We came back to Brazil yesterday, back to the same hotel as before in Foz de Iguazu. The weather has been pretty bad all week. It was really lucky that we went on the speedboat last Sunday, because since then, until today, it has been nonstop rain and dark grey skies; pretty dismal. It brightened a bit this morning, although it was still very cloudy, no sunshine, so we went to a bird sanctuary just about a half hours walk from the hotel. The reason that we came back to Foz, was to treat ourselves to a helicopter trip over the falls. We have been both sides and under them, so we thought we would “round off” by flying over them. Such flights are not on offer in Argentina, only here in Brazil. There is no point, however, going up in thick cloud and tomorrow the forecast is for rain and thunderstorms, starting late today and continuing over the weekend, so we shall forego the helicopter trip!
The bird park was an unexpected joy. We are not too keen on the idea of birds in aviaries, however large, but upon discovering what
Native to Brazil
an excellent conservation programme they have here, we changed our minds and were really pleased to spend three hours there. The park is large, many of the aviaries are open to walk into (with secure double gates, open an outer one, enter a caged tunnel and then open the inner one) and it is all in natural rainforest. There are Agoutis rummaging freely in the undergrowth and some of the beautiful large Macaws are free and able to go where they like around the park. This is a sadness, however, as the sign says….
“The Macaws here have something in common. They are no longer able to fly, having been rescued from mistreatment and animal trafficking. Some have had parts of their wings amputated and others never learnt to fly because they were kept in small cages where flight was not possible. Here they can stay in the fresh air, close to visitors and contact with nature.”
Macaws, parrots and parakeets are one of the most threatened groups of birds in the world. Here in the bird sanctuary, the birds can all fly in large high aviaries, some of them sixty metres long, where
Omnivorous Amazonian bird, even eats small rodents
the aim is to enable them to recuperate from the trauma of illegal captivity. Many of the birds breed here and those not facing extinction can sometimes be reintroduced to the wild. Some species of the Toucan family are also near extinction and breeding pairs are living here in the sanctuary. Toucans are only native to South and Central America. There are thirty seven species. There are a pair of Harpy Eagles here, living in their own huge aviary, complete with an eerie, where they are building a nest. The nest has a hidden web cam focused on it so that if and when eggs are laid, the park rangers will know. The Harpy Eagle is the most powerful bird of prey in the world. They are huge and most majestic. Now extinct in most of the rainforests except the Amazon, their conservation is of vital importance.
The bird park is not just a sanctuary for birds, it is also a conservation forest for indigenous plants. The Cyanthea trees (which are not technically trees, they are ferns) have all been rescued from burnt forests and if beyond life, the moist trunks are used as pots to plant
Native to Brazilian Pantanal
Bromeliads and Orchids, whilst others are recovering and reproducing; they will eventually be replanted back into areas from whence they came.
On Saturday morning we leave for home. We have a very early start, with an airport transfer leaving here at 4 a.m. to catch the 6.25 a.m. domestic flight to Rio, which is just about two hours away by air. We then have a very long time to wait until our overnight transatlantic flight to Madrid, which leaves Rio at 18.40 and lands in Madrid at about 9.40 a.m. on Sunday morning. We then have another long wait in Madrid airport before getting our flight to Alicante at 17.00 landing at 18.05 if on schedule. Tomorrow we shall just chill out around the hotel, pack for the journey and enjoy the promised thunder and lightning from indoors!
We have loved Brazil. It is a wonderful country. Spending the first two weeks in the Amazon, was an unforgettable experience. The four weeks from Rio down here to Iguazu was a wonderful journey, covering over one and a half thousand kilometres by road through lush Atlantic rainforest and spectacular coastal scenery. The last two weeks
here have been truly remarkable, since the Iguazu Falls are something else! It has all been so memorable and now, sadly, it is at an end. It will be nice to get home, however, as it always is after time away. Spanish sunshine here we come!
As in the past, we have totted up our various means of transport, which by the time we get home, will total as follows…
7 private cars
2 cable cars
1 trolley bus
1 funicular train
We have stayed in seventeen different hostels, cabins and hotel rooms and travelled on a total of one hundred vehicles; one hundred and one including Shanks´s Pony! It was great!
Tot: 2.175s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 20; qc: 98; dbt: 0.0555s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb