Saturday, August 25, 2018

Brazil Day 8 - Baia das Pedras

Today was our last full day at BdP and early on I was already feeling a bit sad since I really enjoyed our stay here.  But, we had 3 game drives ahead of us today so there was still lots to see.

The AM game drive was once again really good.

Turquoise-fronted Amazon Parrot:
Turquoise-fronted Amazon Parrot

Toco Toucan:
Toco Toucan

The Tapir team arrived late yesterday and baited the traps around the property. Stefan had arranged for them to call us if they captured any.  So, we hoped to hear from them this morning.  Their presence was obvious:
Everyone Should Brake for Tapirs

Unicolored Blackbirds:
Unicolored blackbirds

We spent about an hour of our drive at the lake where we took the boat trip yesterday.  The bird life was out in force there including multiple Sunbitterns:

Great Egret with a gorgeous male Roseate Spoonbill in breeding plumage:
Great Egret and Roseate Spoonbill

Another Jabiru nest with both adults:
Nesting Jabiru Pair


White-lipped Peccaries:
White-lipped Peccaries

At one point, we came upon this Southern-crested Caracara that had either killed an Egret or scavenged an already dead egret:
Southern Crested Caracara

Caracara with Egret Leg

We also had another Armadillo sighting.  We actually had a lot of Armadillo sightings at BdP but few pictures since once we saw them the best view I got was like this:
Typical Armadillo Sighting

Today was quickly going from warm to HOT.  This Pampas Deer was already cooling off in the shade:
Pampas Deer in the Shade

Either this American Kestrel roosts here a lot or it needs to see a doctor about its poop problem:
American Kestrel

Plumbeous Ibis:
Plumbeous Ibis

Just as we were climbing off the truck back at the lodge, some other guests were returning from their horseback ride (no sign of the ornery mule by the way) so I decided to take a few pictures and I liked this one the best:
Baia das Pedras Cowboy

Our afternoon drive started at 3:00PM today because we were making a detour to visit with the Tapir Team.  We hadn't gotten a call from them about any captures so we assumed that they didn't find any in the traps in the morning.

We spent about a 1/2 hour talking to Patricia Medici, the Tapir Team lead.  We asked lots of questions and she patiently answered them all.  We even held a surprisingly heavy collar that they use on the Tapirs to gather data.  She is the world's foremost authority on the Brazilian (Lowland) Tapir so getting a chance to meet her was fascinating.  I felt like I already knew her since I read The Tapir Scientist (available on Amazon) twice.

As it turns out, they did catch one Tapir in the traps in the morning.  They didn't call us because they ended up letting the Tapir go without recording any data.  They knew this Tapir. It had a really bad temperament so they named it Lucifer.  This Tapir was very unique because they had trapped it before as a baby but it was by itself.  The mother was also trapped but far away from it which means they weren't together.  Plus, it didn't have any spots as a baby and today as an adult still has its baby teeth.  I think there were other strange anomalies that I don't remember.  Suffice it to say that it is aptly named.

Patricia also filled us in on everything that Rita and Carlos do for their team and the Giant Armadillo team which is also based out of BdP.  Not only did Rita and Carlos build them a large lab for their research but they also furnish all team members with room and board.  All of this is free to the researchers.  So, while the researchers themselves should be applauded for doing work that no one else in the world is doing, it's Rita and Carlos that make sure that work continues.

So, if you were on the fence about going to BdP, I urge you to go and support them.  That way you pretty much directly support these two research teams as well.

It warmed up a lot in the afternoon so the wildlife watching wasn't as good as in the morning.  In fact I only have one memorable photo from the drive.

Capybara and hitchhiker:
Capybara and Cattle Tyrant

During the drive we did encounter some cattle including a distressed calf.  The calf had been separated from its mom by a fence and couldn't figure out how to find an opening.  It just so happened that our driver was one of the cowboys.  But, since he didn't have a horse, he used the truck and horn to herd the calf along the fence until there was an opening.  Once the calf saw that, it bolted through the opening and right to its mother where it proceeded to nurse.

At the end of the drive, instead of going back towards the lodge, the driver took us to the lake.  Bill predicted that they had something special planned for us given it was our last night.  He was right.

We arrived at the lake to see that Rita has set up a table and we all enjoyed sundowners and snacks together.  Unfortunately, it was just beer or wine.  So, no Caipirinhas for us's a wonder that I even lived through the evening.

Just like yesterday, I used my point and shoot to capture the wonderful sunset:
Baia Sunset

Since it was our last night, we needed to maximize our opportunity to see something special so we opted to take the night drive again.  Unfortunately, we shared it tonight was a couple ladies that talked the ENTIRE drive.  So, that just reinforced why we always pay extra for private guides on our trips.  You just never know when you encounter people you aren't compatible with.

The drive turned out to be mostly a bust.  Maybe the wildlife heard some us coming...  We did see a few Crab-eating Foxes and an FPO but that's about it.

Stefan did spotlight an Ocelot far off in the bushes and reeds but it just sat there and none of us could see anything not even eye shine.

So, the only photo I have from the drive is of this Common Paraque which are aptly names since they are everywhere at night:
Common Pauraque

At one point, we did travel the same road as our afternoon game drive and Stefan spotted Puma tracks walking OVER our tire tracks.  So, a Puma had walked along that road in the past few hours.  Ah, if only...

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