Birding sites

part of www.jvanderw.nl - trip report SE Brazil Oct/Nov 2001
John van der Woude

Note 1: Although I try to give accurate location directions below, much more precise ones are given in GPS-measurements at the bottom of this page.
Note 2: For all sites, see also Jeremy Minns' notes at
www.arthurgrosset.com

Serra dos Orgaos NP

This very scenic, heavily forested and well-maintained national park has an impressive bird list with several cotinga species. It ranges from c. 800 to above 2000 m altitude. We went straight to the end of the only road, at a small dam (Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper) with a parking place. Here we did the new level boardwalk and then the trail up the mountain, and hence covered the altitudes from 1100 to 1600 m. The boardwalk is clinging at a steep slope and gives good views into the subcanopy. The trail gives excellent opportunities for birding the forest in general. The trail was a rather easy walk, at least to the point where we returned (c. 1600 m). The key species here is Grey-winged Cotinga and we are 90% sure that we have heard it a few times at 1500-1600 m (we compared it at the spot to the reference sound on our minidisc).

The gate of the park is directly along the main road through Teresopolis town, at a sharp bend. The gate is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In order to be earlier in the morning in the higher elevations (1500-2000 m) one should bring camping gear the day before and leave the car at the dam. This is a rather common practice for the hikers you meet on the trail. Probably you can also be brought to the dam by taxi. We got the impression that it's all safe enough here for doing this camping option. On the other hand, if you enter the gate at 8 a.m. sharp, and walk up straight to this 1600+ m zone (e.g. on a second day of your stay in Teresopolis), then you may be there still in time for most species, like the cotinga's which were singing the whole morning: Hooded Berry-eater, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Grey-winged Cotinga(?), Sharpbill. Other birds of interest here were Scale-throated Hermit, Pale-browed Treehunter, White-browed Foliageglaner, Pin-tailed manakin, Rufous-tailed Attila, White-rimmed Warbler. See also the species list, for all the birds we saw at this day at Garafao and Serra dos Orgaos.

Accommodation: we had a reasonable room at hotel Villa Nova, which we obtained with the help of the nice girl at the info desk facing the roundabout at the entrance of Teresopolis town. Her help appeared very welcome, as this day was a public holiday (as we could have known from www.earthcalendar.net) and most hotels in this touristy town appeared to be full. Near the Villa Nova was a good restaurant (along the main street), called Casa da Picanha.

Please note that the trail up the mountain can be very busy, on special occasions (events) about which you may inform yourself on the web, maybe.

Species observed in Garrafão and Serra dos Orgãos: Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, White-collared Swift, Biscutate Swift, Ashy-tailed Swift, Scale-throated Hermit, Black Jacobin, Brazilian Ruby, Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Red-breasted Toucan, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, White-throated Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Pale-browed Treehunter, White-browed Foliage-gleaner, Plain Xenops, Streaked Xenops, Ferruginous Antbird, Rufous-tailed (Brazilian) Antthrush, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Grey-winged Cotinga?, Hooded Berryeater, Sharpbill, Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakin, Pin-tailed Manakin, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Attila, Grey-hooded Attila, Crested Becard, Golden-crowned Warbler, White-rimmed Warbler, Bananaquit, Yellow-backed Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Black-goggled Tanager, Red-crowned Ant-tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Palm Tanager, Violaceous Euphonia, Green-headed Tanager, Red-necked Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Yellow-green Grosbeak.


Garrafão

This small site became known by the long awaited rediscovery in 1996 of Kinglet Calyptura, a tiny cotinga species (see Cotinga 16). It's a nice and easy spot for woodland birds. It is located a bit below the Serra dos Orgaos national park, at about 700 m above sea level, and some 5 (?) km before entering the town of Teresopolis along the road from Rio de Janeiro. Garrafão is the well-indicated name of a large petrol station to the right (as seen from Rio), and about 200 m further on is a semi-paved road going right, just before a sharp bend to the left in the main road. Follow the small semi-paved road down (careful driving). You will pass some houses. The last house (after 500 m or 1 km or so) is a bit hidden behind a hedgerow to the right. After this is a clear semi-paved track going steeply down to the right, and this is just before a small crossing of a brook. You can park your car right at the fork and this (see photo) is the spot, I understand. Nice birds around, also along that track down. If you have GPS: this fork is at S 22 degrees 28'46'' and W 42 degrees 59'39'' (in WGS84).

The Calyptura has not been seen here since the rediscovery, nor anywhere else. Of course you'll have a vague hope of seeing this bird again, but you'll see many other nice species. A good reason for birding here in the early morning hours is the fact that the nearby national park (Serra dos Orgaos) does not open until 8 a.m. For us, Garrafão produced the first birds in SE Brazil and we were happy with species like Scaly-headed Parrot, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Grey-hooded Attila, Golden-chevroned, Green-headed, and Red-necked Tanager. This was nearly all seen within 30 m or so from the site of the photo.

Accommodation: see Serra dos Orgaos.


Sumidouro road and Carmo

These sites are in a bit drier area, 60 to 90 km NE of Teresopolis. The Sumidouro road is well-known for Three-toed Jacamar, the Carmo site is mentioned for Rio de Janeiro Antbird. We found the jacamar despite the recent clearing of probably the most important part of this site, the forest inside the wide loop in the road (see photo; waypoint 104). We had the jacamars (a pair) at the last remains of this woodland right at the start of the loop. Here we also had a nestbuilding pair of Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher. Near the outer bend of the loop we had our only Long-billed Wren of the trip (our 50th wren species!).
This 'Sumidouro road' starts at the Km 7 sign of the Teresopolis - Alem Paraiba highway. It is a dirt road to the right (bending back first) and in fact the third road to the town of Sumidouro since leaving Teresopolis.

