It was during my visit to Bogota in Colombia from the 7th to 12th March, 2011 where I was on philanthropic work with Barefoot Foundation that I decided to go to its bordering country Peru to see the Macaws in Tambopata in the Amazon Rainforest. It was one of the best places to see Macaws in the wild, especially, where they lick clay for its nutritional value.
During my stay in Bogota, I had the opportunity to visit the famous Gold Museum which has the most important collections of pre-Hispanic metallurgy in the world. I noticed that many of the objects displayed at the museum are designed taking into consideration animals and birds in the region, especially the Jaguar.
On the 13th early morning, I boarded a flight to Lima, Capital of Peru. As there were no connecting flights on the same day to Puerto Maldonado, which is the gateway to three national parks in the Peruvian Amazon, the night was spent in Lima. The following morning I boarded a flight from Lima which arrived around mid-day in Puerto Maldonado. Having met my guide on arrival at the airport (who was my guide for the entire tour), a mini bus drove us up to the Tambopata river that took thirty minutes and a further one hour by boat cruising upstream of the river to get into Posada Amazonas, the eco lodge where I was to stay for three nights in the jungle of the Peruvian Amazon.
Most of my previous safari visits to see wild life in the last four decades were mainly by road except the previous year’s trip to Pantanal in Brazil which was by boat to see Jaguar. However on this occasion I had to do a lot of walking in the jungle. The timing of this trip to the Peruvian jungle was not perfect due to inclement weather, which hindered seeing much wild life. My visits to the jungle were confined to either early morning or to the afternoon.
The location where Macaws and Parrots come to lick clay was about 20 minutes by foot from the lodge. The viewing point was an enclosed hut on the side of the Tambopata River which was at least 20 meters away from the clay licking spot to avoid disturbing the birds. Although I had trekked a few times to the spot it was only on the third day morning that I was able see a few Red Green Macaws out of six species of Macaws in Tambopata, arriving to the clay spot from far for their nutritional food. I was amazed to watch how they lick the clay and it was not so easy to take pictures due to the limited viewing access in the hut.
According to the researchers in the Macaw Project, Tambopata has a unique forest environment with the highest concentration of avian clay licks in the world where birds prefer soil with higher sodium content to soil that are best at neutralizing toxic. I then remembered a similar setting that I had witnessed at Sariska National Park in India where Samber Deer were licking soil from the ground.
I was able to take pictures of many birds of the Amazon including White Throated Toucan, as well as Butterflies and a Dusky Titi Monkey during my stay in Tambopata. Viewing the sunrise from the top of a 150 feet high look-out point near the lodge was an unforgettable experience.
If one were to visit Peru for wild life, July to October would be better instead of the time I visited. One could bring “Love from Peru” from the memories of seeing incredible Fauna and Flora in Tambopata.