Casual and Yanayacu

Nov 05, 2018 - Delfin II

Today we had our first full day exploring the Peruvian Amazon. We started pretty early in order to take advantage of the best time of the day to look for wildlife and boarded our skiffs shortly after sunrise. We explored a small tributary of the Marañón River known as Pahuachiro and right there at the very beginning found an adult female brown-throated three-toed sloth. Our first sloth of the trip wasn't very active this morning, but thrilled us and was a good omen for many great sightings to come. In fact, we saw a lot of different bird species, including the largest kingfisher and the largest heron in the Amazon, the ringed and the cocoi, respectively. Another one of the five different kingfisher species present here regaled us with a wonderful moment as a male green kingfisher posed for our cameras at close range. Silver-beaked masked crimson and blue-gray tanagers, red-capped cardinals and scarlet-crowned barbets all seemed to compete with each other to see which species had the prettiest colors. All the while, a solitary capped heron watched from a distance. What a wonderful start!

After breakfast, we tried our boots on and went ashore at Casual to hike a trail that the local people have been maintaining and protecting. Located on the northern shore of the Marañón River, opposite to the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve, Casual is a wonderful place of slightly elevated land that never gets flooded during the high water season. It was a great introduction to the tropical rainforest and a few men from the village nearby helped us finding some creatures. That way we had the amazing opportunity to meet some truly fantastic animals up-close and personal.  We saw several poison-arrow frogs, a much larger arboreal monkey frog which was a most spectacular subject (made us photographers drool with excitement!), and a 9 ft long green anaconda and a smaller red-tailed boa reminded us of tall tales from early explorers about huge snakes. Of course, no early explorer's account from centuries past was complete without a tarantula and we were no exception; many of us had the pleasure to admire and photograph an impressive-looking and attractive red-knee tarantula that even took a stroll on a few guests' arms.

During the afternoon we boarded our skiffs again to explore the Yanayacu River area, located a few miles upriver. There we saw an Amazonian icon, the pink river dolphin, while long-nosed bats hanging from tree trunks over the water made us wonder about such an interesting - and diverse - group of mammals. Many different kinds of parrots, herons, egrets, raptors, and others kept us busy before the lack of light made us go back to our floating home Delfín II, putting an end to a great day exploring the Peruvian Amazon.

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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