From the Sumidouro road, you'll see a nice open marsh soon on the left, see photo above for recognition of the right spot. Here we had Blackish Rail and Ash-throated Crake calling. Here is a recording of their remarkable songs (first Blackish Rail, then joined in by Ash-throated Crake; this was after playing the sound of Blackish Rail). A group of 20 Blue-winged Macaw flew out of the forest at the back.

We added the Carmo site to our trip because we had decided to proceed North to Vitoria along the inland route via the BR 116 in stead of along the coastal route BR101. Carmo was a nice site, a quiet dirt road with some small woods, where we had Crowned Eagle (2 in the air right above us), a nest of Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, and a family of Tufted-ear Marmoset. The photo shows this woodland where also RdJ Antbird should occur but we didn't get it. This is at waypoint 105.
To reach this site, take the road South from Alem Paraiba to Carmo, and at the gas station just before Carmo turn left, follow this for about 7 km. See also Minns' notes for more details about this site.

Species observed at Sumidouro rd: Ash-throated Crake, Scaly-headed Parrot, Guira Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo, Three-toed Jacamar, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Long-billed Wren, Tropical Mockingbird, Chestnut-vented Conebill.
At Carmo site: Crowned Solitary Eagle, White-tipped Dove, Blue-winged (Illiger's) Macaw, Squirrel Cuckoo, Ringed Kingfisher, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Eared Pygmy-tyrant, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Blue-black Grassquit.
At both Sumidouro and Carmo: Blackish Rail, Smooth-billed Ani, Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, Masked Water-tyrant.

 

Caparaó NP

This highland park was an unexpected bonus on our way towards Vitoria. As stated above, we had taken the inland route in stead of along the coast. Well before the big crossroads where we had to go right for Vitoria, we saw big signs for Caparaó Parque hotel. A ´parque hotel´ means only that the hotel has extended gardens, but in the Guia Rodas we soon found out that there is also a Caparaó national park… (and this after all my preparations for the trip…). We had to break up the journey anyhow somewhere (we avoid driving in the dark), so we chose for this Caparaó place so that we could spend the next morning in a birding area. Five days later we chose for the same place, when driving from the coast to the inland site Cipó.
Alto Caparão is the name of the village of the hotel (plus shops), look on your map South of Manhuacu (and see the general map in the Itinerary section).
Note that the hotel is at the farthest end of the road up through the village Alto Caparaó, after 15 road bumps (keep right at a fork with a church). The park entrance is only a bit further on, and the gate opens at 7 a.m. sharp. The only road then goes up steeply, and is surfaced (with concrete) at the most steep slopes, so this is an easy drive up to the open areas at the tree limit. The road passes some good forest patches and interesting bamboo plots. At the end of the road is a parking place plus camp and picnic site with a fine view around (see photo). The birding at and above the campsite was easy. We followed the trail up from the parking place for one km or so.

Species observed in Caparaó NP: Dusky-legged Guan, Slaty-breasted Wood-rail, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Thrush-like Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Chicli Spinetail, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Short-tailed Antthrush, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Hooded Berryeater, Pin-tailed Manakin, Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher, Yellow Tyrannulet, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Blue-billed Black-tyrant, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Rufous-brown Solitaire, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Diademed Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Red-rumped Warbling-finch, Double-collared Seedeater.


Augusto Rushi reserve


This mid-elevation forest reserve some 90 km NW of Vitoria was formerly called Nova Lombardia. Although the two unpaved and very quiet roads traversing the reserve seem to be public roads, we were glad that we had obtained a permit from Ibama at olimpio@es.ibama.gov.br (a combined permit for Aug. Rushi and Sooretama; do bring several copies - both times we were checked and they kept copies).
To reach the park leave the town of Santa Teresa near the farthest end as seen from Vitoria/BR101. Go up into the hills via the unpaved road that starts at the ramp above the market hall and/or bus station (sorry). This is where the road suddenly widens after having been a rather narrow shopping street. Then continue the long and winding road, through stands of esp. Eucalyptus trees, till a fork with a clear sign for Aug. Rushi to the right, at a tiny shop. Pass a hill and call in at the houses behind a small pond. These are (now: were) the administration buildings and they have good hummer feeders at the house up left. Continuing the road there is a fork, and we birded one day on the upper road left and one day on the lower road right - life can be so easy. Both roads have very good forest. The left one (photo) is more open, with views on the rolling canopy in the valleys, and with Bearded Bellbird as white specks. The right hand road is more closed forest, and is a bit wetter. We also visited the hummer feeders on both days and brought them a 5 kg bag of sugar on the second day. We liked this reserve with its simple structure, and virtually without traffic: ideal for roadside birding. 

Note from other visitors in sep. 2002: the admin buildings are now at the fork, but they did not yet have those feeders from the old building. So look for the Museo de Biologica Professor Mello Leitão in Sta. Teresa to have your hummer experience here (they had 14 hummer species).

