South of PWC

Morning at Pantanal Wildlife Center I Morning at Pantanal Wildlife Center II
Our Last Morning at Pantanal Wildlife Center

Fortunately, the bus problem seems to have been resolved today. Since we couldn't go south on the Trans-Pantanal Highway yesterday, we headed there today. We drove roughly 1 1/2 hours south on the highway (keep in mind that this is a very slow dirt road). We made several stops on the way. At one, we found Buff-bellied Hermit. At another, a Cinereous-breasted Spinetail was calling. It was quite responsive to the tape, but mostly remained hidden in the shrubbery, only appearing briefly to fly from one bush to another. I never did get a good look at the bird, but eventually was able to piece enough together to count it.

Black-capped Donacobius
Black-capped Donacobius

We continued south, finally crossing the transition line between Buff-breasted Wren and Fawn-breasted Wren. It was quite striking how the Buff-breasted ignored the Fawn-breasted song, but responded immediately to its own. We saw a pair of Fawn-breasted Wrens. They were duetting and one was making a call that vaguely reminded me of a female Carolina Wren. I'm guessing that was the female, and that the other was the male. Another Fawn-breasted was heard at this location.

Fawn-breasted Wren
Fawn-breasted Wren

On the way back to the Pantanal Wildlife Center, we stopped to try for Rufous-sided Crake. A couple of crakes called, but could not be induced to come out into the open. If we'd been there early or late in the day, we probably would have seen them.

We headed back to the Pantanal Wildlife Center for lunch and to pack, then jumped in the bus for our journey back to Cuiabá. Eventually, we reached the paved road near Poconé. All seemed to be going smoothly when we had a blowout. Our driver Leo was unfazed, slowed down, and pulled to the side. It took a little over half-an-hour to replace the tire with the spare. Then we continued to Cuiabá for our farewell dinner.

My bird total for the day was 89 species, including 3 lifers. The trip total increased by 3 to 566 species (563 seen), with 337 lifers.

Thanks go to our Tropical Birding guide, Nick Athanas, and all the other participants for making this a fun and productive trip.

Diplomata Hotel, Cuiabá

Trip Home, August 7

The trip home started early, with me leaving for the airport at 4am. It turned out that wasn't really necessary, but the 3 of us with early flights did not want to take chances. There are three legs to the trip home. The first, from Cuiabá to Brasilia, took about 1:50 to complete. The airport terminal in Brasilia seems very nice, but like all of the other Brazilian airports I've been in, doesn't seem set up to handle connections easily. They separate the arrival section from the departure section. Fortunately, it was just an elevator away. However, it took a another trip through security to get to the gate.

As the airplane approached Manaus, the confluence of the Solimões (Amazon) and Rio Negro was visible off to the right. Fortunately, I was on the right side. These rivers are big! Brazilians consider the Amazon to start here, although most non-Brazilians apply the name Amazon starting at the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayali, near Iquitos, Peru.

After another trip out of and back through security, I got to the gate. The flight ended up being delayed for about an hour. If I had a connection in Miami, this might be a issue, but of course I don't, so it's only a nuisance. Passport control was slow. It looked like they were signing people up for their Global Entry program. This slowed the line immensely. My bag had arrived by the time I got through. Customs was lightning quick, and traffic was not bad on the way home.

Miami, Florida