1st June: The journey actually started on the 31st May at Gatwick where Red Kites circled with an evening touch down in Madrid to be greeted by Spotless Starlings, Pallid and Common Swifts and even a Hoopoe and Crested Lark or two!
|Poole Harbour & Portland as we exited the British south coast
|Embalse de Pedrezuela on the descent into Madrid
|Sunrise before descending into Sao Paulo
The final plane from Sao Paulo to Cuiaba saw the crew assembled by late afternoon on the 1st June and relaxing in the hotel near the airport where some ‘from the window birding’ produced a fine selection of new and exciting birds including Fork-tailed Palm Swifts, Yellow Chevroned Parakeets and even Blue and Yellow Macaws. Southern Lapwings could be seen on the nearby runway and Turkey and Black Vultures and a Roadside Hawk circled overhead.
Smooth-billed Anis fluttered across the narrow window view and Cattle Tyrants, Rufous Horneros, Saffron Finches, Variable Orioles, White-bellied Seedeater, Sayaca Tanagers and tiny Picui Ground Doves all fell onto the fledgling list before beds beckoned for the night but not before the most monumental feast BBQ meat feast at the Aeroporto Churrascaria. Oh my... and the beer came in stay cool chillers!
|White-bellied Seedeater - dodgy digi-scoping of this out of place bird
|Picui Ground Dove
|Fork-tailed Palm Swifts and a Smooth Billed Ani
|Great Kiskadee - you can see the rusty wing margins
|And these wonderful aids to the serving staff... 'ooo - yes please I would love another one of the 73 different cuts of hot perfectly cooked beef you are presenting me with!'
|And... 'mmm - I am replete - I could not even squeeze in one those tiny little grilled chicken hearts on a skewer...'
2nd June: Dawn saw flights of Macaws and Yellow Chevroned Patrakeets leaving their roost and Horneros, Kiskadees and Rufous-bellied Thrushes welcomed in the new day.
|Morning over the airport
The drive out of Cuiaba after breakfast may have included the rush hour traffic but it did give us the chance to see more Blue and Yellow and even some Red and Green Macaws along with Peach-fronted Parakeets, ridiculous Toco Toucans and a variety of Doves.
|Was not quite what I was expecting to see...
The subsequent drive towards Chapada dos Guimarães added a variety of species around the towns with American Kestrel, Tropical Kingbirds, Cattle Tyrants, Southern Crested Caracaras and Picazuro Pigeons amongst others.
Mist hid the gorge views as we got closer to our destination but we popped back out into the sunshine on the plateaux track that led to the wondrous lodge at Pousada do Parque.
The entrance road was our first actual stop and we spent time exploring several sections, moving between shady spots as it was a little warm. It was a full on introduction to Chapada birding with nearly every species being new with Spot Backed Puffbirds, Guira Tanager, Red-crested Finches, Pearly Vented Pygmy Tyrants, Flavescent and White-bellied Warblers (sorry but I just can’t call them Golden Crowned!) amongst the highlights.
|Spot Backed Puffbird
There were three Hummingbird species with Amethyst Woodstar, Fork-tailed Woodnymph and Gilded Sapphire and good views of Brown Jacamars.
Unbelievably two Pheasant Cuckoos
played chase and landed in full view.
Even Eduardo was surprised at that! There were Tapir tracks everywhere!
Little Woodpecker, Purple-throated Euphonia and appeared along with Forest
Elaenia and Brown Crested Flycatcher and a pair of noisy Planato Slaty
We settled in and then spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds. Thrush-like Wrens shouted from the palms and White-lined and Sayaca Tanagers were visiting the table along with Saffron Sparrows, Smooth-billed Anis and Ruddy Ground and Scaled Doves.
|Ruddy Ground Doves
|Smooth Billed Ani
|Smooth Billed Ani
|from left: White-lined Tanager, Scaled Dove, Ruddy Ground Dove, f WLT and Chopi Blackbird
Chalk-browed Mockingbirds, Rufous-bellied and Pale-breasted Thrushes and Chopi Blackbirds hopped around our feet while Blue-headed Parrots, Yellow-chevroned and Peach-fronted Parakeets, tiny Cobalt-rumped Parrotlets and Red-shouldered Macaws were all in the Cecropias.
Barred and Giant Antshrikes were seen while both Pectoral and Saffron-billed Sparrows were found in the understorey with Plain Ant-Vireos, Large Billed Ant-Wrens, Streaked Xenops and both Buff-throated and Planalto Woodcreepers doing what they do best.
|A gang of punk Guira Cuckoos moved through with a Mockingbird in tow
|We reckoned that they had found a snake - Chopi Blackbird, pair White-lined Tanagers, Rufous Hornero and male Great Antshrike
Localised Planalto Hermit and Tyrannulet were also discovered along with lemony Flavescent Warblers, a stylish Burnish Buff Tanager, Band-tailed Manakin and Black-fronted Nunbirds. Helmeted Manakins won the hair-do of the day award.
|Black-throated Mangos were seen along with Glittering-throated and Glittering Bellied Emeralds
|Black-throated Mangos - female
|Flavescent Warbler down by the waterfall
|Not sure if this is a Hoverfly but big and shiny green
Some species were familiar from my Costa Rican visits with Blue
Dacnis, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Buff-throated Saltator, Boat-billed Flycatchers and Bananaquits and an
Azara’s Agouti crossed the lawn between Southern Lapwings while a family of Lettered Aracari appeared during lunch before coming to the closest Cecropias.
|Lettered Aracari - squiggly bill and blue eye makeup!
A pre-dinner walk up into the forest with its amazing wibbly
wobbly metal lookout to watch the sun go down was more about ears than eyes
with Barred Forest Falcons agonisingly close along with Pauraque, Tropical
Screech Owls and mournful Undulated Tinamous ending up a tremendous first proper
|A mega Bumblebee
|A fine local Porter to finish the day off