Species observed in Augusto Rushi reserve: Solitary Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Grey-lined Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Black Hawk-eagle, Plumbeous Pigeon, Ruddy Ground-dove, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Ashy-tailed Swift, Black Jacobin, Frilled Coquette, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Hummingbird, Sombre Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated Trogon, Surucua Trogon, Spot-billed Toucanet, Channel-billed Toucan, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Thrush-like Woodcreeper, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper, Lesser Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Chicli Spinetail, Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, Spot-backed Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, White-shouldered Fire-eye, White-bibbed Antbird, Short-tailed Antthrush, Such's Antthrush, Bare-throated Bellbird, Sharpbill, Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakin, Oustalet's Tyrannulet, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, White-throated Spadebill, Russet-winged Spadebill, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Masked Water-tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Attila, Grey-hooded Attila, Greyish Mourner, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Greenish Schiffornis [Manakin], Chestnut-crowned Becard, White-necked Thrush, Golden-crowned Warbler, Cinnamon Tanager, Rufous-headed Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, Azure-shouldered Tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Great-billed Seed-finch (probably an escape, see explanation in species list), Yellow-green Grosbeak, Buff-throated Saltator.


Linhares and Sooretama reserves

These two reserves North of Linhares town (N of Vitoria) are some of the last remains of the lowland Atlantic forest. It is true tropical forest, with trees higher than anywhere else on our trip in SE Brazil, and the avifauna has several Amazonian species, like Screaming Piha. The most famous bird here is the Red-billed Curassow, a very big and very rare bird, and we did see it.
Yet, we have mixed feelings about this combined site. First, we had made a reservation for a stay at the new lodge inside the privately owned Linhares reserve, but when we turned up a day too early we were first sent away because all was fully booked for that night, they said. Only at the last moment they became aware that we really did have a reservation, and subsequently we appeared to be nearly the only guests. Our explanation is that they don't like guests who just turn up without having a reservation. The accommodation seems very luxury, but is has one big drawback: your neighbor's air conditioning. This is so close to your own window (as we noticed the second night) and makes such a lot of noise that sleeping is difficult (you don't need the airco - there is a good window system for having a breeze into your room). Another drawback is the following. The Linhares reserve proper begins behind the premises of the lodge and visitor center. Entering the reserve is now only permitted with a guide (a park ranger), who went with us twice in our car to the innermost part of the reserve, rather a bit later in the morning than we would have done on our own. We walked the obvious tracks here and found several good birds, like Minute Hermit, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Robust Woodpecker, Salvadori's Antwren, and finally also the curassow. This was great birding, but we found practically all the birds ourselves and would have liked to be on our own. Not that the man was bad company, but he was not really interested in birds. Note: probably the better guide here was occupied because of a birding group.

The Sooretama reserve is not far away, and although we did have an Ibama permit for this, we had difficulties in reaching the best spot (Estrada Quirinão, a splendid track in high forest) because a large tree had fallen across the road when coming from the North. The way from the South was much longer than we had understood from the reports so we had turned back, supposing we had lost our way. Although we did some nice birding on other tracks than EQ, we really should have had more time there (where we did have Plumbeous Antshrike but missed Striated Softtail - the two key species here when you use this as a supplement to the Linhares reserve.
Looking back on our 3-night stay in the Linhares/Sooretama area we think that a better arrangement could have been: take a hotel in Linhares (40 minutes or so away from the entrance of Linhares reserve; hotel Linhatur is chosen by many birders; the Linhares lodge does not give the advantage of being able to enter the reserve proper when you like), and go early to Sooretama reserve's Estrada Quirinão. Bird this EQ all morning, and in the afternoon call in at the gate of Linhares reserve (300 m from the BR101 highway) and try to arrange a visit for the next morning (aiming specifically at Red-billed Curassow, but for the other birds as well of course). You may ask for Valeria who speaks English and works at the reserve's administration building another 200 m behind the gate. If you have not seen the curassow that day then ask for a second morning, and otherwise do the Sooretama reserve one more morning.


From Google Earth

Species observed in Sooretama/Linhares: Brown Tinamou, Variegated Tinamou, Tataupa Tinamou, Capped Heron, Rufescent Tiger-heron, Brazilian Teal, Plumbeous Kite, Grey-lined Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Rusty-margined Guan, Red-billed Curassow, American Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen, Wattled Jacana, Southern Lapwing, Plain Parakeet, Red-browed Parrot, Orange-winged Parrot, Mealy Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Guira Cuckoo, Pauraque, Minute Hermit, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, White-tailed Trogon, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Swallow-wing, Black-necked Aracari, Channel-billed Toucan, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Robust Woodpecker, Thrush-like Woodcreeper, Black-capped Foliage-gleaner, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, Plain Xenops, Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike, Plain Antvireo, Plumbeous Antvireo [Antshrike], Cinereous Antshrike, White-flanked Antwren, Salvadori's Antwren, Screaming Piha, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Red-headed Manakin, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Plain-crested Elaenia, Cattle Tyrant, Grey-hooded Attila, Thrushlike Schiffornis [Manakin], Grey-breasted Martin, Barn Swallow, Thrush-like Wren, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Cocoa Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-backed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Buff-throated Saltator, Red-rumped Cacique, White-browed Blackbird.


