High Altitude Excursion – Pico da Caledonia Grade C & D
For this excursion we take a short 20 minute drive from the lodge where we drive to an
altitude of approximately 1600m. We drive as far as we can until we leave the minibus for the remainder of the day and start our walk towards the summit at 2300m. Its more quality rather than quantity of species today with plenty of endemics to find! Our first high altitude birds should include Black and Gold Cotinga, Swallow-tailed Cotinga (absent during April – July) Plovercrest, Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Large-tailed Antshrike, Giant Antshrike, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Black-billed Scythebill, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Rufous-tailed Antbird and Olivaceous Elaenia.
As we continue to climb at a slow birding pace we will reach the first area where we hope to see the very localised and endemic Grey-winged Cotinga. This bird was only known to exist in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park until we found a population at Pico da Caledonia back in 2003. We will also start to look for Velvety Black-Tyrant, Thick-billed Saltator and Diademed Tanager. A little further up we will arrive at the security guards hut, sign in and continue our walk up to the start of 620 steps that will take us right to the top of the peak. Here we hope to see the Itatiaia Thistletail, again discovered by us and our good friends from Regua, Nicholas and Raquel Locke back in 2003.
For those that wish we can continue up for the spectacular view from the top, or turn around and head on down back to our transportation. Once back at the minibus we will take a short drive to another spot, where we will rest our legs (!) and do some birding from beside the minibus for an hour or so. Species we hope to see include Red-legged Seriema, Swallow-tailed Cotinga (absent during April – July), Azure-shouldered Tanager, Shear-tailed Gray-Tyrant, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Pallid Spinetail , White Woodpecker, Orange-eyed Thornbird and Glittering-bellied Emerald.
This is a full day excursion.