Added 3 September 2006
Day 3: Thursday, June 8, 2006
Today wasn't as spectacular as yesterday, but that's not terribly surprising given the amount of excitement from yesterday. Besides that, my day was not made any better by the fact that waiting out in the cold for the Maned Wolves last night was a little too much for my undoubtedly already depressed immune system. So I spent the day nursing a slight cold.
Despite not going to bed until after 2:00 a.m. from wolf watching, I still made our 6:30 a.m. meeting time for a short hike around Santuário do Caraça before breakfast. Shan wisely slept in. The rest of us saw a dozen or so species of birds in the hour that we walked around, about half of which were new birds for us.
One thing that was neat about the morning hike was seeing the grounds "behind the scenes," as it were. We wandered around through the vegetable garden looking for birds, and saw other things of the more work-a-day sort.
Shan and I arrived at breakfast to find a horde of men there instead of the usual handful of folks. Apparently a new group had arrived. With all of the people vying for a small amount of cooking space, it took us longer to eat than usual. When we got back to our room, I had a little bit of time to get some things packed up before we got back together with Fabricio for another short birding hike before leaving for our next destination, Caratinga Biological Station. Our second hike of the day netted us another half-dozen or so species, most of which were new, including a couple of amazing hummingbirds.
After returning to the monastery, we quickly packed up and got on the road. Though not very far in a straight-line from Santuário do Caraça, the drive to Ipanema, near Caratinga Biological Station consumed the rest of the day, arriving too late to do any wildlife viewing. This was quite unexpected, as I had thought and hoped to be exploring Caratinga Biological Station in the evening. Though I hate to admit it, I spent most of the six hour drive with my eyes closed in various states of rest, including a little sleep, as I tried to rest and let my body recover. I was beginning to feel a bit worse, however, and the van ride was altogether not a very pleasant one.
I did some looking out the window though. When not in towns, what I saw was quite a bit of agriculture, mostly coffee, but also sugar cane and banana, along with many other crops I couldn't identify. Interspersed between the agricultural fields were towns both large and small, and patches of what appeared to be undisturbed forest. And all of it viewed as we tried to steady ourselves from the near constant side-to-side motion of Marclei deftly and expertly zipping us along the various roads and by-ways to Ipanema.
In the various towns that we passed through, there was always evidence of the immense support for the Brazilian futbol team. Cars, buildings, cranes, back-hoes, and motorcycles were almost universally adorned with the Brazilian flag, and it seemed like nearly every citizen wore a soccer shirt or showed their colors in some other way.
In Ipanema, we stayed at the Italia Palace Hotel. We were given a lovely room with a nice balcony, but Shan was concerned that the double bed would be too small for us, as we both tend to be active sleepers, and Shan is, in her own words, a bed hog. So at her request, we switched to a room that's much smaller with two single beds, going on the (correct) belief that we wouldn't likely be able to kick each other in the middle of the night while separated by two feet of floor. This measurement should give you an indication of the (lack of) size of our room. With both single beds pushed up against the walls, there is only two feet between them. Needless to say, we were a little cramped with all of our gear.
I decided to stay at the hotel and rest while everyone else went to dinner, not because I was feeling too bad to go, but because I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure that I'd be feeling great by morning. Despite me telling her not to, Shan brought some dinner home for me. It was really salty, so I didn't eat much of it though.
Species list for the day (23 birds):
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancus)
Red-throated Piping-Guan (Pipile cujubi)
Gray-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajanea)
Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail (Aramides saracura)
Scaled Pigeon (Columba speciosa)
Picazuro Pigeon (Columba picazuro)
Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti)
White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi brasiliensis)
Cinnamon-throated Hermit (Phaethornis nattereri)
Glittering-bellied Emerald (Chlorostilbon aureoventris)
Amethyst Woodstar (Calliphlox amethystina)
Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus)
Lesser Kiskadee (Philohydor lictor)
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)
Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris)
Pale-breasted Thrush (Turdus leucomelas)
Creamy-bellied Thrush (Turdus amaurochalinus)
Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leveriana)
E Gilt-edged Tanager (Tangara cyanoventris)
Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)
Green-winged Saltator (Saltator similis)