Night-Herons and Snowy Egrets. A larger owl was sitting near the road, but he disappeared too soon, which made it impossible to identify. At 20.30h we arrived at Pousada Santa Teresa. After a whole day of travelling we were very hungry and tired. Soon after dinner we went to sleep but a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was calling from one of the trees near the lodge. It gave very good views in the light of the torches.
At 5.30h we were out, just near the pousada. While the sun was rising, the amount of birds that started to appear was enormous. It was even a bit overwhelming. The more spectacular species were Jabiru, Plumbeous and Buff-necked Ibises, hundreds of Bare-faced Ibises, Roseate Spoonbill, Chaco Chacalaca, Limpkin, Blue-fronted Parrots, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Toco Toucan, Vermillion Flycatcher, White-rumped Monjita, Thrush-like Wren, Purplish Jay, Giant Cowbird and Yellow-billed Cardinal. After breakfast we explored the gallery forest downstream the pousada. Highlights were Green Ibis, Long-tailed Ground-dove, Little Cuckoo, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Golden-green Woodpecker, Chotoy and White-lored Spinetail, Rufous-fronted and Greater Thornbird,Gray-crested Cacholote, Great and Barred Antshrike, Mato Grosso Antbird, Large-billed Antwren, Southern Scrub-Flycatcher, Fuscous Flycatcher, Helmeted Manakin, Rufous-fronted and Common Tody-flycatcher, Rufous Casiornis, Masked Gnatcatcher, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Flavescent Warbler, Gray-headed Tanager and Orange-backed Troupial. Temperature was very high in the afternoon but there was still a lot of bird activity. So from 16.00h until dark we took a boat upstream the river. There is no extra cost for a boat trip at the pousada, as a boat trip is included in the price of the stay. Also the boat trip was a great experience and a lot of birds were seen. Ten species of herons were observed with the most spectacular ones Agami Heron and two Boat-billed Herons. Other goodies were Southern Screamer, Great Black-Hawk, one Blue-throated and one Red-throated Piping-Guan, two Sunbitterns, three Black Skimmers and two Band-tailed Antbirds. At dusk we arrived again at the pousada. Band-tailed Nightjars were flying over the Pixaim River. A Great Horned Owl was calling and after playing tape it was soon sitting just in front of us in one of the large trees near the pousada. Also a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was calling. This was the end of our first successful day.
In the morning we spent our time again in the same gallery forest as the day before, downstream the river. A few of the birds that we saw were Boat-billed Heron, Bat Falcon, Picui and Ruddy Ground-Doves, Chestnut-eared Aracari, White-lored Spinetail, Greater Thornbird, Gray-crested Cachalote, Rusty-backed Antwren, Southern Scrub-Flycatcher, Fuscous Flycatcher, Masked Gnatcatcher, Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Hooded Tanager, Red-crested Cardinal. We also heard three Undulated Tinamous. Just near the pousada we saw Large-billed Tern, Pale-legged Hornero, Black-capped Donacobius and one of the star birds of the trip, three Hyacinth Macaws, which were just flying over. We left for Porte Jofre just before noon. Along the dirt track from the pousada to the Transpantaniera we saw Buff-bellied Hermit, Toco Toucan, Red-crested Finch and Unicolored Blackbird. A short stop at the bridge over the Pixaim River on the Transpanteira was not so productive. We only saw a few of the commoner species. We did not spend too much time at this place and started to drive in the direction of the Jaguar Lodge. We stopped many times for intensive birdwatching along the Transpantaniera. This produced a lot of species. Among them were Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Screamer, Muscovy Duck, Savannah Hawk, Limpkin, Sungrebe, Large-billed Tern, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Nacunda Nighthawk, Red-billed Scythebill, Great Antshrike, Black-backed Water-Tyrant, Black-capped Donacobius, Creamy-bellied Thrush, White-bellied Seedeater and Scarlet-headed Blackbird. At 16.30h we arrived at the forest a few hundreds metres further than the Jaguar Lodge, on the right-hand side of the Transpantaneira. Here we saw Chestnut-bellied Guan, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Bare-faced Curassow, Hyacinth and Golden-collared Macaw, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Purplish Jay and Yellow-rumped Cacique. It was already dark when we started driving to Porte Jofre. Passing the broken bridges in the dark was not so easy. But we made it until we were nearly 20 kilometres from Porte Jofre. It started raining and the Transpantaneira became a slippery, muddy road. It was even difficult to drive on the road, imagine the bridges! They were totally hell. There was 5 centimetres of mudd on the wheels and this made passing the bridges a real nightmare. After we passed a few of them, thanks to Erwin who demonstrated his great driving skills and self-control, we arrived at a bridge where a truck slipped of the bridge and blocked the road. The truck driver also told us that there was a collapsed bridge a little bit further. Passing the water without a fourwheel drive was impossible. So we had to return. We were relieved when we arrived at the Jaguar Lodge. Here it was not raining at all. The Transpantaneira was completely dry. Just before we reached the Jaguar Lodge we saw a Spot-tailed Nightjar sitting on the road.
At dawn, it was very cloudy and even cold. We went to the forest near the Jaguar Lodge again. We saw Chestnut-bellied Guan, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Bare-faced Curassow, Hyacinth Macaw, Toco Toucan, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Rufous Casiornis, Black-crowned Tityra, Buff-breasted Wren, Purplish Jay, Tropical Parula and Yellow-rumped Cacique. At 10.30h we decided to go back to Pousada Santa Teresa. On our way, we looked for birds along the Transpantaneira. But there were two problems. Number one, we were nearly out of petrol. This was very strange because when we entered the Pantanal, the tank was nearly full and we just drove about 300 km. Now the tank warning sign was already on, so we desperately needed to find petrol, which is not so easy in the Pantanal, because there only is a petrol station in Porto Jofre and Pocone. Second problem, road workers were repairing one of the bridges. They had already dismantled half of the bridge. We had to wait there for a couple of hours. We spent our time by doing some roadside birding. This was not the most interesting part of the Pantanal because it was one of the drier, open parts. Early afternoon we arrived in Santa Teresa. We bought 20 liters of petrol, more than enough to get out of the Pantanal again. At the pousada we met a Finnish birder. He arrived today and he planned to do a boattrip in the evening. He invited us to join him. Now we went downstream. Some of the species we saw were Whistling Heron, Agami Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Screamer, Black-bellied
Whistling-Duck, Sungrebe, Picui Ground-Dove, Blue-winged Macaw, Band-tailed Nighthawk, Pale-legged Hornero, Gray-crested Cacholote, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, White-crested Tyrannulet, Black-backed Water-Tyrant, Black-capped Donacobius. We returned to the pousada after sunset.
