Trip Start Jul 23, 2002
66Trip End Jul 23, 2003
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We arrived at the first collpa with enough daylight left to set up camp for the night and start on dinner. There was a bit of trouble deciding where to place the tents because there was a large leaf cutter ant trail going right across the centre of the site, and several people ended up getting the ants visiting them in their beds that night. After dinner we headed down to the beach and went for a bit of a walk. Not long after leaving camp one of the guys almost stepped on a baby Fer-de-lance which made us a little more cautious about where we put our feet as a bite from that snake would be serious. A few of us just stopped and sat on the rocks after checking for snakes first (it was strange finding a beach with pebbles on it as we just don´t find them around our camp) and watched the moon rising over the forest. The moon was full and you got the reflection of that across the river and then had the bats and a few night hawks flying around you.
The next morning we were up about 5am, which for us is not that unusual, but the guide seemed to be used to normal tour groups who have just arrived in the country and need a lot more encouragement to get out of bed
As we sat watching the birds started to arrive, and a lot of them weren´t shy about announcing their presence. You got Scarlet, Red and Green, and Chestnut Macaws flying overhead, aswell as the flocks of parrots. They´d land in the tops of the trees and as the morning progressed a bit some of the more adventurous ones headed down closer to the actual lick itself. They were a bit hestitant about it and only a few actually ended up flying down to the vines hanging down over the collpa itself. Every now and then there would be a disturbance and they´d fly up in big groups with a lot of noise. After a couple of hours it became obvious that they weren´t actually going to use the lick that morning so we headed back to camp. Despite that we still had some fantastic views of the birds and we still had another Collpa to visit, Colorado collpa.
Another boat ride took us to the second collpa and took about 3 hours less than expected as the river level was high due to it being the wet season
A few of us then headed to the Tambopata Research Centre and went for a couple of hours walk through the forest there. This will sound stupid, but it was the first walk in the jungle for about a week and it was really nice to get in there after having spent most of the last week only around camp and not really in the forest proper. We had one of the guides with us and it was very different from normal because he didn´t want to take us through water that was over the Wellies, while that was not that ususual for us. On two occasions he went in search of a tree that went across the stream, found one, and the second time he put a couple of branches across for us to walk over. We saw a few mammals on the walk including an agouti at the lodge itself and I spotted two Red Howler Monkeys sitting on a branch in the canopy. With the binos you could get a clear view of them and they stayed there for a while staring back at us before disappearing into the canopy further. Back at camp there was time for another walk around the beach before watching the sunset over the river with the Andes in view. As we were sitting around camp a couple of people got views of a night monkey and a paca in the forest around us.
The next morning it was another early rising before going across the river for a horrible walk through thick mud, in which you literally lost your boots, to get to the viewing site. Noone was very impressed with the walk, but once the birds started arriving it didn´t matter anymore. This time the birds actually went down onto the collpa and you had a group of 20 or so parrots eating from the lick, as well as a couple of the macaws who ventured down there as well. There was also a group of guans which spent quite a while on the lick. We saw a lot of parrots, and the main macaw at this collpa were the Blue and Gold, with some Scarlets but nowhere near as many. We watched for a couple of hours and as the birds stopped coming down to the lick the guide went to get the boat.
After a bit of confusion four of us ended up staying there for another hour and although there wasn´t much more activity on the collpa itself there was plenty of activity in the trees around it. We were treated to multiple flybys by groups of Blue and Gold Macaws as they went past the lick and back into the trees, interspersed with the odd flyby by a Scarlet Macaw pair. They were amazing views of the birds scattered in the trees all around you and you just see the bright blues, reds and yellows standing out from the foliage. As we got back into the boat to head back to camp a group of Blue and Gold´s took off from the trees near us and then a group of Scarlets from the trees further down the collpa. It was definitely worth the trip to see them, and from what the staff were saying it was one of the best views they´ve had from 3 or so visits. You can take trips to stay at the lodge and view the collpa but we were told that they cost US$560 for 5 days and the people there ended up viewing the collpa from the other side of the river which is a long way away so they really wouldn´t have been able to see much clearly. So I´m quite happy with our cheaper and better viewing option.