26 March 2010

Amazon Tour (Sacha Lodge, Ecuador): 3-4 March 2010

2 people from Ohio (staff from the fabulous Ottawa NWR), decided they just could not leave Ecuador without sampling the obscene diversity of the Amazon. So early on the 3rd we set off in a plane for the short flight across the Andes to oil town of Coca, jumped into a motorized canoe and jetted down the Napo River (a tributary of the mighty Amazon), and made our way to Sacha Lodge, a luxurious hideaway perched on the edge of
Pilchicocha Lake.

There was little time for much after our afternoon arrival, although we were more than happy that we spotlighted two different species of screech-owl within twenty minutes of each other close to the lodge at dusk-first a Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl called softly back at us, and then a Tropical Screech-Owl glared at us angrily with striking yellow eyes, while we got fitted out with rubber boots for our trips into the jungle.

Our first full day in Sacha was all about parrots. We motored down the Napo a little further and dropped in on three different clay licks for the parrots in Yasuni NP. At the first, slap bang al;alongside the Napo River we watched Mealy Amazons, Yellow-crowned Amazons, and Dusky-headed Parakeets digging into the banks. A moment of drama unfolded when one of the Amazons dropped into the water, but was soon fished out, and the sodden parrot was soon back on dry land. The third lick, the so-called "parakeet lick" was the best show of all. Dozens and dozens of Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlets came down to the lick, accompanied by hundreds of Cobalt-winged Parakeets, and a lone Orange-cheeked Parrot that strutted very impressively among them (see video above). All the while the group were very jittery by virtue of the fact that a pair of Great Black Hawks sat ominously above the whole time (see video below). This led to some spectacular scenes whereby the parrots would all take off at once and fly near head height straight at the blind we were sat it, that made us feel like we were the targets for all of this!

I have attached videos so that you can also enjoy some of this crazy action here to show what an awesome scene it is. Still of the parrots to come...

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