At 6.30h we left Pousada Santa Teresa. We drove to Pousada Pouso Alegre. At the bushes near the bridge over the Pixaim River we saw Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant and White-winged Becard.
The private road to the Pouso Alegre is excellent for birdwatching. I do not know if it is allowed to go here without permission. We went there without one and had no problems. The main reason that we have gone there was to search for Great Rufous Woodcreeper. It is possible to stay at the pousada and that is what the Finnish birder did. He found the woodcreeper very easy in the big trees near the track to the pousada. At the first place that we played the sound, we had respons immediately. Two birds were seen very well. After we saw the woodcreepers we drove back to the Transpantaneira. We spent our last hours in the Pantanal birdwatching between the entrance gate of Pouso Alegre and Poconé. Birds of interest were Greater Rhea, Whistling Heron, Maguari Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, White-backed Stilt, Large-billed Tern, Pale-vented Pigeon, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Nacunda Nighthawk, White Woodpecker, Golden-green Woodpecker, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Chotoy Spinetail, Greater Thornbird, Rusty-backed Antwren, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Thrush-like Wren and Rusty-collared Seedeater.
It was already past 14.00h when we left the Pantanal. For the rest of the day it was a long drive to Chapada dos Guimaraes. To reach Guimaraes we had to drive through Cuiaba and Varzea Grande. It was not that easy to find the right road in the city. With the assistance of a few local people we found the MT215. This is the road to Chapada dos Guimaraes. In Cuiaba from the airport follow signs to Rondonopolis, shortly after you will see a bridge on your right-hand side. Do not take this bridge. Just follow the road until a T-point. Going to the left, this big road goes straight through the city. Follow this road until the first crossover. Here you drive to the right. Follow until a second crossover. Here you will see the signs to Chapada dos Guimaraes. We stayed in Pousada Mordada das Flores, a few kilometres before Guimaraes at the left-hand side. Here we arrived at 19.30h.
At 6.00h we were already on the Agua Fria road. We stayed here until 13.00h and we spent most of the time at the first few kilometres of the track. The best part was near the small rubbish dump at the right side of the road. Highlights were Pearl Kite, White-tailed Hawk, Red-legged Seriema, Red-and-green Macaw, Peach-fronted Parakeet, White-vented Violet-ear, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White-eared Puffbird, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Rusty-backed Antwren, Chapada Flycatcher, Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant, Gray Monjita, Curl-crested Jay, Black-faced Tanager, White-banded Tanager, White-rumped Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Coal-crested Finch, Plumbeous Seedeater, Black-throated Saltator and Giant Cowbird. We also tried to find the vieuwpoint in the cerrado but we never found it. We read in other reports that this viewpoint is a good place for Yellow-billed Blue Finch. In the afternoon, we explored the small patch of gallery forest, named Portao de Fé. Birds we saw here were White-tailed Kite, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Planalto Hermit, Blue-crowned Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Plain Antvireo, Large-billed Antwren, Band-tailed Manakin, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Planalto Tyrranulet, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Fuscous Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Moustached Wren, Pale-breasted Thrush, White-bellied Warbler and Purple-throated Euphonia. At sunset, we were at the cliffs along the main road near km 51 but 2 Blue-winged Macaws were the only birds we saw.
We spent our time at the same places as the day before but now we went to Portao da Fé before noon. It was still dark when we arrived in the forest. There was much more activity then yesterday. Birds we saw were 2 Collared Forest-Falcons, Planalto Hermit, a beautiful male Frilled Coquette, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Lettered Aracari, Channel-billed Toucan, Streaked Xenops, Lafresnaye's Woodcreeper, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Planalto Tyrannulet, Streaked Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Moustached Wren, Buff-breasted Wren, White-bellied Warbler, Guira Tanager, Hooded Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, Pectoral Sparrow, Buff-throated Saltator. Around midday we did some birding along the road to the militairy radar station (Aeronautica PTCEA-GI). We stayed here not much longer than 1 hour. Bird activity was rather low. A Laughing Falcon was our best observation. The bird was sitting in a dead tree just near the road and we had good telescope views.
In the afternoon we drove back to the Agua Fria road. We started birding at the beginning of the road and when it was getting dark we were more or less at 16 km. In this area there is a fazenda (Fazenda Morro da Lage) at the right side of the road. The farm is situated +/- 300 meter from the road, where it birdwatching was very good. Species we saw were Greater Rhea, Cocoi Heron, Red-legged Seriema, Picazuro Pigeon, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Red-and-green Macaw, Red-shouldered Macaw, Orange-winged Parrot, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, White-vented Violet-ear, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Horned Sungem, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Barred Antshrike, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Rusty-backed Antwren, Plain-crested Elaenia, Gray Monjita, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Curl-crested Jay, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Black-faced Tanager, White-banded Tanager, White-rumped Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Coal-crested Finch, Red-crested Finch, Grassland Sparrow and Black-throated Saltator. All the parrots that we saw were near the farm at dusk. They are coming to overnight in the trees around the pousada.
We started the day at Portao da Fé again. Once again there were many birds and more important, with them there were a lot of species that we did not see the day before. To name just a few. Undulated Tinamou, Rusty-margined Guan, White-tipped Dove, Pauraque, Frilled Coquette (the same one as earlier), Blue-crowned Trogon, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Lettered Aracari, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Channel-billed Toucan, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Red-necked Woodpecker, Large-billed Antwren, White-backed Fire-eye, Fiery-capped Manakin, Planalto Tyrannulet, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Sirystes, Social Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Moustached Wren, Thick-billed Euphonia, White-bellied Warbler, Guira Tanager, Hooded Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Pectoral Sparrow, Buff-throated Saltator and Yellow-rumped Cacique. At noon we went back to Guimaraes. Just outside the village, a Pearl kite on a power line gave great views. On our first day here we found a very good and cheap restaurant (buffet). We went there again. Early afternoon we took a short break. We stayed in Pousada Mordada das Flores. Birds we saw in the surroundings of the pousada were Peach-fronted Parakeet, Horned Sungem, Lineated Woodpecker, Red-crested Finch and Chopi Blackbird.
