Guided by Nick Athanas.
Our 2009 Southeast Brazil tour was surprising in many ways. Only two people signed up for it, thanks in large part to the global recession. Even though time was short and I had already pretty much given up on the tour, I decided to run it anyway, a decision I nearly came to regret, as it was a struggle to get lodge space at short notice. Fortune smiled broadly, and it all came together in the end. A pity no one else signed up, as it turned out to be one of the most successful tours I’ve ever guided. Despite missing nearly a day at Intervales due to a cancelled flight, not to mention having more than out share of rain from El Niño, overlapping with a crazy busy holiday weekend near the end, and not even going at an excessively fast pace, we managed to see more birds on this tour than ever before. For reasons we’ll never know, the birds were just especially responsive and easy to see. Normally shy birds showed well, most notably the antbirds, of which we saw (well!) 33 of the 34 species possible on the itinerary. We came to expect surprises after a series of cool “write-ins” bolstered the list. It was a terrific trip in the end, with a list that will be hard to top, but I’ll sure give it a shot in 2010!