Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A different river

It seems a different river in the Pantanal to which I have come with my group from Chile; so many things have changed since I was here two weeks ago. Beside the Transpantaneira yesterday almost all of the waterholes were dry, their egrets, herons, storks depleted, flown in search of water and of food. Here at the river the busy swoops and swirls of southern rough-winged swallows are joined by many barn swallows now. On my last trip I saw just one.

The beaches are vegetated too, with lush cane-grasses, and Ludwigia in lovely yellow flower; their sand-loving lapwings, plovers and skimmers are pushed to the edges, bereft of habitat as the season turns. In the overhanging forest there are greater anis, in numbers, where before I saw none.

It is cold too: unseasonably so. When I was here last I would soak a shirt sitting still. Now I am cold in two fleeces. For an hour this afternoon it was warm enough to wear only one fleece, but soon the moment was gone.

The jaguars are as inconstant as the weather and the season. They've been much less seen since I left. One jaguar's inconstancy - at his genes' behest - was clear to us today. Last time I saw Peter he was courting Bianca. Today, for a brief while in the forest, we watched him courting Ruth. Like Bianca she snarled his advances away.

The weather, the water, the birds and a jaguar's love: they're all inconstant here along a river in the Pantanal. Tomorrow, perhaps, there will be sun and jaguars. And smiles.

Cold Naturetrekkers watching wildlife in the Pantanal

Yacaré caiman

Giant otter, from one of two families we saw today,
by my friend and co-leader Naun Amable

Cats seen in 2015
cheetah Acinonyx jubatus fearonii                3
serval Leptailurus serval serval                    3
leopard Panthera pardus suahelicus            2
lion Panthera leo nubica                              78
snow leopard Panthera uncia                       3
jungle cat Felis chaus                                   2
tiger Panthera tigris tigris                            13
leopard Panthera pardus fusca                    4
lion Panthera leo persica                              7
leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis           15
flat-headed cat Prionailurus planiceps          1
wildcat hybrid Felis silvestris grampia/catus  1
jaguar Panthera onca                                    9
puma Puma concolor                                    14

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