quarta-feira, janeiro 11, 2012

Birding Innuendo in Brazil - VI

On the last chapter we visited the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro and some of its surroundings, and spotted some excellent birds in the process. Now, I must remind you that my visit to Brazil was not a bird-watching trip. This Birding Innuendo in Brazil meant to give some pointers on how to use a regular trip to Brazil to add a few species to your life list. On this final chapter we will spot birds, once again, in Campinas, and even during a wedding!

Campinas, again
On the first morning after arriving back in Campinas I spotted a group of noise and active birds jumping around on the telephone poles. I had seen them before, but never managed to see them well enough to identify. This time I could see them at close range for as long as I liked, but still couldn't figure out what they were. I took photos, I flipped through the bird book over and over, but it was only when I started looking on the web that i figured out what the problem was. Birds of Brazil, by Ber van Perlo is a very good book, but the illustrations of the chalk-browed mockingbird Mimus saturninus are not very accurate. The birds are much browner and the belly is not has cleanly white as the book depicts them!
But to carry on, while driving along a rural road towards the wedding site I spotted some smoth-billed anis Crotophaga ani on the telephone poles. These messy and sort of ugly birds are quite common in SE Brazil, but I hadn't seen them before. A small lagoon near the road also offered me first south american duck, the common and unimpressive Brazilian teal Amazonetta brasiliensis.

Chalk-browed mockingbird Mimus saturninus (photo from flickriver.com)
The wedding we were attending was held at a beautiful farm, about 30 minutes out Campinas. It was a surprisingly good birdwatching site! Now I have to inform that I had no binoculars at the party - they just wouldn't go well with my outfit - so birds would have to come pretty close to be identified. Still, just as we arrived an Amazon kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona flew over me, in a flash of green and brown. Mocking me from the top of a pole was a group of chalk-browed mockingbirds, which at the time I still hadn't been able to identify, and on a small bush I spotted two tropical parulas Parula pitiayumi. Later, between a cake and two glasses of "caipirinha" I still found a few eared doves Zenaida auriculata foraging on the meadow outside the restaurant. You could say it was a bird-friendly wedding!
The next was my last day in Campinas, but I had the morning free so could spend sometime looking at birds. We were staying in a house outside the city, surrounded by gardens and trees, and the birds were chirping everywhere, so, this time with my binoculars, I went for a birdwatching stroll. My first catch of the day was a flock of Sick's swifts Chaetura meridionalis, hopefully hunting the evil mosquitoes who bit me over and over the night before. Bank swallows were also present there and from a pine tree flew off a white-tipped dove Leptotila verreauxii, with its broad white tips to the tail. Before the morning was over I spotted some linned seedeaters Sporophila lineola and finnaly a pair of beautiful blue-winged parrotlets Forpus xanthopterygius. This was my first parrotlet and also the last addition to my life list, which now totals 510 species thanks to 80 Brazilian lifers.

Blue-winged parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius (photo from wikipedia.org)
So here ends my Birding Innuendo in Brazil. it was a wonderful trip, not only because of all the birds, but also because of all the wonderful places and people I found there. The people are friendly, the weather magnificent, the food amazing... and the scenery is one of the most beautiful in the world. I strongly recommend a visit to Brazil, with or without bird-watching! 

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