We left the Pantanal (see Brazil blog 2) by flying due north to Alta Floresta in the Southern Amazon Basin. Bumpy driving on dusty back roads brought us to the Teles Pires River where we would stay for the week in an off-grid riverside eco-resort. Two sixteen story bird towers allow views over the top of the dense Amazonian canopy. Listening silently to the jungle awaken at dawn is one of the most lovely and moving experiences we had on this trip. One cannot stay at the top for long as the sway is significant enough for some of us to get motion sickness. The featured image, shot from the top, (apparently not available for viewing on your handheld device) shows Sally paused about halfway up the tower climb, like a person penciled into an Escher drawing.

We also walked under the canopy following troops of red-handed howler monkeys, including babies on parent backs…

…and amazing Sochi Monkeys with the best noses ever! The monkeys seemed to be curious about us too as they stayed in the trees over the trail, rather than moving off trail where we could not follow.

We stopped and rafted up with some Brazilian Fish Biologists mid-river who were collecting fish as part of their research on the effect of damming the river 30 miles downstream. They explained that these piranhas can shred almost anything in minutes but attack humans only when there is no other food source.
Macaws are of course everywhere, flying and squawking exuberantly in breeding pairs. We even caught two Red-Headed Manikin birds doing their Michael Jackson “Moon Walk” moves to entice breeding females. That is worth watching on You Tube videos.

We caught sight of the very rare Crested Eagle…of course, too elusive for a good photo! Butterflies live in abundance under the canopy, and stop long enough for a photos.

What’s better than butterflies and yellow spotted turtles enjoying the sun on the river?

With hundreds of bird sightings, and pages of notes, of course, some just don’t get captured in the brain, only in the camera. Anyone know what this gorgeous bird is? Come on Judith…we know you’ve got this!


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About Sally

A Studio Artist and painter trained at Stanford university, Sally has since then graduated from a long career as an Attorney with the Public Defender, and returned to painting. Living in Mexico with her son for a year, they adopted a feral dog, Lety. Sally's son left for college and their dog adopted her new best friend, Steven.


  1. jldunham2012

    Great bird pics on your blog. That last one is obviously a heron. I don’t know species found in Brazil, but my guess is that this is the Zigzag Heron. How did I do?

    You and Steven are having a fabulous time. Love the blog!


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