Monday, August 27, 2018

Brazil Day 6 - Baia das Pedras

As I mentioned previously, there is no need to set an alarm in the Pantanal.  Between the Buff-throated Ibis and Chaco Chachalas, the cacophony of bird calls starts early.  So, we were up before we needed to be and I enjoyed some coffee before our 6:30AM breakfast.

As a nice change of pace, BdP served eggs for breakfast.  We knew there wouldn't be any at Barranco Alto so we enjoyed them while we could.  And, of course, I was forced to have some cake for breakfast as well.  Have I mentioned how great cake is for breakfast?

The morning activity was going to be a game drive.  So, at around 7:30AM we loaded into the BdP open topped Range Rover, which Rita drove, and headed out.  The conditions were cold and a bit drizzly but we hoped they would clear up.  Who ever heard of rain in the Pantanal in August anyway?

The first critter to pose for us was this pretty Whistling Heron:
Whistling Heron

Right after that, the rain started and we got wet and colder...but we kept going.

Even this pair of Blue-crowned Parakeets were huddling together due to the cold and rain:
Blue-crowned Parakeets Huddling in the Rain

After less than an hour, Karen took the initiative to ask if people wanted to continue or not.  Slowly there were some negative grumbles and then we made the decision to turn back.  Cold wasn't that bad but cold and wet was no fun and with no cover we would only get colder and wetter.

So, Rita turned the truck around and made a bee-line back to the Fazenda.  All of a sudden I saw something black and white out in the grass.  As we passed by it, I was just able to get a better look and realized that it was a Southern Tamandua.  "Tamandua...tamandua!" I yelled, which caused Rita to slow to a stop.  She backed up and we were able to get pretty good looks at another lifer mammal:

Southern Tamandua

Just as we were talking about getting out of the truck for closer looks, the Tamandua reared up on its hind legs to smell the air.  It must have smelled us because the next thing it did was turn around and run into the bushes.  But, I was able to get one shot of it smelling the air before he bolted:

Southern Tamandua Smells Us

What an awesome little critter!  That sighting made me quickly forget about the rain and cold.  Until we started moving again of course.

When we got back to the Fazenda, there was a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl sitting on a small tree right by the front door.  So, Bill and I proceeded to have a little photo shoot of this adorable owl.

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

Notice the fake eyes on the back of its head to confuse predators:
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Fake Eyes

Another fantastic encounter.  As it turns out, that owl was on the same tree almost every morning of our stay.

BdP has coffee and tea out almost all day and boy did some hot tea feel good once we got inside.  I didn't realize how low my core temperature had gotten until the warm liquid filled my innards.

Before lunch time, the weather cleared and warmed a little.  So, right after lunch I walked around the grounds of the lodge.  The grounds at BdP are different.  They are pretty much all sand and have chickens, pigs, sheep, and horses all hanging around.  So, while you need to look out and up to see all the wildlife you also need to look down so that you can tip toe through the poop minefield.

Speaking of pigs.  Here is the local Uber driver:
Feral Pig Uber Driver

There are quite a few palm trees on the grounds which attract all sorts of birds.  The Blue-crowned Parakeets were constantly on the ground rummaging around for the ripest palm fruit.

Blue-crowned Parakeet

Blue-crowned Parakeet with Palm Nut

Blue-crowned Parakeet

I even got a glimpse of the Yellow-faced Parrots which were typically very shy:
Yellow-faced Parrot

Since the temperatures were still cool, we left for our afternoon drive at 2:30PM and didn't return until 6PM.  It turned out to be a pretty good game drive.

We started with a stop at the Jabiru Nest and we timed it just as one parent came back to the nest with some fortifications.

After One Jabiru Lands...

I was hoping for a picture of the whole family but as one Jabiru landed, the other one took off.  No time to talk about their day I was back to work:

The Other Takes Off

We also got our first good look at a Red-legged Seriema:
Red-legged Seriema

Maguari Stork:
Maguari Stork

We saw quite a few Capybara including this one that was keeping watch with a friend:
Capybara and Friend Keeping Watch

During the rest of the drive we saw another Giant Anteater but it disappeared quickly into the bush, more birds and multiple White-lipped Peccary groups.

As we were returning to the lodge at dusk, our first Crab-eating fox posed nicely as it watched us:
Crab-eating Fox

At that point, we were all pretty cold again because we did not pack for this type of weather.  All I had on was a short sleeved T-shirt, long sleeve shirt and a rain shell.  But, that wasn't enough so I needed something to increase my core temperature.  Hmm....tea?  No....  What about caipirinhas?  Hell yeah!

For tonight, Rita made a batch of passion fruit caipirinhas and then a batch of regular ones.  The passion fruit ones were really strong and I didn't even get a chance to have a regular one before dinner.

Dinner was excellent again and consisted of some really tasty meat balls, pasta, broccoli, and of course Brazilian rice and beans.  We then topped that off with a very good peach dessert.

Once again, we opted to forgo the optional night drive since it was so cold out.  But, looking back, it was a really good day despite the cold and rain.  Both the Southern Tamandua and the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (henceforth referred to as the FPO) were trip highlights so far.

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