Cipó

This site is at the southern extremity of the Espinaço, a long and low mountain range far inland, and covered with rather dry grassland and bushes. The site where birders go is just North of the Cipó national park, and along a public road which starts at about 90 km NE of Belo Horizonte. (Note from other visitors sep. 2002: this road has been drastically "improved" and birding has become more difficult.) There are several hotels in Cipó village, and we were (without having a reservation) warmly welcomed at the Pousada Chão da Serra. We think this new place is better than the often mentioned Veraneio. Mr. Eustaquio Miranda of Chão da Serra is a very communicative and nice person, who understands the needs of birders. His pousada consists of separate stone houses with grass lawns bordering a wood patch with Pauraque. The pousada is one of the last establishments in this one-road village, and from here the Cipó birding road starts, winding uphill for several kilometers. It first passes some interesting habitats, esp. just before and after the woodland pocket with the basic hotel Chapeu do Sol at mid-elevation. Then, there is a side road to the left, going down to a cluster of tourist huts, and this road is also worthwhile -we met a birder who saw there Cinereous Warbling-Finch just after the cabins, along the road. However, the main area of interest is further up, about where the road reaches its highest point. First there is a trail up right, at the sign "Olhe, Admire ...". Pass the obvious hole in the fence. The fence is probably meant to keep road cattle out of this nature area. We had very good views of the most important bird species here, the Cipo Canastero. Keep right immediately after the fence and walk up (along spot of photo) as far as possible (c. 1 km distance from the road). Then, nearly at the top, you see a rather level grassy area to the right, like a small plateau the size of a football field, and surrounded by rocky outcrops. The canastero was on the farthest of these outcrops, to the right. Later we heard another one right along the road, at the marshy area further on.
This marshy area is worthwhile another prolonged visit. We not only had good birds at this marsh and its rocky surroundings, but also our first wild cat of South America, a black one, probably the Jaguarundi (see the mammals section). We had several Hyacinth Visorbearer, esp. at the first part of the trail described above.

The Cipo area is pleasant and interesting enough to spend two nights, although some birders have managed to tick the special birds here in just half a day.

Species observed in Cipó area: Tataupa Tinamou, Red-winged Tinamou, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, American Kestrel, Picazuro Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Guira Cuckoo, Pauraque, White-collared Swift, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, White-vented Violet-ear, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Hyacinth Visorbearer, Horned Sungem, White-eared Puffbird, Campo Flicker, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Cipo Canastero, Firewood-gatherer, Rufous-capped Antshrike, White-rumped Monjita, Crested Black-tyrant, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Masked Yellowthroat, White-bellied Warbler, Cinnamon Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Buff-throated Pampa-finch, Blue-black Grassquit, Black-throated Saltator, Yellow-billed Blue Finch, Yellow-rumped Marshbird.


Canastra NP
(see also map in GPS locations)

The large grassy Canastra plateau rises several hundred meters above its cerrado surroundings. The plateau is the source of the Francisco river (photo), one of the longest in Brazil. This river plunges down the escarpment of the plateau at the Casca d'Anta waterfall before continuing amidst the typical cerrado gallery forests. On the plateau itself there is some gallery forest as well. This Rio São Francisco, above as well as some distance below the waterfall, harbors several pairs of the rare Brazilian Merganser. This duck is best seen during the breeding season around July, but now in October they creep away upriver, far from the obvious pools and shallows like the ones near the waterfall. We did not see the merganser and nevertheless loved the area, which we cruised for three days. On the grassy plateau as well as in the gallery forests we saw several bird species that we did not see elsewhere on this trip (see species list), and having such a vast natural area practically to yourself is a pleasure in itself. Moreover, we felt very much at home in São Roque de Minas, the little town from where you operate both the plateau and the lower sites. In São Roque (HO-kee) we had a fine and comfortable base at the new hotel Chapadão da Canastra, with the ever helpful lady Renilda (speaks a few words English; her niece, a local teacher, speaks English very well and offered help as an interpreter). In the vicinity of the hotel is a good restaurant and a good bakery shop. Maria of the bakery also speaks English very well (she has lived in New York), and also offered help in case we needed an interpreter. This whole social setting is a typical example of the friendliness we encountered so often on this trip in SE Brazil.
NB: don't even try to get to São Roque from other roads than the one along Piumhi (unless you come from the North - very unlikely). We know of several people who have lost many hours (even one day) in driving a "shortcut" straight from the South.

We went one day to the river and forest at the base of the Casca d'Anta waterfall coming down from the escarpment (photo) . The best part of this is within the national park, and this only opens at 8 a.m. Along the long unsurfaced road towards this entrance are some other nice spots, e.g. at the river bend around the "camping" behind a small shop a few km after the village José de Barreiro. Leave your car at this shop and walk between the barns etc. down the track to the river. The people here are used to birders (the merganser is seen here sometimes) so I don't think they will bother if you enter their grounds at the early hour. Once inside the national park, walk the trail to the waterfall (cachoeira) through good forest where we had a nice flock with Russet-mantled Foliage-gleaner and Helmeted Manakin, and hundreds of swifts (White-collared and Great Dusky) at the waterfall itself. Another spot to get to the river is behind the cabins a bit down the narrow road after the entrance gate. On the way back, in the village of Vargem Bonita, we found a garden with hummer feeders, opposite the post office (across the crossroads), and here we had a.o. Stripe-breasted Starthroat, another sought-after species. The elderly couple invited us into their courtyard to have a better look. We bought sugar in return. It is hard to explain where the post office is, but if you have GPS it's an easy job - see the GPS locations text.
Above the town of São Roque, even right behind the hotel, is some nice mixed woodland-and-fields habitat. We explored only a bit of this on the way up to the plateau. Take the road along the cemetery at the southern town border, this is the first road left when you enter the town if coming from Piumhi or Vargem Bonita. Along this road up to the plateau we had a good spot with Cinereous Warbling-Finch and Rufous-winged Antshrike at the sign "Capao Forro" not far from the entrance gate. Once through the gate (you may try this before the official opening time of 8 a.m.; we got the impression that this dirt road is a through road however sparse the traffic was) pay a visit to the warden's office 1 km or so further on, after passing the visitor's center. We had to pay our tickets here (very cheap) and were rewarded with the sighting of a Maned Wolf pointed out by the warden in the woodland behind his office. These stunning animals visit this site regularly in the early morning to see if something edible is left.


