tagged animals, birds, Ecuador, insects, jungle, rainforrest, the amazon and wildlife
Last week we headed off to the Amazon Basin in Ecuador. Ever since we left Africa, we’ve been missing spending our days watching animals, but since 1/3 of all species of wildlife live in the Amazon Rainforest, we figured we would make up for lost time. What we didn’t take into account is that the majority of these species are birds, and fish, and insects. Nothing against the little creatures of the world, but a bad day in Africa meant we only saw a few dozen elephants, giraffes and zebras. A good day in the rainforest means you see 5 birds, a frog and if you are lucky, a monkey.
Birds are quite a big deal in the Amazon. The are 1600 different kinds in Ecuador and there were 600 alone in the area of our lodge. Unfortunately for us, there are few things we are less into than spending the day looking for birds. One of them is getting up at 5AM to look for birds. The other is getting up at 5AM to look for birds, and there being no birds to look at. This was the case the first few mornings as it was overcast and not good for bird watching. Oddly enough, when it was too sunny, that wasn’t a good time for the birds either. We did get to climb this cool canopy bridge to not see any birds at 5AM though.
We quickly learned to adapt our expectations to our new environment. The Amazon rainforest is huge (2.1 million square miles), 40% of South America, and dense. So the wildlife that lives there has plenty of places to hide. We had to take notice of the small things. Sure it’s easy to spot an elephant. But finding a tiny insect or frog in the middle of the jungle is a lot harder. Our afternoon hikes were filled with learning about how the indigenous people in the jungle used the various types of plants and trees. We eventually did get to see some interesting birds…parrots, owls, toucans and vultures. We also saw a 3 toed sloth and a caiman, which is a South American crocodile. We just missed seeing an anaconda, and had to look jealously at another group’s pictures. Below is a tarantula that our guide found hiding in a tree.