In November, I visited Brazil for the first time in more than ten years. My principal reason for the visit was to speak at the ninth Parrots International Symposium, in Campo Grande. Parrots International (PI) is a US-based NGO, founded by Marie and Mark Stafford, and devoted to welfare of both companion parrots and parrots in the wild. They are involved in funding and running a whole range of projects on wild parrots.
|A pair of Blue-and-yellow Macaws Ara ararauna on streetlights in Campo Grande (Photo: Peter Widman)|
|Urban Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Photo: Steve Brookes www.wildparrotsupclose.com)|
Campo Grande is an amazing city, stuffed with wildlife. There were Agoutis and Bare-faced Curassows by the side of the road, and Blue-and-yellow Macaws hanging off the lamp posts. After the conference, I went with Pedro Develey from SAVE Brasil, the Brazilian BirdLife partner, to help organise a new project on birds in Minas Gerais. More on this soon.
|Southern Red-shouldered Macaws Diopsittaca cumanensis also live 'comfortably' in Campo Grande (Photo: Steve Brookes www.wildparrotsupclose.com)|
|Blue-and-yellow Macaw pair at nest in dead palm (Photo: Steve Brookes www.wildparrotsupclose.com)|
|(Photo: Steve Brookes www.wildparrotsupclose.com)|
My final stop was Intervales State Park, around five hours bus and taxi ride from Sao Paulo. I visited this place with Mauro Galetti from UNESP many years ago. Then we stayed at one of the guard/research posts in the lowlands of the park – I’m not sure where we were but I do remember seeing Jacutinga and some other lowland Atlantic Forest goodies. This time I was at the main complex accessed from Ribeirão Grande. This is a stunning place for birding – three nights at Pousada Esquilo, mountains of food and the superb Faustino to guide cost around £120.
|Above: Great forest at Intervales State Park (Photo: Stu); Below: the Near-threatened White-breasted Tapaculo (Photo: Dario Sanches).|
We saw lots of birds including some like Spot-winged Wood-quail, Hooded Berryeater, and Atlantic Forest Royal Flycatcher which I’ve not seen for years, plus some great new birds including Such’s and Short-tailed Antthrushes, Variegated Antpitta, White-breasted Tapaculo and Rusty-breasted Nunlet. I also finally saw the bamboo-loving Temminck’s Seedeater, and there is even an area where they put out corn for the lovely Red-and-white Crake.
|Above: Red-and-white Crake comes to corn at the marsh by the Administration, along with Blackish Rail (Photo: Francesco Veronesi); Below: Atlantic forest from my room at Pousada Esquilo (Photo: Stu).|