Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back From Brazil
Wow! What a great trip! Minus the nine hour flight it was spectacular. This was my second time in the Pantanal; my first, the same time of year, five years ago. We really lucked out on some great target birds and animals coming home with about 250 bird species for the eight days in the country, two cats, Tapir, Crab-eating Fox, and more.

We arrived in the remote city of Cuiaba around noon on the first day and headed southwest into the Pantanal proper, stopping for our first looks at the many wading bird species one can expect to see almost every day of the trip. Being the "World's Largest Freshwater Wetland" you can expect to see some good volume. We timed our trip so that we are at the end of the dry season when the many animals are condensed into the dwindling small ponds.

We traveled to the small outpost of Porto Jofre, located at the end of the Transpantanal Highway, a 100 kilometer dirt road with over 130 wood bridges. Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip was our day along the Cuaiba River and the sighting of a Jaguar, not just any Jaguar, but likely the largest cat in the area. This was a big male that had been seen along the river for about six years and was now lounging for us to see. Our small boat drifted to about 25 feet as we set an anchor to hold us in position in the strong current. All travelers were a bit nervous as the large cat seemed to be evaluating our distance and perhaps his opportunity to make a jump for the juicy tourist.

We spent an hour with the impressive cat and took many photos. All were pleased!