At 14.00h we were at the Véu de Noiva waterfall. We stayed at the top near the edge of the cliffs. From above you have a magnificent view at the forest. Undulated Tinamou (HO), Red-and-green Macaw, Blue-winged Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Biscutate Swift, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Lafresnaye's Woodcreeper, Cliff Flycatcher, Short-crested Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Swallow, Curl-crested Jay, Purple-throated Euphonia, Swallow-Tanager and Chopi Blackbird were the most important birds we noticed.
These were our last hours in the Chapada dos Guimaraes. We drove to the Agua Fria Road. We did not stop at the beginning of the track but we drove straight to the area near Fazenda Morro da Lage. It was a good choice to go here. Best birds we saw were two males Yellow-billed Blue Finch. They were foraging in the scrub opposite the road at the entrance gate of the fazenda. Other species that past the revue were Red-winged Tinamou, Pearl Kite, White-tailed Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Red-legged Seriema (HO), Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Red-and-green Macaw, Red-shouldered Macaw, Horned Sungem, Blue-tufted Starthroat, White-eared Puffbird, Lineated Woodpecker, Chapada Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Purplish Jay, Curl-crested Jay, Hepatic Tanager and Plumbeous Seedeater.
Just after 10.30h we finished birdwatching. We drove to Guimaraes to eat something and later we returned to Cuiaba. We brought the car back to the Avis office. From there we took a taxi to the bus terminal. We arrived here much too early. Our bus to Alta Floresta was leaving at 19.00h and we were already there at 16.00h. We picked up the bus tickets at the desk. The staff of Cristalino Lodge arranged the reservation for the bus for us. The buses used for these long distance journeys are modern and very comfortable. We were surprised, in the bus they were playing a movie of our Belgian action heron, “Muscles from Brussels”, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Lucky us?
The journey passed without any trouble. All of us, except Tom were able to sleep a few hours during the ride. At sunrise, we were driving through the relicts of this part of the Amazon Forest. Thousands of hectares were converted to grassland. Widespread dead trees and small patches of forest were the only witnesses of the former immense Amazone Forest. The only birds we saw during the bus drive were common species like Snowy and Cattle Egret, Wood Stork, Black and Turkey Vulture, a few Greater Yellow-headed Vultures, American Kestrel and Smooth-billed Ani. At 7.45h we arrived in Alta Floresta. One of the employees of the Floresta Amazônica Hotel was waiting at the bus station for us. After a few minutes we arrived at the hotel. It is from here that the visitors for the Cristalino Jungle Lodge are leaving. We had breakfast in the restaurant.
It was just possible to go to Cristalino Lodge early afternoon. Another group would return then and it was just at that time that we were able to have transport (car and boat) to the Lodge. So there was time left to do some birdwatching in the surroundings of the hotel. We read that Axel Lees found a nest of a Harpy Eagle in the small patch of forest just behind the hotel. So we decided to try seeing the Harpy. We met Axel but at that moment, he had no time for showing us the right place. So one of the gardeners accompanied us. Soon it was clear that he did not know the nesting tree. He telephoned a few times to ask for the nest but without any success. Then he disappeared and left us alone. So we searched a few hours for the nest and the young Harpy, but without success. Birds we did see were Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, Bat Falcon, Blue-headed Parrot, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Paradise Jacamar, Black-fronted Nunbird, Red-necked Aracari, Red-billed Toucan, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Epaulet Oriole, Yellow-rumped Cacique and Crested Oropendola. Just after noon, we had to go back to the hotel. The car arrived and we left for Cristalino Jungle Lodge. Along the road from the hotel to the place where the boats for Cristalino Lodge are leaving, there are a few good places to stop. Now we did not have time for that. We planned to spend some time here on our way back. When we arrived at the Teles Pires River the boat had not arrived yet. It was very hot in the afternoon and bird-activity was very low. It was a quiet introduction to the birds of Cristalino. We saw a Pied Lapwing on a sandbank. After we waited more than half an hour until the boat arrived. A group of tourists returned from the Cristalino Jungle Lodge. They were accompanied by Alan ???. Alan is an American birdwatcher. He was already in Cristalino for 2 weeks as a volunteer guide and he was going to be our guide for the next 10 days. It is so that in Cristalino Jungle it is absolutely forbidden to go on the trails without a guide, even when you go on the trail just near the lodge.
The boat trip, that took nearly half an hour, produced Green Ibis, Black Caracara, Swallow-wing, White-banded Swallow, Red-capped Cardinal. Alan showed us our rooms and then we explored the surroundings of the lodge. Birds of notice were Capped Heron, Cocoi Heron, Bare-faced Curassow, Red-and-green Macaw, Golden-winged Parakeet, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Blackish Nightjar (sitting on the roof of our sleeping lodge, a known place for these birds), Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Red-billed Toucan, Red-stained Woodpecker, a glimpse of a Glossy Antshrike and Swallow-Tanager.
After a very early breakfast at 5.45h we were ready to go to the famous watchtower. You can reach the watchtower by following the Rochas Trail. This trail starts just behind the lodges. By first daylight we were on the tower. We stayed at the middle level. The number of birds was enormous. Parrots were flying by, tyrants, flycatchers and cotinga’s were sitting closeby. A great experience! This is the list of the major birds we saw: Swallow-tailed Kite, Bicolored Hawk, Black Caracara, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet and Chestnut-fronted Macaw, White-eyed, Crimson-bellied, Painted and Golden-winged Parakeet, White-bellied (sitting just near the tower), Kawall's and Red-fan Parrot, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl (he or she was feeding young in a nest hole nearby), Gray-rumped and Pale-rumped Swift, Black-girdled Barbet, Lettered and Curl-crested Aracari, Red-billed Toucan, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, White-browed Purpletuft, Screaming Piha, Spangled Cotinga, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Forest Elaenia, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Piratic Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Euphonia, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak and Amazonian Oropendola. After 10 o’clock the activity decreased and we started walking along the Rocky and the Saleiro Trail until 12.15h. At 12.30h it is lunchtime at the lodges and it is a habit overthere that everybody is present for dinner at midday. Birds we saw on the Rocky and Saleiro Trail were Spix's Guan , Ruddy Pigeon, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Eastern Long-tailed Hermit, White-fronted Nunbird, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Plain-winged Antshrike, Gray Antbird, Scale-backed Antbird, Snow-capped Manakin and Fiery-capped Manakin. In the afternoon we spent our time near the lodges. We saw Wood Stork flying over, King Vulture flying over, Swallow-tailed Kite, Blackish Nightjar, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Red-necked Aracari, Epaulet Oriole and Yellow-rumped Cacique. From 15.30h until dark (18.20h) we did a boattrip upstream Rio Cristalino. Capped Heron, Bat Falcon, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Sunbittern, Plumbeous Pigeon, Scarlet and Chestnut-fronted Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Kawall’s Parrot, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Gray-rumped and Pale-rumped Swifts, Brown and Paradise Jacamar, Red-billed Toucan, Amazonian Antwren, Spangled Cotinga, Amazonian Umbrellabird, White-banded Swallow and Yellow-rumped Cacique.
