A WEEK IN THE SERRA DO MAR AT THE ITORORO LODGE.
Atlantic Forest Endemics of South-East Brazil
Photographer: Jim Liscovec
Itororo Eco-Lodge is a fantastic eco-lodge surrounded by rainforest at an altitude of 1200m. Tucked away in its own private valley of 50 acres, the property is located within the 58.790ha Tres Picos State Park. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation together with great birding opportunities and easy access to a whole host of other birding sites within the local area. WE SPEND ALL NIGHTS AT THE LODGE. The lodge is located within the 58,790ha Tres Picos State Park and is tucked away in its own private valley of 50 acres at an altitude of 1150m. Surrounded by forest, the lodge sits in a truly privileged and quiet location and has its own trail network, providing guests with the opportunity of seeing many species within a short distance from the lodge. The Lodge offers accommodation for up to 14 people, making it small enough not to interfere with the surrounding environment and to be managed in such a way that guests feel like they are staying at a true home from home. The lodge is situated in large landscaped gardens and surrounded by forest, there is also an orchid and bromeliad garden and an array of flowering and fruiting trees and plants that attract a wealth of fauna into the lodge grounds. For those wishing to explore further we have a number of trails within the grounds that offer a variety of walks and excellent opportunities to search for various species of birds. In the 50 acre grounds of the lodge we have recorded over 170 species, of which 60+ are Atlantic forest endemics! The grounds also have a number of bird tables, feeding stations and hummingbird feeders, which offer a chance to see a number of species close-up and provide some great photographic opportunities!
During the past 15 years we have gained a wealth of knowledge of the local birds including calls, seasonal movements, breeding sites and stakeouts for particularly sought after species. Having spent countless hours in the field we are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in ensuring that our guests have a great time and see numerous species of birds well, including many of the rarities and endemics.
Day 1: Arrival into Rio de Janeiro (2.5 hour transfer to our accommodation)Upon arrival at the lodge we will quickly settle in and spend the remainder of the day birding around the lodges grounds and trails. Species we hope to see include Black Hawk-Eagle, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scale-throated Hermit, Plovercrest, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated trogon, Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Pallid Spinetail, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, White-throated Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Bertoni’s Antbird, Ochre-rumped Antbird, Brazilian Antthrush, Blue Manakin, Pin-tailed Manakin, White-rimmed Warbler, Fawn-breasted, Golden-chevroned Azure shouldered, Ruby-crowned and Brassy-breasted Tanagers, Uniform Finch and Green-winged Saltator.
Day 2: High Altitude Excursion to Pico de Caladonia This full day excursion is aimed at seeing the small number of endemics that exist above 1500 metres. Our day begins with a 20 minute drive to get as high as possible towards 2000 metres in altitude. This depends heavily upon the weather and road conditions. Once at our destination we leave the transport behind for the remainder of the day and start our days birding. As we gain altitude and continue our walk up a steep road we see a change in the habitat, small stunted trees surrounded by bamboo and other low vegetation provide the first areas in which we hope to see Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Diademed Tanager, Blue-billed Black Tyrant and Rufous-tailed Antbird. As we walk further uphill we begin to enter the habitat where we stand a good chance of seeing the rare and endemic Grey-winged Cotinga, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Swallow-tailed Cotinga and Black and Gold Cotinga. We shall also try in this area for Brazilian Antthrush and Mouse-colored Tapaculo. Almost at the summit we hope to encounter the rare and endemic Itatiaia Thistletail.
Day 3: Portao AzulAfter a 30 minute drive we arrive at the beginning of this fantastic trail. We shall leave the minibus to walk a trail for the remainder of the day. What makes this trail so good is the mixture of habitats that this area offers, it is also a stronghold for the endemic Half-collared Sparrow, sometimes difficult to see in other areas this species is abundant here. Other birds that we expect to see during the morning include Dusky-legged Guan, Scale-throated Hermit, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White-throated Hummingbird, Saffron Toucanet, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Grey-bellied Spinetail, Pallid Spinetail, White-collared Foliage Gleaner, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant Antshrike, White-bearded Antshrike, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Bertonis Antbird, Azure-shouldered Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Buffy-fronted Seedeater and Uniform Finch.
