©Wolfgang Kaehler

Pantanal: in search of the jaguar–day 2


The savannah is hot and dusty and a sweet smell of blossoms fills the air. We venture from the lodge to watch a pair of hyacinth macaws roosting in a tree. These stunning blue birds mate for life, and whenever we spot them, they are flying in pairs. A third bird that joins them seems to be a youngster that is not fully independent yet. Rheas, giant, prehistoric looking birds, wander about eating pink blossoms resembling morning glory. They touch flowers with the tip of their beaks, then the blossoms vanish — as though by a magician’s wave of the hand. Little agoutis scurry into the bushes while Crimson and green- barred woodpeckers hammer at a trunk, their knocking sound vibrating across the fields. On a drive we find a Jabiru stork nest high in a tree. The pair of storks hovers over the nest while monk parakeets roost nearby. An iguana sleeps on a branch below the nest. In another tree, stocking-shaped oropendola and casique nests dangle like Christmas ornaments from branches while oven-bird nests, resembling little adobe houses, perch overhead–this is communal living Pantanal style. The range of birds and wildlife here is stunning, yet Regina, our Brazilian guide tells us that floods last year wiped out many animals. The waterways vary in depth from a mere puddle in the dry season to vast lakes during the wettest times of year.


Pink morning glory flowers


Hyacinth Macaw                         Jabiru stork                        Yacare caiman

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