Before sunrise we were on the Rio Cristalino, upstream to the Serra and Cacao Trail. A few of the birds we saw during the boat trip were Great Black-Hawk, Razor-billed Curassow, Sunbittern, Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Golden-winged Parakeet, Blue-crowned Trogon. We started at the Serra trail and we returned on the Cacao Trail back to the river. The Serra Trail is going uphill a small hill with open vegetation. From here you also have a good view over the forest. We scanned the air for raptors and macaws but this was not very productive. Smaller birds in the scrub were more abundant, even common. A very good place for many species. This is one of the better places to see Striolated Puffbird, Natterer's Slaty-Antshrike, Manu Antbird, We also saw King Vulture, White Hawk, Golden-winged Parakeet, Short-tailed Swift, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Black-eared Fairy, Long-billed Starthroat, Paradise Jacamar, White-fronted Nunbird, Black-girdled Barbet, Lettered, Red-necked and Curl-crested Aracari, Red-stained Woodpecker, White-browed Purpletuft, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Tooth-billed Wren, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, White-lored and Rufous-bellied Euphonia, Turquoise Tanager and Bay-headed Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis and Green Honeycreeper. When we returned at the lodge at noon we went with Simon ??? to the Rocky Trail to check the nest-building Scale-backed Antbird, but the bird was not present. But we saw Spix’s Guan and Cinereous Antshrike. After lunch, in late afternoon, we went to the Rocky Trail again and continued on the Caja Trail. We observed Red-billed Toucan, Paradise Jacamar, Screaming Piha, Blue-backed Manakin (HO), Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin and Masked Tityra. It was already dark when we were at the lodge again. A Pauraque was sitting near the river. So it was a rather quiet afternoon.
Today we went by boat to Lago de Sigana. This is the best place for Hoatzin. The lagoon is situated a long distance upstream Rio Cristalino. We started very early and took our time for birdwatching from the boat. This was very productive. We saw Cocoi Heron, Green Ibis, Brazilian Teal, Double-toothed and Plumbeous Kite (on our way back to the lodges), Bat Falcon, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Sunbittern, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Golden-winged Parakeet, Orange-winged Parrot, Great Dusky Swift, Brown, Rufous-tailed and Paradise Jacamar, White-fronted Nunbird, Lettered Aracari, Red-billed Toucan, Spangled Cotinga, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Swallow-Tanager, Red-capped Cardinal and Yellow-rumped Cacique. At the places for the Hoatzins we saw Hoatzin of course. We counted 8 birds on Laguna de Sigana and 2 birds on another lagoon. This lagoon was upstream. Other good birds we saw at Lago de Sigana and on the other lagoon were Black-collared Hawk, Scaled Pigeon, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Dot-backed Antbird, Flame-crested Manakin, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher and Buff-breasted Wren. This was an amazing morning with an amazing scenery. But there was one minor point. When you are on a boat trip for more then an hour with intense forest on both sides of the river, you are thinking that you are in the middle of the jungle. So to hear a tractor close near the Hoatzin place was disappointing. On our way back to the lodge, we walked for a while at an open area named Limao. Here we saw Painted Parakeet, Little Cuckoo and Blue-crowned Trogon. In the afternoon, we wandered near the lodge and in the evening, we stayed at the tower until dark. Near the lodge we saw Wood Stork, King Vulture, Black Caracara, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Blue Ground-Dove, Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Golden-winged Parakeet, Long-billed Starthroat, Red-necked Aracari, Tooth-billed Wren and Epaulet Oriole. Birdwatching at the tower was again magnificent. Birds that were passing by or foraging in the canopy were Scarlet Macaw, Painted Parakeet, White-bellied Parrot, Black-girdled Barbet, Curl-crested Aracari, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Red-necked Woodpecker, Variegated Antpitta (HO, in the evening along the Saleiro Trail, bird was very close but time was limited as it soon became too dark), Screaming Piha, Spangled Cotinga, Bare-necked Fruit-Crow, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Dusky-chested Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Tooth-billed Wren, Paradise and Swallow-Tanager.
Today we started on the Haffer Trail, followed by the connecting Amazon Kawall Trail. These trails are upstream the Rio Cristalino. We saw Red-throated Piping-Guan, Sunbittern (both along the river), Little Cuckoo, Short-tailed Nighthawk (over the river), Violaceous Trogon, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner, Curve-billed Scythebill, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Plain-winged Antshrike, Cinereous Antshrike, Plain-throated Antwren, Gray, White-browed and Black-faced Antbird, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Red-headed Manakin, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant and Long-billed Gnatwren. Near the lodges at noon Blue Ground-Dove, Black-bellied Thorntail, Rufous-throated Sapphire and Amazonian Oropendola were around. In the afternoon, we did the Ficus and New Trail. We had excellent views of a Brazilian Tinamou. The bird was calling for minutes while it was sitting on a small stone. It was sitting in dense vegetation but Erwin found it. Well done. Other highlights we observed were the recently described Cryptic Forest Falcon, Saturnine Antshrike, Variegated Antpitta (HO) and White-winged Shrike-Tanager. Like more afternoons in the forest, it was quiet again. When we returned to the lodge on the Caja Trail it was already dark.
