Added 3 September 2006

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Brazil Intro

Day 17: Thursday, June 22, 2006

We slept in a tiny bit in the morning, not waking up until six o'clock for a 6:30 breakfast. We got a little bit delayed because when Shan went to grab the shirt she had drying in the bathroom, a frog jumped out of it. The little froggy that was in Shan's shirt in the morning.So I had to capture the frog and set it free in the plants outside our room. When we met Fabricio for breakfast, he said he saw a motmot from the parking lot before we arrived. So before sitting down to eat we marched out there to try to get a look. The pond near the hotel that we would walk to. After five days of hearing but not seeing motmots at the lodge, we finally saw one in Alta Floresta. It's too bad we didn't even have our binos with us, let alone our cameras. Still, it was good to at least finally see one!

After breakfast we did a really short birding walk before going into the main part of the town of Alta Floresta for Shan's shopping spree. Even though we weren't out long, it turned out to be a good morning, as we finally got a good look at an azara's agouti (Dasyprocta azarae), and I got some really nice pictures of the scarlet macaw (Ara macao).

Azara's Agouti   (Dasyprocta azarae) Azara's Agouti   (Dasyprocta azarae) Azara's Agouti   (Dasyprocta azarae)

Azara's Agouti   (Dasyprocta azarae) Azara's Agouti   (Dasyprocta azarae) Azara's Agouti   (Dasyprocta azarae)

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Social Flycatcher  (Myiozetetes similis)

Social Flycatcher  (Myiozetetes similis) We were back at the hotel by eight o'clock at Shan's insistence, as the Casa de Artesanato (crafts shop) was supposed to open at that time. We called a taxi to take us into town. As we pulled away, we discovered that the rear seatbelts didn't work on this taxi either. I probably looked over at Shan like a deer in the headlights at the moment I realized they didn't work, but fortunately, it didn't create a disaster like the last time. It was early morning, and there was hardly any traffic, plus Alta Floresta is a small town, so the driving isn't quite as chaotic, so I think that helped.

When we got to the main drag of Alta Floresta, which is apparently just about the only drag of Alta Floresta, there wasn't much there for shopping. One of the things Shan was really hoping to get here was some blue topaz, which Brazil is famous for, but all of the jewelry stores had pretty cheap jewelry and Shan was wholly unimpressed. So we quickly turned our attention to other things, such as crafts and Brazilian soccer shirts. I had expressed mild interest in getting one, and Shan turned that into her own mission to find just the right one. I let her go in that quest, in part because I wouldn't have minded getting one, but largely because I knew that the shopping opportunities were going to be scant, and looking for a shirt would eat up time and make Shan feel like she had truly been shopping.

Shannon in her natural habitat. When we made it to the Casa de Artesanato, it wasn't open yet, and we assumed it would open at nine o'clock, so we had some time to kill. We ended up walking a good length of the main business district without finding a shirt that was quite right that was also large enough for me. Brazilians are generally smaller than I am. Shan found a few things that piqued her interest, but wanted to hold out for the Casa de Artesanato before making any decisions. I felt bad for Fabricio, who certainly wasn't used to following a couple of tourists around on a shopping spree, especially in a town without good shops to spree in. Shannon in her natural habitat. He was clearly bored of following us around, and I think a little confused by Shan's shopping behavior, as she would find something she liked, then say she might come back to it later if she didn't find something better.

By the time we made it back to the Casa de Artesanato, it was open. It wasn't very big, but I knew we would be there a while. After about ten minutes, Fabricio asked how long we thought we would be, and if we would mind if he went to the nearby internet café while we browsed. We certainly didn't mind, and arranged for him to return in 30 minutes. After he walked away, Shan really started in on the jewelry section, and I ran Fabricio down and told him to come back in an hour. At the end of that hour, we were still making final decisions on things, and it was another ten to 15 minutes before we finally walked out of the store, R$200 lighter in the wallet.

After that, we wandered a little bit more before calling the taxi to take us back to the hotel. Since it was the same guy, again we had no seatbelts, but Shan seemed to deal with it ok. We made it back to the hotel safe and sound, and had a quick break before lunch at the hotel. Shan had originally planned on going shopping again in the afternoon, but we were finally able to convince her of the reality that we had done all the shopping there was to do in Alta Floresta. Not only that, but due to the Brazil vs. Japan World Cup soccer game that afternoon, all of the stores would be closing early anyway.

Instead of shopping, we relaxed in our room for a bit after lunch, and as the game was starting, I went to the hotel lobby to watch the game with Fabricio while Shan took a nap. The hotel had set up a large projection t.v. in a side room where we watched the game, and at half time they had cake, popcorn and drinks for the fans. Shan woke up near the beginning of the second half, and joined us for the rest of the game. Brazil started out a little slow, but ended up with a 4-1 win, much to the delight of all the devoted fans.

By the time the game was over, it was nearly five o'clock, but we decided to go for a quick birding walk down the dirt road in front of the hotel. We didn't see anything new, but got another great look at a scarlet macaw. All in all, we saw about 20 species of birds and mammals on the day.

Lineated Woodpecker   (Dryocopus lineatus) Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) in flight

Before dinner, we found another frog in our bathroom, which I had to extricate. And when we returned to our room after dinner, we had a total of four frogs in the bathroom and one frog in the hallway. One of the little frogs that kept popping up in our bathroom. One little frog in particular was quick and extremely sneaky, so it took me a little while to catch him and put him outside. He was so adept at simply disappearing before my eyes as I tried to catch him that I started calling him Houdini Frog.

In general, I found their ability to leap on a vertical surface to be amazing. One would think that by jumping from a vertical surface, their trajectory would continue to take them away from the wall, precluding any ability to land back on that wall. However, they seem to be able to manage to jump flat enough that they can still reach out and grab the wall with their sticky little hands and feet. At any rate, we're now keeping the light on in the bathroom, under the theory that they'll only come in when it's dark. So far it seems to be working, though it's possible that they aren't coming in because as I type this, I'm sitting in the bathroom. I had to come in here because Shan went to bed some time ago and my typing was keeping her awake.


Species list for the day (21 birds, 1 mammal):
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus)
Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis)
Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)
Red-shouldered Macaw (Ara nobilis)
Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus)
Broad-billed Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum)
Black-fronted Nunbird (Monasa nigrifrons)
White Woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus)
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker (Melanerpes cruentatus)
Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus)
Screaming Piha (Lipaugus vociferans)
Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis)
Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leveriana)
Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum)
Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela)
Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus)

Brown Capuchin (Cebus apella robustus)
Azara's Agouti (Dasyprocta azarae)

Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Post-tour
Atlantic Rainforest Intro | Pantanal Intro | Amazonia Intro
Brazil Intro