Folks, we have a wonderful new guide we’d like you to meet. His name is Marcelo Padua and he’s from Belem — that big Brazilian city at the mouth of the Amazon River. Marcelo has been leading his own birding tours in Brazil for a few years now and has gained a remarkable knowledge of not only the amazing bird life of Brazil, but also of what it takes to be a superb tour guide.
I’ve known Marcelo since 2005, and last year he informally co-led parts of tours with me at Alta Floresta, Manaus, and Carajas. We had a great time on each of those trips and participants have had overwhelming praise for him. Marcelo loves guiding tours and it shows! Marcelo will join me for most of the Brazil tours I’ll lead in 2010 and 2011 (we just completed a great Northeast Brazil together; see the tour’s Birding Wrap-up); so you lucky folks already signed up for those trips are going to have two guides for the price of one! That’s “Beleza!” with two big thumbs up! Indeed, many of our Brazil tours fill quite early, often going to waitlists, and we don’t have enough staff to handle the flow. Marcelo will soon be guiding Field Guides tours on his own, and you’ll have even greater opportunity to see beautiful Brazil and all of its rare birds.
Marcelo is already first rate around his home in Cuiaba, both in the Pantanal and cerrados and also the complex rainforests of Alta Floresta, and he’s learning fast how to consistently show people the rarest endemics of the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil and the treasures of the northern and central Amazon. For the talented birder, the birds come with practice and patience. What doesn’t always come naturally are the people and logistical skills that make for an outstanding tour guide, but Marcelo comes with the complete skill set, everything you expect of one of our Field Guides guides. He went to high school in Middletown, Pennsylvania, speaks English fluently, and even taught English in Brazil for a couple of years.
We encourage you to come birding in Brazil and to meet Marcelo on his home turf, either with the two of us as guides or on one of his new tours starting in 2011. A sneak-peek into Marcelo’s future (details will be up on our website soon): a new, 12-day tour to the Pantanal and neighboring areas of Mato Grosso to maximize chances of spotting a Jaguar and the ultra-rare Cone-billed Tanager (on the books as Conothraupis mesoleuca). The tour will be scheduled for July/August of 2011 and the itinerary will be available in spring 2010. Check out Marcelo’s complete upcoming schedule of tours on his guide page.
Oh yes, and when you’re down there, ask Marcelo to tell you the full story of how he suddenly became a birder…and watch out when you see displaying manakins of any kind — he’s got a weakness (or is it a strength?) there!