Sunday, March 15, 2009

After the Harpy

Our little entourage moved on to the Imitaca Forest Reserve dominated by rampant vegetation accompanied by particularly thick muck. Those in the back of monster truck from Hell were nearly thrown out the open back when the truck hit an especially large ditch which our driver plowed through. It proved to be the road collapsing over a broken culvert and now we were on the wrong side of the only road out. Everyone walked back and waited to see if the trucks would make it.
As the day grew longer, Sam opted for a snooze.
Followed by another member that needed to take a load off his feet,
and his legs.
The day grows long when it begins at 4 a.m. Along about noon, or later as the rain forest heats up and the sun beats down relentlessly, a siesta is just the right thing to do. Mark opted for the blue jeep for his nap. I, on the other hand, was skulking through the jungle, searching for an elusive antbird. It took a while, but we finally found him, walking on the ground beneath the vegetation, circling us continuously while singing his territorial song. I didn't capture the little Ferruginous-backed Antbird on film, but intrepid photographer, Jerry Oldenettel posted the image on his Flickr page.
The trees in the Imitaca, with higher water levels than other areas we had been, had an even higher number of prop roots supporting the trees. In fact the main trunk of most trees no longer reached the ground.
Leaf cutter ants built huge mounds in the forest
and the ants were busy carrying bits of leaves across the road, always in perfect ant formation.
The structure of many of the plants is simply superb.

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