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Monday, April 26, 2010

Iguazu Falls - Wildlife

When we booked a trip to Iguazu Falls, I expected to see some great waterfalls, what I didn't expect was that abundance of wildlife surrounding the falls. According to the guidebooks, there are over 430 bird and 70 mammal species in the park and I'll bet there is every bit of that. We were only 5 steps into the Sheraton lobby when we saw a flock of toucans fly by the back window. After checking into our room, we looked out over the balcony and got our first glimpse of a coatimundi, this South American cousin to the raccoon. We saw a "herd" of these little scavengers the first day and then Thom ended up face to face with the crew in this photo on our Upper Circuit walk. It turns out that these guys are around almost all of the time. We saw them on the sidewalks, hanging out under tables in the cafe areas and we even saw a really shifty one crawl out of a covered trash can.

My proudest moment came when I got some great pictures of a toucan in the wild. We found this beauty on our way back from visiting the Devil's Throat falls just posing on top of a tree. All afternoon we had seen them fly by, as perfect as if they were carrying Guinness drafts on their little beaks, but to see one sitting stationary was just too perfect. It was much easier than I anticipated to spot them, those beaks stand out like shiny pennies, I just couldn't believe there were so many of them. I'm glad we saw these toucans in the wild first because the next day we spent a couple of hours at the Parque das Aves (Bird Park) in Brazil and came closer than I thought possible to a whole lot of toucans there.

Parque das Aves: This bird park is located just outside the Brazilian Iguazu park entrance. The current entrance fee is US$12.00 per person and in my opinion, worth every penny. The park is a walk through the jungle that has large bird houses for all sorts of birds, focusing on parrots and toucans. There are also 3 or 4 huge walk-through cages that allow you to walk inside with the birds. This was cool. We got so close to the birds that I thought this one was going to take Thom's watch in his beak and fly off. He was reaching for anything shiny.

This video is from a non-zoomed lens, showing just how close you could get to these sweet birds.

Aside from the toucans, which are obviously cool, the bird park also has a large walk through area with butterflies and hummingbirds - my favorite! I was thrilled to get these hummingbird shots, I am not exaggerating when I say that I've been waiting to get these types of photos for years.
Thank goodness for digital cameras because I would have probably spent our life savings on film if I was working with an old-school camera. Additionally, there are plenty of other animals to be seen, we saw a few turtles, lizards and some huge scary looking fish. You cannot walk more than 5 steps into any of these paths without being surrounded by butterflies, which adds a mystical feeling to your trip. I've heard that there are also monkeys in the area, but we missed seeing any of them.

To sum up Iguazu, we had an amazing time and I recommend this vacation to anyone that asks. My only words of caution; if you're planning a trip be sure to consider that it is hot in that part of the world so you may try to avoid the summer months (Jan - March) when the mosquitoes are rampant and the heat is unbearable.

Do you have recommendations from your trip to the Falls? Please share!

In other news, Happy Birthday Mom! See you in a few days!

1 comment:

  1. ahhh is that an action shot, or does that nasty creature have 5 TAILS?!?! Sick.