The first hour of the day, we stayed near the lodges. Thereafter we took the Taboca Trail. Birds that we saw/heard were Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Violaceous Trogon, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Curve-billed Scythebill, Fasciated Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Plain-winged Antshrike, Amazonian Antshrike, Spot-winged Antshrike, Long-winged Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Striated Antbird, Manu Antbird, Warbling Antbird, Thrush-like Schiffornis (HO), Grayish Mourner, Hauxwell’s Thrush, Long-billed Gnatwren, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Rose-breasted Chat, Flame-crested Tanager, White-shouldered Tanager and Slate-colored Grosbeak (HO). Almost all of these observations were on the Taboca Trail. In the morning it was quite calm near the lodge. At noon there were more birds near the lodge with a couple of Blue Ground-Doves, Scarlet Macaw, Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Blackish Nightjar, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and Streaked Flycatcher. There was a Zigzag Heron located yesterday so we planned to go for this bird in the evening. That is why we stayed on the Caja Trail in the afternoon. This trail is starting near the lodges. We observed Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Bare-faced Curassow, Golden-winged Parakeet, Lettered Aracari, Bar-breasted Piculet, Amazonian Antwren, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin and Amazonian Oropendola. At 17.30h we took the boat downstream the Rio Cristalino. The Zigzag Heron was located on the other bank. When we arrived on the place, we soon heard the heron. He was calling left of us but he was to far away. Later he was calling on our right hand side. On that moment, it was already dark. So we decided to return here early next morning. But we observed of course other birds like Great Black-Hawk, Bat Falcon, Sunbittern, Pauraque, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, White-winged and White-banded Swallow and Souther Rough-winged Swallow. The swallows were commonly observed all days.
Before breakfast, we were on our way to the Zigzag Heron place. We arrived there before sunrise. And our effort yielded. After our guide played the tape the Zigzag Heron was calling back and soon it was just in front of us. We had excellent views of the bird. One of the highlights of the trip. We also saw Long-billed Woodcreeper and Glossy Antshrike. Also two great birds. Unfortunately the antshrike gave just poor views. After this great moment, we had a quick breakfast. The rest of the morning, we spent on the Caja, Rocky and New Trail. Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon (HO), Broad-billed Motmot, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Lafresnaye's Woodcreeper, Fasciated Antshrike, Striated Antbird, Black-faced Antbird, Scale-backed Antbird, Screaming Piha, Red-headed Manakin, Thrush-like Schiffornis, Ringed Antpipit, Lawrence's and Hauxwell’s Thrush, Turquoise, Paradise and Bay-headed Tanager were the species we saw. In the afternoon we tried our luck on the Ficus and Taboca Trail. Graeme Wallace, one of the volunteers in Cristalino went also with us. This was one of the most disappointing afternoons in Cristalino Jungle Lodge. Bird activity was extremely low. We just observed Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Dot-winged Antwren, Rufous-capped Antthrush and Thrush-like Schiffornis. It was hard to believe that there are so many bird species in this forest and that we saw just a handful during an afternoon intense birdwatching.
This was the first morning without beautiful weather. It was very cloudy and the wind was hard. The tree tops were bouncing in the wind. This did not look like a perfect birdwatching day. We took the boat to the Castanheiro Trail, upstream and opposite the Rio Cristalino. We took Graeme with us and dropped him at the Haffer Trail. During the boat trip, from and to the lodge, we saw Green Ibis, King Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Great Black-Hawk, Bat Falcon, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Razor-billed Curassow and Yellow-rumped Cacique. When we arrived on the Castanheiro Trail, the weather was still bad but soon it was getting better and better and after a while, sun was shining. Birds started to appear and we were able to observe/hear Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Spix’s Guan, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl (HO), Red-billed Toucan, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Lafresnaye's Woodcreeper, Thrush-like Schiffornis, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant, Cinereous Mourner and Musician Wren. On the Castanheiro Trail you can also find the biggest tree of the reserve, a Castanheiro Tree. When we arrived at the start of the Haffer Trail, Graeme did not return yet. Therefore, we went on the trail to do some birdwatching. We saw Black-bellied Cuckoo, Amazonian Antwren, Screaming Piha, Red-headed Manakin, Flame-crested Manakin (HO), Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant, Green-and-gold and Bay-headed Tanager. We had some time left before lunch so we decided to make a stop at Limao, the open area along the river. Temperature was already very high at this moment of the day but the birds were still active. During our short stop at Limao we saw Painted and Golden-winged Parakeet, Black-throated Mango, Versicolored Emerald, Glossy Antshrike and Yellow-bellied Dacnis.
Erwin saw Swallow-tailed Kite, Black-bellied Cuckoo, White-flanked and Rufous-winged Antwren near the lodges. Tom and I walked up the Rocky Trail, just for a short visit. We had Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Spix’s Guan, Curve-billed Scythebill, Fasciated Antshrike and Red-billed Pied Tanager. Later on we went with Alan to the tower. Here we saw Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, White-bellied Parrot, Kawall's Parrot, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Lettered and Red-necked Aracari, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Screaming Piha, Spangled Cotinga, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, Piratic Flycatcher, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher and Rufous-bellied Euphonia. After dinner, we returned to the Rocky Trail. Graeme Wallace was also with us. Targets were owls and nightjars. But the response was nihil. We only heard an Ocellated Poorwill.
In the morning we went to the Borboletas Trail, on the other side of the Rio Teles Pires. This trail starts at the place were the boat are going and coming to the lodge. At the end of the Borboletas Trail we took a track that returns to the river. Our boatman was waiting there for us. Birding was great at this side of the river with species like Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Spix’s Guan, Red-throated Piping-guan, Orange-cheeked Parrot (one of the highlights of the trip for me), Black-bellied Cuckoo, Blackish Nightjar, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, White-tailed and Violaceous Trogon, Paradise Jacamar, Wedge-billed and Lafresnaye’s Woodcreeper, Glossy Antshrike, Pygmy Antwren, Warbling, Southern Chestnut-tailed and Spot-backed Antbird, Screaming Piha, Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Yellow-backed, Flame-crested, White-shouldered and Bay-headed Tanager and Black-faced, Yellow-bellied and Blue Dacnis. Along the Teles Pires River we saw Plumbeous Kite and Pied Lapwing, probably the same bird as we saw on our first day. Along the Rio Cristalino we noticed Capped Heron, Wood Stork, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Painted Parakeet and Red-billed Toucan. In the afternoon, we went to the Rocky, Saleiro and New Trail. Just before we went on the trails we found a Black-tailed Trogon near the lodges. Along the trails we saw Brazilian Tinamou (HO), Cryptic Forest-Falcon, Broad-billed Motmot, Channel-billed and Red-billed Toucan, Bar-breasted Piculet, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Warbling Antbird, Variegated Antpitta (HO), Screaming Piha, Thrush-like Schiffornis and White-winged Shrike-Tanager. In the evening we tried for nightbirds again. A few Ocellated Poorwills responded very well and soon we found one calling in a tree just near us. We had great views of the bird in the spotlight.
