We are at the end of our week together exploring the Upper Peruvian Amazon. When we go home, will we hear car alarms in parking lots? Or will we hear black-fronted nunbirds, which could easily be the sound that was copied? We have investigated the big and the small, from towering fig trees poking their leafy tops through the forest canopy, to frogs small enough to fit on your thumbnail. Our trio of hardworking, informative, and enthusiastic naturalists–Jorge, Javier, and Ricardo–brought everything we saw to life. We have them to thank for making sense of this massive and diverse batch of biology. During the week, we took piles of pictures. We won’t have Jorge in our living room to remind us that a certain photo features a long-billed woodcreeper, but we can now feed our images into the application called “SEEK.” This application will remind us not only of what we saw, but it will also tell us some of the most interesting facts about that organism. I’m thinking we’ll hear the text play in our minds in Jorge’s voice.
Today we explored Pahuachiro Creek before breakfast, looking for special sightings along the Maranon River. Pahuachiro Creek is a small body of water with beautiful forest on both sides. This area is home to creatures such as yellow-headed caracaras, black-collared hawks, large-billed terns, and some species of monkeys. In the morning after breakfast we explored Casual Rain Forest on the riverbank. As the name suggests, it is a rainforest! It is a vast green jungle with an interesting trail that leads through an amazing collection of giant trees and palms where many types of animals hang out. As we explored the forest, we had an encounter with the master of the jungle! We spotted a red-tailed boa slowly moving among the bushes. Its camouflage is impressive — without the expert eyes of the local guides we would have missed such an event. These forests are so full of life; besides the abundance of trees there are the many creatures here that we saw with our own eyes. On the ground there were snails and tarantulas, and the sounds of many insects that we cannot see due to their camouflage. The Upper Amazon is not only a vast green forest but also home to many human settlements divided into small communities close to the riverbanks. Today we visited Amazonas Community to learn about the local culture and way of life. It was very interesting and exciting to spend some time with the leaders of the community, hearing their stories about education, fishing, and agriculture. It was a very enriching experience for all the visitors. Over the years we have visited different settlements along the rivers of the Upper Amazon, and we have seen how their lives have improved in terms of education, empowerment, and production of fine handicrafts. Today we had an opportunity to buy some souvenirs produced by the women of the community. Their figures and weaving are amazing, very colorful and of good quality. All these items are made from natural palm fibers found in the surrounding forest. It was another amazing day in the heart of the rainforest!