Saturday, 4 August 2012

Long and Arduous Day

Saturday August 4
So long and arduous that I'm going to bed now! Will write up later......maybe.

I’ve given up looking at the itinerary supplied as it never applies to what we actually do, understandably, weather and local conditions dictate the programme. The company also dovetail arrivals in with birders already part way through the itinerary. However I know where we’ve been to-day. Rio Indio and Jordanal, a full day trip of Caribbean Slope birding. What this meant was a 10 K drive along the worst track I’ve ever ridden – that includes the Manu Road. Much of it was swooping steeply uphill and then downhill, along a track which was akin to a dried river bed. At times, it looked as though a heavy tractor had made wheel ruts with raised grass in the middle. And people lived up there. Rio Indio is a settlement with a school and church. When Eliecer said that it was 10K to our lunch place, I  thought it felt more like 50 in the jolting, bone-rattling, 4 wheel drive truck.
The frequent stops and walks routine which is normal, was curtailed by heavy rain and, being enshrouded in thick cloud, at Rio Indio. We then made our way down to a lower altitude where it was drier but hotter.
We lunched on the banks of the river Jordanal. We were due to cross another rope bridge to a small hut but Pam’s courage had been used up.

David photographing a tiny lizard and Eliecer preparing lunch. Pam's photo
Some lovely birds again. A delightful Barred Puffbird, Buff-rumped Warbler, Long-tailed Tyrant and Black-cheeked Woodpecker amongst them.

Barred Puffbird - not often seen as well as this.
Several well tended gardens with lovely flowers and shrubs too, including fruit trees. Snap happy!  Again, frustrating butterflies led us a merry dance. So delightful when one succeeds but, many of them never stay still long enough.

Thick-billed Seedfinch and an orange.

Swallow-tailed Kites were a highlight of the day. 20+ in the air at once, circling and gliding across the wooded valleys. What a wonderful shape and colour pattern they have. David’s delight.
Jolting homewards, I spotted a White Hawk in a roadside (I use the term loosely) tree. It called for a few minutes before taking off and landing in a bare tree 50 metres back the way we’d come. The ever obliging Eliecer backed up, enabling David and I to take some shots. The bird’s stay was curtailed by a dive-bombing Clay-coloured Thrush which saw it off to a dead stump and then, even further away. Lovely – I hope the photos are.

Look behind you ! here comes the Clay-coloured Thrush, Goliath.

Success! David squawks in triumph.

We were very tired when we got in, a long day with unpleasant travelling conditions and an accumulation of 10 days on the go for long hours. Very satisfying but increasingly wearisome. David goes home to-morrow, we shall miss him. Unassuming, comfortable company, on the same wavelength with a great love for birding and photography. Despite being a Yorkshireman .......or maybe because.

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