From Google Earth
Then continue the road for a few km until where the power lines cross the road. Here is the famous stake-out for Brasilia Tapaculo, in the patch of low woods along the small brook. They should appear soon after playback of their sound, but when we were there is was very hot, even at 9 a.m., and we think this is the reason we only heard it, and even only once (listen to our recording). So go there quickly after entering the park, and take your time. (Note from visitors in sep. 2002: a large fire destroyed much of this habitat then; hopefully it has been regenerated).
If you are very keen on seeing the Giant Anteater, scan all the grassy hillsides with termite mounds, esp. the mounds that have fresh holes. This way you may tick a Greater Rhea also. Be sure that, in the right time of the year, you don't miss Cock-tailed Tyrant. We had several pairs along the roads on the plateau. Of course you must see the area at the top of the waterfall Casca d'Anta, if alone for the scenery (see photo) but also for the walk along the track (mind snakes) to the left from the parking place. After c. 200 m we had our only Sharp-tailed Tyrant of the trip, a pair. But you can find many other nice spots by cruising the dirt roads on the plateau.

Species observed in Canastra NP and border areas: Red-winged Tinamou, Spotted Nothura, King Vulture, Plumbeous Kite, Savannah Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, White-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Aplomado Falcon, Red-legged Seriema (photo right), Pale-vented Pigeon, Scaled Dove, White-eyed Parakeet, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Smooth-billed Ani, Guira Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo, Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Burrowing Owl, Great Dusky Swift, White-collared Swift, Planalto Hermit, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Stripe-breasted Starthroat, Green Kingfisher, White-eared Puffbird, Toco Toucan, White-barred Piculet, Campo Flicker, Chicli Spinetail, Firewood-gatherer, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Russet-mantled Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Brasilia Tapaculo, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Helmeted Manakin, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Sooty Tyrannulet, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, White-throated Spadebill, Grey Monjita, White-rumped Monjita, Crested Black-tyrant, Masked Water-tyrant, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Shear-tailed Grey-tyrant, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Black-tailed Tityra, White-rumped Swallow, Ochre-breasted Pipit, Moustached Wren, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Curl-crested Jay, Plush-crested Jay, Masked Yellowthroat, Cinnamon Tanager, Magpie Tanager, Rufous-headed Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Black-goggled Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Swallow Tanager, Cinereous Warbling-finch, Wedge-tailed Grass-finch, Great Pampa-finch, Blue-black Grassquit, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Lesser (Thick-billed) Seed-finch, Black-throated Grosbeak, Crested Oropendola, Yellow-rumped Marshbird, Chopi Blackbird.


Ubatuba

Ubatuba is a seaside town at the base of the Serra do Mar, a rather well forested chain of low mountains between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and positioned in front of the high mountain chain of a.o. Itatiaia NP. At the lower elevations there is some similarity with the avifauna found in the lowlands of Linhares (see above), the higher elevations here (not visited by us) have many species in common with Itatiaia of course. The climate at Ubatuba felt as moist tropical.
Ubatuba has many hotels, and in fact this resort stretches westward along the coast for 12 km or so, all seaward of the BR101 main road. We had the lovely Solar das Aguas Cantantes hotel (see Useful addresses) at the farthest end westward, not far from the birding sites Corcovado and Folha Seca, and right behind a few beautiful small bays (photo). They know birders' needs.


'Corcovado' is a small bushy clearing plus some forest trails, at the base of the Pico Corcovado. We found it a very rewarding site, esp. around the clearing. See the map in GPS locations how to find this: leave the BR101 to the right, at c. 900 m after (West of) the double bridge c. 5 km West of Ubatuba's western tip. Keep this narrow but surfaced road and pass a school and many houses, and then halfway a straight stretch in this road go right (GPS waypoint 147). Drive on until a bridge and park your car there, and walk on for c. 50 m left after the bridge. Then take the dirt lane right, along some villa's (you will think this is a private road but it isn't - forget the ambiguous sign suggesting this). Pass a sort of gate (open for pedestrians) and after a while cross a shallow brook: step the stones while using a stick, or bring wellingtons. Just before this brook is a track or trail going up left, and this is said to be the real trail to the summit (pico) and passing a good forest (as we heard later). Right at the brook the forest was good, and the clearing and its borders only 100 m or so after crossing the brook was really splendid birding for us, with a.o. Fork-tailed Tody-tyrant and Brazilian Tanager. From the middle of the clearing a small trail goes up left into the dark forest, also worthwhile (Russet-winged Spadebill).
The Folha Seca site is nearby but you have to drive back to the BR101 or nearly so, and go left (right if you come from the BR101) at the fork barely 50 m from the BR101. Follow this road and go left at a shop (see GPS locations) and then keep on until the road gets worse and you'll see a quarry at the right. Only 100 m or so is a second quarry, and this should be the one indicated by Jeremy Minns for Spotted Bamboowren. The habitat is right but we didn't get it there (got it later in Angelim). From this second quarry a track goes up from the left corner, and at the end of that track we had our only Three-striped Flycatcher of the trip, in a sort of plantation. Best here was the forest just along the road itself, a bit further on than the quarry, and here we had splendid views of Slaty Bristlefront on an open forest floor at the right (see GPS locations). We also had an ant swarm with a.o. Scaled Antbird, Lesser Woodcreeper.























