After lunch there was some free time before the afternoon game drive. I took the opportunity to catch up with my journal and Alan went around the grounds of the Alegre lodge with his camera.

Tegu lizard at Alegre lodge


Tegu lizard at Pouso Alegre

Black-and-white Tegu Lizard


Black-and-white Tegu Lizard

He managed to track down the large Tegu Lizard that we had seen before the morning game drive. A pair of Bare-faced Curassows  strutted along showing their amazing curly crest feathers. The male and female appear so different they could be different species.

Male Bare-faced Curassows


Male Bare-faced Curassows

Female Bare-faced Curassows


Female Bare-faced Curassows

Male Showing its amazing curled head feathers


Male Showing its amazing curled head feathers

Nearby a Southern Crested Caracara bounded along the ground on the lookout for carrion and the fallen mango fruit. They are a brute of a bird with their massive bill, shaggy crest and long legs. Their bare face changes colour from red to yellow when they are excited.

Southern Crested Caracara


Southern Crested Caracara

The Black Hawk was still in the grassland area where we had spotted him earlier along with a CowbirdRheas walked leisurely through the grounds. In a bush outside our room Greater Kissadee and Yellow Billed Cardinals flew in and out of the foliage. Horses and  a family of feral pigs wandered underneath the mango trees. It was time to get ready for the afternoon game drive.

Afternoon Game Drive

This afternoon we were in search of Tapir and Giant Ant Eater a journey that would take us out of Pouso Alegre onto the Transpantaneira Highway.

Along the route in a waterhole we saw White Faced Whistling Duck and Brazilian Teal. A Capped Heron stood motionless watching the water. Nearby Plumbeous Ibis pecked along the bank and a Gray-cowled Woodrail darted in and out of a muddy ditch. In an open area Jabiru pecked at the ground. Families of Capybaras and Rheas were a common sight. Once again  Hyacinth Macaws flew overhead, but still no good look at them.

Gray-cowled Wood-Rail


Gray-cowled Wood-Rail

Capped Heron


Capped Heron

Sunbittern, Limpkin and Wattled Jacana.

A Sunbittern crouched heron-like with its sinuous neck, long legs, sharply pointed beak and striped plumage providing excellent camouflage. It then strode along seeking out crabs. When it flies it’s wings open to reveal a startling flash of yellow, chestnut and black, looking rather like huge eyes.


Sunbittern

Wattled Jacana


Wattled Jacana

There were lots of Limpkin around the shallow areas of water. They get their name from the hobbling way they walk. This bird has a twisted windpipe which allows it to produce a very distinctive call. Its sharp bill has a kink allowing it to prise open the apple snails which are its’ main food

A common sight were Wattled Jacana walking on the pond vegetation, which earns them the local name of Lily-trotter. Their long legs and extremely long toes are adaptations to allow them to walk precariously on the floating vegetation. The female Jacana mates with many males that then assume responsibility for the young. When threatened they put the young under their wings so only their legs can be seen dangling.

Wattled Jacana showing its large feet


Wattled Jacana showing its large feet

Wattled Jacana showing its frontal shield


Wattled Jacana showing its frontal shield

Further along the road a Six Banded Armadillo crossed the track in front of us. Brocket Deer grazed and Feral Pigs turned over the soil in the the grassy areas.

Red legged Seriema

There were huge grassland areas covered in Termite mounds, but no signs of any Giant Anteaters. In a field near the entrance to a cattle ranch we could see a large long-legged turkey like bird. This proved to be a Southern Screamer, aptly named for the noise it makes. Although the Screamer is turkey-like on the ground in the air it resembles an eagle in flight.

A little further along the highway a Red legged Seriema strode majestically through the grassland. This tall leggy bird is reminiscent of the African Secretary Bird. It rarely flies but can run at 60km/h. They have a staring eye, long eyelashes and a forward pointing crest. They are popular with the local pantaneiros as they eat snakes.

Red-legged Seriema


Red-legged Seriema

As the sun started to set a pantaneiro galloped across the grassland sending up a cloud of dust as he rounded up the cattle.

