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Most mornings we were up around 6.00 am, sometimes earlier. Today, Sunday 20th September, some went for a short guided walk before breakfast;  I just wandered around a bit on my own for a few minutes.  I, and no doubt everyone else, had been woken by the noisy ‘hoarse, harsh cackling’, to quote my bird book, of these:

Chaco chachalacas - on my roof

Chaco chachalacas – on my roof

They were everywhere we went in the Pantanal, and it was rare that their characteristic loud calls, instantly recognisable, were not, at least faintly, somewhere in the soundscape.  Others tired of them, but I never did.

You practically tripped over cattle tyrants.  Where people were, they were.


Hyacinth macaws, the second heaviest member of the parrot family, are globally endangered, but they are seen quite frequently in the Pantanal, and have adopted some of the lodges at which to settle and breed.  Their squawking is just slightly more musical than that of the chachalacas.

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After our early breakfast, we all went out for a walk,

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in this sort of terrain, which would be flooded in the wet season.

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It was a pleasure to see the occasional flower, or flowering tree, but given that it was the end of the dry season, it was not surprising that we saw few at all during the nine days.

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We didn’t see many coatis either. They are about the size of a domestic cat, and here is my best picture of a very distant one.

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Toco toucan

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Two baby caiman

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Quite sweet really, head about 2 inches wide

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Thousands of snail shells were at our feet.  Once snails have bred and left their eggs in the ground to develop in during the next wet season, they are a valuable part of the food chain, nourishing especially birds like snail kites, but many other creatures as well.

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These shells are all empty.

Back at the lodge, before and after lunch we just sat or wandered around, observing the many creatures to be seen within 50 yards or so

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A tega lizard. Picture of what he did next (poop) on request.

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Chaco chachalaca and mango

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Monk parakeets

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Peach-fronted parakeet. Sadly the mangos were not ripe enough for our digestions.

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Rufous hornero

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Red-crested and yellow-billed cardinals

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Rheas were unconcerned at our presence and one could approach quite close to them.

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Time for a siesta.