Amazon Northbank Travels: Trip To Itacoatiara

Mario Cohn-Haft - Early August 1997

    The next morning we met the appointed guide at the appointed spot and time. From his house, where Andy and Curtis waited, I drove off with the fellow to look up his son, who would be taking us out, although he didn’t know it yet. Apparently the son had recently moved, and, although the father hadn’t been to his place yet, he swore he could find it. Well you know the rest. We drove around and around knocking on doors and windows and waking up all sorts of folks, before we gave up on finding the son, as the sun began to brighten the sky. It was to be an hour or hour and a half boat ride back up the Amazon toward Manaus to our spot, so we’d hoped for a predawn start. Right.

Anyway, the delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because while we re-negotiated to go with our man’s son-in-law, back across town, the sky just opened up and poured rain. We’d have been pretty miserable in a little, open outboard in the middle of the Amazon, with the car parked somewhere with the window open. Instead, we were able to park the car in our acquaintance’s garage and wait out the storm at his house. After a half hour, the rain had passed, but also luckily, it stayed overcast for several more hours so we still had some relief from the heat.

We zipped upriver, and the birding was great. The Thripophaga, the bird we were looking for on this trip, was everywhere, in pairs. The first pair I watched was foraging acrobatically and conspicuously, 1-3 m up in an entirely dead cacau tree in the middle of a seasonally flooded field near the river edge. At one spot along a wooded creek, with playback, we brought in four pairs (8 individuals) directly overhead. The bird is truly abundant, at least at this spot, and had big, women’s pocketbook-like nests in various stages of construction, draped over horizontal Cecropia branches all over. According to Andy and Curtis, one of these nests, at least, appeared to be attended by at least 3 individual birds.

Back to Field Journals Menu Mario Cohn-Haft's BIOgraphy Amazon Northbank Travels: Trip To Itacoatiara    1    2    3