Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Pantanal After Dark

"You are already here."

Many animals become more active at night. So we spent three evenings in the back of our truck shining a spotlight along the roadside looking for gleaming eyes. Most of them were caiman eyes, but we did find other critters as well.

We were hoping for a jaguar, of course, but the only one we saw was in a sign warning guests not to walk around alone at night. (We also heard one calling, but it didn't reveal itself.)

The elusive Brazilian tapir.

Second on our list was the Pantanal's largest native resident, the tapir. One made a brief appearance on our final night. (As you can see, we are still working on our night photography.)
A crab-eating fox foraging.

Bambi (a pampas deer fawn)
Thumper (A Brazilian rabbit)

Much more common were crab-eating foxes (which outnumbered the crabs about 10:1),  deer, and rabbits.

This pauraque landed right in front our truck.

Night was also the best time to see nighthawks. These cryptically-feathered birds pretend to be leaves or tree limbs during the day. At night, they come out to hawk insects. Most common were pauraques, which we often spied resting on the ground or flying through the trees. We also saw one giant potoo which appeared as large as real hawk.

A burrowing owl at dusk.

Burrowing owls are easy to see during the day time, but one also posed for a nice photo just after it got dark.

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