Macaw Clay Licks

Published: June 5th 2014
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At the crack of dawn we hopped in the boat and headed for the Macaw Clay Lick. On most clear mornings of the year dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters from the cliff, we observed Green-winged, Scarlet and Blue-and-gold Macaws and several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Since it was just Phil and myself, Fernando had arranged for us to sit with the researchers, not with the others from the lodge.

Then we headed back for breakfast. After breakfast we headed for the Floodplain Trail. This five kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds. Fernando continued to amaze us with his ability to identify birds we would have missed seeing.

After the hike we had lunch and a welcome nap time.

Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sunbittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond their home.

Dinner and then a night walk to seek out more spiders and frogs. After our walk one of the guys doing the research on the macaw gave an informational slideshow.

The next morning we headed back to the clay lick. This morning it was very foggy. Little did we know yesterday was a really special day, we had seen all kinds of Macaws and Parrots. Today no birds came to the clay lick. When we got back to the lodge we talked to the young researchers who hadn't gone to observe...they knew the birds would not come to the site.

Additional photos below
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