Six Banded Armadillo


Six Banded Armadillo

Sunset and Sundowners


Sunset and Sundowners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight Return To The Lodge

After a sundowner watching the sun set we headed back to the lodge. As we turned off the highway onto the bumpy track back to the lodge Nuan switched on the spotlight. As we crossed over the wooden bridges Caiman and Capybaras could be seen on the edges of the ponds. Little Nightjars sat on the dusty track and then flew as we got closer. Great Fishing Bats and and Lesser Bulldog bats skimmed the surface of the water. Crab Eating Racoons eyes shone in the spotlight but were difficult to see.

Tapir

Suddenly a large shape appeared on the edge of the trees in the dusk. It was a Brazilian Tapir. This is one of the heaviest of South American mammals reaching 250kg. It is a strange looking animal with its’ elongated upper lip and a humped forehead ending in an short erect mane. The long nose helps it to find and eat fruit and vegetation. The young tapir’s are striped chestnut and white which provides camouflage from the Jaguars. This contrasts with the grey colour of the adult..

Evening Spotlight Drive

After the evening meal we were off again on a one hour spotlight drive. The Caiman and Capybaras were now lying on the wooden bridges and track edges. The Nightjars were still sitting on the track and the bats were flying under the bridges. A trio of Crab Eating Foxes crossed from the edge of the woodland across the track towards a waterhole. 

It was time to turn back. Suddenly, we were lucky there was the gleam of eye-shine. It was a better view of a Tapir, probably the same one. Now it was on the other side of the track heading from the woods towards water. 

Back at the lodge we decided to go to bed. Breakfast was at 5.30 a.m. What an incredible day!  There were lots of mosquitoes today in the vehicle. They even bit through clothing. Tomorrow we move on to the Flotel. 

 

Transpantaneira highway to the River Cuiabá

Day Two (Afternoon) : – Checklist

Mammals
Greater Fishing Bat  Brazilian Tapir Crab-eating Racoon Crab-eating Fox
Capybara Brown Brocket Deer Feral pig  Six Banded Armadilio
Lesser Bulldog Bat      
Reptiles & Amphibians
Yacare Caiman Red Footed Tortoise Common Tegu Lizard Tree Frog
Birds
Greater Rhea Neotropic Cormorant Whistling Heron Snowy Egret
Cocoi Heron Great Egret Cattle Egret Striated Heron
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Capped Heron Buff-necked Ibis Plumbeous Ibis
Jabiru White-faced Whistling-Duck Black-faced Whistling-Duck Muscovy Duck
Brazilian Teal Black Vulture Turkey Vulture Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
Snail Kite Savanna Hawk Plumbeous Kite Black-collared Hawk
Great Black Hawk Southern Caracara Chaco Chachalaca Chestnut-bellied Guan
Blue-throated Piping-guan Gray-cowled Wood-Rail Limpkin Red-legged Seriema
Sunbittern Southern Lapwing Orange-backed Troupial Wattled Jacana
Scaled Dove Ruddy Ground-Dove Picui Ground-Dove White-tipped Dove
Hyacinth Macaw Monk Parakeet Turquoise-fronted Parrot Greater Ani
Smooth-billed Ani Guira Cuckoo Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Great Potoo
Common Pauraque Little Nightjar Ringed Kingfisher Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher American Pygmy Kingfisher Toco Toucan Campo Flicker (Campo)
Pale-crested Woodpecker Straight-billed Woodcreeper Rufous Hornero Cattle Tyrant
Short-crested Flycatcher Tropical Kingbird Rusty-margined Flycatcher Lesser Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee White-winged Swallow Brown-chested Martin Gray-breasted Martin
Purplish Jay Black-capped Donacobius Rufous-bellied Thrush Silver-beaked Tanager
Grayish Saltator Yellow-billed Cardinal Saffron Finch Rusty-collared Seedeater
White-bellied Seedeater  Bay-winged Cowbird Crested Oropendola Yellow-rumped Cacique
Solitary  Cacique  Unicoloured Blackbird Chopi Blackbird Bare-faced Curassow
Solitary Sandpiper Green Ibis