Macaw Overload


Advertisement
Peru's flag
South America » Peru » Madre de Dios
April 22nd 2014
Published: June 25th 2017
Edit Blog Post

Geo: -13.1811, -69.5819

The power of good photography cannot be underestimated. Some time ago we had seen one photo of a flock of bright red macaws hanging off a cliff face and we had decided that this was something we needed to see live and in person if we were ever in the 'neighbourhood'. All it took was two flights, a bus ride, and a longboat trip down the Tambopata River, and, boom, before you knew it, we were in the neighbourhood. You might think that it was a bit of a chore lugging all of our gear via all of these different modes of transport, but LAN airlines lightened the load by sending my bag to Lima- 5 days in a hot, humid jungle environment with no change of clothes- a great way to get voted "least favourite travel companion" and relegated to sleeping with the jungle pigs. After some discussion 'we' decided that it really wasn't much of an issue because DH's bag showed up so all was right with the world.

Our first night was a pit stop along the river at a very nice jungle lodge- so nice that we couldn't help but think back to our first trip through the Amazon basin some twenty years ago when we had to chase our dinner (chicken) through the jungle foliage, and sleep on elevated bamboo platforms to avoid snakes (and does a hole in the ground qualify as a bathroom?). Multi-course meals and candle light with wine has certainly made life in the jungle a lot more civilized. In a not-so-civilized move, apparently our relationship has not progressed to the point where DH would share her toothbrush, so, without toiletries, I was forced to brush my teeth with a fuzzy insect on stick.

Next day, after an all day boat ride, we arrived at the Tambopata Research Station- not quite as nice the first lodge but, having been rebuilt just 5 years ago, still pretty nice for a bird research base. Hours in a boat that is effectively a big brother to a canoe, is never about comfort but the thong I borrowed out of DH's backpack was giving me a wedgie that might actually impact our ability to have the kids DH is planning on having eventually. But in a mystery that might rival the Bermuda Triangle, my bag somehow caught up with me deep in the Peruvian jungle?? It's taken me much longer to recover a bag that was lost in Toronto's airport! Couldn't explain it but given the thong debacle, it saved me from using palm leaves as the critical piece of a Tarzan-like ensemble.

Now it was time to get serious about bird watching- specifically macaws and parrots. The Research Center is one of the most remote rainforest lodges in South America, offering travelers like us a wonderful chance to engage with many of the other natural wonders of the Amazon, and at the same time, help protect the adjacent macaw clay lick. I didn't know clay licks were as common as they are, I didn't know that birds as well as animals made use of clay licks, and I didn't know that eating and licking clay was done for both the salt and the antacid effect of clay. We keep traveling like this and we'll be unbeatable at Trivial Pursuit. And just in case we weren't learning enough, one of our travel companions was finishing up his PhD in 'Butterflies' (actually I think it was slightly broader than that, but this guy had an unexplainable passion for butterflies- kind of like many Toronto Maple Leaf fans). Unfortunately his passion was somewhat contagious and, as a result, I now have far too many photos of butterflies to go with my hundreds of macaw pic's.

The salt lick wasn't quite what you see in the tourism brochures- I suspect that those photos were taken before the salt lick became overgrown, and probably by one of those BBC guys in a blind ten feet from the birds. We were hiding on the other side of the river, and even the rare times the skittish birds started munching on the clay, I was stressing my telephoto lens trying to get a good shot. Nonetheless our morning macaw vigils, and numerous muddy jungle walks made for a fabulous, if somewhat pampered, adventure. It's been a long time between jungle visits and after this one I'm not sure DH will sign up for anymore that require you to catch your own dinner.


Additional photos below
Photos: 137, Displayed: 25


Advertisement



25th July 2014

Hey Deb & Vic, how are your travels going? Where are you now? I don't see any pictures of Pumas or Bush Dogs lol. Don't forget to look us up next time you are in Oz. Safe travels.
25th July 2014

Thats a great picture! Worthy of framing and displaying :)
25th July 2014

where is everyone, what did you do Debs
25th July 2014

Thats exactly what I was thinking!! Everyone bailed!!
25th July 2014

The Croc looks happy about it! He's enjoying the simple things in life :D
25th July 2014

That's awesome! VIC, I hope you have a deal with National Geographic....because in my humble opinion, you could make a small fortune!!
25th July 2014

OK, That's scary and gross!
25th July 2014

Now you see, if you hadn't told me that those were bats, I would have guessed that they were Bullfrogs from first glance! Maybe that's why I just got stronger glasses!
25th July 2014

Holy sh*t! I would not be caught dead in a boat on that river or lake or whatever it is!! I choose to lose weight the traditional way!!
25th July 2014

He looks sad and lonely :( Maybe you should take him home and keep him as a pet!!
25th July 2014

Ya L O V E L Y !!! How fast would I be able to get the heck outta there!?!
25th July 2014

Now that's more my style!
25th July 2014

DH, I've got news for you.....If you fall into a lake or river full of man-eating fish, the life vest doesn't really matter!!!
25th July 2014

Does he still have the butterfly on the end of his nose? It's kinda hard to tell....
25th July 2014

Wouldn't be my big ass hand beside that puppy!
25th July 2014

Girl, you gotta eat more
26th July 2014

So happy to see that you've gotten your "mojo" back. Loved the blog and the photos (all of them). They are just amazing and fantastic! Thanks for taking us along on your adventure.
26th July 2014

Baaaahahaha! Twins!!
26th July 2014

A rare experience! Beautiful!
26th July 2014

Jungle Pig? Now I've heard everything :)
26th July 2014

Thats a really good shot!
29th July 2014

Nature wonders and critters captured in your pics. totally agree thumbs up to Macaw's not so much to spiders and Tarantulas.. or crocks.. big hug take care.. :)
29th July 2014

I so agree - I attend the National Geographic speaker series 4 times a year here in Toronto and Vic and Deb could easily go on the speaker's tour. And a fantastic book too. Oh wait, is that pressure. Okay, put that on the back burner for
now. Just enjoy and thanks for letting us travel with you!
29th July 2014

This is now officially on my 'no-fly' zone!
29th July 2014

Okay, I get it now - so worth the tarantula et al. Stunning photos. Must have been a spectacular experience!
29th July 2014

beautiful.. will be on mom's journal :)
29th July 2014

good shot!!
29th July 2014

Hey Deb & Vic,Spectacular birds I want them in my backyard too Haha!!Guys the views are amazing. Lovely photos I hope you are having a safe fun tripall the time. Take care
29th July 2014

ugh - not this again - where are the macaws!
29th July 2014

Nice!!
29th July 2014

Love it.. ( will go on mom's) journal :)
29th July 2014

hmm ..yeap.. had enough with my own 2 nests on my edges. . got stung few times. painful!!
1st August 2014

Absolutely stunning photos! But could you please warn us next time about the spiders! Yes I am a bit squeamish when it comes to them. Good thing I have great reflexes and I got by them fast!!
1st August 2014

Has everyone jumped overboard because of your lack of showering?
1st August 2014

Best I keep my thoughts to myself!!

Tot: 3.056s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 12; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0225s; 3; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb