Wim’s news from the Flotel (Pantanal Safari):
During the night a cool front moved in, making the weather in the morning just fabulous and a welcome break after the jungle heat of the previous days. We left the Flotel as always in high spirits –
– and started to photograph the amazing bird life again, followed by a family of Giant Otters.
We were just getting settled with the otters when a call came through of a jaguar about 20 minutes away. And off we shot, cameras ready, and us wide-eyed with expectation.
What a jaguar! A huge male, in the prime of his life, lay on the river bank. His name is Adriano and he is simply magnificent. He posed this way and that. Then he clawed a tree or two, glancing at us from time to time over his shoulder. He returned to the river bank where he rolled in the sand, lay for a while with his paws in the air –
and finally, after a fabulous show, he lay down for a rest. We could not ask for more! What a jaguar, indeed!
In fact, Adriano was so cooperative that we ended up spending the entire day with him, other than a short break when hunger pangs sent us back to the Flotel to wolf down a very fast lunch.
Then off again, back to Adriano.
When we returned, the leopard seemed to be waiting for us to get back. He lifted his head, gazed at us for a while, and seemed to decide to give us yet another treat. He walked very slowly downriver, to a confluence of two rivers. Here he moved to a bank about two meters above us, and settled down. He looked just like a scene from The Lion King as he lay there surveying all below him, and watching the moving water intently.
We were two meters below him, watching him almost like his adoring subjects, as we photographed him endlessly.
One would think that was enough … but no, Adriano had more for us. He opened his mouth for a wide, protracted yawn – three or four times!
Then again he changed his position, facing west, then east, he sat, he stood, he lay down … so that we could photograph him from every possible angle in every possible position.
He was so fabulous, relaxed, photogenic, and cooperative that we remained with him until sunset and we had to return to the Flotel.
Back at the Flotel we sat in one of the tender boats a few meters from the large houseboat so that we could photograph the Fishing Bats as they caught their evening meals – the hundreds of insects attracted by the lights on the Flotel.
Throughout the day, even while with Adriano, we also photographed the incredible bird life again in the area. To mention a few different species, there were Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Capped Herons, Rufescent Tiger-herons, Black-capped Donacobius (Mocking Thrush), Bar-tailed Trogons, Smooth-billed Ani, Orange-backed Troupials. Their colours and numbers never fail to amaze one.
Tomorrow we hope to catch up with Adriano again …