We are currently working very hard on the final details to offer you a brand new destination soon.
Read about it in the article below and whet your teeth ...
Author and photographs by Roger Marchant (2015)
In recent years the Pantanal in Brazil has been at the top of many people’s list of places to visit, a situation stimulated by the extensive television documentary output about the area. Unfortunately it has become a very expensive destination and one that is difficult to organise due to the pressure on available accommodation, but do not despair there is a South American rival to the Pantanal, Los Llanos in Venezuela, which is equally spectacular. Los Llanos also has the advantages of being much cheaper at present and is almost completely devoid of tourists.
The Pantanal and Los Llanos have much in common they are both large flat regions which become shallowly flooded during the wet season and then progressively drain and dry out during the dry season. As the areas of water gradually shrink the birds and animals become concentrated in and around the water holes providing unsurpassed opportunities to view large numbers and great diversity of birds, both resident and migratory. While many of the bird species are present in both the Pantanal and Los Llanos each has its own characteristic fauna. Although the landscape of Los Llanos is flat there is a variety of habitats ranging from the large expanses of grassland where cattle are grazed to gallery forest along the main watercourses and these different habitats support the wide range of species present.
Probably the most characteristic birds of the waterholes and grasslands are the large herons, ibis, egrets, storks and spoonbills and while these birds are not uncommon they provide magnificent spectacles when present in huge numbers. The largest of these birds is the Jabiru Stork with its striking black head and bill and a bright red collar. Among the herons the Whistling Heron is particularly noticeable with its distinctive call and subtle colours, while the commonest of the herons is the large Cocoi Heron and the most unusual the Rufescent Tiger Heron with a complete change of plumage from juvenile to adult.
There are a number of different Ibis species present in Los Llanos, Sharp-tailed, Glossy, Buff-necked, etc., but undoubtedly the signature bird of Los Llanos is the Scarlet Ibis. The Scarlet Ibis inhabit the Orinoco River Delta for part of the year but migrate to Los Llanos as the dry season progresses. There can be few more stunning sights than a large flock of these brilliant scarlet birds. The water holes are also frequented by other waterbirds including the large Orinoco Goose and the smaller Black-bellied and White-faced Whistling Ducks, Brazilian Teal and Wattled Jacana. Although the birds of Los Llanos are a major attraction the animals provide a real additional interest and should not be overlooked.
For many more pictures taken during our recent "Recce" trip have a look at our Photo Archive
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