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Northern Pantanal, Chapada dos Guimaraes, and Alta Floresta

10 - 21 October 1999

by Patricia O'Neill

This is my first attempt at a full-fledged trip report.  I tried to keep it short, but did not quite succeed.  I've broken it down into three parts.  The first part covers the Pantanal and the Chapada, October 10-14, 1999.  The second section covers Alta Floresta, October 15-21, 1999.  The third part is an abbreviated list comprised of highlights and birds that were lifers for me.  An h indicates that the bird was heard only, and parentheses indicates that it was seen or heard, but not by me.  Life birds are underlined both in the list and in the text, but I do not necessarily indicate in the text that I did not see the bird mentioned.

If anyone wants more information about the area, about logistics or a complete list of species seen let me know.

The long trip from Boston to Cuiaba was uneventful.  We had a five hour wait in Sao Paulo, but we checked our bags in a locker, got some money from the ITAU Bank Cirrus ATM and went birding in the strip of woods in the airport parking lot.  Several fork-tailed flycatchers, a streaked flycatcher, and an orange-headed tanager were highlights.  A small gray/blue hooded bird with a yellow breast and belly remains unidentified.

Sunday, October 10, 1999.

We arrived in Cuiaba at 3:30 p.m.  The heat hit like a stone wall, but we were ready to go.  Paulo Boute was waiting with a sign with our names.  We climbed into his small car and headed for the Pantanal.  I was sitting in the front seat where Roger Tory Peterson had once sat.

Our destination was the Fazenda Santa Tereza on the Pixiam River, about halfway down the approximately 100 mile long Transpantaneira, and we wanted to get there before dark.  But there was time for a little birding.  The Pantanal is a vast alluvial plain.  At the end of the dry season, it was dry, but for the odd pond or wet spot.  The first little pond had our first jacana, Brazilian duck, limpkin, green ibis, and solitary sandpiper of the trip.

And what's that large bird in the barnyard on the left.  Just a bare-faced curassow, a male, and three females with their punky curled crests.  I wondered if we would see any chaco chachalacas.  Plenty, said Paulo, and they were all along the road.  And then a pair of chestnut-bellied guans right in the road.  We stopped at a roadside stand where the proprietor filled his birdfeeders for us.  As we were admiring the handsome yellow-billed cardinals, a green-barred woodpecker began to work the tree.  Four life birds and we were hardly off the plane.

Birds were not the only wildlife.  A large yellow anaconda stretched across the road.  We saw capybara, black-faced capuchin and coatimundi.  Gray-necked wood rails were everywhere and there was the expected quotient of long-legged water birds from egrets to jabirus.

We arrived at Santa Tereza, a kilometer off the Transpantaneira on the Pixiam River, just in time to catch the first band-tailed nighthawks coursing low over the river in sufficient light to see the bands on the tails.  We bid Paulo goodbye, had a hearty meal in the screened in dining area, and fell quickly into our beds.

Monday, October 11, 1999.

We slept until 7, had breakfast and watched the bird feeders:  lots of yellow-billed cardinals.  An Amazon kingfisher beat the dickens out of a piranha, whopping it upside the head against the post the kingfisher was perched on.  Ringed kingfishers were everywhere.

Barbara and I headed off up the trail into the dry woodlands along the river accompanied by Odasi, a young man armed with a small machete.  We never figured out the purpose of the machete -- the path was well cleared -- but there was no question that we would not be permitted to go off birding by ourselves.  As we entered the open cerrado woodlands, a pair of rufous-fronted thornbirds were busy adding sticks to its already large nest.  A masked gnatcatcher jaunted through the foliage and a greater thornbird skulked in the low shrubbery.  Inside the forest, we saw Mato Grosso antbird and a pair of what I thought were plain-crowned spinetails, but later learned was its very close cousin, the almost identical white-lored spinetail.

We kept hearing a very sweet whistled song, but could not find the source.  Odasi tried to describe the bird to us, and despite the language barrier, I managed to understand that it was a black bird with a red crest, which in retrospect should have been enough to tell was what we were looking for. Duh!  Wow!  Finally, we saw our first of several helmeted manakins of the trip.  Rusty-fronted tody-flycatcher, a female great antshrike, several troupials, a female golden-green woodpecker were other highlights of the morning walk.

