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Published: January 11th 2009
We got up early this morning to try and see the famous clay lick that the TRC is known for. It then began pouring rain. After getting up at 345 to see them, we watched the clay until the boat came back instead of the birds. That was the only rain we suffered, for which we´re really lucky during rainy season! On the walk to the clay lick, we saw a tarantula which we later visted twice more. Very scary looking. We also scared and smelled an armadillo, without actually seeing it.
Clay lick- http://peru-travel.com/Hotels/trc_lodge_tambopata/Tambopata_Research_Center10.jpg
That afternoon we took a hike, starting to use the cumbersome tall rubber boots provided by the lodge. We got to see a very rare mammal, the black tayra, which looks kind of like a river otter. We also got to see a new type of monkey, the spider monkey. The spider monkeys are the biggest and were very active, scaring off quickly.
Black tayra- http://www.pesc.org.br/assist/imagens/animais/cod51.jpg
Spìder monkey- http://w4.nkcsd.k12.mo.us/~kcofer/spidermonkey.jpg and http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/www/schoolhouse/rainforest_library/animal_images/spider_monkey2.jpg
We also saw many defensive tree strategies. We didn´t catch the names of most of the trees, but several had pointy spikes to defend from predators, and one even strangled other trees, sending roots down to surround other trees and slowly cut them off to decompose and feed the tree itself!
Strangle tree- http://lh5.ggpht.com/_RYEtZ0IV1fE/R4E6DYh6DII/AAAAAAAAAes/Am_xXisfZOM/Peru+Part+1+355.jpg
We took a trip to the clay lick in the afternoon and an island nearby, seeing a neat little pond with lots of diversity. There were lots of big macaws on the clay lick that late and they were beautiful when flying, very bright, but surprisingly camouflaged in the trees.
Up close of clay lick- http://www.nscspro.com/Norton/PeruWebPics/DS050427141350-after.jpg
The pond was really neat and we met my favorite bird, the hoatzin., also known as the stinky bird, as well as the razor billed curassow. The hoatzin was thought to be prehistoric because it has claws on its wings as a baby. If a predator comes, it jumps into the water and then uses its claws to hook back into the nest. As an adult, it has a stinky musk to spray on predators, hence the name. Very neat. We also spotted another species of caiman, the smooth fronted, and I saw an electric eel come to the surface of the water. Apparently they come up to switch air every 10 minutes or so. Scary!
Smooth fronted caiman- http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/nimages/crocplan/025.jpg
Razor billed curassow- http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=16334
We awoke very early to try the clay lick again, seeing a ton of new bird species. My favorites were the blue headed parrots and the Tyler´s favorites were the blue and yellow macaws. We were definitely done with bird watching at this point though! The Green Kingfisher was neat as well.
Blue and yellow macaws- http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/1052/959902.JPG
Blue headed parrot- http://www.tropicalbirding.com/tripReports/TR_EEcuador_Nov07/blue-headed_parrots.jpg
Scarlet macaws- http://i.pbase.com/u17/r53lanc/upload/19378619.BP5_new2.jpg
This morning at breakfast the Chicos swooped in to steal food, which was very amusing. These are half tame birds that visit the lodge after being hand raised by researchers. There is a good article outlining the research that is easy to read here- http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20070321/Feature1.asp
While getting ready for another hike, we got to watch a new species of monkey outside the window - the dusky titi monkey. Apparently they are around the lodge a lot, and we saw one the next day for a while eating outside the dining room.
Dusky titi monkey- http://www.northrup.org/photos/crap/Animals/low/monkey-tree-1.jpg
During our most exciting, 3 hour, hike through the palm swamp we saw a ton of animals. First were the pale winged trumpeters, birds on the ground that we ran into several times. They stay afoot during the day and jump from branch to branch at night to sleep.
Pale winged trumpeters- http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/Pale-wingedTrumpeter(JD).jpg
We then saw the amazing hordes of white lipped peccaries, wild pigs, that were all over the swamp. We saw one group and then later saw another while hiding, where over a hundred of them tramped by and we wached from about two feet away. The noise they make is fearsome, a clacking of their huge mandibles, and apparently they eat everything. We saw a ton of babies and all sized piggies. I started to get nervous after a while, but they ran off in a huff any time they spotted us. I got a great video of one staring me down.
White lipped peccary- http://s190.photobucket.com/albums/z257/americanwildlife/Mammal/W-whitelippedpeccary.jpg
We saw two new species of monkey as well, both playing wildly above our heads. My neck hurt from watching after! The Brown Capuchin, often seen in movies, and the Squirrel Monkey.
Brown Capuchin- http://www.sandwichbirdtours.co.uk/images/monkeylrg.jpg
Squirrel Monkey- http://azldc.com/?q=system/files/images/Squirrel-Monkey.jpg
In total exhaustion from all the sights, we took a later hike trudging our feet but getting excited at the end when we saw the rare tamandua, a tree dwelling anteater. It sat and stared at us for quite some time! We also saw two types of woodpeckers and an agami heron which was very blue and pretty.
Agami heron- http://farm1.static.flickr.com/112/258838699_7bed0e02e9.jpg
Two lizards we saw were the Tegu and an unidentified lizard that puffed its throat out like a frog.
Puffer lizard- http://lh6.ggpht.com/_VOg38tnsesU/R2FmCrGC_AI/AAAAAAAAC94/YksOKYz8boo/P1050606.JPG
That night at dinner, we were a little sad, because another group got to see a jaguar sunning on the banks. The guide hadn´t seen one in two years giving several hikes daily to give you an idea of the odds. But, we enjoyed seeing the animals we did for longer periods of time and interacting with each other. Some people on the boat didn´t even see it, it disappeared so fast! That would have been a lot worse to be that close and not see it when others next to you had. Still, very cool to hear about.
After dinner we took a fun activity doing a night hike to see frogs. This was the only time that Tyler and I spotted things our guide didn´t! We saw several Monkey Frogs which were very bright and poisonous on their backs. We also saw two different colored crested toads, which blend in incredibly well with the rocks and leaves.
Monkey Frog- http://www.mongabay.com/images/peru/tambopata/Tambopata_1026_3848a.jpg
Crested Toad- http://www.birdspiders.com/gallery/photos/med_01AF2073G3048G23A9G27D5DFF53B3F710C.jpg
Aside from frogs, we saw a white puff bird and a green mannequin bird in its nest.
This day we traveled back to Refugio Amazons, where we visited an oxbow lake. Later on in another spot we fished for piranhas, yikes, and Tyler caught two. I caught one but barely got it out of the water. Our guide showed how it bit down on leaves, very scary. We also saw more of the same monkeys and hoatzin birds.
We also met another group from Iowa, one of whom was even named Tyler. Funny coincidence! We were very sad to leave our trip and thoroughly enjoyed the jungle even if all our clothes smell funny and our feet hurt from wet boots.
We saw several lizards and butterflys throughout the time that I think are pretty enough to share. A ton of flowers and fungus were awesome too, but I don´t know any names and can´t really search for ¨cool Peru fungus¨so you´ll have to wait!
Amazon race runner- http://travel.mongabay.com/pix/peru/tambopata-Tambopata_1029_4906.html
Butterflies we saw¨-
One of the few bugs I liked, the mighty leafcutter ant-
SO AWESOME! I already want to come back and visit other regions of the rainforest here. Our guide was awesome too, always spotting things we couldn´t see for another five minutes.
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