Cristalino River (3) Amazonia : long post….
When: November 2019 Weather: Hot 30C
Leica M10P 35mm Summilux. Nikon P900
The Cristalino Lodge is named after the Rio Cristalino which feeds into the Teles Pires River, a 1400km long river which leads north-westerly into the Rio Tapajos, a major tributary of the Amazon. One of the nicest things about this lodge are the river safaris which we did 3 times in addition to the journeys in and out of the lodge. The Cristalino/Teles Pires rivers are calm in most places, always scenic and boast a wealth of wildlife on their banks…not to mention spectacular sunsets…
We did two evening river safaris and one morning one….
The sun deck is where we board for river safari
and we headed both upriver and downriver in the pristine forest
drab water tyrant next to sundeck
scenic river views
one of the special birds we saw from the side was this well camouflaged Potoo
The nocturnal Potoo sleeping during the day
Green kingfisher which is similar to but smaller than the Amazonian KF. The green KF also has more white spots on the wing as seen here
the rain fell on one of our trips
and as the sun set when we were about an hour upriver, I wondered how we were going to get back to the lodge in the dark….
Our guide Jessie and boatman Christian were actually waiting for nightfall to look for the local nightlife….
The searchlight regularly found lots of pairs of glow in the dark eyes from Caimans
We then found the potoo that we had seen earlier…
only this time his eyes were open in spectacular colour
one of the birds we were seeking was the elusive zig zag heron
and it was pretty elusive…finally finding him on a branch over the river
the wonderful zigzag heron
the next day we set off again up river….
white throated Toucan in typical calling pose
white throated toucan
we stopped nearby to view a salt lick
red throated guan
And one of my favourite birds of the trip was this cream coloured woodpecker who flew across the river
Cream coloured woodpecker
we climbed up a nearby hill to look for poison dart frogs to no avail but had a nice view of the rio cristalino from the top
view over the cristalino nature reserve from Serra 1 Hill
view from hilltop
in the distance this raptor perched
A red throated caracara feeding
Blue and yellow macaw
the sight of a macaw flying across the sky is a sight to behold
possibly a grey chinned antbird skulking
On our last evening, we took another cruise down river to look for the amazonian umbrellabird….
A Paradise Jacamar with its typical long tail
greater yellow headed vulture
bats on a trunk
As we entered the Teles Pires river and headed to the bank where the umbrella bird was known to be, our guide yelled ..’Black Hawk Eagle!!!’ Of all the birds we had seen on this trip, this was the sighting that got her really really excited! She immediately radioed the other guide from the lodge to come whilst we started shooting…
The black hawk-eagle…apparently it is only usually seen from afar flying its way above the forest…a forest falcon
The magnificent black hawk eagle…we had been hoping in vain to see a Harpy Eagle but I guess this was a reasonable second choice….
He then took flight….
and perched on a branch this time showing his typical striped legs..the black hawk eagle
Having finally taken enough pictures we finally landed on the bank to look for the amazonian umbrella bird…. we soon heard it’s call…an ominous sounding low pitched hum..Mmmmmm…never heard bird song like that before….
we saw a dark shadow amongst the leaves…
finally the Umbrella bird emerged in very difficult lighting and amidst foliage
here we can see the blue wattle hanging from its throat from which it’s low hum emanates
and a blurry final shot of the Amazonian umbrellabird with its crest and wattle jsut about visible…apologies for poor photograph
As we returned to the boat, the sky was darkening rapidly with the setting sun and we encountered half an hour of a most spectacular sunset which we watched with a cold beer….revelling in the wonder of nature at its finest in Amazonia
the setting sun…
as the sky changed colour, a raptor watched over us
Spectacular sunset over the rio Teles Pires
So our last evening in Cristalino saw a special glorious sunset. It doesn’t get much better than this!