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Birdwatchers visit Iracambi

 

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Birds, so many birds! This weekend Iracambi was visited by a group of Brasilian birdwatchers who wanted to explore the Atlantic Forest in order to monitor changes of the various species in the area and to have FUN! Ricardo, the coordinator of the group, was kind enough to allow Tom and I to join their adventures.

We woke up at 5am before the sun arose in order to get a head start on the birds. We packed light with only a camera, binoculars and boots. Robin drove us up to the mountain house and from there we set off hiking. I had never been birdwatching before but I had always fancied trying it. As it was my first time and I was joining an experienced group of bird enthusiasts whose trip I didn’t want to destroy, I asked them if there were any guidelines, tips or rules I should know about. The answer was very complicated and technical but the point was: shut up, be quiet and silence. Three things I am not great at but I did my best.

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A manikin! These birds are also known as the dancing or moonwalking birds. What men do to impress the ladies! Check the link to see the manikin in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o42C6ajjqWg

The sun was beating down on us by 7am and it was making it harder and harder to hike. By 8.30 we were heading back as the sun was so hot that the birds would no longer come out. We headed back to the Centro at 12am for lunch.

After lunch we went for another hike and caught a glimpse of the smallest woodpecker in Brasil in the process of getting it’s lunch. Yummy larva!

Tom and I were exhausted by the time we got back at 5pm. These birdwatchers seemed to have endless stores of energy. We were just about to lay down in the hammocks when Ricardo informed us that we would be going for an owl hunt in an hour. “So tired but the show must go on” I thought to myself.

Owl watching requires the complicated and technical rules I mentioned previously to be completely enforced. Equipped with a flashlight now, we headed to find an owl which Ricardo said would be very rare to find. However, within 5minutes we had found a gorgeous owl with the help of their ‘bird-sound-playback-device’ thingy. No photo but Ricardo managed to get one so I will try and track it down!

Side note for non-birdwatching experts: I was under the impression that this device was used to attract bird using mating calls but this is not the case. They explained that as birds are very territorial they use these recorded birds calls so that birds in the region will come to check out the invader, making this aggressive and defensive behavior. They further informed me that this device had to be used carefully as if over-used it could induce the exodus of a bird as it feels threatened and can even cause them to leave their babies behin.

We returned to the centro where we chatted about birds, compared bird photos and drank beer! Thank you birdwatchers for allowing us to tag along, we had a wonderful time!

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