Friday, 1 February 2013

A most amazing day!!!

We were very lucky to have a great guide..named Elvis.  He had noted that I had not found the walk the previous day easy as my foot is now reminding me that it is damaged with every step.  We were scheduled to take a very long...full day hike into another ox bow lake, but with the heat and my foot he was not sure that I could make it there and back again...(the prospect of carrying me out probably didn't appeal to him)...also, the rest of our party had left, leaving just the three of us to face the he suggested that we take a shorter hike into a Macaw clay lek.
I was this is the location where animals come to eat clay, which in turn neutralizes toxins they have ingested through their normal diet.
So...we bid the bats farewell early in the morning...and it was back into the boat for another trip upriver.  Once at our landing spot it was clear that this one was not used as often as the others we had seen, as there was a lack of steps...and an abundance of mud...but we persevered and I made it up the bank...if somewhat dirtier than when I started.  What followed was another trek through the woods, where we again saw a number of interesting insects...and heard the call of many birds.

  As we approached the viewing point for the lek...we started to hear the Macaws calling to each other.  By the time we arrived...around 9:30 the birds had started to arrive and were making their way to the clay.
We hid in a blind so as not to alert them to our presence and watch through binoculars as they started to fly to the face of a clay cliff and to literally perch and eat the clay. There were many of these beautiful birds all congregated in the one spot.  They were Scarlet Macaws, and the sights of their bright plumage was simply beautiful.  They were soaring through the jungle and perching on nearby trees and settling on the clay in large groups.  It was spell binding.
At one point we noticed a pair of blue and green Macaws close to the blind and we were busy snapping pictures when two birds behind the blind gave the signal and all of the Macaws left all at once...streaking through the jungle in a colourful group!!!  That was it...once they have had their fill they are off to the jungle for a in pairs that mate for life.
It was beautiful indeed...
Then we trekked back to the boat and back to the lodge, where our guide opened a brazil nut we had found and we had an opportunity to sample the fruit.  The fruit is very hard and contains about 20 nuts once opened.  These must be dried and then cracked open.  Fresh...they taste a lot like coconut...a great treat indeed.

The temperature was over 40 degrees by the end of this excursion...the hottest I have ever been...with humidity close to 100 we spent a good amount of time in the swimming hole that afternoon.
We took a short walk on the grounds...and we joined in to another group's caymen hunt in the evening...thus ending another dry day in the rainy season!
We left the jungle the following day headed to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon.

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