Another much longer post than normal, but I’ve tried to write a bit more about our experiences.
Still feeling very fortunate to be able to visit Ecuador and the Napo Wildlife Centre (or Center), built and run by the local Kichwa Añangu community. It is designed to both preserve the local, fragile habitat, plus provide high-quality, environmentally friendly accommodation and facilities for visitors. It does all these things very well and gives a great insight into the Amazon flora, fauna and need for conservation.
Our journey to the Napo Wildlife Centre started after a short half hour flight from Quito to Coca. From there, we proceeded in a motorised, largish ‘canoe’ for a couple of hours down the tributary river of the Amazon, the Napo River (Rio Napo), then transferred to small six-seater, hand paddled canoes (not by us – by our guides) for the last leg, where the reserve starts and motors are not allowed.
Travelling to Napo – on the Napo River.
Into the small creek leading to the Napo Wildlife Centre – no motors – and arrival.
Where we stayed, right at the edge, next to the jungle and the lake.
And then the sights (and sounds).
And some of the monkey photos I managed to get – not too easy from a moving boat at full lens zoom with the buggers constantly moving.
And a couple of owls.
And a Strangler Fig (not a tree) – this starts as a small plant whose seed lands on a tree, grows, develops roots downwards and then envelops the host tree, killing it in the process. Sometimes they both end up falling down and dying together.
These next photos show the clay lick on the Napo River that these birds (Parrots and parakeets) go to daily to ingest minerals that counteract the potentially poisonous nuts and fruits that form their diet. I like the queueing system on the branch at right in the first one.
Shot at 200mm from the boat in the river – we didn’t go closer as that would have disturbed them.
And the next set are from the other clay lick we visited – the large, colourful birds are Macaws. This was quite a sight, as the Macaws waited and waited, watching out for predators, before the first brave or foolhardy Macaw went down and didn’t get attacked (the first photo), leading to the rest following. The smaller birds then followed the same ritual after the Macaws were finished.
We had excellent guides in Sergio (‘Tyson’), seen here explaining about traditional village life and persuading me to try the fermented drink Chicha – an aquired and alcoholic taste, Eduardo (‘Pantera’), who was incredible at spotting things, and finally the engine room of the canoe, ‘Vladimir’, who could paddle all day.