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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 66

remarkable a sound as any animal sound to which I have listened, except only the batrachian-like wailing of the tree hyrax in East Africa; and like the East African mammal this South American insect has a voice, or rather utters a sound which, so far as it resembles any other animal sound, at the beginning remotely suggests batrachian affinities. The locomotive-whistle part of the utterance, however, resembles nothing so much as a small steam siren; when first heard it seems impossible that it can be produced by an insect.
  On December 17 Colonel Rondon and several members of our party started on a shallow river steamer for the ranch of Senhor de Barros, “Las Palmeiras,” on the Rio Taquary. We went down the Paraguay for a few miles, and then up the Taquary. It was a beautiful trip. The shallow river—we were aground several times—wound through a vast, marshy plain, with occasional spots of higher land on which trees grew. There were many water-birds. Darters swarmed. But the conspicuous and attractive bird was the stately jabiru stork. Flocks of these storks whitened the marshes and lined the river banks. They were not shy, for such big birds; before flying they had to run a few paces and then launch themselves on the air. Once, at noon, a couple soared round overhead in wide rings, rising higher and higher. On another occasion, late in the day, a flock passed by, gleaming white with black points in the long afternoon lights, and with them were spoonbills, showing rosy amid their snowy companions. Caymans, always called jacarés, swarmed; and we killed scores of the noxious creatures. They were singularly indifferent