-By Agustin Esmoris, Argentina: Recently, I had the pleasure of spending almost two weeks shooting in the Paranaense Forest in the province of Misiones, Argentina. The climate in this area is warm and humid, with abundant rain throughout the year. These are mixed forests, dense and entangled, with both arboreal and herbaceous strata ranging from underbrush to the crowns of the tall emergent trees. These forests have abundant lianas and epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants), as well as many thickets of Bamboo. There are many characteristic tree species like the Guatambú (Balfourodendron), palms such as Pindó (Syagrus sp), and Palmetto trees (Euterpe sp.).
This is the Argentine region with the greatest number of endemic species, a true Eden for ornithologists and bird-watchers. Among the most characteristics are the Toucans, such as the Redbreasted Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus). Although I stayed in the middle of the Paranaense Forest, I had a fully-equipped place to lay my head. I could cook and rest during the hottest periods of the day when it is far too humid to be lugging around a 600mm lens, in addition to my other photography equipment.
Right next door was the caretaker of the area (Javier), whom stayed during the day only. Javier has been working and living in the area all of his life and has thus developed a special kind of sixth sense that allows him to see, hear and detect special marks on the ground and in the branches. This ability allows him to track animals like birds and mammals. He was certainly very helpful during the days I spent there, and he ended up being a great friend.
My favorite moment was, however, when I finally got the shots I dreamed of, including two species of hummingbirds that inhabit the jungle, the Black-breasted Plovercrest (Stephanoxis lalandi loddigesii) and the White-throated Hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis). I can’t wait to get back home to photograph some more species near my own home; below are a few species that await me!