Travels with V
A day in the jungle
La Selva part three
There are about four or five types of monkey living in the jungle surrounding La Selva. We’ve always had a soft spot for our ancestors, and we’re always keeping an eye out for them. During our stay we get to see four out of the five, and one of the cutest actually right by the Lodge where a family of white-tailed titis suddenly appear.
Bird life in the La Selva jungle is abundant, and many of the names of the different species are impossible to remember. But some stand out. Hoatzis live where the little creek opens up into the lake. The hoatzi is a big colourful floppy bird, but a bad flyer, so it doesn’t move around much.
We also see a large kingfisher, the largest in the world our guide says. And a woodpecker with a punky hairdo. A kind of tucan is quite common, as is the black vulture, but we’ve seen that one a lot before, in Peru and on Cuba
And one day when it rains, the bush in front of our balcony is filled with black birds sitting close together, probably to keep warm. They look at us and seem to be begging: -Can we please come in? When the rain stops they all fly in different directions. They are ani, a kind of cuckoo.
In a glade in the dense jungle where a small creek pours out from under a rock a very special scene plays out. At first it’s just quiet and empty, but all of a sudden hundreds of small parrots. dive down in the glade. And in a great commotion they drink the water in the creek and wash in it. It’s cobalt-winged parakeets and they need certain chemicals in the water to neutralize poisons in the seeds they eat.
When it’s our last day in La Selva, we do a final evening canoe excursion by the shores of the lake, with a detour into the little river. In the night’s stillness there are lots of sounds from birds and insects, but far far away we hear a hollow sound like strong wind through trees. After a while it’s more like the howls of unsavory spirits. The red howler monkeys are starting up their night concert.
When the last of the daylight has gone we see flashes in the riverbanks, the reflections of our torches in the eyes of a caiman hiding in the reeds. We approach paddling slowly, cameras clicking. But when we’re almost right by it, the caiman suddenly dives and is gone.
To stay in the jungle like this, with birds and monkeys, caimans and pirañas as next door neighbours, is unbeatable. We want to stay, but have to embark on what we guess will probably be the most dangerous part of our journey.
Next chapter: We’re trapped in bus limbo! But are temporarily released to discover the secret behind the Panama hat.