From the Amazon to the Galapagos 2017 travel blog

Parrots at Clay Lick

Heliconia

Oropendola with nest

Millipede

What happens when you pick up a millipede

Dance at cultural center

Butterfly on Larry's shoulder

Scarlet Macaws at Parakeet Clay Lick


Got up at 5, met Tyson and Maria, our guides, at 6, and took a canoe ride down the Napo River about 15 minutes to a parrot clay lick. We had to wait a while for the parrots to show up. In the meantime, we saw a number of canoes heading to the local market. Different families bring different things to the local market on Saturday, to buy and sell the things they don't produce themselves. Some bring plantains or manioc, others bring beer or fuel.

When the parrots showed up, there were a lot of them--at least 3 species--Blue-headed, Yellow-crowned, and Mealy Amazon. We watched for a while. We were not close enough for my camera, but Tyson got good pics from my cell phone and his telescope. He can do wonders with that combination. The parrots come to eat clay at this bank of the river where the clay contains minerals that counteract the toxins in some of their food.

We came back for a big breakfast and a short break before going out again about 9, this time to a parakeet lick. For this we landed the canoe and hiked along a mostly paved trail through the jungle. Along the way we saw millipedes, a large green lizard, and a tiny (less than 1”) toad.

We arrived at a large blind for observing a clay bank above a small trickle of water. Tyson said the parakeets come to drink the water and wait in the trees above until they feel safe. There were about 20 of us waiting for about 2 hours. We could hear lots of birds, but could not see them. Tyson found a couple of scarlet macaws with his telescope and got some photos with my phone before the battery died.

After a couple of hours of us trying to sit quietly without falling asleep, the macaws came down to the stream to drink. After they left, the green parakeets came to the trees over the water where we could see them, but they wouldn't go down to the water. They did gather on the clay bank above the water, with much chirping and fluttering back and forth. Apparently there was a red macaw feather near the water, which may have scared them. Eventually, they flew off in alarm again. So we hiked back to the canoe and came back for lunch about 2 pm.

After lunch, we went to the Cultural Center, which is run by the women's group. They did a dance for us, then got us to dance with them. They showed us their instruments--drum, turtle shell, and gourd bowls. We also got to see their handicrafts and I bought a bag. We also saw the traditional ways of cooking. All very interesting. Native Amazon culture seems to be strongly patriarchal. As we were leaving, a large butterfly landed on Larry's shoulder.

Following this, we had an hour or so off before dinner. At dinner, we ate with Maria and Tyson, as usual. We are now the only guests here. It feels really weird to have all the staff just waiting on us. Tomorrow a group will come in from another lodge just for lunch (and maybe the cultural center).

It is 8:30, and we are in bed. I rinsed out a few things last night and Larry washed his long-sleeved shirt this afternoon. We hope everything is dry by morning.

Power here is by solar panels and generator. Last night the power was on all night. Tonight they plan to turn it off from 11 to 4. So our ceiling fan will go off. We have tried to hang the damp clothes in this area to help them dry. It is warm, but also pretty humid, so things do not dry well.



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