Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brazil's Pantanal - 16 Oct (Day 4)

Porto Jofre is situated on the Cuiaba River, known for its sportfishing and jaguar sightings. We planned to spend the bulk of the next two days on the river in search of Jaguar. The jags are most active at dawn/dusk and nighttime, but can be seen during daylight hours along the riverbanks, possibly bathing, drinking, or just resting on a bank. According to local knowledge, we had about a 50-75% chance of spotting a jag if we spent two days on the river.


The group boarding the boat at Porto Jofre

About 20 minutes into our ride, we took a turn off the main river to check a spot where jags are sometimes seen. Incredibly, less than a half hour into our 2-day search, our boat driver spotted a JAGUAR along the river. We watched, speechless, as a second Jag swam across the channel toward the first one. The two cats proceeded to interact for a few minutes before swimming away as we watched from a distance. This was THE top moment of the trip for most of us.





















JAGUARS

After that remarkable experience we returned to the main river and cruised to our next stop. The boat driver again spotted another great mammal - South American Tapir - along the riverbank. Views were brief but good. What a strange beast!


cruisin' down the Cuiaba River

Our next great sight was a group of 6 or so GIANT RIVER OTTERS, the largest otter in the world. Most of them stayed hidden under a large downed tree, but one of them wandered to the edge to say hello. Definitely one of the most friendly-looking and playful animals I've seen.







After spending some time anchored with the otters, we moved on. More mammals were ahead. A pair of BLACK HOWLER MONKEYS were hanging out, quite literally, in a large shade tree along the river.






Black Howler Monkeys

It was getting toward lunch so we decided to head back to the lodge for some food. More great river scenery and wildlife along the way back. A dark morph LONG-WINGED HARRIER, COLLARED PLOVER, and Yellow-billed Tern were the avian highlights of the morning.


another Capybara - AKA Jag food!


One can see the water mark left on the tree trunks from the wet season.

Since we had an absolutely killer morning boat ride, including two jags, we decided to spend the afternoon/evening birding on land instead, mainly along the Transpantaneira.


Tropical Kingbird


Black-capped Donacobius


White-winged Swallow


Yellow-rumped Cacique


Orange-backed Troupial


Transpantaneria evening

Our ride back to the lodge was in the dark. We were hoping for some nightjars in the road but were thrilled to spot our third JAGUAR as it crossed the road in front of our vehicle. A 3-Jaguar day...amazing.

- NB

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