From Google Earth


The other two sites we visited here were the fazendas (farms/plantations) Capricornio and Angelim. From the central roundabout of Ubatuba (see map at GPS locations) go East and leave the BR101 at km post 45, to the left (inland). For Capricornio drive on, and for Angelim go right after 100 m or so. At Capricornio park your car a bit before the chain, and feel free to walk on along the houses (don't forget the hummer feeder right; bring sugar, or a small present for the child), and continue all the way till the last house, called Capricornio. Here are the overgrown cacao plantations for which this site is famous.
Yet, we saw better birds at the other fazenda, Angelim (and our friends in sep. 2002 also found Angelim much better than Capricornio). At the end of the road mentioned above, you'll see a gate (open for pedestrians) with a sign telling that you should ask permission at the owner (John Thomsen; thomsen@inner.com.br, phone 432 4915). Please do so beforehand (our friends were glad they had done so a year after us; they would not have been let in without this permission). We were lucky that we just could walk on to the compound (some 200 m), and then got permission from Tino who lives at about the third house left. The houses are at the edge of a well maintained park-like clearing with tall trees, and we had good birds at the upper limit of this clearing: Buff-browed Purpletuft (a key species for Ubatuba), Spotted Bamboowren. The track forks just before the end of the clearing, and at this fork we had the bamboowren (esp. inside the bamboo-and-liana dome left - only after playback; beware of snakes).

Species observed in Ubatuba area: Magnificent Frigatebird, American Swallow-tailed Kite, Mantled Hawk, Barred Forest-falcon, Slaty-breasted Wood-rail, Southern Lapwing, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Plain Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo, Saw-billed Hermit, Black Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Festive Coquette, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Surucua Trogon, Ringed Kingfisher, Rufous-capped Motmot, White-barred Piculet, White-spotted Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Thrush-like Woodcreeper, Lesser Woodcreeper, Chicli Spinetail, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Black-capped Foliage-gleaner, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Rufous-winged Antwren, Ferruginous Antbird, Scaled Antbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Variegated Antpitta, Spotted Bamboowren, Slaty Bristlefront, Buff-throated Purpletuft, Bare-throated Bellbird, Sharpbill, Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakin, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Tody-tyrant, Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, Sao Paulo Tyrannulet, Serra Do Mar (Ihering's) Tyrannulet, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Russet-winged Spadebill, Long-tailed Tyrant, Rufous-tailed Attila, Grey-hooded Attila, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Three-striped Flycatcher, Greenish Schiffornis [Manakin], Chestnut-crowned Becard, Black-capped Becard, Crested Becard, Black-tailed Tityra, Yellow-legged Thrush, Long-billed Gnatwren, Red-eyed Vireo, Tropical Parula, Bananaquit, Rufous-headed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Brazilian Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Green-headed Tanager, Red-necked Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Green Honeycreeper, Grassland Sparrow, Double-collared Seedeater, Crested Oropendola, Red-rumped Cacique.

Agulhas Negras road

The Agulhas Negras road is a high altitude dirt road starting at the pass in the road from Itatiaia/Eng. Passos (along the BR116) to the town of Itamonte to the North. The Agulhas Negras road is one of the few sites for higher altitude birding in Atlantic SE Brazil, and a very good one. It passes low forest first, and then climbs up to shrub country, with an interesting patch of Araucaria (monkey-puzzle) trees in between, see photo below. After 17 km the road ends at a manned gate, where you are not allowed to continue by car, and in our case neither on foot because of forest fire danger. But we had all our birds already along those 17 kms before the gate.
We spent the night before in a hotel near Itamonte , 20 minutes N of the pass where the Agulhas Negras road starts, and this permitted us to be here early in the morning. At most places where we stopped along the Agulhas Negras road the birding was good, e.g. in the forest about 1 km from the start (Black-and-gold Cotinga, Rufous-crowned Greenlet), at 2350 m in the shrub zone (Itatiaia Spinetail), and we made a special visit to the Araucaria stands for Araucaria Tit-Spinetail (seen after playback). See the GPS-locations for more details.


Species observed along Agulhas Negras road: Barred Forest-falcon, Aplomado Falcon, Dusky-legged Guan, Black Jacobin, Plovercrest, White-throated Hummingbird, Sombre Hummingbird, Scaled Woodcreeper, Araucaria Tit-spinetail, Itatiaia Spinetail, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Rufous-tailed (Brazilian) Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Blue-billed Black-tyrant, Velvety Black-tyrant, Shear-tailed Grey-tyrant, Curl-crested Jay, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Golden-crowned Warbler, White-rimmed Warbler, Diademed Tanager, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Bay-chested Warbling-finch, Red-rumped Warbling-finch, Thick-billed Saltator.

