Customer Testimonials

Ph.D. R. J. Gutiérrez

Professor and Gordon Gullion Endowed Chair Emeritus University of Minnesota - Roundhouse Rd. McKinleyville, CA - USA.
"What I especially liked about Oscar was his judicious use of tape playback. He only used a tape when it was clear that we might not be able to see a particular species; this approach minimizes disturbance of species."

This brief summary of our recent birding trip with Oscar Rodriguez is a testament to the quality of the birding trip Oscar arranged for us in July 2018. We recommend Oscar without reservation (see specific comments below).

In June and July of 2018, my wife and I hired Oscar to guide us and our Argentine friend, Marcelo Gavenski, on a short, week-long, birding trip to Paraguay. Our top priority was to visit Mbaracayú Forest Reserve in northern Paraguay.  Oscar met us in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina and I was immediately comforted by the sight of his comfortable but rugged 4x4 vehicle.  Having been stranded or stuck a few times on birding trips because of poorly maintained vehicles, his vehicle was a welcome site.  Oscar was keen to begin birding that evening so we went out owling in nearby Parque National Iguazú, which is always a good sign that a guide is enthusiastic.  The following day we took a ferry over to Paraguay and then drove to Mbaracyú Forest Reserve.  Throughout the week-long trip, Oscar knew great places to eat and bird in order to break up our rather long drives. In addition, Oscar had his hand-held GPS unit loaded with locations of special birds he had seen so that we could stop at exact places to check their presence.  

Mbaracayú is one of the largest remaining Atlantic Rainforest areas in Paraguay.  When I was on the Board of Governors of The Nature Conservancy (a land conservation group in the USA), we provided financial support to this newly established reserve. Hence, visiting Mbaracayú was a primary reason for visiting this area besides the birding, and we were not disappointed and neither will you be if you visit Mbaracayú. Once at Mbaracayú it was immediately clear to me that the staff knew and liked Oscar because there were many greetings and discussions between him and all levels of the staff. The accommodations at Mbaracayú are clean and comfortable – the food is very good and provides a sampling of the cuisine of Paraguay.  The staff is really delightful and helpful.

Oscar has a keen ear and knows his bird vocalizations so we were able to see many species of interest.  This reserve also has smaller areas of Cerrado ecosystem that have a unique assemblage of flora and birds, many of which we were able to see owing to Oscar’s knowledge and sharp eyes.  He knew the local trails, the different areas of the reserve, and the key species we should be targeting on each trail.  What I especially liked about Oscar was his judicious use of tape playback.  He only used a tape when it was clear that we might not be able to see a particular species; this approach minimizes disturbance of species.

A trip bonus for us was that Oscar has a great deal of knowledge about the history of Paraguay and its indigenous peoples.  Thus, our drives were also educational experiences that made them pass much quicker.

From Mbaracayú we drove to an area near Santa Rosa del Aguaray for an afternoon of chasing more Cerrado habitat specialists, which required a trip down a maze of farm roads to his spot for Cock-tailed Tyrant.  We returned to Asunción the next day, stopping at a large wetland that had many marsh birds even though we experienced an unfortunate cold front that limited bird activity.  Despite the cold, rain, and wind this area was enticing enough to want to come back!

Oscar is a safe and courteous driver and an amiable companion, which made the drives and trip relaxing and worry free.  My only regret is that Oscar did not stop to buy warm, fresh “chipas” on the first day rather than the last day of the trip – then again, I might have gained an extra kilo or two! Chipas are one of Paraguay’s “comfort foods” and they sure do fit that label!  

So we all thank you, Oscar for a wonderful trip, excellent birding, safe driving, and great companionship!  We will recommend you as a bird guide to all of our friends. We look forward to returning someday to venture further into the Chaco!

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