"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The 2023 Brazil Journals, Chapter Thirty-Two

(To see these photos at their best, click on one.   That will bring up a film strip that you can easily scroll through.)

Chapter Thirty-Two

The No-Go Area



Where words are restrained,

the eyes often talk a great deal.

—Samuel Underwood




The scant light from the kitchen windows and work area at the rear of Araras lodge provide just enough illumination as we follow Octavio to the wooden rail fence that separates the guest areas from the NO GO area.  

The light fades away as we reach the rail.  He turns on the broad-beam light that he uses to spotlight animals for night photography, aims it downward into the dark, and moves it slowly to the left.

This is a lousy cell phone photo taken at night obviously.   I haven't figured out how 
to turn off the phone's light to take a night picture.   Plus, the white reflections represent only a small portion of the eyes we saw.


The white reflections of dozens of caimans’ eyes are startling to behold!   How can so many occupy one pond.  I’m not sure if it is really a pond, or a backwater of the nearby river.   Whatever, there are far too many caimans there for my comfort.


I think about sleeping just yards away from them and am a little unsettled by the thought.   I’m glad I’m on the opposite side of the room wing.  Good reason to not go out of the room at night.


I sleep in the next morning, having missed the notice that we would gather in an outdoor pavilion for a special breakfast.   Nonetheless, I am able to gather up enough food from the trays as the staff clears the area.


Then, I grab my camera and head for the pond we visited last night, the one with all the critters.   I am in search of a specific bird—the sunbittern.


I walk up to the rail and am a bit disappointed about a fog lying over the water, although I do take a shot of a caiman that I like.

Black-collared hawk


We are leaving this morning as it’s our last day of the trip, so I am limited in time to find that bird.

Your friendly, smiling caiman


Before  the mist evaporates,  I am astounded at the number of white storks!

The stork tree


I take a few shots of them, as well as some other birds, and then I see a bird fly across the water toward me and land about ten yards away.  It’s my prey:   a non-descript and subdued-colored bird with a narrow head and long legs that’s foraging in the mud on the shore.   Which is surprising because caimans are one of its main predators.


I take some shots and wait for it to fly.


When it does, magic happens!  



The pattern on the wings and back is astonishing.  From nondescript to incredible with the opening of the wings.


That pattern has a practical use.   It will appear to any predator as a large and threatening  face, with large eyes much like some moths and butterflies have coloration on their spread wings to mimic large eyes and scare off predators.



At length, it’s time to load up the van and begin a two to three hour drive in the Transpantanaria Highway to the border of the Pantanal.   We have an aealy afternoon flight from Cuiaba to Sao Paulo where my my flight homeward is scheduled for late tonight.


I think about what a great trip this has been and I am reluctant to leave.


But, if I thought the adventures were over, I was highly mistaken!!!





Rufous hornero

Monk parakeets

Monk parakeets

Wattled jacana juvenile

Wattled jacana adult

Green ibis

Plumbeous heron




1 comment:

  1. Photo 10. The Sunbittern with its wings open for take off. What an astounding photo Gullible. Interesting that its beautiful design will help ward off predators. We are with you as to the Caimans. We would also want to be far removed from them and their pond. We are already missing you when this trip soon ends. Smiles .. Cap and Patti