Octavio Campos Salles

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Octavio Campos Salles last won the day on April 15 2014

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About Octavio Campos Salles

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    Wildlife Photographer/Artist
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    Safari Guide

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    Campinas, Brazil
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    Photography, birdwatching, surfing, diving
  1. Atravelynn, while most regular tours to Patagonia won't see a Puma, for this tour I helped create we managed to increase the chances greatly by having the best local guides, a small group slipt into 2 different areas (3 people in each - less scary to the cats), and everybody has a handheld radio, so any sighting is quickly reported. Also, there are some techniques to locate them that we have finessed with time. On my last trip there we saw a total of at least 8 different Pumas in 5 days. But I'd say the average is around a puma (or a group of pumas) per day.
  2. Atravelynn, yeah it's a completely different setting. It's even hard to imagine that the pumas in the Pantanal are actually the same species as the ones in Patagonia (though the ones down south are much larger). I go a lot to Barranco Alto too, one of my favorite places.
  3. Thank you very much kittykat! As for the penguins optional tour, no, it's not included on the tour price. We just added this option, I'm just trying to confirm the price for it with our operator there in Chile and will come back to you.
  4. Oh please that would be great, as I can't edit the original post anymore, the link to the correct PDF is http://www.octaviosalles.com.br/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Pumas-of-Torres-del-Paine.pdf and the date is March 15 to 22.
  5. I'm sorry, I have posted the date for this year, for next year the correct date is March 15 to 22, according to this PDF here. I will try to edit the original post and add the details for the optional penguin extension as well.
  6. 1) "Black" Jaguar 2) White-faced Saki Monkey 3) Colocolo "Pantanal form" 4) Bush Dog 5) Andean Bear 6) Bald Uakari
  7. The "Ghost Cats", as National Geographic titles a recent article about the Puma, one of the most widespread of all the cats, but also one of the most difficult to actually see in the wild. As this same article says later on: "These largely nocturnal cats are so secretive that camera traps are one of the best ways to illuminate their lives". This is about to change, though. I have scouted a place, the best local guides and a way to actually see and approach these gorgeous cats in plain daylight to get photos of a lifetime. If this wasn't enought, this new exclusive tour happens in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Torres del Paine N.P. and surrounding areas in Chilean Patagonia. Our itinerary, unique among all operators, is the first one designed with the main goal of producing great photographs of wild Pumas. This is probably the first ever photo tour for this elusive species, and the actual chances of finding them during the trip are very high. Our very small group will be guided by the absolute best Puma trackers in the region while we explore the amazing scenery of Torres del Paine in search of the ultimate Andean predator. - Only 6 photographers per tour. A small group guarantees quality and flexibility. - The best trackers in the region, with keen eyes for spotting Pumas and deep knowledge of their habits and how to find them. - Very high chances for great encounters. - Every guest, trackers and me will have a personal communication radio, so we have freedom to explore the area without risking missing anything, or to split the group in two to increase our chances. - Gorgeous hotel inside the park, minutes from the best Puma areas. - One morning also photographing beautiful horses running in a nearby estancia. - Non-photographers are also welcomed! Date: March 15 to 22nd of 2015. Fee: US$ 6,899 per person. To know more about this tour please visit my website at www.octaviosalles.com.br or go straight to this PDF for more details. Very limited spots, so if you want to photograph a wild Puma make sure to book early.
  8. There are many dirt roads in the park, and no matter where you go there's always an impressive view to admire. The large Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle inhabits this mountanious region. This Puma got a little too close. This was shot around 7 meters away, when we found she hidden in some bushes. Great Grebe calling The perfect landscape?
  9. Thank you for the comments. Atravelynn... no, I don't think I know Fred Tavares... is he a guide?
  10. With the right technique and patience we managed to get very close to them and they got used to us, leading to some incredible photography. Love and affection Ok, we get the message... this is your territory. Notice the blood on their nostrils, it's from a Guanaco they had killed the night before and were eating there. The scent of the Guanaco attracted an Andean Condor. This guy circled us several times at very close range. We could really see how massive these birds are: one of the largest wingspans on Earth - 3 meters from tip to tip!! We spent the entire day with these pumas - over 11 hours (very long days), it's just not the kind of action you leave behind. The weather changed several times, however the wind remained the same, blowing directly into our faces at gale force. The water of the nearby Lake Nordenskjold were being churned up in spirals hundreds of meters up. I made thousands os photos that day, this is but a small sample of them. To be continued...
  11. A female Cream-colored Woodpecker at the forest near Araras Lodge, in Northern Pantanal. I attracted her within photo distance. What's interesting about this species is that they are highly specialized in feeding on arboreal termite and ant nests.
  12. The first Puma we found, at the very end of the first day. He was very far away and with a big wetland in between us, so there was no way we could try to approach. Still, a very exciting sight! The weather in Patagonia truly is the stuff of legend. One moment it's sunny and mild, 30 minutes later it's windy and snowing! On this particular day it was so windy that we could hardly leave the car if it wasn't at a very well protected place. It was almost impossible to stand in the wind, it would literally take you off your feet. So this was a difficult day to find any animals, most everything was hiding. But the sunset was out of this world. These clouds, known as lenticular clouds, only form with super fast winds. A Guanaco close-up. An exquisite Silvery Grebe at the nest. A Gray Fox, a relatively common canid in the park. And then we found a family of Pumas, a mother and 2 cubs. We first located them from atop a high hill. What an elegant animal. Unbelievable. To be continued...
  13. Working as a wildlife photographer and guide has led me to many great experiences and findings. I was among the firsts to start guiding for jaguars in the Pantanal, then I found a great place for ocelots... but another great cat remained a mistery to me, the puma, also known as mountain lion or cougar in North America. This cat, recently described at a National Geographic article as the "phantom cat", is rarely seen by anyone, despite their huge range and variety of habitats where they occur. Up until this trip, I only had a couple pictures of pumas made with camera traps. I haven't even seen it live with my eyes. Last year I planned a scouting trip to find pumas in Torres del Paine National Park, southern Chile, and it was a great success. So, here's a quick report with some pics: Our amazing hotel inside the National Park, surrounded by beautiful huge mountains and minutes away from the best puma areas. The world famous Las Torres granite peaks at first light. This is the most impressive mountain I have ever seen. We had breakfast at the field overlooking this scenery unfold a different way each morning. As expected, the search for pumas wasn't easy and demanded patience and a lot of hours in the field. The terrain is vast and the "ghost cats" sure know how to hide. Not that searching in places like this is exactly boring though In the meantime we found some great birds to photograph, like this White-tufted Grebe. And the ever-present Guanacos, a relative of the camels. They represent the main prey of pumas in this part of the Andes. I will continue this report later today...

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