While the diversity of birds we found today in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve numbered nearly 50, they were not the only highlight. We covered the reptiles with our spotting of a rosy-tailed boa wrapped up high on a tree limb. Mammal sightings were incredibly diverse, from pink and gray river dolphins to squirrel and red-bellied titi monkeys, a couple of brown-throated three-toed sloths, and a line of seven long-nosed bats doing their best impression of tree bark. Whew! A lovely, exhausting day of sightings as we explore the Upper Peruvian Amazon.
During the early morning hours, we could hear rain pounding on our boat. Happily, the rain slowed to a drizzle as dawn approached. We slipped into ponchos as we boarded the skiffs and motored off in search of whatever Mother Nature had to offer. We observed dozens of great egrets fishing along the muddy banks at the mouth of Clavero Lake. By the high water marks on the reeds and bushes, we could see that the lake level recently dropped by at least four feet. We found and photographed at least a dozen species of birds during our hour in the skiffs before breakfast. In addition, we saw a troop of squirrel monkeys and both gray and pink dolphins. In the afternoon, we explored Supay Creek and followed a narrow waterway into a peaceful oxbow lake. Some of the many bird species we identified included two bright turquoise cotingas, short-tailed parrots, hoatzins, and a gray-headed kite. We saw our first giant water lilies, and one was in bloom! The highlight of our evening was watching hundreds of sand-colored nighthawks. These nocturnal birds feed on flying insects, and they came out of the forest and perched in the treetops as the sun set over the lake.