Mato Grosso, Brazil, October 2019

Just returned from eight days of birding (and mammaling?) in the Pantanal and Chapada regions of Mato Grosso, adjacent to the city of Cuiabá.

bch
Black-collared Hawk, seen everywhere

A bit involved getting there: Minneapolis to Dallas, then overnight (10 hours) Dallas to Sao Paulo, a long wait in the airport, and then backtracking two hours to Cuiabá, which we flew over on the flight from Dallas.

caiman
Also seen everywhere are these small Caimans

Our guide Johnny picked us up Saturday morning and we drove south to the Pantanal. Our first destination was the Aymara Lodge. This friendly and comfy hotel lies just inside the northern boundary of the Pantanal wetland and was good for various woodcreepers.

btwc
Buff-throated Woodcreeper

I was also happy to see my first wild Coati there. My maternal grandfather actually had one of these as a pet in the late 4o’s (and she was named Suzy)

coati
Poor nighttime photo of one of Suzy’s relatives

October in the Pantanal is hot; we experienced upwards of 40 C / 100 F. Unsurprisingly, not much wildlife is to be seen during midday, but at daybreak a host of otherwise invisible birds suddenly appear, such as this Currasow:

bfcurf
Female Bare-faced Currasow

Rainy season is still a few weeks away, so the little bit of water that remains is very popular with birds and mammals alike.

mdeer
Marsh Deer at Aymara

No shortage of Greater Rheas here.

grhea
Male Greater Rhea taking care of a few chicks – the little grey blobs in front of him.

After two nights here we went south to Porto Jofre, where the road ends at at the Cuiabá River.

river
On the Cuiabá River

Dozens of boats cruise this stretch of river, principally looking for big cats, but there is plenty of bird-life also.

cappedheron
Capped Heron

But even a couple of hardcore birders like us had to be awed by the felines patrolling the river.

jag1
One of six different Jaguars we saw over two days on the river

Also being cat-owners, we are quite familiar with facial expressions like this one:

jag3
When our cats get this look, it means: ‘Where is my food, human?”

Here is a nice prospective dinner for a hungry jaguar:

capy
Capybara and Wattled Jacanas – immature and adult
Another easy find in the Pantanal are the largest of the Macaws, the Hyacinth:

 

hymac
Hyacinth Macaws getting their Daily Allowance of minerals

Other denizens of the river include plenty of the bizarre Sunbitterns:

sunb
Sunbittern

… and the even stranger Great Potoo:

gpotoo
Great Potoo

For this portion of the trip we were based out of Hotel Pantanal Norte. Because of the extreme heat, the schedules here start nice and early, with breakfast at 5AM. I love hotels that keep birder’s hours.

tt
Toco Toucan
jnest
Jabiru nest
ff
Fuscous Flycatcher
bni
Buff-necked Ibis

After two full days on the river, we headed back north to the edge of the Pantanal, for a day at Pousada Piuval.

bymac
Blue-and-yellow Macaw
capy2
Capybara with Giant Cowbird
ammot
Amazonian Motmot
ftfcs
Tree full of Fork-tailed Flycatchers

Finally we spent our last two nightsat Pousada so Parque in the Chapada dos Guimaraes, a national park north of Cuiabá which sits on the plateaus.

la
Lettered Aracari
gbe
Glittering-bellied Emerald
sbt
Small-billed Tinamou

More details later. Having not slept in a real bed for 48 hours, and with work tomorrow, time to call it a night.

jag2
Time For Go To Bed

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