Sani Lodge and La Selva Amazon Ecolodge

Sani Lodge and La Selva Amazon Ecolodge

Well, I am still alive. I have survived the Amazon one more time.

I am sorry to say that the effects of climate change have reached the Ecuadorian Amazon in 2016. In the month of September, which is a characteristically dry month with perhaps the occurrence of rain one day every two weeks, this September there was rain, heavy torrential rain, two out of every three days. In one day, the rain drove up the Napo River three meters, inundating the forests and many river-front houses. The forest was very wet and very dark and not a hospitable environment for the exotic insects that we look for. In 2014, my assistant Cristian, who is an outstanding insect hunter, had great success finding treehoppers and other insects along the banks of the Napo River gaining access to the best insect vegetation by means of disembarking from a canoe onto patches of sandy beach. But on this trip, the swollen river had swallowed up these beaches, engulfed the desired vegetation and left very little land on which one could walk. Needless to say, this state of affaires was discouraging.

But we never give up. Avoiding the cold and mud-filled primary forest, making use of the occasional day without rain, and finding walking space near the big river, Cristian persevered in his night and daytime searches and, true to form, and faced with the most unfavorable circumstances, he always managed to find the most remarkable creatures, not in the abundance that we encountered in 2014 but enough to keep us busy. Cristian does not like to strikeout and for that and other reasons he never does.

 On this trip I came with an ace up my sleeve, a secret weapon that I was eager to try out. Arriving at the forest which surrounds Sani Lodge, I was met by a very encouraging sign. It seemed that I was in a concert hall and the musicians were a vast variety of beautifully singing birds. What good fortune! Now all that I needed were good vantage points so that I could see some of these birds clearly and at a reasonable distance. I had come armed with a Canon 600mm/f4 lens and a 1.4x extender which I had never used before. Would I be able to get the hang of the new camera-lens combination in short order so that I could take some decent photos or would I just be bumbling around for the next three weeks? “To do well or not to do well, that was the question.”

 Well, I still don’t have the answer to that question. Living in a third world country, Colombia, that has an antiquated energy system, shortly after my return, a power surge that eluded my protective devices zapped my computer. I am waiting for a replacement part to arrive from the States. Please stay tuned and have patience! I also have to learn a new software program, Lightroom, as my new camera, a Canon EOS 5DS R, requires a program other than the soon-to-be-defunct Aperture.

I am confident that the wait will be worth it. From what I could see on the LCD screen, there will be some fantastic insects and perhaps the best photo ever taken of a boa arco iris, a rainbow boa or Epicrates cenchria. The blue-green-purple iridescent sheen is from another world! 

 A continuation of this blog will follow shortly.

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