When we got back to the ranch at noon Linda was waiting for us with Braulio Carlos, our guide for the next two weeks, as well as Ron and Sue, who would also be traveling with us.  After lunch and brief rain shower, we headed upriver in a small motorboat.  I had been told that Agami heron were seen regularly on this river and Linda and the group had seen one two days earlier.  This was high on my want list and had figured into my decision to start the trip two days earlier than I had originally planned.  We saw just about every heron imaginable that afternoon, except for, of course, Agami.  Oh, well.  We had great looks at red-throated piping-guan, rusty-backed spinetail and band-tailed antbird.

We turned back at a sandbar where black vultures picked at the skeletal remains of a  caiman that we were told was a jaguar kill.  The caimans were really thick.  The water on the far side of the sandbar looked to be aboil, but a close look showed the bubbles to be pairs of caiman eyes.  Other animal life along the river included a red mazama deer and capybara, some grazing alongside a huge caiman resting on the banks.

The day ended with more band-tailed nighthawks, great horned owl, pauraque and spot-tailed nightjars, the last flying over the fields near the hotel..

Tuesday, November 12, 1999

Rusty-collared seedeaters. yellow-chinned and chotoy spinetails, both thornbirds, and several long-tailed doves were among the birds that bade us farewell as we drove the kilometer from the ranch out to the Transpantaneira for the slow ride back Cuiaba and then on to the Chapada dos Guimaraes.  We stopped at the first pond to get a closer look at a peep, a white-rumped sandpiper, and were treated two five Nacunda nighthawks roosting higher up on the pebbly bank of the pond.

We were keeping an eye out for hyacinth macaws and finally found a dozen or so in a stretch of palms about fifty feet back from the road.  There were several distractions.  The swirl of white-eyed parakeets was only distracting.  The pair of hunting aplomado falcons was riveting.  The kettle of plumbeous kites overhead was almost not worth more than a glance, but wait:  there's no rufous in the wings.  A kettle of 20 plus Mississippi kites, perhaps the first record for the Pantanal.  Absolutely amazing:  hyacinth macaw, aplomado falcon, Mississippi kites - all within view at the same time, that is, if you had several pairs of eyes.

Farther up the road, we chased a celeus woodpecker into woods that were still smoldering from recent fires and emerged without the woodpecker, but with great rufous woodcreeper, white-wedged piculet, green-backed becard and sooty pants.  Between Pocone and Cuiaba, we found a little blue heron, an unusual bird for these parts, at the edge of a small pond.

By the time we hit Cuiaba, the temperature was 103° and we were ready for lunch at the fast-food buffet at the Supermercado Modelo mall.  You were handed a card as you walked in.  Several buffet counters offered fruits, vegetables, salads, desert, hot-cooked items, grilled meats.  The food was good.  U.S. fast-food purveyors have a lot to learn.  At the end of the line, the food was weighed and the amount punched into the card.  A scanner at the cash register read the card as you left and you paid by the weight of what you ate.

After lunch, we turned off the highway to Chapada dos Guimaraes for a detour into some very dry cerrado woodlands near Coxipo do Ouro to look for pale-bellied manakin and what Braulio believes is a new species of suiriri flycatcher.  Our first stop at a small swamp failed to produce the flycatcher but we did see both capped and plumbeous seedeaters.  Today is the Day of the Child, a Brazilian holiday, and we found ourselves birding among droves of celebrating Brazilians.  The seemingly remote woodland path where we stopped to look for the manakin seemed to be a path to somewhere.  But, it was not a problem.  We had great looks at planalto slaty-antshrike, thamnophilus pelzelni, which although I don't find it on my Clements list, has been raised to full species status in a recent AOU monograph.  The pale-bellied manakin was non-cooperative.  Ackackackackack, repetitious and nasal, but nowhere to be seen, moving invisibly through the low brush.  We gave up and were about to leave, when we were delayed by a feeding flock, plain-crested and gray elaenia, tropical parula, red-legged honeycreeper, hooded tanagers, red-crested finch, streaked flycatcher.  Then ackackackackackack.  Finally, a flit across the trail.  Ackackackackack.  Another flit.  Ackackackackack.  Very unsatisfactory.

Wednesday, October 13, 1999.

We started out this morning on the rolling red dirt road through the Chapada to Aguas Frias.  Low yellow green shrubs, with scattered low trees, and lots of new birds unique to cerrado habitat.  Right off we had white-rumped and white-banded tanagers, rufous-winged antshrike, and white-eared puffbird.  Braulio played the tape for the collared crescent-chest and we got great looks.

