Trip report: Brazil, the Pantanal and the Amazon (Jul-Aug 2009) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Nick Athanas.

It’s a hard combo to beat – the vast primeval Amazonian forests of Cristalino and the non-stop wildlife show of the Pantanal, where pretty much the only way to stop seeing stuff is to close your eyes. There’s also a bit of cerrado birding thrown in to add some spice and variety, where you can quickly see a bunch of neat birds not available elsewhere on the tour.

This year, despite a harpy and the mega-diveristy of Cristalino Lodge, it was Pousada Piuval that stole the show. It has always been good, which is why it features in the itinerary, but this year it was just jaw-dropping, mind-blowingly out-of-this world incredible. There were birds literally everywhere you looked. Vast numbers of birds, insane daily species lists topping out at 174 seen on one day (maybe a TB record?), normally tough birds like Great Rufous Woodcreepers pretty much on the doorstep, and quite simply a huge amount of fun.  Mammals got better as we went deeper into the Pantanal, with the likes of Ocelot, Giant Otter, Giant Anteater, and Brazilian Tapir all featuring. I apologize now for the brevity of this report – I’ve had an insane guiding schedule over the last few months, and only a few days before my next one begins.   But that’s the way I like it.

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