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Rich Hoyer reports from our second Mato Grosso/Cristalino tour in Brazil

August 31: Rich Hoyer reports from our second Mato Grosso/Cristalino tour in Brazil

Our second Marvelous Mato Grosso tour this summer was in reverse order, so our first six days of birding in the Pantanal was an almost overwhelming barrage of birds and animals.

Though jaguar is certainly a target, even this modified itinerary was supposed to have saved this amazing animal for a Day 4 highlight. Yet before this tour was even six hours old, we jumped the gun by surprising a jaguar on the entrance road of our first lodge. The shy Nana, as we found she was named, had been seen only once before, photographed and named by researchers on a neighboring ranch only a couple weeks earlier.

Gray-cowled Wood-Rails were confiding and seen every day for a full week.


A Marsh Deer with a pair of Cattle Tyrant tick-eaters on its back posed nicely.


A Yellow Anaconda hunted along the side of the road, causing all passing vehicles to stop.


Our boat rides on the Cuiabá River resulted some fantastic experiences with families of Giant Otters.


And in the end, we did have more amazing jaguar sightings. This young male, named Hays, was bothered by all the deer flies and rambunctiously came down to the river’s edge for a drink.


After the Pantanal, we made our way to Cristalino Jungle Lodge at the far northern end of the state, where Red-breasted Meadowlarks showed nicely on the road north of town.

Birding from the two canopy towers at Cristalino was a highlight here, and sunrise with this view over one of the richest ecosystems in the word was a sight to behold.

From the tower we had great views of Red-necked Aracari.


At the top of the granite dome called Serra I, a pair of Eastern Striolated-Puffbirds responded readily to a whistled imitation of their sad song.


If you like colorful insects, the Amazon is the place to be. Vibrant puddle parties made up of several species of whites and sulphurs were often joined by various other species of butterflies.


A moth sheet had a few interesting things to see each evening, such as this curious moth called the Emeraldine.


During this hot, dry time of year, bird baths within the forest were a great place to get views of difficult birds, and this confiding American Pygmy-Kingfisher was one of them.


We finished the tour at the Chapada dos Guimarães area, a totally different ecosystem of dry scrub, woodland, and grasslands with some amazing birds. We were surprised on our first morning by this scarce Checkered Woodpecker.


But the most exciting bird came on our last morning when this Blue Finch came in after nearly an hour of hopeful searching. Photo by John Sullivan.

Posted: August 31, 2022