It had been an incredible experience at the Southwild Flotel. We had seen eight different Jaguars some of them numerous times. They are certainly an amazing animal. The whole environment and its wildlife is extremely special. Although we were sorry to leave we were moving on back along the river to Porto Jofre and then along the Transpantaneira Highway to our new lodge. After breakfast we set off to travel the 15km downstream to Porto Jofre. There was another sighting of the Giant River Otter catching and eating fish.
Further along the bank there was a disturbance in a tree. As we got closer we could see a Toco Toucan being attacked by Great Kiskadees.
The bright coloured, oversized bill of the Toucan made it hard to miss. It is thought that it helps to regulate the Toucan’s body temperature by sucking out excess heat. They manipulate the bill dexterously to pluck ripe fruit which is a big part of their diet. However, they are also carnivorous, raiding the nests of other birds.
As we neared the mooring at Porto Jofre a family of Howler Monkeys ran along branches high in the tree canopy. Our luggage, which had gone on ahead was already loaded in the safari truck. We had time for a rest break and a walk in the overgrown hotel grounds.
Nuan took us through the undergrowth, past piles of building material to look at a hollow tree. There in a hole were a pair of nesting Hyacinth Macaws. They are such a beautiful sight with their cobalt blue plumage and bright yellow around the eye and bill. As we watched the two Macaws were gently touching bills. They often use the bill to clamber around in the tree. However its primary use is as a powerful nutcracker. Their diet mainly consists of the hard fruit of palm trees. The Macaws came out of the hole and we got excellent views of them.
The Hyacinth Macaw is the world’s largest parrot, a metre in length and weighing in at 1.5 kg. It is also one of the rarest parrots due to habitat destruction and trapping for the cage bird trade. In a nearby tree a Toco Toucan sat looking down at us and a Buff Necked Ibis walked along the shore by the boats. It was time to board the safari truck and head back along the Transpantaneira Highway.
Journey back along the Transpantaneira Highway
The journey to Porto Jofre had been in dry conditions and the highway had been very dusty. This time after all the rain the ground was very muddy. The safari truck slid through the mud as we travelled along, over the numerous wooden bridges, retracing our route. South Wild Pantanal Lodge was at km 66.
Dead Yacare Caiman
Along the route there was a pool that had several dead Yacare Caiman floating belly up on the surface. The Black Headed Vultures clustered on the banks and one was standing pecking at one of the dead Caiman. Nuam said they had probably been shot by hunters.
Further along the road at another pool, Jabiru and Wood Storks stood on the shore as three dead caiman floated on the surface. Apparently the hunters cut off the caiman’s tail. Black Vultures were present ready to gorge on the dead bodies once we had left. Moving further along the road we were pleased to see live Yacare Caiman crossing from one side to another. Groups of caiman were gathering in pools under the wooden bridges. Above them an osprey flew from tree to tree.
Travelling along the Transpantaneira is a wildlife adventure in its self. We passed numerous hawks sitting in trees along the route. We got good views of the Roadside and Savanna Hawk. A Plumbeous Kite flew overhead catching termites.
Other Birds along the Highway
A Southern Crested Caracara strutted along the roadside ditch and a Capped Heron stood patiently watching the water. We had numerous sightings of the noisy Chaco Chachalaca and both the Chestnut bellied and the Blue-throated Piping Guan. Screamers stood in a flat grassy area and cattle egret stood next to the cattle.
All along the route there were oven bird nests on the top of electric poles. The Rufous Hornero was the commonest oven bird that we spotted. This dull looking bird and his partner builds a two chambered nest out of mud and straw. It takes three weeks to complete this dome shaped nest.
A flock of Monk Parakeets flew from one side of the road to the other. They rested in a tree near the roadside giving us an opportunity for a closer look. The Monk Parakeet unlike other parakeets, who nest alone in tree cavities, nests colonially. It builds a stick nest. The pair collect their own sticks to add to the large nest structure and occupy their own chamber in it. We saw a Jabiru nest with the parakeets stick nest added underneath. The parakeets were flying in and out as the Jabiru stood majestically on their platform nest above.
Marsh Deer stood munching on vegetation in ditch close to the track. Swallows and Martins flew over the water and rested occasionally on bridge posts.
Eventually we arrived at the lodge after travelling along the 3 km private drive. The lodge was right next to the Pixaim river and our time here would involve boats, walks and trips in the safari truck.
Arriving at he lodge we were welcomed with a drink and then shown to our rooms. After the luxury of Flotel the lodge was a more basic. The rooms were clean but small and on the dark side. Mosquito nets covered the beds which might prove useful being so close to the river. There was air conditioning and the bathroom was clean. Outside was a covered area linking all the rooms and there were chairs and benches where you could sit and relax. The dining room had mosquito netting windows and a long buffet serving area. The food was good and there was always tea/coffee and biscuits available. A very small seating area was the only space that wasn’t occupied by dining tables.
