Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Flooded Forest

Our river trip started and ended in the town of Nauta, Peru, on the Marañón River. We motored up the Marañón, downstream to the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers, which join to form the Amazon, and then up the Ucayli River and back. February is near the beginning of high water season, so the rising river has no banks, but water flows under the trees and into the forests. The water is often still and very black so that the forest in mirrored in the water. The forest is full of creatures: monkeys like the one above, birds, sloths, iguanas, and others we didn't see like jaguars and tapirs.

Trees and wildlife have adapted to living in water, and many villages are on stilts to avoid having their homes flooded. In places, the river widens into large lagoons. Some are choked with water lettuce and water hyacinths. In trying to take photos, I felt as if I tried to capture an illusion.

A ruddy pigeon perching in the trees.
We saw a few giant lily pads. When the water gets too high, they are submerged, so it's the end of the season for them.

Two nighthawks roosting in a tree in a lagoon -- we saw them fly on our night boat ride.

A drowned forest, where trees didn't survive some very high water a
few years ago. On the center trunk are fishing bats.
Two bats.

The waters are a source of a large variety of fish, eaten by people, by the
elusive pink dolphins (which we didn't manage to photograph), and by
many species of birds.


Kitchen Riffs said...

So interesting! And I'm loving the pictures -- thanks.

Fran Flint said...

Mae, all of your photos look amazing- looks like a fantastic area to visit. I especially like the monkeys and the caiman- can't believe he will grow to 9 feet long one day!