Welcome to the Jungle: Part 3

Missed Part 2? Get caught up here!

Well, it’s official: Dan and I have now aged a couple decades and have become birding people. I love a good treasure hunt — whether it actually be finding buried loot on some island or isolating all the mix-ins in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s — and bird-watching in a sense is really just a treasure hunt. After three tranquil days, our last morning in the low Peruvian jungle of Tarapoto involved an early wake-up call for some birdwatching and wildlife-spotting along the Huallaga and Mayo rivers in a lancha, a small motorboat.

After a quick drive to the launch point of Shapaja, the donning of bright orange life jackets, and handing out binoculars, our lancha set out upriver on the wide Huallaga towards its confluence with the narrower Mayo River. No low-lying morning fog greeted us today though. The day dawned bright and blazing with the clear promise of a distinct farmer’s tan regardless of the SPF 50 I had judiciously slathered on.

As we motored through the muddy waters to the cries of tamarin monkeys chattering just out of sight up in the tree boughs, our guide pointed out hoatzins flapping from branch to branch and toucans hidden in the blanketed hills. Just as our captain was about to turn the boat around to head back to the lodge and the buffet breakfast my stomach was desperately yearning for, he yelled out, “Mira! Un perezoso!” and we all strained to see which tree branch the sloth was camouflaging himself as. I slowly scanned my binoculars left and right through the treetops until I noticed the slow changing shape of a tree trunk as the sloth languidly made his way up. A fantastic find by our captain as a finale to our “hunt” for wildlife.

Hope you enjoyed this photo compilation!

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