The next target was the "new" suiriri flycatcher.  A pair responded immediately.  Braulio pointed out the clear banded effect to the tail and the small bill.  The bird did not respond at all to the tape of the Campo flycatcher, suiriri affinis (or suiriri s. affinis).  Later this morning, we had Campo flycatcher which did not respond to the tape of the "new" suiriri.  Although I found the bill size distinction difficult, the difference in call was clear and the tail band was much less obvious in affinis.

We pushed on up the road.  Burrowing owls were everywhere, on fence posts, in every open sandy spot.  We had good looks at red-winged tinamous.  Plain-backed spinetail and black-throated saltators were common.  We heard, in the way-off distance, red-legged seriema.  Much more obliging were curl-crested jays chasing a yellow-headed caracara.  We stopped to look for black-crested finch and followed bird-song off the road to where a hill sloped gently away, covered with a yellow pea-type flower and one spectacular bush with white bottle brush-type flowers.  "Horned sungem," yelled Braulio, "on the white flowers."  It was a female and only one or two people saw it, but we decided to hang out awhile and our patience paid off when the male appeared right in front of us on the yellow flowers.

Farther along we came to patch of quite dense, taller woods that were filled with birds.  Highlights were squirrel, pheasant and dark-billed cuckoo, large-billed antwren, rufous-tailed jacamar, nest-building blue-crowned motmots, black-throated tanager, white-bellied warbler.  A pearl kite flew in and perched.  We were just about to pull ourselves away when from behind where the pheasant cuckoo whistled and the white-bellied warbler foraged, "ackackackackackack".  A little bit of tape playback, and a rather friendly pale-bellied manakin, not previously known at this location, popped out to investigate and get a very good look at us.  We graciously returned the favor.

Our last stop of the morning was a vereda, a palm swamp, on the Amazon side of the Chapada divide where we hoped to see point-tailed palmcreeper.  A trio of swallow tanagers, sulphury flycatcher, and lots of white-eyed parakeets, but no palmcreepers.  And two dogs, who dropped by for a swim, before continuing on with the cowboys they came in with.

We had lunch in the national park at a waterfall with nesting white-collared and great dusky swifts.  We continued on to a deciduous woodland where a pair of sharp-tailed streamcreepers worked the banks of a small stream.  Our birding was interrupted by a downpour, but by the time we drove to the spectacular Veu da Noiva (Bridal Veil) Waterfall, the sun was shining on the late afternoon parrot and swift show.  We had great looks at a trio of blue-winged macaws flying back and forth over the U-shaped wooded canyon.  Biscutate swifts flew in and clung to the cliff sides by the waterfall at the head of the canyon.  The "swallow" race of the cliff flycatcher foraged right below us.  White-winged parakeets seemed to fall out of the sky into their treetop roosts along the sides of the plateau.  Bonus birds were a pair of the flava subspecies of burnished-buff tanager and a Swainson's flycatcher.

Thursday, October 14, 1999.

We spent the morning in a patch of semi-deciduous forests behind the hotel.  The birding was a bit slow.  Dueling cinnamon-throated hummingbirds and yellow-olive flycatchers at a nest hanging over the roadside were highlights.  We actually saw an undulated tinamou.  Someone saw a Tataupa tinamou, but I haven't heard enough of those yet to merit a sighting.  Most exciting though were seven Mississippi kites soaring above the ridge behind the small community at the bottom of the short road we had walked.  Not the first sighting for the Chapada, but one of a very few we were told.

We then drove to another small patch of cerradao forest on the north side of town where we quickly found the promised Southern antpipit and band-tailed manakin along with planalto slaty antshrike and white-backed fire-eye.  On the steep grassy hillside abutting the woodsides, a pair of crested black-tyrants foraged from the few scraggly, partially burned trees.  No blue finch, however.

After lunch, I had packed my bags and walked out behind the motel to see what I could find.  Overhead, another 20 Mississippi kites circled over what was probably the same ridge where we had seen kites a few hours earlier.  I was distracted by some closer more common birds, when I looked down the hill and in a dead tree were 36 perched Mississippi kites.  We made a last swing up the road to Aguas Frias to look for red-legged seriema and coal-crested finch.  No luck.

