Tambopata River Adventure – Butterflies

River Turtle, Butterflies, Tambopata River Adventure

River Turtle, Butterflies

At lunchtime we reached the Collpa Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick.  Joselo indicated this wasn’t where we were planning to see macaws.  Macaws visit clay licks each morning to eat salt from the clay, so they had already left Collpa Chuncho..  We ate box lunches at the clay lick.  The rice dish wrapped in banana leaves was delicious.  A small caiman approached the boat for scraps.  He was a regular at the spot and had been given the name Lola.

In the afternoon, we had a number of great photo opportunities.  Swarms of butterflies are common on the banks of the Tambopata River.  They seek out salt in the river clay.  They also land on the tear ducts of caiman and turtles as they search for salt and minerals.  The butterflies look like decorations on the bodies of caiman and turtles.  Lots of capybara scampering away from us as we approached.  We didn’t see a jaguar, but they still roam this area and are seen on rare occasions.

Tambopata River Adventure – Camping

About an hour before sunset we stopped and they set up camp in the jungle near the river.  We had a dining area for with a table and 3 chairs under a canopy.  Viki and I had a tent set up just for us.  There was a canopy over the cooking area too.  Our cook made a wonderful meal, which we ate as darkness set in.  Before sunrise the next morning, we planned to position ourselves at the Collpa de Guacamayo clay lick.  You need to get there before the macaws and remain very still in order to see these majestic birds.

Collpa de Guacamayo – Cancelled

Tim, Viki, Heavy Rain, Tambopata River Camp

Tim, Viki, Heavy Rain, Tambopata River Camp

At 4 am an alarm sounded and Joselo called out in the dark – “Tim, get up.”  About 30 seconds later there was a tremendous crash of thunder.  Joselo called out, “Tim, go to sleep.”  It rained heavily for almost 2 hours. Our Collpa de Guacamayo macaw clay lick visit was cancelled, but we really enjoyed the experience in the rain and thunder.  I used the rubber boots to wander about in the rain.  I could see the captain had slept in the boat that night.

Our cook made a gigantic meal.  We didn’t eat much and she became very upset.  She explained to us through Joselo’s interpretation, that if we didn’t eat more she was going to get fired.  We assured her that we would be saying great things about her cooking.

Tambopata River Adventure – Collpa Chuncho

Macaws, Collpa Chuncho Clay Lick

Macaws, Collpa Chuncho Clay Lick

On the way back down river, the rain stopped and we visited the Collpa Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick again.  Joselo figured that the macaws had missed their morning feed and that they might come out now.  He turned out to be right, but it took nearly 2 hours of patiently watching before the macaws came down from the trees to feed.  We saw red-and-green macaws, blue-and-green macaws, scarlet macaws and one white toucan.

It’s interesting that the macaws are so slow and cautious to approach the bank, because they make a tremendous racket while they think about descending toit.  Joselo indicated they are very scared during feeding because their backs are exposed to eagles while they feed.  The macaws have no easy way to escape an attack as they eat.  It was wonderful that we got to see the macaws feed.  After all, it was the main point of the Tambopata River Adventure.  It wouldn’t have mattered too much if we missed them though.  I’d already been enchanted by the Tambopata.  I still stay in touch with Joselo Barazorda Wildlife Photography.

Tambopata River Slide Gallery