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Trip Report: Bahia – Serra Bonita and Una

May 5th-10th, 2014.

This tour was aimed at mammals and birds! We had a great time with both!

For this tour I had only one single guest: Dave, from Canada.
We stayed in Serra Bonita for two nights, and then moved to Una for three nights.  The Serra Bonita Lodging was great.  The lodging in Una was at a basic hotel, but the rooms had private WC, hot shower and AC.
The meals were at our lodging and they were delicious!
I arrived two days earlier, so I could double check the trails.

May 5:

Dave arrived at the airport of Ilheus at 1:00 PM on May 5th.
First, we drove to the Sloth Sanctuary at CEPLAC (a government institution that does research on cacao), where they had 12 captive (rehabilitating) Brown-throated Sloths, and Dave saw his first few lifer birds. Then, we drove to Camacan, where we met Victor, who drove us to his Serra Bonita lodge in a 4×4 vehicle. We arrived by 7:00 PM, ate dinner & went to bed, but not before turning on a special lamp near our rooms to attract moths (Victor has a PhD degree on them).

May 6:

At dawn, Victor showed us a family of Crab-eating Foxes that comes to a dog-food dish that they set out near the lodge.  This morning the foxes brought with them three tiny black cubs, too small even to get their heads over the side of the dog dish!   After a quick breakfast, we walked down the road until the surrounding forest gave way to pasture. It was very productive bird wise (including Spot-backed Antshrike, Plumbeous Antvireo, Swallow-tailed Manakin, Gray-hooded Attila, Rufous-brown Solitaire, and Rufous-headed Tanager) & we twice met a group of Yellow-breasted Capuchins.
We had a lovely lunch, and because of the heavy rain, we spent the rest of the day at the veranda, watching birds at the feeder.  The adult Crab-eating Foxes returned, allowing us to photograph them in the daylight.  The feeders were quite busy with Red-necked Tanagers (that rarely come to feeders), Green-headed Tanagers, three species of Euphonia, Sayaca, Palm, Azure-shouldered  and Golden-chevroned tanagers, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Spot-billed Toucanet, Sombre Hummingbird, Black Jacobin, and Violet-capped Woodnymph, among others.  A female Pin-tailed Manakin, a Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, a pair of Three-striped Flycatchers, a Chestnut-crowned Becard, and a Pallid Spinetail also passed through.  A roost of short-tailed bats was seen above one of the doorways at the lodge.
We had dinner and returned to our rooms.  At night, while photographing moths at the special lamp, we found a nice pair of Black-capped Screech-owls.

May 7:

In the morning of Day 2, we found lots of moths on the wall & took many pictures. In the meantime, Short-tailed Nighthawks flew overhead.  After our breakfast, we took a walk on the road. We couldn’t find the Pink-legged Graveteiro (but we found it later in Una), but saw Surucua Trogon, Black-capped and White-eyed foliage-gleaners, Spot-backed Antshrike, Star-throated and Rufous-winged antwrens, Spot-breasted Antvireo, at least four Sharpbills, Black-throated Grosbeak, and got great photos of a Crescent-chested Puffbird.  We had a very nice lunch & departed for Una.
Along the way, we passed through Santa Luzia.  We saw many birds, especially near the marshes after the village, including Brazilian Teal, Savannah Hawk, South American Snipe, Guira Cuckoo, Plain and Golden-capped parakeets, Campo Flicker, White Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon, White-bellied Seedeater, Red-cowled Cardinal, and Chestnut-capped and White-browed blackbirds. We arrived in Una, just before dark, but, quite happy with our birding along the route! At dinner, we met three biologists doing research on rodents. Very nice people.

May 8:

In the morning of Day 3, we took the road to the Una Biological Station.  We saw a female White-winged Cotinga en route.  We crossed a bridge with a sign that translates from Portuguese into “Danger, this bridge is about to collapse”.  We walked through a forest patch and an open area and saw many birds (including Pink-legged Graveteiro, Wing-banded Hornero, Band-tailed Antwren, and Brazilian Tanager), and several troops of Wied’s Marmosets, and Golden-headed Lion Tamarins.  We went back to town for lunch.  In the afternoon, we took the road that leads to the (now closed) Una Ecopark. It was very birdy, including Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike, Bahia Antwren, and several leks of Red-headed Manakins, just to mention a few.

May 9:

For our last full day, we hired a 4×4 vehicle, and explored the Una Biological Station.  The parking lot was full of birds, and included close looks at Black-necked Aracari. We walked the entire morning, in search of Maned Sloths, birds and other mammals. There were few birds (including Yellow-green Grosbeak) but, we had another nice group of Golden-headed Lion Tamarins, some individuals passed just a few feet away from us!  In the afternoon, we explored some of the forested roads, and late in the day we went to a private reserve where we saw Channel-billed Toucans and enjoyed long looks at two Coastal Black-handed (Masked) Titi monkeys, which were located side-by-side with a female White-winged Cotinga!

May 10:

We drove around the town of Una in the morning, looking for marmosets.  Along the way, we saw a Spotted Piculet, and eventually caught up with a pair of Wied’s Marmosets.  We left our hotel by 8:00 AM & drove to a village called Olivença, where we stopped at the house of someone that has permission to handle confiscated animals and birds. There, we had the chance to hold & take lots of pictures of the very rare Maned Sloth!  Then, we drove to Itacare in search of the Scaled Antbird, which we found quite easily. The birding there wasn’t intensive, and we were really just killing time before going – finally – to the airport.  We arrived at the airport by 2:00 PM. We took the same flight with different final destinations – Dave to Belo Horizonte & me to Aracajú. We did that with big smiles on our faces!

I’m ready to reply e-mails, with requests for additional information about lodging and 4×4 vehicle transportation & guide assistance.

Paulo Boute.
[email protected]