From the Delfin II in the Amazon
Nov 26, 2012 - Delfin II
Casual & Pucate-Yanayacu River
Early morning skiff rides are part of our tradition on board Delfin II; it’s when we find most of our birds; our minds and bodies are fresh to absorb the immense amount of information about this rain forest, the planet’s largest and richest one.
Along the river edge we learn to recognize Cecropias, one of the most common trees on disturbed areas. A Cecropia has large five-lobed leaves, greyish stems, and absence of epiphytes. This is a favorite of sloths, and indeed, that’s where we find our first one. With slow metabolism and a diet of leaves only, sloths are very successful creatures of the rain forest. They constitute two-thirds of all canopy animal biomass.
As we sail we discover red beautiful blossoms hanging from something like banana trees. Related to the banana, these are Heliconias, their flowers’ shape gave rise to their popular name—crab-claws.
There is a tree in the distance, and we notice it is crowded with colorful birds vying for its fruits for breakfast. We see two species of Toucans who want it all for themselves. But Black-tailed Trogons and Green-backed Trogons manage to get their share as well. An amazingly beautiful plum-throated Coting lands briefly. We don’t need to get farther; many birds have decided to pay us a visit; well, to pay a visit to the same tree!
After breakfast we walk on “Casual,” a forest off the flood plain, nearly intact and rich in wildlife, from frogs to constrictor snakes.
In the afternoon we explore two rivers that go deep into the reserve, the Pucate-Yanayacu, to end up in an oxbow lake.
Sunsets in the Amazon tend to be redder than anywhere else I have been. So red is the sky, dolphins are pink and pass by, and our hearts fulfilled.