January 24, 2015, Sao Paulo, Brazil -- For my last morning in Argentina, Guy Cox and I took a 4x4 taxi to a reserve near San Pedro called Cruce Caballeros, where we hoped to find a few more specialty birds. Cruce Caballeros protects one of the very last patches of old growth Araucaria forest in existence (these strange trees, sprouting branches high atop a smooth, straight trunk, make perfect lumber and practically all of them have been cut since 1900). With an understory of 40-foot-high tree ferns and a canopy of Araucaria, the place felt primeval and hushed. We wandered around for three hours mostly in silence, every now and then pausing to climb over a treefall or sift through a mixed bird flock.
I've had a great time birding with Guy for the past several days--not only is he a sharp birder, but he knows the territory and is fun to hang out with. Originally from the UK, he moved to Latin America several decades ago, spent many years in Bolivia, and has been in Argentina for another half dozen years. If you are ever in Bolivia or Argentina, look him up for advice or company (toucanbirding.com), and say hi for me!
The rest of the day was mostly spent in transit. I said goodbye to Guy, grabbed a taxi to El Dorado, then took a bus for the two-hour trip back to Puerto Iguazu. There, I was met by a friendly biologist named Patricio Ramirez Llorens who has been reading this blog and, luckily, had dropped me a note earlier in the day. I had an hour to kill, so we walked across town to a hummingbird feeder setup. Eight species of hummers were swarming the feeders, half of which were new for my big year! The hour passed quickly; I then caught another taxi to cross the border into Brazil, stepped onto a plane in Foz do Iguacu, and landed two hours later in Sao Paulo. A local birder named Guto Carvalho picked me up and we drove out of the city and into the dark, arriving at our lodging past midnight to find that our hosts had cooked us a sit-down chicken dinner. A delicious end to a long day.
New birds today: 12
Year list: 535