Today we start very early to visit the most spectacular attraction of this area: the parrot and macaw clay lick along the river. These colorful birds gather here to eat the clay in the cliffs on the riverbanks to neutralize certain toxins in their daily diet (poisonous berries and hallucinogenic plants). Sometimes they congregate in the hundreds, pushing and squabbling over the best place to eat. This noisy and unforgettable show can go on for two or three hours, and can gather many varieties of parrots, parakeets, Chestnut Fronted Macaws and their larger cousins, the Red and Green Macaw. This extraordinary display occurs in only a handful of places in the Upper Amazon Basin. Our floating platform provides us with comfort and is completely hidden, so here we will enjoy a full breakfast during the show.
We make land back down the river will walk back along a section of the extensive jungle trails. Here we will find huge Brazil nut trees, Kapok and fig trees; along with the dark strangler fig whose aim in life is as sinister as the name implies. Our guide will identify and explain the medicinal use/trade of dozens of plants and trees, while keeping eyes and ears open for birds or one of the eight species of monkeys found in this region. We could run into a small herd of the two species of wild pigs that are common in this area. In order to mark their territory, they use scent glands so powerful that they can be smelt long before being seen.
After lunch, we hike along the trail leading to the point where the forest abruptly gives way to the vast plains of the Pampas of Heath. This unique land is a result of poor soil and extreme climatic cycles of drought and flood. The largest intact tropical savanna in the Amazon, it is the habitat of endemic birds and mammals, such as the Fork-Tailed Hummingbird and the Maned Wolf. Just beyond the edge of the forest you can climb to an elevated platform that allows for a great view of this vast expanse of grasslands and shrubs, dotted with palm trees.
The palm tree Mauritia flexuosa produces nuts rich in palm oil and dry hollow stems that provide vital food and shelter for nesting pairs of Red Bellied Macaws and the rare Blue and Yellow Macaws. We aim to arrive around sunset, when the parrots are returning from their daily search for food to gather in this place.
We return to the lodge at night using headlamps and flashlights, perhaps stopping here and there in total darkness to listen to the ever-changing sounds of frogs, insects, and other animals; the magic of the jungle at night. We may run into frogs the size of small rabbits, homes of hairy tarantulas or night monkeys hanging from the tree. There is a huge and unpredictable collection of nocturnal creatures in the night. After dinner, some guests may choose to visit the lick of mammals, with the hope of seeing the Lowland Tapir, the largest mammal in the jungle.