Guided by Nick Athanas. This was a set-departure tour.
The state of Rio de Janeiro is one of Brazil’s smallest (not much bigger than Maryland), but certainly the most celebrated. Its eponymous capital is one of the most beautiful and culture-rich cities in the world, and is now playing host to the superb 31st Olympic Games as I write this. This tour took place shortly before they began, but we saw the city only from a distance as we headed off the beaten track to enjoy what I believe is the region’s greatest treasure: the rainforests in and around the spectacular Serra dos Orgãos mountain range. We stayed in two fantastic eco-lodges: Regua (Reserva Ecologica de Guapiaçu) and Itororó, which we used as bases to explore the surroundings and see close to three hundred terrific birds. The group was rather small this time, only four apart from myself, and we all had a fun time. I didn’t do a formal vote for “bird of the trip”, but a few favorites mentioned at the end, in no particular order, were Brazilian Tanager, Saffron Toucanet, Large-tailed Antshrike, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Rusty-barred Owl, Such’s Antthrush, and Firewood-gatherer.