Itatiaia national park

Formerly, when we thought about birding in SE Brazil, we mainly thought of Itatiaia NP, like of a magical place. Now it was at the end of our long series of interesting reserves and parks in SE Brazil, and although we got several new species in Itatiaia NP, we were not as impressed as we had anticipated. OK, the hotel (Simon) was good with nice birds in the immediate vicinity, but the park as a whole has 1. quite a lot of buildings and houses, and 2. rather few trails. Admittedly, the weather deteriorated towards the end of our stay here.
The entrance is above the village of Itatiaia (just follow the signs for the park), and then follow the signs for your hotel. We preferred hotel Simon* because it is right at the start of the best trail (Tres Picos), has a stake-out for Tawny-browed Owl, and has permanent feeders (at the house of mr. Simon just left of the hotel - feel free to enter his garden). The hotel is upscale, although the 500 reales for the two of us, for four nights and days, including all enormous buffet-style meals, was a reasonable price. This was a nice place to end our trip. We had made a reservation by phone a few days before, in English (see Useful adresses). We had made the reservation because our stay included a public holiday, but the hotel is big enough to try without a reservation (at least during the week). Our room (112) had a wide view with some interesting birds in the small trees in front, esp. Saffron Toucanet.
Opposite the hotel entrance, walk up the winding road to the swimming pool etc., go left on the Maromba trail (a nice level trail), and then after 100 m or so the Tres Picos trail forks right, and this mountain trail can be continued for several hours up to those three peaks or so they say. The TP trail (photo in the mist) was good for several forest birds and bamboo specialties, but the birding is not very easy. Right where the TP trail forks off from the Maromba trail did we get two Tawny-browed Owl at dusk.
Jeep trail is another good trail, but we presume that what people call "Jeep trail" nowadays, is only the 700 m or so track leading up to the true Jeep trail, because the latter is closed. Nevertheless we had some nice birds along this track (Drab-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant). Start this track well before 8 a.m. as we heard that a guard is sitting at the start of the track from that time, sending people back.
Don't forget to stop once at the curio shop that you pass while going up to the hotels. The hummer feeder plus the tree besides it had about 20 Black Jacobin. The shop sells home made chocolate.


From Google Earth

Note from our friends as of sep. 2002: they had a nasty experience when entering the hotel Simon (the reception people just denied and ignored their written confirmation, and had no room available) so they immediately went on to the nearby hotel do Ype and had a very good time there.

Species observed in Itatiaia NP: Rufous-thighed Kite, Barred Forest-falcon, Dusky-legged Guan, Slaty-breasted Wood-rail, Picazuro Pigeon, Plumbeous Pigeon, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Red-capped (Pileated) Parrot, Scaly-headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Tawny-browed Owl, Short-tailed (Chestnut-banded) Nigh, White-collared Swift, Ashy-tailed Swift, Planalto Hermit, Black Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Frilled Coquette, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Hummingbird, Versicoloured Emerald, Sombre Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Saffron Toucanet, Spot-billed Toucanet, Red-breasted Toucan, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, White-throated Woodcreeper, Planalto Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper, Lesser Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Ferruginous Antbird, Bertoni's Antbird, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Rufous-tailed (Brazilian) Antthrush, Such's Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta, Slaty Bristlefront, Sharpbill, Swallow-tailed (Blue) Manakin, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Drab-breasted Bamboo-tyrant, White-crested Tyrannulet, Large-headed Flatbill, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Grey-crowned Flycatcher, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Swallow Flycatcher, Velvety Black-tyrant, Masked Water-tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Grey-hooded Attila, Greenish Schiffornis [Manakin], Golden-crowned Warbler, Bananaquit, Brown Tanager, Magpie Tanager, Olive-green Tanager, White-lined Tanager, Black-goggled Tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Green-headed Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Swallow Tanager, Double-collared Seedeater, Thick-billed Saltator, Red-rumped Cacique, Golden-winged Cacique.

GPS locations and maps

For your convenience, all above maps are repeated below.

NOTE: use wayp101-170newBrasil2001.txt :
the list of GPS-data (waypoints)
in WGS84 dd.mm.ss,ss

Waypoint = a point in the field (e.g. where a good bird occurred, or at a fork in the road) measured with my GPS device, in X-Y coordinates. If you use these waypoints on your GPS device, you can exactly find these points of interest.
My GPS device is a Garmin GPS 12.
Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee the correctness of these waypoints.

Note Oct. 2012: updated the file with GPS waypoints (corrections from 142 onwards).

You can also use SEBrazJvdW2001.kmz to see the waypoints in Google Earth (best to open G Earth first) or if you wish Google Maps (paste the copied kmz link into the Search field of G Maps).



