Unlike every other day

Winter here has not yet started and it is almost august... Or is it just supposed to be a mild winter? It is dry, as it should be, but days are very hot and the nights start to get fresh only by 4:30 AM Fauna and flora, together with us, are a bit confused with what to do and when and how. For instance, our beautiful rosy ipê trees (tabebuia) have weakly flowered in Junee (a month to early) and have not yet started flowering again this July. As it is very windy, hot and dry, we are happy that until now we have not had any uncontrolled fires in our region, so no smoke in the air - not yet.

Amidst this weather crazinesss, spotting wildlife has become a greater challenge. Anyhow, for the afternoon drive, Fernando and I had fixed a specific destination: the big salt lake at Tapera, a place at the far end of the farm. All guests, a 3 headed Swiss family and our French friend Sebastien, had been with us for quite a while and we wanted to take them to a still unknown place. We left the guest house early, but got on pretty fast because there was little to see. All animals were hiding from the hot sun, relaxing somewhere in the shadow of the forest. First stop: an armadillo tried to run away but his pace was very slow and Fernando caught him straight away. It was a very old animal and it was breathing strongly after only a few faster steps it had done. We wondered if it was near to death, wondered about its old and thick skin, which was full of lifemarks. As Fernando was wandering with his hand over the armadillo´s body, showing its gland at the back, its eyes, nose and... wupt, just like a hoover the animal had suddenly swallowed his finger and wouldn´t let it go. Repeating Fernando´s words: "how can it be that, after so many years of guiding and showing others an armadillo from nearby, I have to find out that it also has teeth !!!" His finger came out bleeding after he strongly pressed the animal´s throat.

A lot of peccaries later we arrived at the salt lake and from far away I could see that it was like a birdwatcher's dream: a group of around 40 coscorobas swans were bathing, eating and being attentive to every movement around them (they are known to be very shy). There where also stilts, lapwings, spoonbills, ibises, sandpipers, tree ducks, muscovy ducks, whistling ducks and many others. As no one of us is a birdwatcher we observed the rare coscorobas for a while and soon went into the bush nearby to check out if there were any prints of a rather big animal that had jumped into the woods as we arrived. We didn´t find anything since the sand is so deep and soft that it becomes harecognizeognise any sign but round wholes.

During a nice long walk through the landscape we spotted a lonely coati eating worms or water plants at a muddy lake and as it got dark we discussed about the different types of fireflietheir theyr light signs. Arriving by the car again it was already absolutely dark and we decided to refresh ourselves with waters and drinks. Fernando got the strong spotlight and looked around (the castoppedstoped at a vast open place). There was a big group of cows and calfs resting all together, standing very near to each other. We noticed that they were all looking into the same direction and as we got on with the light towards that spot we noticed again the yellow animal that had went into the bush a few hours earlier as we had arrived. I looked through the binoculars and told Fernando that I thought it was a calf, Fernando: a yellow calf? and then I saw, further on a bit, a bigger yellow , and I realised that it were 2 pumas, a bigger and a smaller one. We followed the big one with the light which disturbed it at the hunt of a calf that it was just going to undertake. The smaller cat hid in the forest near to the cattle and the big one went all the way through the open field, crossing over to the other side's forest.

Happy with this amazing experience we took off for dinner at home. But nature had left a few more surprises for us: a lonely fat tapir had just come out of the forest to eat some grass in the evening freshness. Only two fresh water lakes further on a couple of tapirs had also come out to eat water plants. We stopped to watch the biggest animal of South America and minutes later we crossed with our smallest mammal, the tapiti, a rabbit which looks more like a soft toy (or as our Scottish friends would say: a cuddle beast). Last but not least, another tapir crossed our way a few minutes before arriving at the guest house !

This was really not just like every other day.




Fazenda Barranco Alto - Pantanal Lodge