We - a birder friend and I - two ladies from India, had wonderful one week birding in Atlantic Forest, Brazil with Ricardo as our tour organizer and guide.
I contacted Ricardo through Birding Pal website. He responded promptly and in detail which made planning easy. We had complete clarity on schedule and logistics. Subsequently, Ricardo was very helpful with our visa process and in answering our questions to get ready for the trip.
If planning was great execution was excellent. Spotting and identifying birds by call is necessary but not sufficient to be an effective bird guide. That requires good tools, perseverance, information of spots where certain birds such as Araucaria tit-spinetail, Giant Snipe, streamer-tailed tyrant, green-crowned plovercrest to mention a few, can be found reliably, the knowledge of bird behaviour, and most importantly ability to give clear pointers so that guests can spot the bird quickly.
Coming from Old World we were unfamiliar with the bird families and species (there is only so much that one can study in advance) of the New World. This meant we needed more guidance which Ricardo quickly understood and acted upon. And though we are not photographers in real sense of the word, we did want to take pictures even if only for the memory. This made Ricardo’s task somewhat difficult but he was fully up to it.
We had requested paper copy of the bird list which Ricardo prepared in detail. End of the day review was done diligently using this list. This was very helpful not only as documentation but also enjoyable as we relived those exciting and at times frustrating moments of the day.
We also had great conversations with Ricardo about socio-political-economic aspects of Brazil and India. Ricardo had a wonderful surprise for us; for the only long drive he had prepared a playlist – a mix of Brazilian Samba and Indian Pop Music.
Our sincere thanks to Ricardo for making the week that we spent birding in Atlantic Forest very productive and thoroughly enjoyable.