Day 27: Headed to Ilhabela

Hot and humid conditions make birds tough to find.
January 27, 2015, Ilhabela, Brazil — A local birder named Rene Santos picked me up from Guto’s house in Sao Paulo at 4:30 this morning and the two of us headed east in his 17-year-old Jeep, toward a coastal island called Ilhabela (“beautiful island”) where Rene had arranged for us to stay at a friend’s house. The island is several miles long and mostly covered by rugged lowland Atlantic Forest, and we planned to spend the day birding there.

The drive took longer than expected, and, by the time we’d navigated about ten thousand speed bumps (they call ‘em “suspension breakers” here, and it was “shoulders of the bull” in Argentina), taken the ferry to the island, stopped for breakfast, and found the house, it was 10:30. This being the hottest month of the year in Brazil, it was already meltingly humid, and morning bird activity was toast; we wandered around halfheartedly for a few minutes then decided to go have lunch in the little town on the island. Here things felt almost Caribbean: All board shorts and flip flops and tans, lots of palm trees around a sandy beach, and, according to Rene, some excellent local surfing (though it was pretty laid-back on a Tuesday). We prolonged our siesta and didn’t gear up for birding until 3:30 p.m., sweating hard for just six new birds as we trekked around the forest this afternoon.

Rene and I are well positioned for one last day in the Atlantic Forest tomorrow, with some interesting possibilities, before I head to the Pantanal the day after. Even better, tonight, for once, I should get a full 10 hours of sleep, so good night from the beautiful island!
New birds today: 6
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