Imagine a glorious sunset over the beautiful Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world. Then imagine being circled by pairs and pairs of hyacinth macaws, joined by many more blue and gold macaws and their neighbors, the scarlets. My son and I stayed at the wonderful pousada, Fazenda Baia das Pedras, where the macaws nest very close to the main house. At one point there were 14 hyacinths wheeling about us, while the B&G;perched in nearby trees and allopreened their mates and several species of parakeet fussed nearby. Just before darkness fell, the scarlets came down to the ground on a nearby island.
On the same walk we saw a giant anteater that came within a few meters of one person´s feet, while a six banded armadillo watched us from his recently-dug hole. In the distance, thousands of egrets came to roost in a small group of trees… the day before we canoed on the lake where they came to roost, so we saw them streaming almost endlessly by us as they came to roost together.
The owners of Baia das Pedras have made their 18,000 hectare ranch a veritable paradise for animals, not just birds. On comfortable horseback rides and hikes we were able to see many species of birds, thanks to excellent guides. Unlike most tourist horses, the Pantanal horses we used were agile and vry responsive, a pleasure to ride- even when we forded a river up to their bellies!
I would strongly encourage parrot-lovers to vist the Pantanal to see birds. Unlike many other parrot habitats, the Pantanal is remarkably open and you are much more likely to see many species. Seeing a flock of 14 hyacinths, however, and watcvh them working on enlarging nest holes a few hundred yards from my lodging was one of the true highlights of the trip, however.