I knew André De Luca was the ornithologist responsible for the Thaimaçu bird list, and that this undertaking had demanded a lot of time and effort, so hiring him to guide me there seemed like a logical choice. It turned out not only to be logical, but the absolute best choice. He organized every single aspect of my trip from the moment I landed in Alta Floresta, and it all worked seamlessly.
André boasts incredible knowledge of the Thaimaçu geography and fauna. The weather was abnormally dry when we went, and spotting most birds wasn’t easy. Many kept to the canopy, and several were initially identified by sound. He never gave up, tracking the sound and the movements and pointing them out. Sometimes I was able to photograph them, sometimes I only saw them through my binoculars. Both modes were fine. We went out several times at night, too, visiting spots that André knows are good for owls and nightjars. The boat trips along the river, departing at dawn, were a highlight of this trip.
I’m a birder with a strong naturalist vein, and he certainly made the best of my limited time there. When silence descended on the forest and no movement could be seen, our attention turned to mammals, butterflies and moths, other insects, snakes, fantastic tarantulas, frogs – anything that walked, flew, crawled, or swam. This added to the Thaimaçu experience, because I was able to take in its rich, fantastic environment completely.
This was my first trip with André, and it will certainly not be the last one.