Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Viva Brazil!

Where has the summer gone?  Better put, where has Olaf and Silja gone? I guess between selling and buying houses, properties, building sheds, stolen cars, wrecked cars, book events, and even new RV Tires, it went away in a sea of busy-ness like every other year.

So we took off with our new tires south a week ago.  I had a book event in Wabasha Minnesota and talked about the Wabasha Nelson bridge which was a chapter in my "Expensive crossings" book to about 40 people.  It was a good show, a fun crowd, and then came the uneventful drive in the RV to Florida

is this the treasure chest of the Mississippi?

The last speaker on a book that was loosely based locally was the author of "Grumpy old Men" he may have out drew mw but I was a close second.  We did tour "Slippery's" the restaurant in the movie.


Yesterday, we drove to Miami and flew through Panama City to Manaus Brazil.  This is not really a birding trip.  It is a wife hanging out with her sister trip.  I was given three options

1) Go with and keep my mouth shut and entertain myself

2) Stay home and watch the cats

3) go somewhere else by myself

Life is lonely alone so, well, and as I have never really been to Brazil so...I took door #1, and plan on making do.

This is a Road Scholar trip which used to be called "Elder Hostel". and well, the only person younger then me is Silja.  I have never felt so young. I am four years younger than even the German born guide, who tries hard but he was misidentifying birds today so if I need to ID anything I see, I have to do it myself.  He got some correct but parrots and parakeets....yikes.

There was a really negative and sensationalized article on the rain forest in the NY Times on Sunday and well, it spooked two people who actually cancelled the trip since the Amazon is now "gone."  It seems so odd, but it is true.  People believe everything and well let me say, the Amazon is still here.  yes the water is low, but a year or two and it will be at record heights, the Mississippi was record low last year and again one of these years it will have an epic flood because everything is sensationalized.  The guide had to bring 131 years of river data to show us that the two were wrong in not coming, and said, if it was so bad then maybe they should "come faster."  As Culture Club states, the shole world is stupid.

The fourth youngest person on this trip is my sister in law at 66, My mother would be middle of the pack on age, i think.  But, at least so far I have logged country #59 for my Century Club project, 41 to go.  Today I added five lifers too

Two Red bellied macaws, misidentified by my guide as "orange winged parrots"

He got the Striated heron correct but this is not a lifer bird.

I missed photo shots of  things and the lighting was generally bad but heck, it beats playing with the cats!

How bad could Manaus and the Amazon be with these people?

I'll see some birds...and I need most Brazilian birds

Manaus Brazil a city of 2.5 million

We arrived at 4 AM to our hotel and Wolf our guide gave a little grandfatherly (his) advice.  When you have a short night, you need to "sleep a little faster" and we did but tired tonight so time to go to bed

So a lifer Brahma beer for five, I wished I had photographed the red and green macaw pair that flew overhead but you cannot have it all, 

Cheers!  More soon on this trip with the Elders



  1. Awful that the guide was not good. The first birding tour I took after retiring was also with Road Scholar, to Costa Rica, before I figured out other ways to do it. I was also the youngest of the group, and there were ten of us, not ideal, and to my surprise they all knew little to nothing about birds (even the boreal migrants present). But the guide was excellent, so it worked out well, though occasionally I had to go out on my own.

    1. yea, he is a local history guide and not really a birder, we'll see this is not really a birding trip i guess so will make the most of it we are 19 in a group, so i need to fall back into clean up position anyhow

    2. This wasn’t a tour to find birds. Brad was our official bird expert.

  2. Will look forward to,hear how you do with old folks.

  3. Have seen a number of Rhode Scholar Trips operating in Arizona when I was volunteering at Patons. I also know 3 of the guides there. They are all pretty good birders, but the clientele for these trips, from what I have seen, is not always totally into birding. More eclectic I would say.
    Still, whatever " turns your crank" I guess. Lots of gray hair in those shots. I would fit right in. It looks like you're trending in that direction as well?? ha-ha. Have fun.


Golden dreams and memories

  Today brings me to the north suburbs of Chicago.  Although not for a bird even though a lifer bird had been flying tantalizingly close to ...