Day 1 - August 18: Arrival at São Paulo International Airport
Participants will be met at the São Paulo International Airport upon their morning arrival. We depart for the Itatiaia National Park and check-in to our rooms at the Hotel Ypê, one of the best hotels in the National Park. The rooms are very comfortable and the food is delicious! The location of the hotel is perfect since it gives the guests a stunning view of very beautiful scenery. The hotel’s feeders will be one of the best highlights of the entire trip, and will provide excellent photo ops! Here we will get several species of Euphonia, Clorophonia, Tanager, Toucan, Toucanet, lots of hummingbirds and even monkeys!
After lunch, our first afternoon will be dedicated to watching stunning birds at our hotel’s gardens and bird feeders. The gardens could produce a Hummingbird Extravaganza, as we could encounter over ten species of hummers! Target Species include: Brazilian Ruby, White-throated Hummingbird, Frilled Coquette, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Versicolored Emerald, Dusky-throated and Scaled-throated Hermit, Black Jacobin, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Black-eared Fairy; Dusky-legged Guan, Saffron Toucanet, Green-headed Tanager, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, White-bibbed Antbird and Star-throated Antwren. We’ll stay to watch the sunset and look for Short-tailed Nighthawk, Tawny-browed Owl (which has a very strange call), Ferruginous Owl, Least Pygmy-Owl and Variable Screech-owl. Return to our hotel for dinner; evening Field Checklist Tracking (FCT). Overnight: Hotel Ypê. Meals: Lunch-Dinner.
Day 2 and 3 - August 19-20: Two full days at Itatiaia National Park
Today we bird the upper part of the Itatiaia National Park where we’ll spend the entire day, taking a box lunch along. The very rare and endemic Golden-winged Cotinga and Itatiaia Spinetail may be a first-class prize for our efforts. We will also look for the Blue Manakin, White-browed Warbler, Black Hawk-Eagle, Black-breasted Plovercrest, Great Pampa-Finch, Thick-billed Saltator, Golden-winged Cacique, White-crested Tyrannulet, Blue-billed and Velvety Black-Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Streamer-tailed Tyrant and White-bellied Seedeater. We will stay long enough to search for Rusty-barred Owl. Return to the hotel. Dinner and FCT. Overnight: Hotel Ypê. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
During our second day in the Itatiaia National Park we will be exploring trails in the early morning, returning to the lodge for a hearty lunch and a little siesta. In the afternoon we will resume our search for Target Species including the endemic antwrens, such as the Star-throated and Ferruginous Antwren as well as the White-bibbed Antbird, Brown Tanager, Blue-naped Clorophonia, Black-billed Scythbill, Rufous Motmot, Brown Tinamou, Picazuro Pigeon, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, White-collared Swift, Sick’s Swift, Surucua Trogon, Barred Forest-Falcon, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Plumbeous Pigeon, Black-throated Trogon, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Brazilian and Such's Antthrush, Speckle-breasted Antpitta, Rufous Gnateater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Rough-legged Tyrannulet, Large-headed Flatbill, Brassy-breasted and Gilt-edged Tanager, Blackish-blue Seedeater and Robust Woodpecker. Return to our hotel for dinner and FCT. Optional Owl Prowl - in case we have any missing night birds, we will go looking for them! Overnight: Hotel Ypê. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 4 - August 21: Full day at the Sumidouro
We depart early for the more arid region around Sumidouro, north of the Serra dos Orgaos range, passing the spectacular Dedo de Deus – “God’s Finger Mountain” in route. We'll be doing roadside birding throughout this very unique habitat, taking the back road through Duas Barras to Carmo, possibly looping back south to Sumidouro, depending on our birding success along that road. Two primary Target Species are the endemic Three-toed Jacamar, a threatened species found in remnant forest patches along the road, and the Rio de Janeiro Antbird, a coastal endemic typically found at a site near Carmo. Plenty of other birds will grab our attention as well. Notable possibilities include Red-legged Seriema, Gilt-edged Tanager, Slaty-Antshrike, Blue-winged Macaw, Picazuro Pigeon, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Firewood-gatherer, Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike, Whistling Heron, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Ferruginous Antbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Hangnest Tody-Tyrant, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Gray and White-rumped Monjita and Curl-crested Jay. After dinner we’ll complete the FCT. Overnight: Hotel Ypê. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 5 - August 22: Transfer to Ubatuba Reserve