These were our last hours in the forest of Cristalino. We started with the Taboca Trail for just one hour. Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Plain-throated Antwren and Rose-breasted Chat were the most conspicuous ones.
There were still a few birds on our most-wanted list. One of the local guides, Jorge, went with us to help us to find a few of them. By boat we went downstream the Rio Cristalino to the Manakin Trail. From the boat we saw our only Gray-fronted Doves of the trip. On the Manakin Trail we soon found White-crowned Manakin and heard Blue-backed Manakin. Via the Manakin Trail we went to the Saleiro Trail and then to the New Trail. We were in a hurry so we did not take time along the Saleiro Trail to search for birds. Jorge knows a good place for Blue-backed Manakin along the New Trail. We soon heard the birds but it was very hard to see them. Finally only Erwin had the chance to see a male and female. All the others dipped the manakin. We also saw Yellow-throated Woodpecker and Fasciated Antshrike along the New Trail. By the Rocky Trail we returned to the lodge. It was already 10.30h when we arrived there. This was already later then we agreed in the morning so we left immediately. At the border of the Teles Pires we said goodbye to Alan and the boatman. A taxi was waiting there for us. We arranged with the driver that we wanted to make a few stops on our way to Alta Floresta. During these stops we saw Snail and Plumbeous Kite, Black Hawk-Eagle, Blue-and-yellow and Scarlet Macaw, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Point-tailed Palmcreeper (just a glimpse but the bird reacted very well to the tape) and Sulphury Flycatcher. Near 13.30h we arrived in the Alta Floresta Hotel. The bus was just leaving in the evening so we had the whole afternoon for birdwatching in the forest near the hotel. We hoped that our second try for the Harpy was going to be more succesfull. The same gardener went with us but by now they showed him the nest of the eagle. From the moment we arrived at the place we saw the young bird sitting on the nest. It was a one year old bird that was still around and in the nest. From time to time the adults are bringing him food. But at the time that we were there, none of the adults was seen. The young bird was already impressive. Birding was more productive here then on our first day. We saw Brazilian Teal, Plumbeous Kite, Bat Falcon, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Wattled Jacana, Blue-and-yellow and Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Yellow-crowned Macaw, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Lineated Woodpecker, Cinnamon-throated and Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Masked Tityra, Red-capped Cardinal, Giant Cowbird, Yellow-rumped Cacique and Crested Oropendola. Just after 18.00h we were back in the hotel. We paid our last bills and one of the employees took us to the bus station. At 19.05h we started the long night drive to Cuiaba.
At 6.45h we arrived in Cuiaba after another trouble-free bus drive. From the busstation we took a taxi to the airport were we had our flight to Sao Paulo at 12.15h. We arrived in Sao Paulo at 16.15h (one hour time difference with Cuiaba). We arranged a car in advance by Avis. Now it seemed that hiring a car by Localiza was much cheaper. So that was what we did, we hired a car by the latter company. It was already 17.20h when we left Sao Paulo and we had to make a long journey to Intervales. It was already passed 22.00h when we arrived in the reserve. During the last kilometres before the entrance of the park we already observed 3 males Long-trained Nightjar. They were sitting on the road and we saw them very well in the lights of the car. When we arrived at the office of the park, it was closed already. The gardeners woke up someone of the staff members to let us in. The girl of the office did not speak any English but it was clear for us that she was surprised to see us here, strange as I booked the lodge in advance and I even sent an e-mail to let them know that we expected to arrive late in the evening. She even had this e-mail with her. I also asked for Luis as a guide in my e-mail. They let me know that this was no problem at all. Now it seemed that Luis was not available for guiding us the next day. This was an unpleasant surprise for us. Even as it was a surprise for her that we arrived, we soon had 2 rooms in one of the large lodges. The reason why she was so surprised would be explained the next morning.
Intervales is much more to the south than the previous places that we visited during this trip. At this time of year it is the southern hemisphere winterperiod so sunrise was later here. When we went outside it was still dark but soon it started to get light. As Luis was not available we decided to start the day with some birdwatching near the lodge. They promised us that Luis was around somewhere before noon. When we were nearly 100 metres away from the lodge the other guests came out too. Great was our surprise as it seemed to be some people we knew. It was Luc Lens and his wife, Wim Van Den Bossche and Jan Goossens. They are Belgians too. They arrived here 2 days ago, without making a reservation. Now it became clear for us why the girl at the reception was so surprised yesterday evening. She thought that we arrived already. Two Belgian birdwatcher groups, both of 4 people. One with a reservation, the other without a reservation. This was a situation that had to give problems as none of us speaks any Portuguese and nobody in the park speaks English. So they also sent Luis with Luc’s group. And soon Luis arrived at the scene. We tried to explain the situation. Luis is a fantastic guide with a great knowledge of the birds in the park. He is fabulous by recognizing the birds by sound. He is absolutely the best guide I have ever had on a birdwatching trip. Luis spoke barely English, but he showed the birds that he heard in his book. We soon agreed that all eight of us were going with Luis as a guide for the next days. Of course this is a bigger group but this was not a problem at all.
The weather was not so good. Before noon, it was already very cloudy and we heard thunder at a distance. And early afternoon it started to rain with later that day even heavy thunderstorms. So before noon it was OK for birdwatching. In the afternoon, it was much worse. Despite the bad weather in the afternoon the list of birds was great. We birded along two different jeep tracks, one before noon, the other in the afternoon. At noon, we returned to the restaurant just opposite the lodge for a while. Today we saw Black-fronted Piping-Guan (high in a tree at a ridge during a thunderstorm), Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Plain Parakeet, White-collared Swift, Scale-throated Hermit, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-tailed and Surucua Trogon, Saffron Toucanet, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-fronted and Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Rufous Hornero, Streaked Xenops, Black-capped, White-collared and White-eyed (HO) Foliage-Gleaner, Rufous-breasted Leaftosser, Olivaceous, Planalto and Lesser Woodcreeper, Variable Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Ferruginous and Ochre-rumped (HO) Antbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Squamate Antbird, Rufous-capped and Short-tailed (HO) Antthrush, Rufous Gnateater, Mouse-colored Tapaculo, Sharpbill, Swallow-tailed Cotinga (in open area near the lodge and the restaurant), Hooded Berryeater, Blue Manakin, Greenish Schiffornis (HO), Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Sao Paulo and Oustalet’s Tyrannulet, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-olive and Social Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Becard, White-rumped Swallow, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Yellow-legged, Rufous-bellied and White-necked Thursh, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Tropical Parula, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Golden-crowned Warbler, Magpie Tanager, Olive-green, Black-goggled, Golden-chevroned, Red-necked and Brassy-breasted Tanager, Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Temminck’s and Double-collared Seedeater, Green-winged Saltator and Golden-winged Cacique. We also heard a Barred Forest-Falcon.
