Saturday, August 15, 2015

First Day Back At Cristalino Jungle Lodge

August 2-3, 2015

Here is the view as we arrived in Alta Floresta. Forty-five years ago, when I was born, this was all still pristine Amazonian rainforest. Ranchers, settlers, and above all gold miners were encouraged by the Brazilian government to transform it beyond recognition. But this is progress.

We had one night in the Floresta Amazonica hotel where we saw a few species that area harder at Cristalino, including Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper and Crimson-bellied Parakeet. Amazingly, the introduced Tropical House Gecko has made it all the way out here.

We started early on our transfer to Cristalino Jungle Lodge to bird the open country and the forest on this (the west) side of the Teles Pires River.  The open country allows us to see more widespread species well without having to strain our necks, as exemplified by this close Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, a bird we would just hear while in the forest understory.

A fun surprise was this White Hawk (Black-tailed hawk when they get around to splitting it) , next to the road.

Once we were nearly to the contiguous rainforest, we stopped for a King Vulture, who was accompanied by Black Vultures, followed by this rarely seen Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle.

Some scat from an unknown mammal on the roadside attracted this sister, Adelpha capucinus.

We did some birding on the lodge grounds once we arrived, but  even before we got to the common area, we were distracted by the abundant butterflies. This Ruddy Daggerwing was perched right y the boardwalk to the floating deck.

I couldn’t resist taking a night walk our first evening. Just by the guide dorms was a underground colony of termites which emerge from a tiny hole in the ground only at night and dismantle dried leaves and twigs for their nest. I imagine they have a pretty complex nest below the ground surface.

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