In the Lodge Grounds
Once we had eaten lunch we were left to our own devices before going for a walk at 4.00 p.m. The proximity to the river, the surrounding gallery forest and the lodge grounds proved to be good for wildlife. We walked a short way along the river bank watching Cocoi Herons and Capybara. There were Capybara sitting in the shade of a tree near our room. Greater Kiskadees, Yellow Billed Cardinals and Orange-backed Troupials flew into the tree in front of our room.
Across from the lodge was a viewing tower overlooking a Jabiru nest. A Jabiru was walking along the river bank and as we watched it caught a fish. With some difficulty it swallowed it.
The temperature was still very hot as we set out from the lodge for a walk back along the track we had driven along. We walked along avoiding the mud and the large puddles. The mosquitoes were the worst we had experienced so far.
A flock of Yellow-chevroned Parakeets flew into a tree close to the track. Cattle Tyrants sat on the backs of Capybara. Green Ibis pecked in the muddy areas around the ponds. Kingfishers flew across the track and rested on dead branches overlooking the water.
A Yellow-tailed Cribo slithered across the track. They are largely terrestrial snake unlike a lot of the Pantanal snakes which are aquatic. It is also known as the Indigo Snake and is an ambush expert growing to 2 m in length.
After 2 k.m. walk we were pleased to be back at the lodge. Dinner was at 7.00 p.m. followed by a walk to a hide in the hope of seeing Ocelot.
We walked silently in single file, well protected against the insects and the rain along the muddy river bank to the Ocelot Hide. In a small clearing an area of raised seating had been placed underneath a palm roof with a floodlit fallen tree in front. Pieces of raw meat had been placed on the branches in front of the hide. We sat in silence in the dark staring into the night. Unfortunately the ocelot didn’t appear and we had to make our way back to the lodge by torchlight. Tomorrow we would try again. Although we a little uncomfortable with the practice of baiting, but as the Ocelot didn’t put n an appearance it would suggest that at the moment they are not relying totally on this as a food supply. The next morning’s breakfast was at 6.30 a.m. so it was an early night.
More Images from around the Lodge
Day Seven :- Checklist
|Giant River Otter x 3||Crab-eating Fox||Black Howler Monkey||Capybara|
|Marsh Deer||Yellow Tailed cribo|
|Reptiles & Amphibians|
|Yacare Caiman||Common Tegu Lizard|
|Neotropic Cormorant||Anhinga||Snowy Egret||Cocoi Heron|
|Great Egret||Striated Heron||Rufescent Tiger-Heron||Capped Heron|
|Buff-necked Ibis||Wood Stork||Jabiru||Southern Screamer|
|White-faced Whistling Duck||Muscovy Duck||Black Vulture||Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture|
|Plumbeous Kite||Great Black Hawk||Savanna Hawk||Black-collared Hawk|
|Roadside Hawk||Crane Hawk||Southern Caracara||Osprey|
|Chaco Chachalaca||Blue–throated Piping Guan||Grey-necked Wood Rail||Limpkin|
|Sunbitten||Pied Lapwing||Southern Lapwing||Wattled Jacana|
|Black Skimmer||Large -billed Tern||Yellow -billed Tern||Pale-vented Pigeon|
|Scaled Dove||Ruddy Ground-Dove||Picui Dove||Blue Ground Dove|
|Long-tailed Ground Dove||White-tipped Dove||Hyacinth Macaw||Monk Parakeet|
|Yellow-chevroned Parakeet||Squirrel Cuckoo||Greater Ani||Smooth-billed Ani|
|Guira Cuckoo||Glittering-throated Emerald||Ringed Kingfisher||Amazon Kingfisher|
|Green Kingfisher||Black-fronted Nunbird||Toco Toucan||Green-barred Woodpecker|
|Blond -crested Woodpecker||Narrow-billed Woodcreeper||Rufous Hornero||White-lored Spinetail|
|Rufous-fronted Thornbird||Greater Thornbird||Great Antshrike||Barred Antshrike|
|Large-billed Antwren||White-headed Marsh-Tyrant||Cattle Tyrant||Tropical Kingbird|
|Fork-tailed Flycatcher||Boat-billed Flycatcher||Streaked Flycatcher||Great Kiskadee|
|White-winged Swallow||Brown-chested Martin||Grey-chested Martin||Southern Rough-winged Swallow|
|Black-capped Donacobius||Thrush-like Wren||Chalk-browed Mockingbird||Silver-breaked Tanager|
|Sayaca Tanager||Yellow-billed Cardinal||Grassland Sparrow||Saffron Finch|
|White-bellied Seedeater||Bat-winged Cowbird||Giant Cowbird||Yellow-rumped Cacique|
|Orange-backed Troupial||Bare-faced Curassow||White-rumped Monjita||Green Ibis|
|House Sparrow||Golden throat||Black-Throated Mango||Chestnut-bellied Guan|