Thursday, August 6, 2009


Murphy's Law must have started somewhere in the Amazon, because whatever can go wrong usually does. Seeing wildlife requires some effort, but also a lot of luck, and even though GreenTracks Travelers are usually aware of this and gracious about it, we still feel the pressure to produce. And so it was that on a recent trip we hosted a group whose primary interest was not just in seeing birds but in seeing macaws. We explained that we would eventually reach an area that had often been productive but that it was still several days" journey by boat. Each day they asked about macaws and, despite having seen a small group fly over the boat, their interest remained strong and our tour leader and guides felt the pressure. Naturally it rained every day and the fact that macaw colors are especially difficult to discern on cloudy days made us worry even more. Finally we reached the spot we had told them about. We arrived late afternoon in a drizzle; no macaws in sight! We took a night hike that produced everything from sleeping monkeys and manikins to beautiful frogs, but the pressure was on. And wouldn't you know it, the next morning was perfect: a beautiful sunrise and all sorts of bird activity. But macaws are not inclined to sit around; they fly considerable distances over rainforest and perch in the largest trees. We knew it was a roll of the dice, but we were hopeful as we piled into the smaller boats and headed across the river to the big lagoon.

Our destination was a huge tree right at the water's edge. Macaws used this as a perch… sometimes. The entrance to the oxbow lake was alive with birds and in rapid succession we spotted a Rufescent Tiger Heron, a gorgeous Capped Heron, flocks of Canary-winged Parakeets and even a stunning Swallow Tanager, with iridescent turquoise plumage that rivaled that of a morpho butterfly. With fingers crossed we rounded the last bend and there before us, with the slanting morning sun angled perfectly on it, stood the huge tree and no fewer than 36 Blue-and-yellow Macaws graced its branches!!

It was simply too good to be true! Needless to say, everyone on board was jubilant, and binoculars and cameras were glued to their faces. Punctuating the air with raucous screams, several of the big birds would circle the tree before settling again. Others groomed or fed themselves. It was a full and perfect a show as anyone could have hoped for and those of us responsible for everyone's happiness breathed a collective sigh of relief!!! Not only had we found exactly what everyone wished to see, but also we were privileged to witness a chapter of macaw life not always available for viewing.

GreenTracks Amazon Cruises



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