In line with our plan to travel extensively during our time here, we spent most of last week near Puerto Maldonado on the Madre de Dios River adjacent to the Tambopata Preserve. I think the expansiveness of the river panoramas are hard to capture and once inside the forest the opposite is true. As you see in the photos, it is the rainy season, which actually worked quite well for us. It rained almost exclusively when we were either on the riverboat or inside. One memorable afternoon we decided to take the canoe across a small lake during a thunderstorm with an incredible downpour. The boys loved it. Hard to believe but this whole wide river is subject to flash floods. It rose 3 feet during the week we were there. It seemed like a river of chocolate milk strewn with bobbing logs eroded from the banks. Our guide, Ruben, reported that the river grows wider by 2 meters a year due to the incredible power of the annual rainy season.
Most of the observable animals are birds (there are more species in Peru than in all of North America including Canada) and I was in heaven. Marnie had a near religious experience involving a pair of scarlet macaws flying directly over the boat so she is close to being hooked on birdwatching too. Sam, who feigns indifference, may have the sharpest eyes and he displays a knack for remembering names. Once identified, he will call them by name any time the same bird is spotted afterward. It's great to hear him say, "Look, there's a social flycatcher." Without much trouble we were, with help, able to identify over 35 different species and saw many more we couldn't name. Many were strikingly beautiful while others were drab. The air around our cabana was filled with many types of bird songs all day long.
The Amazon Basin with the Madre de Dios River highlighted in pink
CREDIT: Madredediosrivermap" by Kmusser - Own work using Digital Chart of the World and GTOPO data.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Madredediosrivermap.png#mediaviewer/File:Madredediosrivermap.png