A m a z o n   S o u t h b a n k   T r a v e l s :   T r i p   T o   A u t a z e s

After lunch we headed out to the woods with just shorts and binoculars to check it out. Walter’s caretaker accompanied us to show us the trail. We paddled through some reasonable-looking igapo to get to the trailhead. There we began walking. The guide promptly lost track of the trail we were supposed to follow and began hacking a new trail (which we later discovered closely paralleled the existing one and may even have crossed it a few times!) Despite the early afternoon heat and the disturbance of our hard-headed trail blazer, we hadn’t walked more than a couple hundred yards in the terra firme before we heard a bird: Hemitriccus zosterops griseipectus, the bird I was after! I was instantly sold on the place, and we decided we’d stay. When we finally took pity on our trail-hacker, after about a kilometer, and decided to turn back, we also noticed a swarm of army ants, increasing our anticipation for returning the next day at dawn. We might have looked for ant-following birds then and there, but, in addition to it being real quiet at the time, the mosquitoes were surprisingly bad, so we opted to keep moving and come back more appropriately dressed.

When we arrived at the house and gleefully announced our success and intent to stay, Walter insisted we take the master bedroom, fully screened with 2 double beds. The screens were a blessing because the mosquitoes were really fierce at nightfall.

For the next 2 days, we did more or less the same thing, paddling out to the terra firme in the dark before dawn, returning to bird the igapo by late morning, and returning to the house for a late lunch. In what was essentially 2 extended mornings of birding around his place, we got 164 species of birds and heard some neat monkeys too, including howlers, which are black on this side of the river, as opposed to red, like around Manaus.

The terra firme woods were interesting. They are flat and barely above the floodplain. In fact, some places look like they flood very shallowly for a short period, because they are slightly depressed and have virtually no understory. Most of the trees are not impressively large or tall, but there’s an extraordinary density of big brazilnut trees. The area obviously deserves more attention.

Mario’s Interview/Journals Trip to Autazes    1     2