Sunday, May 27, 2012


Tuesday, May 22 It rained much of the night but I was tired and so slept soundly in my jungle hammock. Woke up to the sound of a currasaw startled into flight by my friend getting up with dawn's light.

I had never woken up in a jungle hammock, in the rain, and so was unsure how to find dry clothes in my backpack wrapped in plastic under my hammock, get those clothes into the hammock while still dry and put them on. All in the hammock.

Recall, here is that hammock: DSC_0076 I somehow managed. Breakfast was instant coffee from water heated on the fire. Yes, these men can make a fire in the rainforest during rainy season. They are that good. I also ate some packaged cookies. Delicious.

We had a GPS training session: DSC_0073 then set out by boat, navigating by GPS: DSCN0291 We saw lots of great wildlife, like Morelet's crocodile: Morelets Crocodile CROP Bats: Copy of DSC_0430 Butterflies: butterfly CROP Spider monkeys: spider monkey CROP Tapir tracks: DSCN0268 Oropendula and their nests: Copy (2) of DSC_0413 And the highlight, for me: Cohune palms! Cohune palm seeds eaten by macaw as another flies away CROP But what is feasting on their hard nuts? Scarlet macaws: macaw glides CROP Macaw spreads wings to slow for landing CROP Macaw pair roost and touch beaks CROP These beautiful birds are endangered in part by poachers. Poachers ascend nest trees to steal hatchlings for the international pet trade.

This macaw nesting tree has scars in the bark from climbing attempts by poachers: Macaw nesting tree with bark scars from poachers climbing CROP Please, do not buy scarlet macaws! The high market price for these birds drives the poachers. Most of the baby birds they steal from their parents die and so the poachers must take many nestlings in order to have even one baby bird to sell. Please admire live macaws in zoos, or better yet in the wild. Display photos and artwork of macaws in your home. Support hands-on local conservation groups like the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). They can do more with $100 of your money than a big international group can do with $1000.

By the way, we saw no evidence that any macaw have used any artificial nest boxes: Copy (3) of DSC_0409 Macaws really need large tracts of intact tropical forest. This is where they can breed and fly free: DSC_0347 We stayed out until the sun went low. Dinner of crackers and peanut better. A night of heavy rain in the hammock. Got a little chilly, but my blanket was wet so I did without.

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