Back in Cuiaba, or more precisely Varzea Grande near the airport, Barbara, Linda and I settled into the simple, but comfortable Hotel Diplomata.  We had purchased our Varig Airpass earlier enough that we had been able to secure reservations at airpass rates on the flight to Alta Floresta.  The rest of the group, Braulio, Ron & Sue, a couple that had arrived from Canada, and Peter Peterman, a German teaching at the University of Cuiaba, were traveling via the luxury overnight bus.  The three of us were a bit nervous because the schedule had changed three times, and we had just learned that we had been switched to yet a third airline, because the equipment owned by the airline we were booked on was to be in for service tomorrow.  We had dinner just up the street at a Churrascaria where we had all the meat we could eat, plus a capirinha or two for about $9 each.  The hotel room was somewhere between $60 and $80 for the three of us.  I'm not sure because our joint accounting got a bit a lax.

Alta Floresta, October 15-21, 1999.

Friday, October 15, 1999.

I got up early and birded the marsh across the street from Hotel Diplomata.  Double-collared seedeater was a new trip bird, and I had my best look of the trip so far at buff-bellied wren.  After a very nice buffet breakfast, the hotel wagon took us around the corner to the airport.  I'm still not sure whether we were flying Penta or Passaredo, but the plane was a twelve-seater Embrair with the luggage stuffed in the rear of the cabin. The hour and 40 minute flight was bumpy, and uneventful with a very brief "on and off" stop at Sinops.  There was very little forest below us.

Zuleica met us at the airport and escorted us around the corner to the quite luxurious Hotel Alta Floresta where we were to have lunch before heading out to the Rio Cristalino Lodge.  At lunch we had to listen to reports of the birds seen by the bus riders while they awaited our arrival.  I would seriously consider taking the bus if I ever get to repeat this trip.  After lunch we squeezed the nine of us into a van for the two and a half hour fifty minute ride to the Rio Teles Pires.  The only planned stop was at a vereda for point-tailed palmcreeper but there were lots of birds along the road.  The countryside was mostly cleared for cattle-ranching but much greener and wetter than either the Chapada or Pantanal had been.  Three birds responded immediately to the tape.  One perched up nicely.  The only problem was that it was palm tanager.  A second round of playback was more successful.  Three birds.  Two crept up and down the palm fronds, not the trunk as shown in the field guides.  The third glared down at us and flared the gorget I didn't know he had.  Really fancy!

It was pouring as we reached the river, but by the time they passed around the too small rain slickers, the sun was out and we headed the short distance up the Teles Pires to the Rio Cristalino.  The boats, which would serve as transportation on the river for the week to come, were metal outboards with either two or three seats across.  We birded along the river.  Just before dark, a heron, an immature Agami!  Wow!  What a bill!  We arrived at the lodge just at dusk with the sound of screaming piha echoing in our ears.

The lodge is located in two clearings.  A path from the river leads the short distance to the first and larger clearing. There is the dining hall, a dormitory building with a lounge and small library, a thatch roofed sitting area, and various small buildings, including the kitchen and staff housing.  Two bungalows with four guest rooms each are located in the second clearing reached via another short path.  The Cristalino has small rapids which, along with the staff from the Rio Cristalino Lodge, have served to discourage any development along the river.  Unfortunately, the same is not true on the far side of the Teles Pires.

Saturday, October 16, 1999.

The birding began.  This is a terrific area, pristine forest and tremendous birds.  Amazonian umbrellabird, red-necked aracari and bare-necked fruitcrow foraged outside our bungalow in a tree at the edge of clearing.  Red-and-green macaws and blue-headed parrots flew over the clearing.  Buff-throated saltator and house wrens sang.  We spied two blackish nightjars roosting in the bamboo at the edge of the clearing.  Umbrellabird was seen daily; a pair appeared to be building a nest in a tree on the river bank, opposite the dock.

We headed off on the Rocha Trail.  A black-faced antbird, a gray-breasted sabrewing, and Amazonian antshrike.  Braulio heard the distinctive call of the Snethlage's tody-tyrant; it was not hard to see, but getting a good look was another story as it flitted from vine to vine in the understory.  Then it began to pour, and we beat a quick retreat to the shelter in the main clearing where a long-billed woodcreeper called continuously and eventually came into view at the edge of the clearing.  After about 45 minutes, the rain stopped and we returned to the forest.  The long call of Brazilian tinamou, one of the persistent sounds of the Rio Cristalino forest, pierced the forest.  A feeding flock included fasciated antshrike, dot-winged antwren, spot-winged antshrike, striped woodhaunter and probably dusky-cheeked foliage gleaner.  We studied a helmeted pygmy-tyrant, very subtly different in appearance and call from the Snethlage's tody-tyrant we had watched earlier.  An introductory "peec" sound seemed to be a major difference, but then I regard myself as aurally dyslexic.