Early breakfast and check out, with birding and lunch in route, as we travel to the Ubatuba Reserve. Our Target Species include: Rufous-sided Crake, South American Snipe and Firewood-gatherer. In Ubatuba, we visit a magnificent site where we’ll look for Red-necked Tanager, Saw-billed Hermit, Somber Hummingbird and Festive Coquette! We may have some time for a walk and birding on the beach looking for Kelp Gull and Brown Booby. We’ll check-in to the Ubatuba Palace Hotel, the best accommodations in town. Meals are served “buffet ao fresco.” Dinner and FCT. Overnight: Hotel Ubatuba Palace. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 6 - August 23: Full day at the Ubatuba Reserve
We will bird the superb Ubatuba Reserve area, both morning and afternoon, with a break for lunch. In Ubatuba, we will have chances for incredible Target Species such as: Bare-throated Bellbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Streak-capped Antwren, Slaty Bristelfront, Buff-throated Purpletuft, White-bearded Manakin, Sharpbill, Mantle Hawk, Gray-hooded Flycatcher, Long-billed Wren, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Rufous-winged Antwren, Scaled Antbird, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Lesser Woodcreeper, Channel-billed Toucan, Fork-tailed Tody-flycatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, Spotted Bamboowren, Uniform Crake, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Spot-backed Antshrike, Eye-ringed Tody-flycatcher, Long-billed Wren, White-tailed Trogon, Slaty Bristlefront, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Blond-crested and Yellow-throated Woodpecker. Return to our hotel for dinner and FCT. We’ll have an evening Owl Prowl looking and listening for: Mottled Owl, Long-tufted Screech-Owl, Least Pygmy-Owl and Common Pauraque. Overnight: Hotel Ubatuba Palace. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 7 - August 24: Transfer to São Paulo International Airport for flight to Cuiabá
Today we travel to the Pantanal, crossing the area via the Transpantaneira road, with exceptional opportunities to view many spectacular Target Species such a Jabiru, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Screamer; Plumbeous, Buff-necked, Bare-faced and Green Ibis; Sunbittern, Long-tailed Ground-Dove, Black-collared Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Savanna Hawk, Snail Kite, Chaco Chachalaca and many, many others. Arrive at our hotel at the end of the day. We’ll watch the sunset and view nighthawks on the wing. Dinner and FCT, followed by an evening Owl Prowl. Overnight: Piuval Lodge. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 8 - August 25: Transfer to the Pantanal Mato Grosso Hotel
Early morning breakfast and birding on the gallery forest of the Pixaim River, with good opportunities to spot Target Species including: Helmeted Manakin, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, White-lored Spinetail, Rusty-backed Spinetail, Mato Grosso and Band-tailed Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Flavescent Warbler, Moustached and Buff-bellied Wrens, Purplish Jay, Troupial, Crested Oropendola, Solitary Black-Cacique, Blue-crowned Trogon, Black-fronted Nunbird, Silver-beaked Tanager, Rusty-collared and White-bellied Seedeater, Lesser Seed-Finch and many others. Return to our hotel for lunch. We’ll take a leisurely afternoon riverboat ride, with good chances to spot Anhinga, Rufescent-tiger Heron, Striated Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Sungrebe, Band-tailed Nighthawk, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Southern Lapwing, Lesser Kiskadee, Black-capped Donacobius and many other species. We also have the unique chance to see all the five South American kingfishers, including Ringed, Green-and-rufous, Amazon, American Pygmy and Green Kingfisher. After dinner, we’ll take a night tour for owling and spotting nocturnal wildlife, and if we’re lucky, perhaps an Ocelot sighting! Overnight: Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 9 - August 26: Full Day of Pantanal Wildlife Watching
After breakfast we check-out and transfer to another outstanding lodge with birding along the route. Our Target Species include: Maguari Stork, Laughing Falcon, Whistling Heron, White-faced, Black-bellied and Muscovy Duck, Bare-faced Curassow, Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Bay-winged and Giant Cowbird. We will check-in to our lodge that has nesting Hyacinth Macaws and a daytime roost for Great Potoo! This area is also jam-packed with a tremendous number of other species. Lunch followed by a siesta. We’ll take an afternoon walk with excellent chances to spot Rufous Cacholote, Red-crested and Yellow-billed Cardinal, Grayish and Buff-throated Saltator, White-rumped Monjita, Nacunda Nighthawk, Masked Gnatcatcher, Greater and Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Capped Heron, Toco Toucan, Chestnut-eared Aracari; Peach-fronted, Monk and Golden-chevroned Parakeets; Golden-collared Macaw, Striped Cuckoo; Chopi, Unicolored and Scarlet-headed Blackbirds. Dinner and FCT, followed by an evening Owl Prowl. Overnight: Santa Tereza Lodge. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 10 - August 27: Transfer to the Serra das Araras
