This morning, we set off in boats from ExplorNapo to go birding in the early morning light. We spotted flocks of oropendola, a stunning plum-throated cotinga, cocoi herons (they look like white versions of our great blue herons), oriole black birds, and so much more. Additionally, we went deep into Lorenzo Lake where we searched for rare Hoatzins, a large bird (about four feet tall) famous for its prehistoric claws on its wings and brilliant, Einstein-esque crest of feathers on their head. The Horned Screamer (another very large bird) and the three-toed sloth also made an appearance! On our journey by various waterways to see these creatures, we were greeted by waves and friendly faces of local community members; one family even showed us the fish they caught that morning in their nets, and many others stopped to share a few words. We also saw the community and school of Juan Pablo, one of our Peruvian educators. He was so proud of his school and for us to see his home.
The afternoon was filled with opportunities to see the pink Amazon River Dolphin, more birds and to fish for the infamous Piranha. Not only did some of us see the pink river dolphins and catch piranha, some of us even have the wildest stories from our day. One of us broke a fishing pole on the last cast of the day while pulling in their catch. Another had an exciting, first-hand experience with “los dientes” of the piranha… you’ll have to ask us each for more details and pictures once we get home!
The piranha that we caught were prepared for dinner and we all got to taste them! Afterwards, we talked first-hand with Dr. Marie Trone, who is staying here for the summer, to work on her research about the pink river dolphins! She was able to answer all sorts of questions and help us learn fun new facts about the river dolphin! In spite of the difficulties of her research (murky waters, remoteness of location, technical challenges with equipment, etc.) she continues to have hope that more knowledge will lead to a brighter future for these endangered animals.
To quote Dr. Trone, “Everything is weird here.” And beautiful, strange, and unique and we are in love with all of it!