Wow! What a day to begin our trip here in the Amazon basin of Peru. A beautiful forest walk filled with cool critters in the morning, with two amazing skiff rides to begin and end the day. Our first day had a bit of it all. Monkeys, people, birds, flowers, rain, dolphins, and a rainbow. For this last day of the year, it was one to remember.
Before breakfast, we explored a narrow blackwater streams in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Birdlife was abundant with such gems as Cream-colored Woodpecker, Plum-throated Cotinga, and Black-throated Mango. A couple of sloths were spotted in different poses, but then some eagle eyes spotted our first monkey, a big bushy Monk Saki. For a while it sat and stared at us, but then it ran around the branches a bit, showing off its super fuzzy tail. Later, some movement distracted us, and a very weird creature was seen, a Southern Tamandua. This type of anteater has a long snout and tail, and was walking amongst the branches. All of this before breakfast and more!
Our naturalists led our walk in the rain forest with help from some local guides. They combined to teach us about many of the plants, and their important uses. The local guides would also disappear into the forest, and reappear with something to share. Many lizards and frogs were found, and we were amazed by their diversity. As we returned to the river and some handicrafts, the sky opened up and we experienced our first downpour in the rain forest.
For the afternoon, both pink and gray river dolphins welcomed us to the blackwater river of Yanayacu. Here, we again set out in the skiffs and were quickly overwhelmed by the abundant wildlife. A bird called a Great Potoo was spotted. With amazing camouflage, it looked just like a dead stick. More sloths were seen, as well as monkeys. The blackwater was like a mirror, making for incredible reflections. The peace and quiet was only broken by birdsong. A colony of Yellow-rumped Caciques were building their nests and the males were singing with their best mimicry. A nearly full rainbow formed and a stunning sunset led us back to the Delfin II and our evenings festivities. We rang in the New Year with the wonderful music of the talented “teenagers band.”
Our first day of the trip and last day of the year has set the bar really high for this week!