Just returned from eight days of birding (and mammaling?) in the Pantanal and Chapada regions of Mato Grosso, adjacent to the city of Cuiabá.
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.
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.
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)
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:
Rainy season is still a few weeks away, so the little bit of water that remains is very popular with birds and mammals alike.
No shortage of Greater Rheas here.
After two nights here we went south to Porto Jofre, where the road ends at at the Cuiabá River.
Dozens of boats cruise this stretch of river, principally looking for big cats, but there is plenty of bird-life also.
But even a couple of hardcore birders like us had to be awed by the felines patrolling the river.
Also being cat-owners, we are quite familiar with facial expressions like this one:
Here is a nice prospective dinner for a hungry jaguar:
Other denizens of the river include plenty of the bizarre Sunbitterns:
… and the even stranger 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.
After two full days on the river, we headed back north to the edge of the Pantanal, for a day at Pousada Piuval.
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.
More details later. Having not slept in a real bed for 48 hours, and with work tomorrow, time to call it a night.