Trip report: Southeast Brazil (Sept-Oct 2010) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Nick Athanas.

This is an ambitious tour; we cover a lot of ground (over 3500 km) and see a heck of a lot of birds, leaving very little behind by the end of the 18 days. This year’s version was once again superb and very smooth, with decent weather, a small, friendly group, and its share of avian surprises. A slight itinerary modification due to the temporary closure of Caraça may have cost us Maned Wolf, but it did pay extra dividends in allowing us to successfully target Rio de Janeiro Antbird, the first time we’ve ever had it on this tour. Speaking of antbirds, they were perhaps the most memorable feature of this tour; Southeast Brazil features the most spectacular and colorful members of this huge neotropical family, and we saw a tour record 34 species, missing nothing of note, and everyone saw each of them well! That will be tough to surpass on future tours. The Canastra area was exceptionally good this year; we nailed the mergansers within minutes on our first morning, allowing us to enjoy birding there with a lot less stress. A recent burn in upper grasslands made it a great year for the usually tough Campo Miner, and a surprise Capped Seedeater was a very welcome addition to the tour.

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