Pantanal Safari: Birds from Dawn to after Sunset

Ben reports from Pacone (Pantanal Safari): (Many images from back of camera)

As planned we were up and out with our cameras as the first rays of the sun peeped over the horizon.

The birds!

They arrived in masses. A few feeding trays are set up to entice the birds out of the dense surrounding vegetation, and it seems that every bird in the area arrives to take advantage of the bounty.

Again, a list of the fabulous bird species would be boringly long. My favourites are the Toco Toucans –

1c Toco Toucan-1

– with their large red/orange/yellow beaks that seem to be too clumsy for the remainder of the bird.

1a Toco Toucan-4

They arrived and spent around 20 minutes jumping around the tree branches and feeding before disappearing again. Orange-backed Troupials complemented the colour of the toucan beaks, creating reddish blobs of colour as they flitted around everywhere – so colourful against the green vegetation.

There were birds everywhere – in every direction, coming and going, feeding, flying, and creating endless fabulous. photographic opportunities.

After breakfast we went out on the river.

1a Boat Pic-1

Luckily, it was quite overcast, enhancing our photography. Diving, fishing, flying, roosting, preening. The conditions were perfect for birds – and caimans.

Neotropic Cormorants, Cocoi Herons, Striated Herons, Snowy Egrets, Kingfishers! The variety seemed endless.

A Green Iguana sat quietly observing the goings on in and around the river. Caimans lay on the river bank, mouths open showing their orange mouths, with equally orange, colour-coordinated butterflies flitting around them.

It became quite hot near midday so we returned for lunch and a siesta until around 3pm when we set out on the river again – for another spectacular afternoon.

Both Black-Collared Hawks and Black Hawks swooped down from the sky to grab a fish or two from the river –

1a Black Collared 3-31a Black Hawk 2-2

while Ringed Kingfishers plummeted into the water for their share. Nonstop action kept our cameras busy ..

Then as the sun began to set, a million insects appeared, and with them came the insect eaters. Banded Night Hawks flew back and forth while Fishing Bats skimmed barely above the surface of the water. The bats are very difficult to photograph due to their agility and swiftness. We managed some OK spotlit record shots with the beautiful reflections in the water – but nothing outstanding!

Tomorrow we head for jaguar country after a quick river trip …