We had an absolutely beautiful morning in the deepest part of the vast Amazon Rainforest. We started early and enjoyed breakfast in the jungle under the shelter of large trees. Our journey on the skiffs towards the deepest, remotest part of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve took over three hours, and we explored and photographed every creature we found. Our morning was very special due to a diversity of sightings as we explored the Pacaya River.

This region is usually flooded due to rains in the Andes, which increase the volume of the system’s major rivers. At this time of year, there are almost no rains in the high Andes chain, so the local rivers are low. Therefore, the season is called the low water season and most of the fauna gather in large numbers at the riverbank, as their food is right there.

The trees are home to large flocks of cormorants and egrets. We observed some of the largest birds gliding above us. Wood and jabiru storks forage on the enormous quantities of fish available due to the low levels of the rivers. In addition to birds, there are a variety of monkeys, including squirrel monkeys and red howlers with shiny orange fur.

As we explored the forest, we entered caiman kingdom! We saw several large reptiles basking in the sun in the shallow murky waters. The trees were also full of surprises, including large flocks of blue-and-yellow macaws and the mysterious hoatzin! Not one or even ten…there were many! To me, these were the best of the sightings. We have been looking for them since the beginning of the expedition. Finally, in the deepest part of the reserve, we got our reward: dozens of macaws!

It was an amazing outing, and I can’t wait to do it again!