Teresopolis
101 - hotel Villa Nova in Teresopolis (900 m above sea level)
102 - start of semi-paved track steep down from "Garafao-road": site of Kinglet Calyptura 1996
103 - Serra de Orgaos National Park, good spot on long trail up mountain, at 1520 m
104 - Sumidouro road, Three-toed Jacamar site at loop in the road
105 - Carmo, Rio de Janeiro Antbird site; found none, but nice other birds (Crowned Eagle in the air)


Caparaó
106 - hotel Caparaó Parque at 1100 m altitude
107 - Caparaó National Park, the Tronqueira = end of the road up the mountain = campsite



Santa Teresa/ Augusto Rushi 
108 - entry of Santa Teresa town at gas station: turnoff left to hotel Solar dos Colibris
109 - fork of the two dirt roads in Augusto Rushi reserve
110 - on left road of the two, Spot-billed Toucanet (Aug. Rushi reserve)
111 - one of the many leks of Swallow-tailed Manakin (Aug. Rushi reserve)
112 - view on 2 Bare-throated Bellbirds (Aug. Rushi reserve)
113 - nice spot in Aug. Rushi reserve, 3 nests


Linhares/Sooretama
114 - where road into Linhares reserve leaves BR101
115 - start of road that bisects Sooretama reserve
116 - start of Estrada Quirinao in Sooretama reserve, from West side
(117 - where a long and winding dirt road towards Waypoint 116 leaves BR101)
(118 - a T-junction in the long road mentioned in Waypoint 117: go to the right)


Cipó
119 - start of very long cut-off from Vitoria-BeloHorizonte road towards Cipó
120 - start of good birding trail uphill from road through Cipó site
121 - displaying Hyacinth Visorbearer, at 1290 m alt., ca. 150 m from trail (follow trail uphill towards open plateau surrounded by low rocks - Cipo Canastero in corner at righthand end)
122 - on the trail, near Horned Sungem and Buff-throated Pampafinch
123 - another territory of Hyacinth Visorbearer, in low bush, not far from Waypoint 120
124 - the marsh of the Cipó site



(map above: roads drawn very sketchily, but waypoints on exact points)
Canastra
125 - near Betim after ringroad around Belo Horizonte; follow direction Divinopolis from here
126 - a next junction, follow Divinopolis again
127 - halfway the dirt road to Sao Roque de Minas (for Canastra NP): a roost of White-eyed and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets in lone tree left of road
128 - cemetary of Sao Roque at T-junction: right on up to Canastra higher parts, to the right down towards hotel Chapadao
129 - junction near factory: right down towards hotel Chapadao
130 - hotel Chapadao
131 - entry point of Vargem Bonita village (as seen from Sao Roque)
132 - house with hummer feeder (Stripe-breasted Starthroat and many others) in Vargem Bonita village; diagonally opposite post office
133 - exit of Vargem Bonita village towards Casca d'Ante (lower Canastra NP)
134 - shop & drinks along road to Casca d'Ante (lower Canastra NP), feeders and walk down to camping in river bend
135 - up towards entry of Canastra NP: Cinereous Warbling-finch & Rufous-winged Antshrike, just before sign "Capao Forro"
136 - entry of Canastra National Park above Sao Roque
137 - Ochre-breasted Pipit alarmed, staying on ground, with food; at high point in Canastra NP, grassy terrain
138 - parking place above Casca d'Ante waterfall in Canastra NP
139 - territory of pair Sharp-tailed Tyrant, 200 m along track left from parking place
140 - one of several of Cock-tailed Tyant territories, along road towards Rolinhos & Pedras
141 - at nice Pedras site: river pool, woods, etc. (Firewoodgatherer nest)


(map above: roads drawn very sketchily, but waypoints on exact points)
Ubatuba
142 - big junction of motorways North of Campinas (follow direction Jacarei for Ubatuba)
143 - Ubatuba: leave BR101 here seaward for hotel Solar das Aguas Cantantes
144 - hotel Solar das Aguas Cantantes
145 - leave BR101 here for Corcovado and Folha Seca sites inland
146 - fork of asfalt road left towards Corcovado and dirt road right towards Folha Seca
147 - start of dirt road towards clearing of Corcovado
148 - clearing Corcovado, at start of trail into forest; true trail up mountain is said to begin shortly before 148, left just before small river
149 - at shop, fork left here toards Folha Seca
150 - Folha Seca: quarry still in use, go on to 151
151 - Folha Seca: unused quarry (Spotted Bamboowren site; not found here, see 161)
152 - further along same dirt road (track now): Slaty Bristlefront, Scaled Antbird
153 - Slaty Bristlefront best spot, open forest floor right
154 - the roundabout of Ubatuba, in BR101
155 - in BR101, start of road towards fazendas Capricornio and Angelim
156 - school near fork in road: go right for Fazenda Capricornio
157 - entry (chain) of Fazenda Capricornio; hummer house is 70 m further on the right side (just walk on and talk to nice people at hummer feeder house)
158 - the last house of Fazenda Capricornio, start of cacao plantation
159 - start of road towards Fazenda Angelim
160 - gate of Fazenda Angelim; walk on and ask 200 m further on for permission (no problem)
161 - fork in track on clearing of Fazenda Angelim: Spotted Bamboowren
162 - view on Buff-throated Purpletuft high in trees around Waypoint 161


Agulhas Negras road
163 - in first part of Agulhas Negras road, singing Black-and-gold Cotinga extremely well visible here
164 - Araucaria Tit-Spinetail pair high in Araucaria trees left of road; this is just after the marshy site
165 - presumed lek of Plovercrest
166 - several Itatiaia Spinetail here at 2350 m altitude, plus Plovercrest

Itatiaia National Park
167 - hotel Simon in Itatiaia National Park, at 1080 m alt.
168 - half open spot with much bamboo at 1240 m alt. in Tres Picos trail
169 - bit higher than 168, Slaty Bristlefront
170 - start of (birding) road towards hotel Dorati, inside Itatiaia National Park

Note: go to the start of this GPS section to find the file with waypoints.