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  1. For the first time in a long time, I got to do some birding on a new continent for me. My wife had a conference to go to in Guaruja, Brazil (outside of Sao Paulo), and I tagged along, then we went birding for 2 weeks afterwards. Lifers abounded. Good times were had. We accidentally went to the wrong airport, and almost got lost in the jungle, but it was still the best vacation I've taken in a long time. For the first 4 days, I was basically on my own in Guaruja during the day. I had originally planned on just wandering out to the edge of town and looking for some nice trails or back roads to go birding on, but was advised that this wasn't safe. In fact, a few other conference goers tried exactly that and were told by a resident that they had wandered into a bad area, and that they wouldn't be safe even in the daylight. A few conference goers were attacked and robbed outside the hotel as well, after dark. So instead, I confined my birding to the area around the hotel and up and down the beach, which were quite touristy and apparently pretty safe. Day 1: After a 12 hour overnight flight and a 2 1/2 hour drive from the airport, we finally arrived at the hotel. En route I picked up a few lifers, including Southern Caracara, Picazuro Pigeon and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (amazingly, picked out as we were stuck in traffic on the highway that passed through a large patch of forest). After cleaning up and having lunch, I set out to explore the hotel grounds, which were quite expansive. Rainy weather and sleep deprivation soon forced me back inside, but not before I added one more new species, Eared Dove. Day 2: I had some conference-related stuff to attend to in the morning, but in between talks I still managed some birding around the hotel. Lifers came hard and fast. A pair of Southern Lapwings on the beach nearby were impossible to miss. Palm and Sayaca Tanagers flitted in and out of the palms over the pool. A small group of Chalk-browed Mockingbirds hung out in the courtyard, and Rufous Hornero and Rufous-bellied Thrushes picked at insects on the lawn. Blue-and-white Swallows flew overhead, and a Kelp Gull flew by along the beach. In the afternoon, I took a walk along the entire length of beach in front of the hotel, about 6 miles of walking total. Lifers continued to abound. At an overlook at the end of the beach I added Ruby-crowned Tanager, Masked Water-Tyrant, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird and Mantled Hawk. In a strange swampy area labeled "Central Park" in Guaruja, I added Masked Yellowthroat, South American Snipe and Smooth-billed Ani. At the opposite end of the beach, a patch of forest held Ochre-collared Piculet, Turquoise-fronted Parrots and a flyover Toco Toucan. Day 3-4 Continued exploration of the beachfront and area around the hotel continued to be productive. On the hotel grounds, Creamy-bellied Thrush was a skulking morning visitor, and Plain Parakeet, Brown-chested Martin, Whistling Heron, White-collared Swift and South American Terns were all seen as flyovers. A pair of Cliff Flycatchers hunted from the tall buildings around the hotel. Another trip to the viewpoint at the west end of the beach (which held a small patch of forest) yielded a nice mixed flock, and I added Gray-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Versicolored Emerald, Pale-breasted Thrush, and Orange-headed, Brazilian and Swallow Tanagers. eBird checklist with some pictures: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47729653 Day 5. At last, a few of us from the conference planned a morning expedition with a local tour guide to a trail outside the city. I could finally bring my camera along, though I quickly learned just how challenging photography with a superzoom could be in the rainforest. The trail we went on led along the edge of the river to an old mission, from the 1600's according to the guide. This was my first real taste of the Atlantic Forest, and it didn't disappoint. A Dusky-legged Guan destroyed some fruit in a tree directly over the trail. Saw-billed Hermit and Glittering-bellied Emerald gave brief, tantalizing looks. Two Green-backed Trogons showed themselves much better. Violaceous Euphonia, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Red-necked Tanager, Southern Rough-winged Swallow and Blue Dacnis were all seen in quick sucession. Yellow-headed Caracaras made strange noises in the treetops. Maroon-bellied parakeets went screaming through the canopy. A female Swallow-tailed Manakin was unfortunately all by herself. Spot-breasted Antvireo and Long-billed Wren were puzzled over for several minutes before we eventually identified them. A small flock of Red-rumped Caciques kept chasing eachother around the tree tops. And just as we were leaving, a Blond-crested Woodpecker flew in and gave us great looks as it fed on dead branches nearby. eBird checklist, with a few pictures: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47759886 More to come later, once I go through some more pictures and start uploading them to eBird.
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