Flor de Costaña and Supay Creek

Jan 06, 2020 - Delfin II


We were up and out bright and early this morning as we took the skiffs to explore Flor de Costaña. We could tell it was going to be a beautiful day, as warm pink skies began to give way to a clear-skied morning. Almost before we had time to sit down in the skiffs, we spotted Amazon pink dolphins up ahead. As we watched them, several gray dolphins surfaced in the same spot. Dolphins are attracted to the mouth of the Flor de Costaña tributary because as it enters the Ucayali River, it becomes a concentration point for fish. The dolphins porpoised and swam about in all directions chasing after their breakfast.

We hadn’t spent long in the Flor de Costaña when a fisherman approached us in his canoe with his catch. Denis told us about the fish and then demonstrated the spearfishing technique by aiming and throwing the spear with a quick and mighty throw. A beautiful great snowy egret stood in the grasses watching all this go down, until it decided to start eyeing some spearfishing of its own. It had tilted its head to the side to start sizing up some prey as a pair of short-tailed parakeets caught our attention.

Our morning continued with sightings of all sorts of birds, including neotropical cormorants, black-collared hawks, tropical kingbirds and even a wattled jacana guarding her eggs atop a floating nest. They were just a smattering of the 20 or so bird species we saw that morning. The highlight of the morning, though, was a truly rare sight.

After breakfast, we took to the skiffs again in search of the world’s smallest monkey, a fist-sized creature called the pygmy marmoset. There are only a few places in the world where this monkey can be found, and as always with wildlife, there was no guarantee that we would find one. But, our guides knew of a spot where they’d been seen in the past. We motored up to a dense cluster of trees. Tangles of vegetation blocked our view everywhere and created a confusion of light, but before we knew it, the eagle eyes of our guides spotted a tiny form moving deep within the tree trunks — a pygmy marmoset! We spent a good deal of time maneuvering our boats into position to get catch a glimpse and maybe a photo or two. What a lucky experience to spot this tiny and rare primate.

This was just the first half of our first day!

Our afternoon was full of beautiful light and abundant wildlife as we explored Supay Creek. We watched a bunch of yellow-rumped caciques call and shake their tail feathers amongst the hanging nests of their colony. They have an amazing repertoire of calls and are capable of imitating all sorts of other creatures and sounds. A beautiful great black hawk caught our attention, having itself caught something from within the forest. It struggled to fly off with its prey and instead emerged from the trees to perch on a liana (what we often mistakenly think is called a vine). The light was super dramatic, and the hawk posed as a striking figure.

The end of our trip saw us passing through a very narrow part of the creek where we encountered a very confident white-eared jacamar. It perched on a liana even as our boats passed directly beneath it, almost within touching distance. The jacamar suddenly flew and caught an insect straight out of mid-air before landing back on a nearby liana. A cluster of parakeets watched from the other side of us. Not a bad start to our Amazon adventure.

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About the Author

Morgan Heim

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Wildlife photojournalist and filmmaker Morgan (Mo) Heim raises a camera for one purpose – to capture moments in an animal’s life that will make us consider what that life means. Inevitably, those stories involve people as much as wildlife.

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