Yanallpa Caño & Rio Dorado
Rain. It is an essential factor in our trip. First of all, it cannot be a rain forest without it. It affects the forest and the soil due to the amount of rain and the nutrients that the rain leaches away. The rain in the Andes is currently affecting us as the rivers are rapidly rising, allowing us to explore new and exciting areas. And of course, it affects our daily activities and what we see. Today, we had two excursions with no rain and incredible wildlife, and one with constant rain and limited sightings.
For our pre-breakfast excursion, the threatening rain held off and activity was high. An area of Mauritia palms was our first destination as this was an area where we hoped to find macaws. First, Red-bellied Macaws flew over but then we found our target, the Blue-and Yellow. One of the iconic birds of the Amazon, these noisy birds were socializing and one even disappeared in a tree stump, perhaps nesting. From there, we went for a short walk to search for the tiniest monkey, the Pygmy Marmoset. One animal played hide and seek with us, before finally pausing for wonderful views. And yes, it is tiny! Bird life was also abundant with many new sightings for the group.
After breakfast the skies began to darken, and as we entered Yanallpa Caño the rain began. Other than some night monkeys, sightings were fairly limited. A few Black-collared Hawks, kingfishers, and flycatchers were active, but the intensity of the rain made it difficult to observe much. However, for many of us, it was wonderful to be experiencing this rain. Being warm, it was quite pleasant, and the noise as we drifted quietly was astonishing.
Late in the afternoon, the skies cleared and we went out in the skiffs again to visit the River Dorado. The weather was absolutely perfect for wildlife. Every group saw multiple sloths, many quite active after being so wet. Birds were everywhere, both big and small, high and low. And of course, the monkeys. Multiple species were spotted including some Saddleback Tamarins carrying tiny babies on their backs. Squirrel monkeys were exceptionally active after being wet for so long. One group was actively plucking berries from the riverside vegetation, allowing for close up viewing and photography.
A stunning sunset signaled time to change gears, and we began to search for night creatures. Our main goal, caimans, probably didn’t care too much whether it was raining or not. But we certainly enjoyed seeing them with the perfect afternoon weather that we had to end our day.