Trip report: Brazil: The Pantanal and Amazon (July 2015) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Nick Athanas. This was a set departure tour.

From the unparalleled biodiversity of the primeval Amazonian forest to the amazing abundance of wildlife in the Pantanal, this tour is always fascinating and great fun, and the superb lodges and tasty food make it especially enjoyable. This year was wetter than normal and we even got soaked once in the Pantanal, which is almost unheard of in July; the extra water definitely helped the overall bird numbers, so I certainly was not complaining, and it was still pretty darn dry compared to most South American tours. When I asked the group at the end of the trip for favorite sightings, everyone mentioned something totally different. There were so many memorable sightings that trying to pick one, or even a few, was almost futile. Some that were mentioned, in no real order, included: superb close-ups of Bare-eyed Antbirds at an antswarm at Cristalino (photo above); the “ginormous” Yellow Anaconda we saw crossing the Transpantanal Highway on our last full day, the minute and fabulous Horned Sungem from the Chapada, a superb encounter with the rare White-browed Hawk from one of the towers at Cristalino, our very successful hunt for the newly-described Alta Floresta Antpitta, and last but far from least, the magnificent Jaguar we saw for an extended period of time along the banks of the Três Irmãos River. That only the scratches the surface – a few other notable ones include unprecedented numbers of Pompadour Cotingas, a rare Crested Eagle, a great encounter with a family of Giant Otters, a Blue Finch foraging almost at our feet, and hard-to-beat views of a pair of Brown-banded Puffbirds.

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