After an early morning breakfast and check-out, we’ll have our farewell looks at the Hyacinth Macaw. Transfer to Serra das Araras. Field observations and birding in route. Arrival at lodge, accommodation and afternoon Harpy Eagle watch, with good opportunities to see Gray Hawk, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Warbling Antbird, Magpie Tanager and many others. After dinner we’ll have a Night Drive to look for Least Nighthawk, Scissor-tailed Nightjar and Pauraque. Overnight: Currupira das Araras Lodge. The Currupira lodge is located in the Valley where the Harpy Eagle lives. Sometimes the Harpy is even seen on the grounds!!! The food at the lodge is excellent and served on a beautiful veranda. All the rooms have a private bathroom and hot shower. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 11 - August 28: Full day in the Serra das Araras
Early breakfast and depart for a full day in the Serra das Araras - the home of both the Harpy Eagle and Crowned Eagle! We won't simply be driving thru the Pantanal. As always, we’ll drive at a pace that allows our guides to not only see the birds along the road, but to hear those calling from the brush! We’ll make frequent stops to add new Target Species to our bird list, such as the incredible Streamer-tailed Tyrant with opportunities for Gray Hawk, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Warbling Antbird, and Magpie Tanager. After lunch we’ll continue our search for the Harpy Eagle, as well the following birds: When we return to our lodge, we’ll look for Dusky-headed Parakeet and Red-shouldered Macaw on the grounds. We’ll enjoy another beautiful sunset, as we look and listen for Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Ocellated Poorwill and Black-banded Owl. Dinner and FCT. Overnight: Currupira Lodge. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 12 - August 29: Transfer to Chapada dos Guimarães National Park
Following an early breakfast and check-out, we will depart for Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, one of Brazil’s most beautiful parks. In route we expect to have exceptional opportunities to spot many Target Birds such as King Vulture, Red-shouldered Macaw, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Sharpbill, White-flanked and Black-throated Antbird, White-eyed Attila, Turquoise and White-shouldered Tanagers and many others. We arrive at Chapada to continue our great birding adventure looking for Blue-winged and Red-and-green Macaw, Curl-crested Jay, Gray Monjita, Crested Black-Tyrant, Cliff Flycatcher and many others. Arrival and check-in at our hotel. Dinner and FCT. Overnight: Penhasco Lodge. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 13 – August 30: Full day at the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park
After an early breakfast we begin a full day of birding at Chapada. Target Species include Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant, and Cerrado specialties such as Red-legged Seriema, Small-billed Tinamou, White-eared Puffbird, Collared Crescent-Chest, Horned Sungem, Yellow-billed Blue Finch, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Black-faced Tanager, Red-legged Seriema, White-eared Puffbird, White-rumped and White-banded Tanagers, Coal-crested Finch, Plumbeous Seedeater, Black-throated Saltator and many others. Lunch with a siesta break at our hotel. In the afternoon we’ll bird the semi-deciduous forest, Cerrado and canyons with chances to spot Yellow-ridged Toucan, Lettered Aracari, White-collared and Biscutate Swift, Blue-crowned Motmot, White-lined and Guira Tanager, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Plain Antvireo, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, as well as many other species. Return to our hotel for dinner and FCT, followed by an Owl Prowl. Overnight: Penhasco Lodge. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner.
Day 14 - August 31: Transfer to the Airport in Cuiabá
After breakfast we’ll have a full morning of birding with superb special Target Species as we look for Band-tailed Manakin, Fire-Crowned Manakin and Southern Antpipit. Return to our hotel for check-out, and transfer to the airport in Cuiabá. Lunch and return flight to São Paulo for connecting flights home. Meals: Breakfast-Lunch.
The tour ends at the São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport. Participants should make arrangements for their flights home departing late-afternoon or early evening.