Back on the trail after lunch, we easily had great looks at bare-eyed antbird, a Brazilian endemic of limited distribution, that is one of the highlights of the Rio Cristalino.  In the same flock were ringed woodpecker, olive-backed and rufous-tailed foliage-gleaners.  We worked hard on a nondescript small olive bird that defied identification until finally we glimpsed a tawny crown, a tawny-crowned greenlet much lower than expected.  Screaming pihas and cinereous antshrike were a constant presence, today and throughout the week to come.  After dinner, a spectacled owl was calling and was seen in the spotlight in the clearing.

Sunday, October 17, 1999.

This morning we went a short distance upriver to the Serra Trail.  The goal was to make a quick ascent up to the top of a granite dome before the sweat bees swarmed, but a flock interfered.  Paradise jacamar, white-necked puffbird, slate-colored grosbeak, wedge-billed woodcreeper, long-winged and gray antwrens, striped woodcreeper, white-browed and gray antbirds, among others.  It got to be 10 o'clock, too late to avoid the sweat bees so we returned to the lodge.

After lunch we cruised the river.  Several spangled cotingas, golden-spangled rufous-tailed jacamars glistening in the sun, 50-plus olive oropendulas, the olive headed variety, piling into one tree, a yellow-bellied dacnis in a treetop.

Monday, October 18, 1999.

An amethyst woodstar was displaying over the bungalow as I returned from breakfast to pick up my pack.  Some of us returned to the Serra Trail and, blinding ourselves to birds along the way (oh well, they must have been the same ones we saw yesterday), pressed to the top of the dome. Brown-banded puffbird and Natterer's slaty antshrike were target birds, but no luck.  There was a flock of honeycreepers, green, purple and short-billed; swallow-tailed hummingbird, black-eared fairy, white-necked jacobin and black-throated mango all working a red flowered shrub; some of the group saw Gould's toucanet.

The view from the dome was fantastic to a point.  We were above the canopy.  Flowering vochysia trees formed a broken carpet of yellow, dotting the forest roof.  In the distance, however, was reality:  the cleared hills on the far side of the Teles Pires.

We found the rest of the group not far from the river bank.  They had found a large army ant swarm.  The swarm covered the trail for about fifty feet and seemed to penetrate into the forest farther than we cared to follow it.  There was no need to.  The birds kept returning.  Bare-eyed antbirds again, a pair of black-spotted bareyes, black-girdled barbet, a canopy dweller on the forest floor, both plain-brown and white-chinned woodcreeper.
The latter remained very low, never getting more than three or four feet above the ground.

Back on the river, we continued upstream, heading for a lake.  We stopped at a clearing for a picnic lunch, and as we made our sandwiches, the boatmen signaled to us to look across the river.  There, only fifty-feet away, perched on a limb overhanging the river was a huge, they only come in huge, HARPY EAGLE!, preening.  It remained there the whole time we were there.  It must have been there when we pulled up.  It seemed not to care at all about us.

At the lake, we had sungrebe, a few hoatzin, glossy antshrike, spotted tody-flycatcher. and short-crested flycatcher.  I almost forgot the curve-billed scythe-bill along the river at the site of an abandoned chacra, the only the sign other than the lodge of human habitation along the river.

Linda and I did not get a lot of sleep tonight.  When we returned to the room after dinner, a large yellow-spotted tarantula, really a crab-eating spider we were told, dropped out of my pack when I picked it up off the floor.  We managed, with some help, to get it outside and went to bed.  Not for long.  We had a rat in the room that kept running across Linda's bed.  It probably wanted out as much as we wanted it out.  Barbara slept like a log through all the excitement.

Tuesday, October 19, 1999.

This morning we walked the Taboca Trail which makes a loop through large stands of bamboo before returning to the clearing.  Manu antbird eluded us, but we had nice looks at blue-necked jacamar, Amazonian antshrike, pectoral sparrow, spot-winged antshrike, pectoral sparrow, ruddy quail-dove on a nest, striolated puffbird, large-headed flatbill, a very showy rose-breasted chat, long-billed gnatwren, striated antbird, white-tailed trogon, a rufous-capped anthrush singing proudly from a log.  Back in the clearing there was a pair of scarlet macaws at a nesthole with a blue-and-yellow macaw perched higher in the same tree.

After lunch we returned to the other side of the Teles Pires to a trail along the river where trumpeters had been reported recently.  No luck.  It was hot and there were few birds.  Highlights were fiery-crowned manakin, white-flanked antwren, and a big black snake across the trail.  We never did see its head.  We did get to see the often heard but rarely seen screaming piha.

