Today we woke up early with a gentle rain — as expected in the rainforest, where it rains 250 days a year. At 6:00 a.m. we were ready to enjoy the Ucayali River. This vital waterway flows through the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Stretching over 1,000 miles, it is one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River and holds immense ecological and cultural significance.
The Ucayali River is known for its rich biodiversity, with innumerable species of flora and fauna inhabiting its banks and waters. It provides a habitat for various wildlife, including jaguars, river dolphins, macaws, and countless other bird species. The surrounding rainforest is a treasure trove of unique and often undiscovered species. During our skiff ride we got to see cream-colored woodpeckers, blue-and-yellow macaws, sloths, saddle-back tamarin monkeys, gray hawks and many more species of the region. We came back on board for breakfast after an exciting early morning.
For the afternoon we sailed along the riverbank on another skiff ride, and we landed on a sandbank by sunset. The sandbank hosted several nesting shorebirds, including the large-billed tern (Phaetusa simplex) that graces the El Dorado River with its majestic presence. This elegant bird, recognized by its sizable bill and expansive wingspan, finds a haven in this lush region. Its distinctive call resonates along the riverbanks, weaving into the symphony of the Amazon's vibrant wildlife. With their adept fishing skills, they play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance in this dynamic ecosystem, contributing to the rich tapestry of life that thrives here.
We also observed many black skimmers (Rynchops niger) flying just above our heads. This striking bird is instantly recognizable by its black coloration on top, contrasting white underneath, and long orange bill (with lower mandible longer than the upper). It navigates the winding waterways with precision, its wings slicing through the air as it skims just above the river's surface. With its keen eyesight the black skimmer hunts for small fish, insects, and crustaceans, performing its signature aerial feeding technique.
The guides also found some mud, perfect for mud-therapy. We watched all the magnificent wildlife with an amazing sunset, and enjoyed some drinks in the sandbank—what a wonderful way to finish our day in the Amazon. As we returned to the ship, great egrets were flying across a beautiful pink sky.