July 28, 2013: Iguazu falls

Iguazu Falls

You can read all about Iguazu Falls in Wikipedia, but seeing it in person is absolutely stunning. Niagara has more water, but Iguazu is much wider. It just goes on and on. Our hotel is walking distance from the park entrance, and that’s what we did; once you get into the park, there’s a free bus that takes you to the falls trail. From there, you walk a total of about a mile on paved path with occasional steps, interrupted by about a thousand photo op sites, where you have to wait for the people in front of you to get through mugging for each other’s cameras so that you can do the same.

This is winter, and the dry season, so the flow of the falls is at its low end right now. All I can say is it’s hard to imagine it at its peak in that case. We passed on the opportunity to take a Zodiac boat trip up the river to the base of the falls. Temps were in the low 60s when we arrived, and it’s clear that you get totally soaked in one of those boats. We were content to walk up the trail; at its end it has an observation deck that comes right to the edge of the biggest fall, the Garganta do Diablo. We wore ponchos and still got pretty damp from the spray. There’s a nice restaurant at the top, where we had a buffet lunch before coming back.

At the restaurant, as at every stop along the way, tourists are assailed by coatimundis, who climb into the garbage cans and beg from the passers-by. Peggy and I watched one coati following a little girl, who must have looked to a coati like the kind of person who’ll drop food. She turned around and saw it and let out a shriek, but she was the only one scared. The coatis have seen it all.

While there wasn’t much birding to be done at the park, Peggy and Robin and I did get out by the pool this morning; the big find was a pair of toco toucans that flew into a big tree just as I walked outside.

Today’s list:

*Toco toucan 2
Red-Rumped cacique 10
Ruddy ground-dove
Plush-crested jay 5
Yellow-fronted woodpecker
Yellow-chevroned parrot 2
Great kiskadee 2
House wren
*Violaceous euphonia
*Green-headed Tanager 2
Sayaca tanager
Pale-breasted thrush
*Scaly-headed parrot 4

Park
*Eared dove
Black vulture 40
Turkey vulture
Neotropic cormorant

*As usual, lifers marked with the asterisk.

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