Images of a giant- the Amazon water Lily

The Giant Amazon water lily (Victoria amazonica), is found only on the mainstream flood planes of the Amazon river and never deep into tributaries. The Amazon water lily inhabits seasonal flood plane meadows and lakes found on the very channel influenced yearly by rains coming from the distant foothills.

20130527-103033 p.m..jpgnote a new flower head emerging from underwater

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The first two shots are of a storm brewing over an Amazon river Island20130509-094155 a.m..jpg
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A marvelous rainbow touched down in front of us
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This is a flood plane lake called Cocha Mayo
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Another type of flood plane lake called chontillal (for the spiny chontilla palms)

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This is a section of floating meadow close to the mouth of Napo River
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This is a cross section of the north and south banks of the Amazon River
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Cross section of the Amazon river before arrival to Oran

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This is a slow moving stream in a transitional forest that makes its way to the Amazon River

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Transitional forest from terra firme to chupaderos

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More transitional forest from the skirt of the high ground

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Kinka-who? The kinkajou

The kinkajou (Potos flavus)is a distant member of the Raccoon (Procyonidae) family. They are the only member of the genus potos .They have large powerful canines yet primarily feed on ripe fruits and nectar from flowers of trees such as balsa. These incredible mammals even have a prehensile tail to help them as they clumsily climb throughout the nighttime canopy of the rainforest.

Studies have shown that the kinkajous play important roles in the makeup of forests by dispersing seeds through their feces and pollinating trees as they bury their noses deep in the flowers to suckle nectar with their long tongue. The pollen sticks to their faces as they go tree to tree, sipping nectar and swapping pollen.

I often ponder if kinkajous cared much for parakeets? Parakeets will drain the flowers by biting at the base and drinking whatever nectar falls. Being a kinkajou and finding all my flowers had been destroyed by parakeets would make my scent glands steam! (Scent glands located on face,neck and belly)It would probably give me a good reason to use my canines…..eating parakeets.

20130508-034753 p.m..jpgyou can see the scent glands on the neck of this individual .

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These photos were taken with some very happy clients just last week less than thirty yards from the lodge. The picture is of what I believe to be a juvenile and the presumed mother is further in the back of the Pacay tree Inga macrophylla they have been gorging on the fruits for the past couple weeks. All night long we could hear the fruits falling in the water as they jumped branch to branch discarding what they have already eaten.

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Pink dolphin observation with Otorongo expeditions

The pink and gray river dolphins abound in our area of the Amazon River downstream from Iquitos. Some are so bold that they even slap their tails underneath the boat while we are watching.

20130427-104319 a.m..jpg we even have our secret tactics (non invasive)to get them very excited and come closer to the boat.

The gray river dolphins are more common to see because they do not enter the seasonally flooded forest. The pink dolphins are adapted for flooded forest movement due to their reduced dorsal fin that allows uninhibited movement underneath the water and amongst the sunken trees and vines.

Take a peek at the YouTube video I put together for a quick sample of pink dolphin watching with Otorongo Expeditions

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Brave traveler photographs 15 foot Anaconda in flooded forest near Otorongo Expeditions jungle lodge

On the 22nd of April 2013, Jill Elaine Roche , a brave American traveller set off with her local guides to explore an extensive varzea or flooded forest by wooden canoe.

20130425-073754 p.m..jpgThey were sneaking in amongst the trees leaving no trail behind other than the frothy path left by the canoe. Moving silently and slowly the forest creatures reveal themselves, the squirrel monkeys are easy enough to see but nothing prepared her for the monster she was about to encounter. One of the guides spotted the behemoth basking in a patch of sun light. Jill managed to snap a photo at a distance first.

20130425-075022 p.m..jpgThe green anaconda was woven between several trees ten feet above the waters surface. The large tree is between 20-23 inches in diameter

20130425-073717 p.m..jpgA closer view

20130425-075042 p.m..jpgphoto credits to Jill Elaine Roche

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Amazon River flooding this year “not so bad”

I had a very bad feeling about this years flood. I took the necessary precautions but thankfully it seems as though the Amazon River at Iquitos has reached its max for the year. The river may play within a few inches up or down until mid May when it is expected to fall slowly to low season levels.

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Many people dodged having to evacuate as they did last year, although the majority of low land settlements have water up to their floors, they are content with not having to evacuate and hold out the flood on makeshift scaffolding.

I only had to transplant a few charapita pepper bushes and thirty pineapples. I have been dreading the mobilization of the hundreds of ornamentals but I think we just may have lucked out on the weather.

At least it will give time for the lakes located on the highest parts of lowland flats to become boiling pots of aquatic life forms waiting for the next big flood to release them into the main river.

From here I can imagine that the flood level may taper down each year for a few years until it bottoms out and starts the upward swing who knows when. The cycling of highs and lows over the years is most likely related to ENSO or El NiƱo southern oscillations. Intense studies are still underway to better predict and understand the weather patters that are affecting people globally

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Ode to the glittering throated emerald hummingbird

This is one of the most common hummingbirds that we find around our lodge. Due to the concentration of flowers that they absolutely love they happen to haclose to the house so the babies and adults are quite tame. They let me get super close with my 50mm lens to capture these fantastic images of one of the smallest yet fastest birds around.
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