Monday, 20 August 2012

ARCC Lodge – The Amazon, Peru

We arrived at the lodge just before dusk.  It is a beautiful lodge on the edge of an oxbow lake, with lovely accommodation.  There was a large island in the middle of the lake, with a narrow section at one end where you could cross by bamboo bridge rather than boat.  The lake also had resident Giant Otter with young.

Just before dinner, we heard young owls calling behind the dining area.  Lori went check them out but could not see them, though he could see a nest hole.  The resident guide Juan told us that they were Spectacled Owl, which would be new for Lori and Birdgirl, so we decided to look for them first thing.

The next morning, after a 5.00 am breakfast, we looked for the young owls with no luck but did see Ferruginous Pigmy Owl, a lifer for Birdgirl.  We spent the rest of the morning walking to the island and then around it looking for Trumpeters, Lori’s key target.  Before we had even reached the island we saw a Little Tinamou and then within a couple of minutes a Starred Wood-Quail walking along.  After a morning session of 7 hours, we had no luck with the Trumpeters and so after lunch we got a boat across to the island and walked back, still with no Trumpeters.  Other highlights of the day were Amazon Pygmy Owl, Great Jacamar, Spot-Winged Antshrike, Long-Tailed Woodcreeper, Golden-Crowned Spadebill and Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin.  Back at the lodge, we tried again for the young owls but unfortunately there was no sign of them tonight.

Birdgirl had been wearing a short sleeve shirt in the afternoon and when she took it off, I realised that she had been bitten by mosquitoes all over her back through the shirt.  Tomorrow I would have to make her keep on a long sleeve top over her shirt and spray them all with repellent.  I am relieved that we are all taking Malarone.

The next morning we headed for some bamboo forest, searching for Manu Antbird with no luck.  Highlights were Ihering and Striated Antwren, Goeldi’s Antbird, Long-Billed Woodcreeper, Flammulated Pygmy-Tyrant, Large-Headed and Dusky-Tailed Flatbill, Cinereous Mourner, Lawrence’s Thrush.  Also we heard two Peruvain Recurvebiil but were not able to see them. 

In the afternoon Lori headed back towards the island with the information that afternoons were best for Trumpeters in the area before the Island.  It was clear that he would have a better chance on his own and so we headed off to bird an area of terra firma (dry all year around) to try for some different species.  It was a quiet afternoon but we did see Oscellated Poorwill and Gray Tinamou.  Back at the lodge, we were relieved to hear that Lori had seen two lots of Trumpeters as well as Prius Jacamar and Undulated Tinamou.

That morning we had walked past the canopy platform in a high tree.  Gunnar had said that the plan was to go up there the next day.  There was no staircase at all, just a choice of ladder or chair that was winched up to he platform.  Birdgirl’s response was a firm “I am not going up there”.  Each attempt to persuade her was met with the same response.  That night she asked me to promise that we wouldn’t make her go up.  I reassured her that we might try and persuade her to give it a go but we would never try and force her to go up if she didn’t want to.  I asked her if there was a Harpy Eagle nest viewable from the top, would she go up.  The answer was still a resounding no.  I was not keen on going up myself and so was happy to “volunteer” to stay down with Birdgirl.  Gunnar was also happy to stay down and guide us and so Chris decided to stay down as well and go to the platform later if it was good for Lori.

Birdgirl was feeling the effects of the heat and humidity and tired from the long birding days.  An hour in a hammock after lunch was not enough to re-energise her and her motivation was waning.  We needed to make sure the next day was not so tough for her.

The next morning we were meeting at 5.00 am to search for the young Spectacled Owls.  Birdgirl had taken an antihistamine tablet the night before to reduce the swelling from her mosquito bites and was still flat out.  The owls were calling from the forest and so we decided to leave her in bed until breakfast.  Just as breakfast was ready, Gunnar went out to try again for the owls and this time located an adult Spectacled owl in the trees next to the dining area, giving us all great views.  This was another tick back for Birdgirl, as we had seen one in Venezuela.

After a quick breakfast,  Lori headed off to go up to the platform in the hope of seeing Blue-Headed Macaw and the rest of us returned to the Bamboo to try and search out Peruvian Recurvebill where we had heard them before.  In an area closer to the lodge, we heard one but only once before going quiet.  I managed to locate it, which I was pleased about.  We also saw

On the way back to the lodge, Birdgirl and I passed the platform to check Lori was OK and find out if he had seen anything new for us.  He had seen bits and pieces up there but no new birds.  He had however had some crippling views of the Giant Otters swimming up and down the lake.

As it was late morning, we all headed out on a boat along the lake to try to see the otters. Unfortuntley they were probably resting and so we did not see them.

By the time it was midday and time for Lori to be brought down and so we went to watch.  First the tripod and Lori’s bag came down in the chair.  Then the chair went back up for Lori, but he decided that the ladder was the better option.  Birdgirl was too frightened to watch (he though he had a harness on) so went back to the lodge whist we stayed to watch Lori come down the 110 step rope ladder.  I was very glad not to have gone up!

The canopy platform

Lori climbing down the ladder

After lunch we all headed back towards the island area and saw a group of Trumpeters close to where Lori had seen them the previous afternoon.  We then went to his Purus Jacamar spot and saw a few of them before turning back and seeing an Undulated Tinamou (which Birdgirl saw first with Gunnar and ran back to get us) but which stuck around for extended views for Chris and myself.

This was our last night at ARCC Lodge, as tomorrow we were heading for their sister lodge lower down the river at Tipishca.

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