January 26, 2015, Intervales, Brazil -- Last night after spending the day at Trilha dos Tucanos, Guto and I continued to Intervales State Park, arriving in the dark. This morning we were up at dawn to meet Luis, a park guide who has been described as a "saint" for his mastery of the local birds and their vocalizations.
Luis arrived smiling at 6 a.m., and suggested we walk down a certain little-used road within the park to find birds. As the gloom turned to daylight, he started calling out bird names, mostly identifying the sounds--in Latin, because he speaks no English. Guto would then type each Latin name into an app on his smartphone to translate it to the English common name (I know some of the scientific names here, but not all of them!). The three of us spent the entire day this way, and saw more than 120 species by dinnertime. I found myself wondering at how birding had brought together our unlikely trio: a rural guy from the Brazilian countryside (Luis), a mostly retired commercial film producer from Sao Paulo (Guto), and a 28-year-old from Oregon (me).
For the first time this year, I am in a country where I speak none of the local language (Portuguese), which is an odd feeling. Better get used to it!
New birds today: 22
Year list: 590