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GUYANA – Part 5: Night Watch

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Jan 3, 2009 | by Kevin Loughlin

Common PotooAs the sun sets in the Amazon Basin, a whole new set of sounds emanate from the surroundings. Along with these sounds comes an opportunity to also see some incredible things… if properly equipped. We set out on the Rupununi River with headlamps and spotlights before sunset. Along the way, while it was still light, we were detained by many magnificent sights, not the least of which were Agami Herons and Green Ibis.  Just as darkness set in we enjoyed great views of a juvenile Common Potoo on the nest!

 

Band-tailed Nighthawk

Band-tailed Nighthawks were flying all around. As they zigged and zagged I made many futile attempts to photograph them. Unfortunately, the darkness yielded only one somewhat recognizable image.

Victoria Waterlily

One of our main targets for the evening was the night blooming, giant Victoria Amazonica waterlily. This spectacular lily is know best for its giant pads that are smooth on top, but filled with huge thorns below.

Victoria Waterlily

The flower, more than a foot in diameter, is pollinated by beetles–it has the sweet scent of Bazooka Joe (that’s bubble gum for the unfamiliar). As we watched, beetles continued to drunkenly fly–or swim–into the flower. We rescued a few of the beetles that missed their target and could not seem to swim in the right direction.

Tree Boa

As we returned to our lodge we were able to spotlight more wildlife. 
A Tree Boa searched holes in a branch which hung over the river. 

Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher

A roosting Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher never flinched as we passed only feet away. Boat-billed Herons perused the shorelines offering a nasal chuckle now and then. The reflections of many Black Caiman eyes glowed red in our lights. 

Boat-billed Heron

Beyond the reach of our lights, waiting for another night, many more creatures lurked…

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