Monday, August 25, 2008

On the boat -- Day 2, 8/18

This morning, on our early expedition in the canoes we saw a great big parrot party, with 20+ birds; green ones with large orange spots on each wing. Near the end of that trip we also found a tree full of golden yellow, white and black squirrel monkeys -- though the name deceives a bit, as these are closer in size to cats than any squirrel I've seen. Breakfast and lunch were delicious, as we've quickly come to expect from Janara and Rosangela.

5-minutes into our first walk in the forest Robert found an ocelot (or a margay, we're not sure, but sounds like they're basically indistinguishable) that was hanging out on a tree branch 20' from where we were standing, listening to a monkey somewhere else. We never found the monkey (you could hear him from pretty far off, as he had some big hard fruit and was banging it against a tree trunk, Edivam said), but that cat was sweet. Spotted like a leopard, with a striped face, it looked like an oversized housecat -- about 2 1/2' long, without the tail -- and it just sat in that tree, watching us, as we all crowded round down below taking pictures and quietly mouthing our amazement. Edivam later told us that in his 11 years of guiding these trips, he had never until today seen an ocelot. This made us feel pretty good. With our little camera we weren't able to get much in the way of good shots of the cat, but I'm hoping these will come from my folks, who seemed to get some good shots with their far superior device.

Later in the walk we (and by 'we' I mean Edivam and Paulinho) found a coral snake (not the poisonous variety), and an awesome looking barred spider, which was just hanging out on a big leaf at roughly chest level. We did get good pictures of the spider. Also in there was a nice brown frog, with a big yellow racing strip down his head and back. All told, a good walk.

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