Day 4: Wetlands and lowland forest excursionToday we will take a drive of just over an hour to the Reserva Ecologica de Guapi Acu where we will spend a full day exploring the wetland areas together with the lowland forest. Species we expect to see here amongst others include Whistling and Capped Heron, Brazilian Teal, Masked Duck, Grey-headed Kite, Savanna Hawk, Limpkin, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Yellowish Pipit and Chestnut-capped Blackbird. Surrounding the wetland is lowland forest, a habitat very difficult to encounter as much of this habitat has been destroyed in the past, we venture into this forest in the hope of finding species such as Reddish Hermit, White-chinned Sapphire, Rufous-capped Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-flanked Antwren, Unicolored Antwren, Brazilian Laniisoma (Shrike-like Cotinga) and Long-billed Wren.
Day 5: Three-toed Jacamar and open country birding Many birders who visit south-east Brazil go in search of the endemic Three-toed Jacamar. On this full day excursion we visit several sites where this bird is regularly found. Along the way we pass through a variety of habitats and cover a fair distance (140 km) stopping regularly en-route to look for other species.
Our target bird is the Three-toed Jacamar (!), however... other birds we could encounter include Whistling and Capped Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Savanna Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Laughing Falcon, Aplomado Falcon, Red-legged Seriema, Blue-winged Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Striped Cuckoo, Planalto Hermit, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Amethyst Woodstar, White-eared Puffbird, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Black-necked Aracari, White Woodpecker, Band-tailed Hornero, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Gray and White-rumped Monjita, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, White-rumped and Tawny-headed Swallow, Black-capped Donacobius, Curl-crested Jay, Magpie, Hooded, Hepatic, Brazilian and Gilt-edged Tanagers and Hooded Siskin.
Day 6: Theodoro Trail and lodge grounds After a 20 minute drive from the lodge we arrive at the beginning of the Theodoro Trail. Commencing at 1100m asl, this path offers superb birding. The entire length of this gradually descending trail used to be part of the old Cachoeiras - Nova Friburgo railway line and in places still remains surfaced with asphalt.
Birds that can be seen include Brown Tinamou, Mantled Hawk, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Plain Parakeet, Scale-throated Hermit, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated and Surucua Trogon, Spot-billed Toucanet, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Streaked Xenops, White-browed Foliage Gleaner, Buff-fronted Foliage Gleaner, Black-capped Foliage Gleaner, White-eyed Foliage Gleaner, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, White-throated Woodcreeper, Lesser Woodcreeper, Scaled Woodcreeper, Variable Antshrike, Star-throated Antwren, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Slaty Bristlefront, Brazilian Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta, Bare-throated Bellbird, Sharpbill, Blue and Pin-tailed Manakin, Gray-hooded Atilla, Greenish Schiffornis and Brassy-breasted Tanager. We return to the lodge in time for lunch. The afternoon will be spent birding the lodge grounds.
Day 7: Serra dos Orgaos National ParkThe drive to this National Park in Teresopolis takes approximately 1.5 hours. The National Park is split into two sections, the lower and upper. We begin at the lower park where we will spend a couple of hours where we hope to see White-necked Hawk, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Rufous-capped Motmot, Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-fronted, Yellow-eared and Yellow-throated Woodpeckers, Pale-browed Treehunter, Buff-fronted Foliage-Gleaner, White-eyed Foliage-Gleaner, White-throated Woodcreeper, Plain and Spot-breasted Antvireo, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Blue Manakin, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Gray-hooded Atilla, Rufous-headed, Yellow-backed, Olive-green, Flame-crested and Golden-chevroned Tanagers and Red-rumped Cacique.
We then return back to the vehicle and drive for a further 20 minutes to the upper section of the park. We will spend the rest of the day birding along a fantastic boardwalk. The boardwalk is a solid fixed structure (in other words it doesn't sway from side to side!), some parts of it are at canopy level and other parts run through some great patches of bamboo. Some of the birds we aim to see include Brown Tinamou, Mantled Hawk, Dusky-legged Guan, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Plumbeous Pigeon, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Surucua and Black-throated Trogon, Saffron Toucanet, Yellow-eared and Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Pallid Spinetail, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Lesser and Scaled Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant and Tufted Antshrike, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Bertonis and Ochre-rumped Antbird, Rufous-tailed Antthrush, Rufous Gnateater, Mouse-colored Tapaculo, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Black and Gold Cotinga, Hooded Berryeater, Bare-throated Bellbird, Blue and Pin-tailed Manakin, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, White-rimmed Warbler, Azure-shouldered, Fawn-breasted and Brassy-breasted Tanagers and Green-winged Saltator.
Day 8: Birding the lodge grounds and departure The morning will be spent birding the lodges grounds and trails in search of any new species before departure back to Rio de Janeiro.
Please note that the order of the itinerary may change due to weather conditions.