November 5, 2015
My first SE Brazil tour has filled this year. It’s been two years since I birded in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, so I took advantage of the gap between this upcoming tour and my SE Peru tour to do a quick refresher on the birds and locations. Lucky for me, my good friends Keith Kamper and Patty Tersey of Tucson were looking for an excuse to take their third birding trip to the tropics, and I had no trouble convincing them to join me.
So for the past nine days we covered most of my upcoming tour’s itinerary in reverse, starting with our arrival in São Paulo and driving to Intervales State Park to the south. We stayed the first night at a hotel after an ugly drive on freeways, and then the next morning made our way to Intervales State Park. Even before we got there a Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail walked across the road in front of our car.
We met our guide Renato (in the photo above) at the entrance to the park and we worked our way to our lodging. A Double-collared Seedeater was singing along the way.
Near where we parked Renato got us on a pair of Chestnut-backed Tanagers, a scarce bird and the only ones we would see.
This is our lodging; we had the entire house to ourselves.
Renato took us to several areas over the next couple of days in search of Atlantic Rainforest specialties. We were very successful. These are just the photo highlights.
A distinctive melastome, obvious from the leaf venation, but the small flowers weren’t very showy. The relatively large anthers do have the distinctive jointed structure.
Danaus erippus, Southern Monarch
Epicadus heterogaster, a crab spider
These caterpillars very closely resemble the communally roosting Morpho telemachus that have seen (and reared) at Cristalino Jungle Lodge; these appear to be Morpho epistrophus.
We saw two or three of these Black-and-white Tegu each day.
This is a view at Intervales just down the drive from our lodge.
This Swallow-tailed Cotinga was nesting in the first tree to the right of the shed.
We had a really productive night walk just down from our lodging. I recorded the songs of more frogs that I saw, but I did finally find this Phyllomedusa distincta.
This Tawny-browed Owl was along the same walk.
We saw two kinds of harvestmen, probably in two very different families. I don’t know this very slender one, missing two legs.
This is in one of the Gonyleptoid families, probably Gonyleptidae.
Our next two days were practically lost to travel and then 42 solid hours of rain. We were holed up in our hotel in Cananéia in southern coastal São Paulo, and since we couldn’t get out to bird, we missed the few species of specialties found here. I’ll return here with my group and hope we have decent weather.
So this White-necked Hawk photo jumps ahead a couple days and well up the São Paulo coast at the private ranch Fazenda Angelim, near the small city of Ubatuba.
This was our first day with no rain in three days, and it was gorgeous. This is a view from Fazenda Angelim looking back towards Ubatuba. We eventually saw the very local Buff-throated Purpletuft here.
I just barely got a glimpse of this unknown snake as it slithered off a log crossing the trail. I didn’t see the head, but the scales and pattern tell me it’s probably a lancehead in the genus Bothrops, probably B. jararaca.
About 20 miles back south is a private yard with bird feeders open to the public. Jonas D’Abronzo has been feeding hummingbirds here for well over a decade and the spectacle is amazing. He makes a sugar-water syrup of 1:4 by mass. That comes out to about 1:3 by volume. He also puts out fruit for other birds.
We spent our last two days at the lodge, ecological reserve, and large-scale habitat restoration project known as REGUA, an abbreviation for Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu, just an hour or so inland from the city of Rio de Janeiro.
On our one full day here we hiked to this waterfall. It was lovely to see, and we did see some White-collared Swifts zooming around and a Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper on the rocks, but I hate not being able to hear birds when near waterfalls.
We saw lots of great things along the 2-mile trail. This is a Black-cheeked Gnateater.
A puffball (name perhaps forthcoming)...
A slime mold
At the lodge I had the fortune of meeting Alan Martin, the creator of the Brazil Hawkmoths website. It’s an impressive work which I had used in the past to ID my own sphingids. At the lodge’s moth light was this Adhemarius palmeri.
This is a silk moth in the genus Titaea, but it seems that the taxonomy of this group is not yet sorted out.
The lodge has a fruit feeder for birds, but Buffy-tufted Marmosets come down to take their fill occasionally.
In the afternoon we walked around the marsh for which REGUA is so well known.
A view of the Serra do Mar from REGUA.
A Common Pauraque on a nest next to the trail had been staked out for us.
For some reason my eye caught this Cloudless Sulphur chrysalis, which I would normally have overlooked as a leaf.
I somehow was keyed on looking at small things. This Cordyceps sp. fungus (or a related genus) was on many Coccinellid beetles (related to lady bugs) on a dead tree trunk. I had actually stopped to look at a few live beetles that were also hanging out there.
This caterpillar, probably a moth, was feeding on a mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis sp.), the epiphytic cactus that is also found in Africa and on some Indian Ocean islands (and is the only cactus to occur naturally outside the Americas).
Finally, in the evening we drove to a nearby wet, brushy cattle pasture to try for Giant Snipe. We heard one calling, then saw it in flight, then heard two or three others. Eventually our local guide found one on the ground, and we were able to quietly walk up on it.