Parque Garça Branca, Brasília: January 1, 2013

Driving over to Lago Sul at dawn this morning, I paid close attention to the road as revelers were finally making their way home. Usually, I’m distracted by Tropical Kingbirds along the power lines, impatient to start birding before I arrive at the site, but people were seemingly all over the place, stumbling along the side of the road in their dress clothes. Without having ambitions plans for the first day of the year, I thought I would slip out for a few hours and follow up on my preliminary visit to Parque Garça Branca last weekend searching for waders and rails. I didn’t get a response from either the Ash-Throated Crake or Rufous-Sided Rail, two birds I thought might be embedded somewhere in the marsh, but I did add a few others to my site list, including Rufescent Tiger Heron, Limpkin, and Black-Crowned Night Heron (the Greater Thornbird was heard only – this photograph was taken on my last trip to Chapada dos Veadeiros). I finished the excursion by driving around the entire perimeter of the Botanical Gardens, finding a handful of decent birds along the way, including Horned Sungem.

Aimee and I found out recently that we’re leaving Brazil in August, which leaves me only half a year to fill in the considerable gaps on my country list. I’ve been planning a big road trip to Chapada Diamatina NP in Bahia for a while now, and we’ll definitely hit Emas NP for a long weekend sometime early in the dry season. But what else lies ahead? As this is the time of year for resolutions, I don’t see the harm in throwing out a couple fanciful birding destinations: a trip up to Ceará in Northeastern Brazil to see the fantastic Araripe Manakin; a return to the Atlantic Forest to clean up on missed cotingas, antshrikes, and hummingbirds; a short excursion to the far southeastern coast to glimpse the Many-Colored Rush-Tyrant; or an epic journey to Amazonas NP to hunt for near mythical birds like the Pale-Faced Antbird, Black-Chested Tyrant, and Golden Parakeet. Less than two years just won’t be enough time for me to rack up over 1000 species like I did in Ecuador. Brazil is simply too big and expensive to travel around in. With some planning and perseverance, I could probably get to 800 though. 

Notable birds seen: Neotropic Cormorant, White-Faced Whistling Duck, Brazilian Teal, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Cocoi Heron, Limpkin, Aplomado Falcon, White-Eyed Parakeet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Burrowing Owl, Horned Sungem, Ringed Kingfisher, White-Eared Puffbird, Lesser Kiskadee, Slaty-Crowned Flycatcher, Curl-Crested Jay.

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