The staff had left us a broom in the room.  They had been unable to find the rat, but I presumed it had made its way back to the forest.  Linda, however, was to remain on the alert for most of the night.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999.

We walked the Haffer Trail, named after Jurgen Haffer, the ornithologist, who created this kilometer long trail into the forest for his research purposes.  Like the Taboca, it has a lot of bamboo and Manu Antbird was a target, and this time we had great looks.  The trail was very birdy.  Highlights included snowy-crowned manakin, which Barbara, Linda and I were lucky enough to see because we persisted long after everyone else gave up trying to find the body that went with the voice, and pink-throated becard, which only Braulio and Bruce saw peek out of a high vine tangle and then totally disappeared although no one saw it leave; no one saw any movement at all.  Dusky-tailed flatbill, tawny-throated leaftosser, chestnut-backed antbird, white-eyed fire-eye, chestnut-crowned becard, and bay-headed tanager were also seen.  Tanagers have been remarkably absent.  There was another rufous-capped antthrush proclaiming its territory and I finally feel that I can recognized the call of cinereous tinamou, a bird which has been heard daily.

After lunch we returned to the dome again, but it was quite quiet:  lots of sweat bees and very hot.  We had a brief flurry of action at a seep, but that was about it.

Thursday, October 20, 1999.

This morning we crossed the river to the castanheira trail, a loop trail with lots of huge and towering castanheira (Brazil nut) trees, zillions of sweat bees, and a huge canopy flock high, high, high in the canopy.  It was one of the most frustrating days of my birding career.  I think part of it was that I had tried to separate myself a bit from the group to cut down on the sweat bees and part of it was just the height.  This place really needs a canopy tower, and although I understand the lodge would like to build one, they do not own the land through which this trail passes.  The sweat bees were so bad that the shirts of two people were just covered; I don't know if it was pherome thing or the fact that the shirts were dark-colored.

At least 27 species were identified in the flock, but I only managed to get decent looks at about a third of them.  My biggest miss was white-bellied dacnis.  We finally caught up with brown-banded puffbird, which we had missed on our three trips to the Serra Trail, and I finally got an identifiable look at tooth-billed wren, a tiny high-canopy bird with a long, striped undertail.  Other birds in the flock included pied puffbird, red-necked woodpecker, olivaceous and lineated woodcreeper, chestnut-winged foliage gleaner, white-flanked, gray, plain-throated, and pygmy antwren, gray antbird (one of the most frequently heard birds at Cristalino), chestnut-winged hookbill, yellow-olive flycatcher, black-capped becard, dusky-capped greenlet, yellow-backed, white-winged shrike-, bay-headed, green-and-gold and red-crested tanager, and black-faced dacnis.  Gray antwren has to be one of the most frustrating birds of the trip.  I saw it several times, often a pair, but never had a look I felt really comfortable with. On the way back to the river, we had a singing white-eyed tody-tyrant, very similar in appearance to Snethlage's, but a very different song.  Most of the group saw razor-billed curassow.

On the boat ride this morning, we were treated to a tapir swimming alongside the bank just opposite the boats. It climbed up on the bank, looked at us, returned to the water, swam a bit farther and then walked off into the forest.  Braulio told us that a group in September had seen 28 tapirs, but as the rains increase and there is more water in the forest, they are seen less often on the river.  But, we have only had a couple of brief rainfalls.  On the way back, we stopped at a flame-crowned manakin lek, but I only got to see the rear quarter of the bird.  Back in the clearing, a small flock of dusky-billed parrotlets flew into a cecropia and waited long enough for Braulio to set up his scope.

After lunch, we began the trip back to Alta Floresta. I finally got a definitive look at a pale-rumped swift and Linda picked up drab, and oh it is, water-tyrant.  We stopped at a marsh on the road out to the "main road" and were treated to a real parrot show:  blue & yellow, scarlet and chestnut-front macaws, as well as blue-head parrot in the bare trees around the swamp.  At this swamp and at the point-tailed palmcreeper vereda, we heard ash-throated, gray-breasted and rufous-sided crakes.

It was almost dusk and we had fallen behind the first van.  Peter was in the front seat and spotted what he first thought was a pied-billed grebe in a lily pond.  No, it was a duck, a diving duck, a masked duck!  A new bird for the Alta Floresta list.
We ended the day with a serenade from an Amazonian pygmy-owl calling from the hotel grounds.

Friday, October 21. 1999.