In the morning it was raining very hard. We waited until 7.00h but it was even raining harder. Luc and his group decided to leave Intervales. They already had rain the 3 previous days and for them that was more than enough. They drove to the north, to Serra da Canastra. We started birdwatching in the rain. It rained the whole day, except for an hour and a half in the afternoon. But even in the rain we saw a lot of birds. We stayed along the same tracks as yesterday but the one we visited yesterday afternoon, we visited before noon today, and vice versa. New birds we saw were Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated Trogon, Yellow-fronted (at a feeding table near the restaurant) and White-spotted Woodpecker, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner (HO), White-throated and Scalloped Woodcreeper, Spot-backed, Giant and Tufted (HO) Antshrike, Dusky-tailed Antbird, Streak-capped Antwren, Variegated Antpitta (HO), Spotted Bamboowren (HO), White-breasted Tapaculo (HO), Wing-barred Piprites, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Bay-ringed Tyrannulet, Large-headed Flatbill, Yellow-rumped and Cliff Flycatcher, Gray-hooded Attila, Masked Yellowthroat, White-rimmed Warbler, Ruby-crowned, Brazilian, Azure-shouldered and Diademed Tanager and Blue Dacnis. In the evening a Tropical Screech-Owl was the only bird we found during our nightbird search.
Today the weather had totally changed. There was no single cloud in the sky. In the morning it was even freezing but soon the temperature was rising and it became a pleasant day. We stayed at the same jeep tracks again. Bird activity was even higher and we noted nearly 80 species. Most remarkable amongst them were Brown Tinamou (HO), Mantled Hawk, Dusky-legged Guan, Picazuro Pigeon, Least Pygmy-Owl (HO), Buff-bellied and Crescent-chested Puffbird, Ochre-collared Piculet, Green-barred Woodpecker, Red-eyed Thornbird, Buff-browed (HO) and Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Tufted and White-bearded Antshrike, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Tropical Peewee, White-throated Spadebill (HO), Long-tailed Tyrant, Three-striped Flycatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, Brown and Rufous-headed Tanager, Buffy-fronted, Temminck’s and Blackish-blue Seedeater, Uniform Finch and Black-throated Grosbeak. In the afternoon Erwin and I went to Bonito for petrol and to get money. Along the way we saw American Kestrel, White-collared Swift and Streamer-tailed Tyrant. During our 2 hours absent Wim and Tom stayed around the lodges but they did not notice any new bird for the trip list. Late afternoon we went birding again with Long-trained Nightjar, Rufous-capped Motmot and Slaty Bristlefront as best birds. Near the lodge the Tropical Screech-Owl was calling again but now we were unable to find him.
The weather was fine again. Sadly, it was our last half day in Intervales. We birded at the open area near the lodge and restaurant and at one of the jeep tracks. We saw Short-tailed and Mantled Hawk, Dusky-legged Guan, Red-and-white Crake (the bird gave just a glimpse in a small marsh at the end of one of the jeep tracks, where Luis saw it best and I was the only one of the group that saw the crake for a split-second), Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Scale-throated Hermit, Festive Coquette, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Surucua Trogon, Red-breasted Toucan, Ochre-collared Piculet, White and Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Chicli, Rufous-capped and Gray-bellied Spinetail, Red-eyed Thornbird, Buff-browed (HO) and Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner, Rufous-breasted Leaftosser, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Olivaceous, Planalto and Scalloped Woodcreeper, Giant and Variable Antshrike, Dusky-tailed and Squamate Antbird, Short-tailed Antthrush, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Hooded Berryeater, Blue Manakin, Yellow-bellied and Highland Elaenia, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-olive and Social Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Swallow, House Wren, Creamy-bellied Thrush, Tropical Parula, Masked Yellowthroat, White-rimmed Warbler, Brown (HO), Ruby-crowned, Black-goggled, Azure-shouldered and Diademed Tanager and Golden-winged Cacique. Late at noon, we ate something in the restaurant and at 14.30h we were ready for the long drive to Curitiba and Estrada da Graciosa. Between Intervales and Bonito we saw Hooded Siskin, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Great Pampa-Finch and Yellow-rumped Marshbird. Along the part of the road between Bonito and Registro we saw White-tailed Kite, American Kestrel, Picazuro Pigeon, Ruddy Ground-Dove, White-collared Swift, White-eared Puffbird, White-rumped Monjita and Streamer-tailed Tyrant. In the evening, just before sunset, we were near some marshland with small ponds closeby Registro. Our short stop produced Rufous-sided Crake (HO), Common Moorhen, Wattled Jacana, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Masked Water-Tyrant, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant and Brazilian Tanager. It was already near 21.30h when we finally found a small hotel at a petrol station along the N116. This hotel was close to the exit, Estrada da Graciosa, to Sao Joaquin De Graciosa.
From 6.30h till 13.15h we were at Serra da Graciosa, the serra near Estrada da Graciosa. This place holds small patches of forest at the righthand side of the estrada. There are 2 small tracks going into the forest. One is going through good forest but is hardly driveable with a private car. We parked the car at the beginning of the track. Here are a few small houses. The second track is just a dirt-road but it is driveable. Along this road, you will find a mixture of small forest patches and meadows. There are also many houses. The main disadvantage of this place is that there is a lot of traffic on this dirt-road. On the left hand side of the Estrada da Graciosa you will find an open area with scrub. During a half day of birding we saw a Black-fronted Piping-Guan (Totally unexpected for us on this site. The bird was sitting in a tree close by and was seen for several minutes. Gave much better views than the bird in Intervales), Picazuro Pigeon, Festive Coquette, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated Trogon, Red-breasted Toucan, Mottled Piculet, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Rufous-capped, Pallid and Olive Spinetail, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Olivaceous, Planalto and Scalloped Woodcreeper, Variable Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Hooded Berryeater, Blue Manakin, Greenish Schiffornis, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, White-necked Thrush, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Tropical Parula, Golden-crowned and White-rimmed Warbler, Diademed and Brassy-breasted Tanager, Red-rumped Warbling-Finch, Saffron Finch, Thick-billed Saltator. Next destination was Flor de Terra, the place for the Wetland Tapaculo, just near Curitiba. There were roadworks going on in the direction of Piraquara so we missed the exit to Flor de Terra. We took the next exit in the direction of Curitiba. We soon came along a larger lake, close near the highway. This lake held Pied-billed Grebe, Cattle Egret, Brazilian Teal, White-tailed Kite, Savanna Hawk, Wattled Jacana, Picazuro Pigeon, Eared Dove, Ruddy Ground-Dove, White-collared Swift and Saffon Finch.
