Another Day in the Forest Primeval

I have included some photos here that were taken by my friend and are copyrighted by Darvinia Amazonia Reserve.  These may not be copied and used without the expressed permission of the photographer.

Viernes 30Apr10

It rained hard last night.  All of the bird calls stopped, but the insect undertone continued.

Off to a late start again as Mary dealt with finances for The Director’s House. Also, we’ve run out of condensed milk for our coffee and Jhonatan was instructed to purchase more.  An additional verdura for breakfast – the nut from one of the palms, like a dry potato, but with a metallic aftertaste.

The Roof

Ramon’s roof was quickly deteriorating.  I asked the guys, waiting for us in the cuchina, who would do the repair.  Jose said that Ramon would have many men help him, and that he is a hard taskmaster.  (Ok, not in so many words in Spanish, but with hand signals to emphasize.)


Jim said that yesterday at the worksite dozens of dragonflies descended on the swarms of mosquitoes, a stunning sight of them skipping through the construction.  What gorgeous predators.

Seven Storks Asitting

We boated out first to see a tree crowned with seven wood storks, black heads and black edges to their wings, their backs snowy white.  They watched us, then took flight.  Oh, what beautiful wings! 

Wood Stork – The smaller and commoner relative of the Jabiru. With a wing span of over two meters,  it is a danger to aircraft, as it sometimes soars in flocks to heights of 1000 m or more.  Birds of Peru by Clive Byers

Two macaws flew by.  Then we stopped at the marmoset tree.  The sap holes could be seen, but not the tiny creatures.  A dead branch in front of us blossomed with cream-colored mushrooms, each petalled as a flower.

Our friends the blue-black Greater Ani.

At first glance appears to be a rather large and ungainly black bird with a long tail, but in bright conditions can be seen to be beautifully iridescent, showing blue and green reflections off its upperparts and purple and violet reflections off the tail.

Bird song all around us.  The curve of a large high branch, hit by sunlight, appeared to be an anteater, dead leaves pretended to be birds, but the flies buzzing around us were real.

All of this chatter, churchurchurchurchur, mira mira, gurgling, gargling, low whistles, cheeping, squawk squawk squawk,  chirp chirp chirp, rat-a-tat-tat, bhirrup, birrah birrah, loud, soft, high, low, and insect scratch and buzz, yet that was all background for the quiet, the lack of man-made sounds.  The occasional dip of a paddle was so peaceful.

There wasn’t a breeze In this land of trees As we drifted, photograph-driven.

With birds in flight And a blog to write, Bird cries, but the animals hidden.

(Apologies to Robert Service)

A nunbird sat long enough for me to focus.  (Mary photographed two.)  A water bug skittered across the surface.  The yellow-and-black thick-billed Euphonias fluttered through the undergrowth.

Oops – my second pen died; I’m not in the habit of purchasing pencils or pens ‘cause I have so many used ones.  I borrowed Jim’s spare; let’s see if I can remember the trek.  ABD  A – apology (above).  B – four butterflies, black and yellow, on one red flower.  D – Drops of water fell from a branch and hit the river in a shatter of diamonds.

WIT W – The bushes of white flowers are not buzzing today; yesterday was the only day that they had.    I – An iguana on a log, nothing moving but its orange eyes.  Red head, green body, each scale outlined. T – Two masked crimson tanagers.


A long trek, really bushwhacking, Jose in front with his machete cutting a trail.  I used my fan constantly to attempt to evaporate my own personal weather.  Arturo was wearing a nondescript shirt, his red shorts, and shower sandals! Mary and I were totally covered but for our necks, faces, and hands, and Mary pulled her sleeves down over her hands.  I had on 40% Deet yet mosquitoes continued to bite my left hand (the one not fanning).  Three bit me but I managed to smack the rest.  Dead mosquitoes and blood spotted my fan.

Leaf-cutter Ants

Three times we passed leaf-cutter ants, their trails worn through the leaves, four inches wide!  The leaf-cuttings bright green, contrasting to the ground.

A brown spider, the Neotropical Cononial Spider?  Not many of them; their webs catch more dead leaves than insects.  But too many mosquitoes for the number of victims around!  Where are the lizards (we saw only one) and dragonflies when we need them?

Another Day in the Forest Primeval

After a while we approach a “clearing” in which the bushes are only seven foot tall!  Two handsome Northern Amazon Red Squirrels.

When Mary stepped over a dead log her left leg dropped into a hole up to her knee.  Animal hole, sans animal.  Hopefully sans chiggers and such too as she had to remove mud from inside her boot with her hand.

We slogged through many pools of water. There were no rocks and pebbles there, just yellowish mud and decomposing trees, which didn’t seem to mix with the clay, just creating another stratum, and layers of leaves.  We seemed to be trudging quite a distance into the selva (jungle), but ahead was another clearing.  Yes!  (Clench fist and jab down with elbow for yes.)  It was a Starbucks complete with air conditioning, today’s NY Times, and iced lattes!  Our guides grinned from ear to ear but Mary and I were dismayed because we had no money with us.  Who’d think that we’d need cash on a jungle trek?  (Ok, my imagination was overactive.)

For all of the tramping we saw few birds or animals, only the squirrels, a few monkeys, and birds on which I was unable to focus the binoc’s.  Three armadillo holes, gigantic, usually under downed tree trunks, but no armadillos.  Lots of fungi, mostly white, some brown.  Fingernail clippings, parasols, straight pins with plastic ball heads.  The single miniscule yellow flower, no leaves, all by itself.  The single, miniscule lavender flower, no leaves, all by itself.

Glad to be “home” for a shower.

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One Response to “Another Day in the Forest Primeval”

  1. Jim Says:

    Ramon Cumpanam, the village shaman, and his family are planning to do extensive renovations on this lodge next year. They are delighted that it has provided them will a small yearly income.

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