Brazil Travel DiaryNoronha Sunset (73918 bytes)

15 September 2004
Charlotte's been invited to another scientific meeting in Brazil, so I've decided to go along for some more tropical bird photography.  I'll spend a week in the Atlantic Rainforest, then it's on to the islands of Fernando de Noronha.  There Charlotte can go scuba diving and I'll chase the seabirds.

16 September 2004
Today I arrived at Serra dos Tucanos, a cozy birders' lodge 2 hours north of Rio.  It's run by Englishman Andy Foster, who apparently advertises in British birding magazines because all the other guests are Brits.  

Scarlet-bellied Parakeet (78821 bytes)The lodge is nonetheless a great place for easy birding or just relaxing on the veranda.   Set at 1000 ft elevation along the Pedra Branca river, it's located in a narrow valley containing some of the best remaining mid-elevation forest in Rio de Janeiro state.  The lodge grounds and surrounding forest boast a list of 156 species of birds, including 22 tanagers, my target group for the trip.  Most of the tanagers visit bananas that are hung or placed on a tray among low trees on the other side of the lawn.  The birds are tame enough so that I can sit quietly some 20 feet away and spend the day photographing them. 

18 September 2004
Because the Atlantic Rainforest is surrounded by non-forested regions, it is the home of many endemic forest birds, not found in the Amazon or Andes.  One of these, Reddish-bellied Parakeet, is the first bird to appear in my viewfinder.  Parakeets and toucanets are important members of the banana tray "food chain," because only they can tear through the peel

Violaceous Euphonia (66908 bytes)



of the banana to its flesh.  As soon as these birds leave, the smaller ones, especially Violaceous Euphonias, swarm down for a feast.  Normally found high in tree canopies, euphonias are the smallest tanagers, and only rarely appear at banana trays.   Here we enjoy three of these chickadee-sized birds:  Violaceous, Orange-bellied, and Chestnut-bellied Euphonia.  




Chestnut-bellied Euphonia (69364 bytes)

The Chestnut-bellied is another Atlantic Rainforest endemic. It posed against a backdrop of out-of-focus Impatiens, which grows throughout the tropics along shaded roadsides and edges.  These flowers are called Busy Lizzies in the U.K., I learned today.      


        Travel Diary   

         next page>