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NAVC Amazon Expedition Day #6

This White Piranha, Caught By Wilson, Our Native Guide, Was Released After The Photograph.
June 16, 2011

Today was a true early day with a 5:30 wake-up call. Breakfast was at 6:00 and we rallied at the Choza location for our 6:30 trek to the “two towers” and canopy walk. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the first tower. Diane and Johanna were afraid and reluctant, but also brave, and we all climbed the 13 or so stories to the large platform equipped with wooden benches, a roof, and ample floor space for all. Paul and Wilson set up a spotting scope and we began (really, they began) scouring the canopy for animals. Things were quiet for the first 30 minutes, with isolated sighting of birds, a distant sloth, and howler monkeys. Within the hour though, the fog lifted, and the jungle hummed, screeched, croaked, and sang to life. We saw at least four species of toucans, two raptors, macaws, parrots, parakeets, oropendolas, creepers, flycatchters, etc. We recorded over 20 new species in a relatively short period of time. There was even an anole crawling about on the swinging cat walk!

After the morning outing some of us took up Paul’s piranha fishing offer and met down at the dock. We were a little delayed due to a false viper (big headed fishing snake) sighting and ultimate capture near the Butterfly House. Randon and Johanna took many, many, photos and Randon captured the snake with his hook, confirming its non-venomous status. Wilson caught a couple of piranha but I was only able to foul hook a 3” black tetra.

After another delicious and ample lunch, we listened to a lecture by Carol, and then met our guides for a canoe trip and hike to the zip line, Kapok Tower, and side hike to see a magnificent crested owl.

Our return trip to the Lodge was intentionally under darkness. Diane had a special request to see fishing bats and we were treated to an amazing display of these large carnivores, also known as bulldog bats, filling the air above the beautiful and narrow Anaconda Creek. We tried to capture images of them but it was simply too dark and their flight to fast. They were so numerous (dozens), and close, that we could feel the air from their wing beats and smell their musty wet-dog odor.

We returned to the lodge about 7 PM and had time to clean up a bit before dinner. While we were in the bathroom Di noticed a large mantis-like insect fly away from the screen. Further inspection found the animal under the wooden basket light fixture on the porch. It was easily 7 inches long, and when the photos were viewed, it was apparent it was eating an ant-like creature.

As usual the meal was fantastic, with an amazing selection, all clearly freshly prepared. I came down to the dining area a little early to capture some images.

After dinner Doug finished off his lectures and the official CE portion of the trip was completed. This was about 10 PM.
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