We did not spend too much time at this place as we were still searching for the Tapaculo-site. It took a while but finally we were back on the highway in the direction that we came from. We found an improvised exit that leads to the road to Flor da Terra. This area is one of the few that holds Wetland Tapaluco. But the place is not protected at all. It is under high pressure as constructions for a dam are going on. The area with the tapaculos is drained already and in the distance, we saw bulldozers and trucks that were building the dam. We spent a few hours in this area. We soon located a Wetland Tapaculo that was singing just two metres away from us. The bird was reacting very well to a tape. But the vegetation is so dense and the bird was so secretive that we were unable to see it. In total we heard 5 Wetland Tapaculos singing. We tried for another one. Again it was reacting very well but it was impossible to see it. This one was even closer at less than half a metre. We made a small corridor in the vegetation. At a moment the bird was singing left of it. Then I saw something moving in the corridor and just after that the bird was singing on the right side of the corridor. So most probably it was the Tapaculo that I saw sneaking through the vegetation. But despite all our efforts we never had a clear view of this rare bird. Other birds we saw here were Buff-necked Ibis, Brazilian Teal, Mottled Piculet, White Woodpecker, White-crested Tyrannulet, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Swallow, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Red-rumped Warbling-Finch and Great Pampa-Finch. At sunset we drove on to Garuva. It took a few hours before we arrived in the village. We slept in a motel along a crossroad in Garuva. This motel, at a petrol station, was just near the road to the birdwatching areas.
Garuva is the place to see the both rare Restinga Tyrannulet and Parana Antwren (=Marsh Antbird). You can do birdwatching along a dirt-road that goes into the area. By using tape, we succeeded to see both species within the first half hour that we were in the area. They gave both excellent views. Other goodies we saw were Mantled Hawk, Speckled Chachalaca, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Plain Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, White-collared and Gray-rumped Swift, Sombre Hummingbird, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-fronted and White-spotted Woodpecker, Streaked Xenops, Bare-throated Bellbird, Greenish Schiffornis, Gray-capped Tyrannulet, Long-tailed Tyrant, Long-billed and House Wren, Azure Jay, Hooded Siskin, Masked Yellowthroat, Brazilian Tanager, Diademed Tanager, Violeceous Euphonia, Red-necked and Brassy-breasted Tanager and Red-rumped Cacique. Further on this road we found rice fields on our righthand side. Here we saw Whistling Heron, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Brazilian Teal, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Wattled Jacana, White-backed Stilt, South American Snipe, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher, White-rumped Swallow, Blue-and-white Swallow, Yellowish Pipit, Double-collared Seedeater and White-browed Blackbird.
In the afternoon we drove to Guaratuba. This small village is near the sea and not far away from Garuva. We did some seawatching and that produced Brown Booby, Neotropic Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Little Blue Heron, American Oystercatcher, Collared Plover, Kelp and Brown-hooded Gull, Sandwich Terns of subspecies sandvicensis and eurygnatha, Royal Tern, Black Skimmer, Cattle Tyrant on the beach and Blue-and-white Swallow. In the evening we drove to Joinville, a city with German influence. The ride from Guaratuba took more than 2 hours. We finally found a cheaper hotel in this big city. The first ones that we tried were rather expensive.
At 6.00h we drove to Salto do Pirai to search for Kaempfer’s Tody-Tyrant. We followed the directions as mentioned by Arthur Grosset but it was not easy to find the place. Finally, we found the waterfall but the exact place for the Tody-Tyrant was never found. Also the area around the waterfall was closed by a fench. We birded in the surroundings, in a small orchard and secondary forest between the houses. Birds we saw were White-necked Hawk, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Plain Parakeet, Sooty and White-collared Swift, Surucua Trogon, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Pin-tailed Manakin, White-crested Tyrannulet, Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher, Bran-colored Flycatcher, Tropical Peewee, House Wren, Yellow-legged Thrush, Tropical Parula, Golden-crowned Warbler, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Green-headed and Red-necked Tanager and Shiny Cowbird. In the ricefield just nearby we saw Bare-faced Ibis, Brazilian Teal, White-backed Stilt, Lesser Yellowlegs, Nacunda Nighthawk (the birds were sitting on small banks in the rice-fields), Yellow-chinned Spinetail and White-browed Blackbird.
At 13.30h bird activity was very low in Salto do Pirai. We decided to return to Serra da Graciosa, despite not having seen the Tody-Tyrant. We arrived in Serra da Graciosa at 15.00h. The weather was not so good there. It was very cloudy and rather cold. We stayed here for 3 hours. We found White-collared and Gray-rumped Swift, Brazilian Ruby, Olive Spinetail, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Bertoni’s Antbird, Variegated Antpitta, Hooded Berryeater, Brown-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, White-rumped Swallow, White-necked Thrush, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Tropical Parula, Golden-crowned and White-rimmed Warbler. We drove to Itanhaem, for our last night in Brazil. We arrived there at 22.30h. It was a long and strenuous ride.
This was our last morning in Brazil. We drove to the forest in Itanhaem. It was very foggy and bird activity was low. We arrived here at 7.00h and we had a few hours for searching our last birds. We stayed near the area with the two small bridges. This is at the beginning of Itanhaem area. We saw Rufous-thighted Hawk, Unicolored and Rufous-winged Antwren, Bare-throated Bellbird , White-bearded Manakin, Social Flycatcher, Long-billed Wren, Golden-crowned and Neotropical River Warbler, Brazilian Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and Red-rumped Cacique. At 9.30h it was time to go. We drove back to Sao Paulo. We arrived at the airport at 13.00h. Our flight to Paris departed late afternoon.
Early morning we arrived in Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport. We took the Thalys to Brussels and in the afternoon, we were back home.
BIRD LIST (289kB .pdf) During this trip 601 species were observed, 10 of them were only heard, 2 are feral species.