Showing posts from February, 2015

Peru Trip with Wildside Nature Tours, Day 6: Screamers, Dryer Lint Birds, and Pink Dolphins

Another spectacular day on the mighty Amazon River and smaller tributaries. And just wait until you see what followed along on our evening skiff ride! Ho. Lee. Cow! (Er, dolphin!) The lovely Capped Heron was a highlight bird of the trip! Masked Crimson Tanager Since this bird is closely associated with water,  traveling by boat is a great way to see it! Amazonian Umbrellabird! Cropped at a very long distance, in the shade, from a moving boat!  (Not bad for my little Canon SX50, eh?!) In addition to that wonderful crest, both males and females have an inflatable throat wattle that they extend during displays. The wattle is longer in the males, and can reach up to 14 inches.  When fully extended, the crest curls foward over the face, thus the name Umbrellabird. We were fortunate enough to get great looks at this Monk Saki Monkey.  These woolly monkeys are almost entirely arboreal, rarely going to the ground. Horned Screamer! (And, yes! They

Peru Trip with Wildside Nature Tours, Day 5: Nature - Large and Small

Kimberly Writes: If I keep saying "this was one of my favorite days of the trip," I'm afraid I'm going to lose my credibility. But the truth is, every day of this trip had something special to offer. Day five was no exception, offering a study in nature large and small! From giant moths and lily pads to tiny monkeys and birds, I have to say it...this one one of my favorite days of the trip! (Don't judge!) :-) Large... The lights on the Queen Violeta attracted some spectacular moths,  including this large and impressive individual. (See it on my  hand in the next photo for an indication of its size.) See, I told you, it was a biggin!  I haven't been able to pin an exact  name on this bug  (if you think the  diversity of birds in Peru is impressive,  you can't even imagine the lepidoptera!)  but it looks like a silk moth of the genus Arsenura, and at least  similar to Arsenura albopicta. Small... Our skiff stopped for a few minu

Peru Trip with Wildside Nature Tours, Day 4: The Magic Cove

Kimberly Writes: Day four delivered one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip. After breakfast, we boarded the small, motorized, and maneuverable skiffs for our morning expedition. These small skiffs made it possible to penetrate deep into the flooded forests. A light rain was falling, but it did nothing to dampen the spirit of the day, and our group of intrepid travelers was richly rewarded. We zoomed along the main river for several minutes before the skiff slowed and turned off onto a smaller corridor. We motored slowly for several minutes, and then, with a soft rain beating a gentle rhythm on the surface of the water, we passed through a dark, narrow corridor... ...and into a place that felt untouched by time. Here, drifting along in a secret cove tucked away in a flooded forest along the Amazon River, the kid in me imagined that we were the first humans to visit this magical place. And my heart created a special place to tuck this memory away for safe keeping. 

Peru Trip with Wildside Nature Tours, Day 3: White-Sands Forest

Kimberly Writes: Day three welcomed us with a stunning sunrise ... ...and a very cool surprise: a visit to a habitat known as white-sands forest. If you look at the descriptions of habitats in the field guide to Birds of Peru, you'll learn without reading a word how exciting this habitat is for birders. The paragraph describing white-sands forest is nearly three times as long as the descriptions of other habitats!  Tropical forests occurring on white-sand soils have a unique structure and are famous for their endemism. It took some special arrangements to visit this reserve and we were only there briefly. We dipped on the endemic species in the area, but it was still wonderful to experience a new habitat type! (And we did see some really cool things while we were there!) The road into the white-sands forest habitat beckons. Yellow-billed Nunbird (Monasa flavirostris) is a species of  puffbird in the Bucconidae family. Smaller, quieter, and less conspicuous  t

Peru Trip with Wildside Nature Tours, Day 2: Queen Violeta

From Iquitos, Peru, Kimberly Writes: After a wonderful day of birding around Lima, we boarded a flight to the city of Iquitos. From there, we boarded a bus to the other side of the city and the docks, where a short skiff ride delivered us to our home-away-from-home for the next week: the beautiful Queen Violeta!   The lovely Queen Violeta! We made a few stops along the way to look for birds, and you'll find a few of our discoveries in today's photo album.   Driving through Iquitos is an experience! The streets are a riot of color and sounds, all swirling and writhing and gyrating together in a mass of machine and humanity. Motorcycles are an important mode of transportation, and we'd see  whole families packed onto one small bike! We were terrified observers,  but they were totally comfortable about it. While the city streets are chaotic, they're also incredibly beautiful,  flanked by   buildings with lovely tile facades among oth