In August 2012 we returned to Brazil with naturalist and bird guide Mark Pretti. We had last been to Brazil with VENT back in 2003 to the state of Mato Grosso. This trip took us to Rio de Janeiro and the Atlantic rainforest, ending with a jaunt down to Iguazu Falls on the Argentine side of the Brazil/Argentina/Paraguay border.
Extending along the coast from northeast Brazil to northeast Argentina, the Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, is one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. With only 7% of the original forest remaining, it is also one of the most threatened. Composed of a mosaic of broadleaf evergreen tropical forest, dry tropical forest, and high altitudes dominated by grasses and shrubs, it harbors not only high species diversity but exceptional endemism. Of the approximately 700 bird species, an astonishing 199 are endemic. Among the 264 species of mammals, 72 are found only there. On this journey we’ll immerse ourselves in some of the finest remaining examples of intact Atlantic Forest.Mark Pretti
Robert and I actually began this trip separately, him flying down to Rio (sounds like a Hope/Crosby movie?) then on to Campinas a few days early to visit his cousin Bettina and her husband Torsten in Valinhos (outside São Paulo). Liza (short on vacation time 🙁 ) met Robert in Rio, and we then joined up with Mark and the group.
We began at the Reserva Ecologica de Guapiassu (REGUA) at the base of the Serra Dos Órgãos. Following Guapiassu we went slightly higher to Serra Dos Tucanos, a popular birding lodge where over 200 species of birds have been found on the 50-acre property. We also day-tripped upslope to about 1500m elevation, where the weather – since it actually was winter there – was cool and fresh. We concluded the trip by flying southwest to Foz do Iguazu and crossing the border into Argentina to stay at the luxurious Sheraton Iguazu. The thundering falls provided a marvelous backdrop for walking trails and seeking out some bird species that don’t occur in the Mata Atlantica.
By the way, how to spell Iguazu? Iguassu? Iguaçu? Take your pick. 🙂
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