Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Again in the morning it was very nice, with still no rain, and still cool from the night before. Lots of birds were out and about right next to the lodge, chirping away. Justin saw another (or perhaps the same) yellow-billed cardinal, as well as a red-capped parrot. The morning excursion was being a cowboy for a day (or at least a morning), which sounded mildly interesting and much moreso when we found out it was the only option. Shortly after 7am we took off on horseback to who knows where. We realized that since the last time either of us had ridden a horse, we had ridden two elephants. Crystal's horse was named Caboquina, and Justin's was named Mandolin.

Both of our horses liked being in the middle to the back of the pack, and we took in the sights. It was much quieter than being on the truck, but we seemed to see much less also. The trees and sky were nice, though. We stopped after what seemed an eternity, to find out it was only 8:30 and we would still be going until 11. None of us were used to being on horses, and basically every muscle in our legs, plus our backs, hurt. We went on some more, before stopping at 10, only to find out that we were just half done. At this point, there was a mini-mutiny, since many of us were struggling and did not want to go another 3 hours.

 

We're not sure exactly what happened, but after waiting for awhile some of the cowboys came, and then we helped corral the cows for a couple minutes, which was great fun. Just as we were beginning to enjoy it, the cows went one way and we were told to go another. We didn't stop again until we got back, which was a little after noon. On the way back we saw a great egret, another giant anteater - again it scurried off - and another group of peccaries. Just as we were getting back a group of hyacinth macaws flew by, and when we got off our horses we followed them to the tree they landed in. We finally got some decent shots, and we also got some good shots of a Jabiru stork in the same vicinity.

Lunch was again very good, and then we went out on the deck to take in the scenery and the sounds. While sitting on the deck we noticed that a caiman was right underneath us, just hanging out. We watched it for a bit, seeing how close we could get, and when it seemed uninterested we headed back in.

The afternoon excursion was a canoe trip. Again, we made the drive from the Baiazinha lodge to the main lodge, which took about an hour with all the stops. It took so long that we wondered how we were going to spend any time in the canoe, since the sun was about to set. On the drive we saw a blackbird or cowbird, another fox, some sort of bird of prey, a pygmy owl, a rufescent tiger-heron up in a fishtail palm, and a capybara with a bird on its head.

We were in a canoe with Carlos, the main guide. Somehow Justin got out of paddling, since he had all of the camera equipment. It was very peaceful and serene on the lake, very glassy, and we just paddled around checking out the scenery. One of the first things we saw was a caiman swimming around with a dead bird in its mouth. When we arrived, we could see something going on in the water, but it was far away. Apparently one of the birds had come into the water hunting for a fish, and instead got hunted itself by a caiman. We saw a bunch more caiman, plus a lot more birds, including a wattled jacana, some toucans and some macaws. The sunset was very nice, and around the same time the moon came out as well. We were very tired when we got back, and decided we would skip the night excursion, a night walk. So we just ate dinner, said goodbye to the other guests, packed, and went to sleep.