Jaguars of Pantanal Tour: Sitting Among Caymans …

Ben’s News from The Jaguars of Pantanal Tour: Sitting Among Caymans …
We started the morning at a backwater to photograph the very active Giant Otters we found there. The otters were swimming and hunting and we followed … they swim very fast and are difficult to keep up with, but we had tremendous fun and there was much hilarity as we chased after them along the river, waiting all the time for those ideal photographic moments.
Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). Mato Grosso, Pantanal, Brazil. Swimming, crossing a river. August 2011.

Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis).Pantanal, Brazil. Swimming, crossing a rive

We photographed a variety of birds and then found a sandbank on a quiet corner of the Cuiaba River, with three caymans lying on it. We started to photograph them with our long lenses, but as the current caused us to drift closer, we changed to 70/200mm and then out came the 24/70s. Then our skiff nudged against the sandbank. There was no reaction from the relaxed caymans, and after a while we decided to venture out of the skip to stand in the river for some eye-level close-up shots of the reptiles.
Gradually we were able to creep nearer to them until we could photograph each cayman in full frame at eye level. What a thrilling experience!!!
8 With Caymans
(Photo: by Arlene Beder)
Although we didn’t see any Jaguars, we did find some really fresh prints in another sandbank before it was time to return to the Flotel.
8 Mike Beder and Jaguar Tracks
This afternoon we had a lot of fun again as we concentrated on birds … and quite a number of capybaras.
We spotted a Guira Cuckoo doing something strange, so we went a little closer and find that he was repeatedly dive-bombing a Great Black Hawk. The hawk was foraging for something in the undergrowth but it was too dense to see what was there. All the time the cuckoo dived and hit the back of the hawk again and again with some force. It wasn’t clear why the cuckoo was attacking with such determination … there wasn’t a nest being raided, but clearly the bird was very upset about something the hawk was doing.
Soon after we found some Striated Herons – well, It would be more accurate to say that they found us, as they exploded out of the vegetation immediately adjacent to the skiff. We practiced getting shots of them in the air before they dropped back out of sight.
Just before it was time to return to the Flotel for dinner we spotted a juvenile Great Black Hawk sitting photogenically and serenely next to the river.
Tomorrow we would like to concentrate on Jaguars again …
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