Brazil: Pantanal Safari Jul 09—21, 2017
Posted by Jeri Langham
When my colleague David Ascanio led his first Pantanal Wildlife Safari tour a few years ago, he sent me photos of the first Jaguar they saw and told me I simply had to lead tours here after spending several decades leading tours to the Venezuelan Llanos and never getting any decent views of a Jaguar. VENT has now assigned me to lead this tour every July. Here are some passages taken from the journal I write every night for my VENT tours and then mail to the participants after I return home and edit them.
We were loaded up in the spacious bus by 7 a.m. for our long drive to SouthWild Pantanal Lodge near Pixaím. One of the first birds we stopped to see along the Transpantaneira Highway was a Red-legged Seriema perched on top of a terrestrial termite mound. Not too long later, we found a Greater Rhea near the road. All Hell broke loose as we approached the archway sign announcing the beginning of the Pantanal. We must have identified more than 20 species here in the water areas. The trip species just kept coming and coming as we drove along the road.
A leisurely cruise up the Pixaím River provided a good look at the Pale-legged Hornero, which is much better looking than the Rufous Hornero also present here. We saw three species of kingfishers and an incredible number of Neotropic Cormorants, Picazuro Pigeons, and Striated Herons. At our turn around point, the huge Nacunda Nighthawks flew above us, and shortly a Sunbittern flew past us, exposing its wonderful wing pattern. The best bird of the day was still to come, as my boat driver, Maciel, spotted an Agami Heron. Its delicate light-blue neck feathers always amaze me.
Grayish Baywings, Shiny Cowbirds, Saffron Finches, Chaco Chachalacas, Chestnut-bellied Guan, and many more kept us busy around the lodge this morning until we headed for breakfast. One of my favorites here each year is the Red-crested Cardinal. As most of us were enjoying breakfast, Kike came up to the building and told us that White Woodpecker was visible, and we had distant views of this amazing woodpecker.
Read Jeri’s full report in his Field List.