Our last day, and another parrot show at a swamp a few hundred yards behind the hotel.  Preening, nest-hole prospecting, and just making a general racket.  Six blue & yellow macaws, 4 scarlets, at least 100 white-eyed parakeets, 30 blue-headed parrots, at least eight mealies and two yellow-crowned parrots.  The highlight though was a small flock of crimson-bellied parakeets, but unlike the other species, these were buried in leafy trees, only giving brief glimpses.  After things quieted down we headed into the forest where things were really quiet:  a nice look at the eytoni subspecies of buff-throated woodcreeper and a flock of foraging bare-necked fruitcrows.  Linda's last life bird was a paradise tanager, but unfortunately not in good light.  The Amazonian pygmy-owl was singing as we walked out of the forest on to the hotel grounds.  A nice farewell.

This is an abbreviated list of birds seen on the trip that is comprised of highlights and of birds that were lifers for me.

An h indicates that the bird was heard only, and parentheses indicates that it was seen or heard, but not by me.

Life birds are underlined.

P = Pantanal,
C = Chapada,
F = Alta Floresta.
White-throated Tinamou  F (h) 
Cinereous Tinamou F h 
Brown Tinamou F h 
Undulated Tinamou  PCF 
Brazilian Tinamou F h
Greater Rhea  P
Little Blue Heron 
Chestnut-bellied Heron PF 
Boat-billed Heron 
King Vulture  PCF
Masked Duck  F
Southern Screamer  P
Harpy Eagle  F
(Slaty-backed Forest- F F )
Aplomado Falcon 
Chaco Chachalaca
Chestnut-bellied Guan
Red-throated Piping-Guan PF 
Blue-throated Piping-Guan 
Bare-faced Curassow P F 
(Razor-billed Curassow  F) 
Ash-throated Crake (h) 
(Gray-breasted Crake h)  F
Rufous-sided Crake  h F
Sungrebe  F 2
Sunbittern  PF 
Red-legged Seriema (h) 
Long-tailed Ground-Dove -
Hyacinth Macaw  P
Blue-and-Yellow Macaw 
Scarlet Macaw 
Red-and-Green Macaw 
Chestnut-fronted Macaw 
Blue-winged Macaw C
Blue-crowned Parakeet 
Crimson-bellied Parakeet
Dusky-billed Parrotlet F
Golden-winged Parakeet  F
Red-fan Parrot (poor looks)  F
Dark-billed Cuckoo  C
(Pearly Breasted Cuckoo)  CF
Black-bellied Cuckoo  F
Pheasant Cuckoo CF
Tropical Screech-Owl h.  C
Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl h. 
Great Horned Owl  P
Spectacled Owl  F
Hardy's Pygmy-Owl F
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl h  C
Burrowing Owl  C
Great Potoo 
(Short-tailed Nighthawk) 
Lesser Nighthawk  F
Band-tailed Nighthawk 
Nacunda Nighthawk 
Pauraque  PCF 
Rufous Nightjar
Spot-tailed Nightjar
Blackish Nightjar 
(Ladder-tailed Nightjar) 
Biscutate Swift
Great dusky Swift  CF 
Pale-rumped Swift F
(Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift) F
(Rufous-breasted Hermit) 
(Buff-bellied Hermit) 
Cinnamon-throated Hermit C (2 dueling males)
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird 
(Dot-eared Coquette) 
Black-eared Fairy
Horned Sungem C ( a pair} 
Amethyst Woodstar F
Blue-necked Jacamar -
White-necked Puffbird 
Brown-banded Puffbird
Pied Puffbird 
White-eared Puffbird
Striolated Puffbird 
Black-girdled Barbet F
Red-necked Aracari 
(Gould's Toucanet) F Ouch!
White-wedged Piculet PC 
Green-barred Woodpecker P
Ringed Woodpecker
White Woodpecker 
Collared Crescentchest
Fasciated Antshrike 
Great Antshrike  PC 
Glossy Antshrike
Barred Antshrike  PC 
Chestnut-backed Antshrike 
Planalto Slaty Antshrike 
Rufous-winged Antshrike 
White-shouldered Antshrike 
(Plain-winged Antshrike) 
Mouse-colored Antshrike 
Amazonian Antshrike
Spot-winged Antshrike 
Plain Antvireo 
Cinereous Antshrike 
(Streaked Antwren) 
White-flanked Antwren 
(Plain-throated Antwren) 
