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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Giant Armadillos, Anteaters and Burrowing Owls - Day 430

We’ve been in cities for quite a few days now, so decided to get out of the metropolis and visit Brasilia’s National Park where Giant Armadillos, Anteaters and Burrowing Owls can be found.

Created at the same time as the city in the early 1960s, the Parque Nacional de Brasilia is a protected area, a bit of urbanised nature 10km away from the city. We have had our fair share of city life recently so decided to get into nature and come here. We were excited to read that in the park there are giant anteaters, giant armadillos, wolves and many monkey, and if you are lucky, rare sightings of jaguar and puma. Fabulous.

Our Uber driver managed to drive us into the park and dropped us off near one of the two mineral swimming pools. We were definitely overdressed. The majority of people were in very scant bathing suits, they like to show their flesh here in Brazil. We hadn’t come swimming, we were getting another long bus ride in the evening and didn’t want wet stuff with us. It was the nature and wildlife we’d come to see.

We past the bronzed bodies and made our way to a looped walk through the forest. We suddenly heard a screeching sound of a bird and stopped to try and locate it, searching high into the canopy. We then realised that it was a man that was behind us with his wife and small son. Doh! He was wearing a top with the Union Jack flag on it but seems a bit confused when we pointed this out.

We did see a few birds, but they were too quick for us to get a good look at them and we didn’t have our friend Sue to track them. It was lovely being amongst the trees though.

There were a few paths, and we ventured down one that showed a sign that Giant Armadillos may be spotted. We quietly walked along the noisy gravel path, and then a family came along chatting and laughing. Well, that would undoubtedly scare any wildlife away, even with their leather armour. At the end of the path was a large lake with a few people swimming. I scouted around the edges, hoping to see an animal come for a drink. No such luck.

Our next venture was towards the 5km trail, and as we were taking some photos of a bird, a nice gentleman started chatting with us and said that these birds were like dogs. They can get quite aggressive. He said that we may also see the Burrowing Owls and they too can be quite hostile. He wished us a pleasant walk. What? With violent birds around us? Anyway, the birds were more interested in each other to be bothered with us. We later discovered that these were Chalk-browed Mockingbirds and I couldn’t find any warnings about these vicious birds!

We did later spot some Burrowing Owls, one on a log and another I just caught sight of protecting itself from the intense sun in a drainage hole. We also saw a strange large bird shading itself by a building which turned out to be a Southern Crested Caracara. I was more concerned that this was the bird to be wary of, not the Mockingbird or Owl. All good and Tim got some nice photos of it.

We got to the 5km walk, a long, narrow pathway amongst the Brazilian savanna known as ‘Cerrado’. The trail had no shade, and the sun was at its hottest. After a while, my head looked like a beetroot, so we thought it wise to turn back. No 5km for us – but we had walked quite a way already.

As we turned back, suddenly I heard a loud rustling sound in the bush. I nearly jumped in Tim’s arms. Was it a Giant Armadillo? Was it a Giant Anteater? Or even a wolf? We will never know. It was far too quick for us.

Alas, no sightings of any interesting mammals, not even any monkeys! They must all be on holiday.

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