Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sacha Lodge

20 Nov 2011

After a lie-in (to 6.00) we quickly ate breakfast and headed out from the lodge in another small canoe, our destination was Anaconda Creek.

This creek was the same one that had a Caiman nest in it so we had to take a slight detour to avoid it again.  We intended to look for Anacondas and other wild mammals.  Before we got into the creek though, we saw and heard several woodpeckers in the trees surrounding Lake Pilchicocha.

As we entered the creek, we saw several very large Hoatzins crashing around in the trees.  These large turkey sized birds are fairly common and seem to be very clumsy as they try to find perches in the trees.  Further down the creek we could hear, but not see, Red Howler Monkeys.  The noise they make sounds like a strong wind blowing through trees.  We got fairly close to them, but never saw them.


Deep in the jungle we got out of the canoe and went for a walk through.  Once again were looking at the trees and plants.  Jaime, our indiginous guide, explained about the medicinal properties of several plants. After about an hour, we found our way back to the canoe and headed back to the lodge.  No Anacondas seen!

Back at the lodge, mid-morning, we were told that monkeys had been seen just behind the dining room.  Sure enough we found several Pygmy Monkeys in the low branches of a tree only a few feet from the boardwalk.  They are the smallest monkeys found in South America.  They were very diffult to photograph as the light was low and the monkeys were scuttling around quite fast.

Enormous Blue Moth!

Before lunch we visited the butterfly house, some of the larger moths were huge. Not being very skilled at identifying butterflies and moths I couldn't begin to say what we saw.  Some moths had huge owl-eyes on the wings and some blue butterflies were enormous.  Oddly in the enclosure, there were no Morph butterflies, but we saw these enormous butterflies in the forest around the lodge every day.

Owl-eyed Moth

After lunch, we found one of the chefs dropping food scraps to a Caiman right underneath the dining room, it was a shame we couldn't photograph it.

Later in the afternoon as we were heading back to go out on another 'expedition'when Lynn found several Black-Mantled Marmosets, another species of monkey-like mammals.  Once again they were very close to the lodge and didn't seem very worried by us watching them.

A brief note about canoes.  We used three different types, the first on the long river journey took about 20 passengers and had huge outboard engines on the back.  The second was a fibre-glass hulled, hand-paddled, canoe where passengers sat in rows of two and took 6 to 8 passengers.  The third was a small narrow, wooden, hand-paddled boat which only took 4 passengers, one row of two and 2 rows of single seats.  In all of them, you are very close to water.  Seats are very low and getting in and out is only really possible with some help!

We set out in the afternoon on the smallest canoe through one of the creeks.  The Night Heron was still hiding in the tree at the entrance and soon afterwards we found a large Lizard on a branch over our heads.  We slowly paddled along the creek and eventually arrived at a landing stage deep in the jungle.  We scrambled up some rough steps on a muddy bank and shortly afterwards came to a huge wooden tower built around a massive Kapok tree.

Although not quite a tall as the aerial walkway we had previously visited, the tower took us up into the canopy of the forest.  From here, we could see for miles, in fact we could just make our the Rio Napo in the far distance.

Bird life was prolific in the canopy and at various times we saw, Purple-Throated Fruit Crow, Russet-Backed Oropendolas, Spangled Cotingas, Black-Capped Eronymus, Ruffous-Bellied Euphonia, Cobalt-Winged Parakeets, and both types of Toucans.  In the distance we could also see a Red Howler Monkey sleeping in the top of a tree.  I'm sure that I've missed several birds that we saw.  The Fruit Crows and Oropendolas were very obliging and posed for photographs!

Russett-backed Oropendola

As we were about to leave, we realised that in the tree we were perched in was another Three-Toed Sloth - what a great end to our visit.

By now, the light was begining to fade, we set off down the tower and back to the canoe for an evening paddle through the jungle and back to the lodge.

Sacha Lodge is a very special place and it would be easy to spend longer here, both of us could have spent hours on the tops of the towers watching the wildlife!

No comments:

Post a Comment