White-eyed Antwren F
(Pygmy Antwren) 
Long-winged Antwren 
(Gray Antwren) 
Rufous-winged Antwren  F
Large-billed Antwren PC 
Dot-winged Antwren 
Rusty-backed Antwren PC
Striated Antbird 
Gray Antbird 
Mato Grosso Antbird 
Manu Antbird
White-backed Fire-Eye  CF 
White-browed Antbird 
Black-faced Antbird (h)
Band-tailed Antbird P F 
Silvered Antbird 
Santarem (Bare-eyed) Antbird
Black-spotted Bare-eye  F
Rufous-capped Antthrush 
Black-faced Antthrush 
Amazonian Antpitta (h)  F
Thrush-like Antpitta (h)  F
Rufous Hornero  PC 
Pale-legged Hornero 
Chotoy Spinetail 
Pale-breasted Spinetail 
White-lored Spinetail  P
(Cinereous-breasted Spinetail) 
Yellow-chinned Spinetail 
Rusty-backed Spinetail P F
Common Thornbird  P
Greater Thornbird 
Point-tailed Palmcreeper F
Striped Woodhaunter 
(Chestnut-winged Hookbill)  F
(Rufous-rumped Foliage-Gleaner) 
Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner 
Chestnut-winged Foliage-Gleaner 
Rufous-tailed Foliage-Gleaner
(Dusky-cheeked Foliage-Gleaner) 
Olive-backed Foliage-Gleaner
(Rufous-tailed Xenops) 
Tawny-throated Leaftosser
Plain-brown Woodcreeper  F
White-chinned Woodcreeper F
Olivaceous Woodcreeper  CF 
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper 
Long-billed Woodcreeper 
Great Rufous Woodcreeper  P
(Planalto Woodcreeper)  PC 
(Barred Woodcreeper ) 
Straight-billed Woodcreeper  P F 
Buff-throated Woodcreeper eytoni subsp CPF 
Striped Woodcreeper  F
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper  PC 
Lineated Woodcreeper 
Curve-billed Scythebill
Planalto Tyrannulet
Campos Flycatcher Suiriri affinis  C
? Flycatcher Suiriri sp. nov.  C
(Forest Elaenia)  CF 
Gray Elaenia
Plain-crested Elaenia 
(Lesser Elaenia)  C
Southern Antpipit
Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant 
Snethlage's Tody-Tyrant
White-eyed Tody-Tyrant
Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant  P
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher 
Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher  PC 
Large-headed Flatbill 
Dusky-tailed Flatbill
Euler's Flycatcher 
Drab Water-Tyrant 
White-rumped Monjita 
Crested Black-Tyrant C
Cliff Flycatcher subsp. bellicosa 
Cinnamon Attila 
(White-eyed Attila) 
Short-crested Flycatcher 
Brown-crested Flycatcher 
Swainson's Flycatcher 
Sulphury Flycatcher  CF
White-throated Kingbird  PC 
Green-backed Becard 
Chestnut-crowned Becard 
(Black-capped Becard)  F
(Pink-throated Becard)  F ouch!
Red-headed Manakin 
Snow-capped Manakin
Band-tailed Manakin 
Helmeted Manakin PC 
Fiery-capped Manakin
(Flame-crowned Manakin) 
Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin C
Dwarf-Tyrant Manakin h.  F
Thrush-like Mourner h
Spangled Cotinga 
Screaming Piha  F
Amazonian Umbrellabird
Bare-necked Fruitcrow 
(Wing-barred Piprites) 
White-banded Swallow  F
Purplish Jay  PC 
Curl-crested Jay
Tooth-billed Wren
Southern Nightingale-Wren h  F
Long-billed Gnatwren 
Cocoa Thrush h  F
Chalk-browed Mockingbird  PC 
Yellowish Pipit 
Gray-chested Greenlet
(Ashy-headed Greenlet)  P
(Dusky-capped Greenlet) 
Tawny-crowned Greenlet 
Rose-breasted Chat 
Flavescent Warbler 
White-bellied Warbler
Black-faced Tanager 
White-banded Tanager
White-rumped Tanager C
(White-bellied Dacnis)  F ouch! 
Short-billed Honeycreeper F
Plumbeous Seedeater PC 
Rusty-collared Seedeater 
White-bellied Seedeater  PC
Capped Seedeater
Red-crested Cardinal 
Red-capped Cardinal 
Yellow-billed Cardinal  PC
Black-throated Saltator  C
Olive Oropendola 
Unicolored Blackbird 
(Scarlet-headed Blackbird) 

Patricia O'Neill

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