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Sunbird – Itinerary

Brazil Southeast Photographic Tour

A week at Itororo Lodge

Wednesday 18 September to Thursday 26 September 2019
with Stuart Elsom as leader

Maximum group size: 8 with 1 leader

2019 Tour Price : £2,050

  • Single Room Supplement : £300
  • Plus flights estimated at : £900

Anyone wishing to join the Pantanal Photographic Safari should add in about £150 for the connecting flight

Itororo Lodge - our base for the whole tour. Photo: Andy Foster

This exciting one-centre tour will take you into the heart of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest and present you with a dazzling array of photographic opportunities. Only a couple of hours drive from Rio de Janeiro, the beautifully located and extremely comfortable Itororo Lodge is surrounded by rainforest. Here you can see and photograph some of Brazil’s most sought after and stunning birds in a truly wonderful setting.

Itororo Lodge is located within the Tres Picos State Park and is tucked away in its own private valley of 50 acres, at an altitude of 1150m, where over 170 species have been recorded, of which 60+ are Atlantic forest endemics. The lodge sits in a quiet location with its own large landscaped orchid and bromeliad gardens and an array of flowering and fruiting trees and plants that attract a wealth of fauna. It also has a network of trails through the forest, providing the opportunity of seeing many species within a short distance.

This comfortable lodge, with its quiet and natural surroundings is not only a great place to take photographs but it is also perfect for relaxing, walking, and taking things easy if the mood takes you.  The grounds also have a number of bird tables, feeding stations and hummingbird feeders, which offer a chance to see a number of species close-up and provide some great photographic opportunities.

Great birding, stunning surroundings, comfortable accommodation, easy access, and friendly staff make Itororo Lodge the best location from which to explore the wealth of flora and fauna of the Atlantic Rainforest, which Stuart has been visiting since 2006 and is keen to share with you.

This tour can be combined with Brazil Photographic Tour: Pantanal Safari.

Sunbird have teamed up with Lenses For Hire to give you a special 10% discount on any lenses hired for this photographic tour. If you are interested in taking up this offer, please contact the Sunbird office for details. Visit their website to see the wide variety of lenses to choose from.

Our Photographic tours are designed for both beginners and more experienced photographers alike. They run to a more flexible itinerary than one of our straightforward birdwatching tours, and we do not try to obtain snaps of a long list of species but rather concentrate on obtaining stunning images of the wildlife we encounter.  This may often mean we spend long periods with just a few subjects, and will take advantage of hides and feeding stations where available.

All photographic tours are accompanied by Stuart Elsom LRPS, who was awarded a Royal Photographic Society Distinction in 2011. Stuart, who delivers training on nature photography and bird identification for The Royal Society of Biology, will be on hand throughout the tour to offer group or one to one tuition on all aspects of wildlife photography. 

Sunbird Photographic Tours are also suitable for non-photographers or for those who require a more relaxed pace and less rigid itinerary. Some tours will include evening sessions on photographic techniques or image critique workshops which are of course optional. If you have any queries about any aspect of our Photographic Tours please contact the Sunbird Office who can forward your query to Stuart. 

Day 1: The tour begins in London with a flight to Rio de Janeiro where we’ll spend the night. 

Days 2-7:  As the Lodge is surrounded by forest, the flora and fauna in the gardens alone is quite spectacular and there will be plenty to look at and photograph from the very start. Radiating out from the Lodge are a number of trails within the grounds that offer a variety of walks and excellent opportunities to search for various species of birds. In the 50 acre grounds 170 species have so far been recorded, of which 60+ are Atlantic Rainforest endemics!  The grounds also have a number of bird tables, feeding stations and hummingbird feeders, which offer a chance to get nice and close to a number of species.  The list of birds you can expect to see within the lodge grounds is mouthwatering, and includes such treats as Suracua Trogon, Scaly-headed Parrot, Saw-billed Hermit, Sombre and Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds, Black Jacobin, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Spot-billed Toucanet, Channel-billed Toucan, Long-trained Nightjar, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Spot-backed and Giant Antshrikes, Brazilian, Burnished-buff, Flame-crested, Golden-chevroned, Orange-bellied and Chestnut-bellied Euphonias, Buff-throated Saltator and Black-throated Grosbeak to name a few!

Our time at the Lodge will be interspersed with a series of excursions away from the Lodge which will take us to a variety of habitats. We’ll spend one day at high altitude, walking a trail at approximately 1600m. Here we hope to see and photograph a myriad of species including Plumbeous Pigeon, Plovercrest, Pallid Spinetail, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant, Large-tailed and Rufous-capped Antshrikes, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Dusky-tailed and Rufous-tailed Antbirds, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Black-and-gold and Swallow-tailed Cotingas,  Blue-billed and Velvety Black-tyrants, Yellow-legged Thrush, White-browed Warbler, Green-headed, Ruby-crowned, Red-necked Tanagers, Azure-shouldered, Chestnut-headed, Diademed and Fawn-breasted Tanagers, Bay-chested Warbling-finch and Green-winged and Thick-billed Saltators. 

In contrast a morning visit to a nearby wetland will provide us with a mix of birds including Least Grebe, Brazilian Teal, Masked Duck, Grey-headed Kite, Crane Hawk, Limpkin, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Yellowish Pipit and Chestnut-capped Blackbird.  The lowland forest surrounding the wetland is home to a different set of birds including Reddish Hermit, White-chinned Sapphire, Rufous-capped Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-flanked, Unicolored and Rufous-winged Antwrens and Shrike-like Cotinga.  Elsewhere, a short 30 minute drive on the way towards Macae de Cima will take us up a forested track to view some excellent endemics. Birds we may see include Barred Forest-falcon, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Orange-eyed Thornbird, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Giant and Tufted Antshrikes, Rufous Gnateater, Black-and-gold Cotinga and Drab-breasted Pygmy-tyrant.  

Also very close to the Lodge is the superb Theodoro Trail.  Here, walking through both primary and secondary forest, we’ll hope to see and photograph a variety of birds including Mantled Hawk, Maroon-bellied and Plain Parakeets, Scale-throated Hermit, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated Trogons, Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-eared and White-browed Woodpeckers, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Black-capped and White-browed Foliage-gleaners, Lesser and Scaled Woodcreepers, Variable Antshrike, Star-throated Antwren, Such’s Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta, Bare-throated Bellbird, Pin-tailed Manakin, Grey-hooded Attila, Greenish Schiffornis and Brassy-breasted Tanager.

One of the most sought-after birds of southeast Brazil is the endemic Three-toed Jacamar and there will be one excursion to several sites where this bird is regularly found. Along the way we’ll pass through a variety of habitats and make many stops to look for other species. These may include Capped and Whistling Herons, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Plumbeous Kite, Savannah and White-tailed Hawks, Aplomado, Bat and Laughing Falcons, Red-legged Seriema, Toco Toucan and the striking Blue-winged Macaw.

Of course anyone wishing to opt out of any of the excursions can do so and remain at the Lodge to spend time at the feeders or wandering along the trails.

Day 8: Those staying on for the Pantanal Safari will depart in the morning. Those returning home will spend the morning with a local guide and later transfer to the airport for a flight back to London where the tour ends on Day 9.





Updated: 12 July 2017