Exploring Nature: South America

The Iguazu Falls in Brazil is the largest waterfall system in the world. PHOTO BY DANIEL PEREZ SUTIL

Want to get away from frozen pipes, frostbite and frigid temperatures? Well, it’s summertime in South America and it’s especially nice in Ecuador this time of year.

While you’re there, you’ll see some of the most beautiful and unusual birds on the planet. Among the 1,600 bird species in this country, you should especially enjoy the long-wattled umbrellabird, black-crested tit-tyrant, violet-throated metaltail and orange-throated tanager.

Brazil is also a birders paradise, and in addition to avian wonders such as the hyacinth macaw, you can visit awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls, one of the most spectacular cascades in the world. It makes Niagara Falls look puny in comparison.

I would rate Iguazu and Victoria Falls in Africa as my two favorite waterfalls of all time. There’s something about tons and tons of thundering, plummeting water that thrills me to the core.

The Pantanal region of Brazil is especially rich in wildlife. I spent some memorable hours floating in a homemade canoe with a local guide, seeing not only the herons, kingfishers, ibises and sunbitterns.

If you go, try not to get soaked by the spray from the waterfalls. Although, as I recall, it felt pretty good on a hot day.

San Marcos Daily Record

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