Up the Aripuanã

Sunday, August 2nd: We woke up with the boat about 60 miles upriver, near the Pousada Aripuanã fishing camp at the mouth of the Rio Juma. The Juma is on the right bank of the Aripuanã, and is named for the local version of bigfoot.

Pousada Aripuanã (right bank, 6° 0' S, 60° 11' W)

We took the canoes to the dock, and then started up the stairs to Pousada Aripuanã itself, about 100 feet above river. We started finding birds immediately when we got to the top. The first birds seen included Great Kiskadee, some flyover Orange-winged Amazon, a couple of Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers working the trees, a perched Black-tailed Tityra, a nice rufous female White-lined Tanager, Palm Tanagers, and Boat-billed Flycatcher, which was not on the list. We had been hearing White-tipped Doves, and a couple fly by over the top of the stairs. Some Silver-beaked Tanagers flew into a tree, then we spotted a Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet. A hummer turned out to be a Black-bellied Thorntail. A Large Elaenia was also present. We saw it again (or another) right behind the fishing camp. A Straight-billed Woodcreeper put in an appearance. We scoped a Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch sitting in a tree. A Great Antshrike was working the bushes below the head of the stairs. Several Crested Oropendolas flew by while we were there, one at a time. Four Festive Amazons also flew by. We studied the swifts overhead, and determined that some were Gray-rumped Swifts. A Yellow-browed Sparrow perched briefly on the rail at the top of the stairs. We scoped a Red-throated Piping-Guan that someone saw fly in across the Juma. A Yellow-bellied Dacnis visited one of the trees, as did a Black-fronted Nunbird. One of the swifts overhead turned out to be Short-tailed Swift.

We walked through the camp, toward an old road that connects to the road between the dam and the town of Novo Aripuanã. It ended up being about 3.7 miles round trip.

We got our first Spangled Cotinga as we headed through the camp, an adult male. This was followed by an unsually plumaged bird, an immature male. Later, we completed set by finding an adult female. The trees had more hummingbirds: Blue-chinned Sapphire and Gray-breasted Sabrewing. We walked toward the old road, finding Channel-billed Toucan and a flyby Fork-tailed Palm-Swift. We also added Versicolored Emerald, White-necked Puffbird, and Rufous-throated Sapphire before getting to the old road. Dusky Titi Monkeys were calling, but we could not them to come into view.

We headed east along the old road. We managed to call in a Little Cuckoo. This was soon followed by an Amazonian Antshrike. We also saw Blackish Antbird and a scrub-flycatcher that caused some confusion. We eventually determined it was a Southern Scrub-Flycatcher, an Austral migrant, rather than the local Amazonian Scrub-Flycatcher. We saw a cute little Pygmy Antwren and got scope view of a Paradise Jacamar. We did not see Crimson-crested Woodpecker, but it was certainly drumming. We had great views of a perched Bat Falcon. Most of the group walked by it before Jay noticed a Great Potoo pretending to be a stubby dead branch. Later on we scoped a Bronzy Jacamar. The local Olivaceous Woodcreeper is a bit different from some of the other Olivaceous Woodcreepers, a potential split. I got poor views of the Rufous-tailed Xenops, which was up high when I saw it. We also adde Flame-crested Tanager, Forest Elaenia, Yellow-backed Tanager, and Chestnut-winged Hookbill in this area. We also got a scope view of a Dark-billed Cuckoo, which looks kind of like a cross between Mangrove and Black-billed Cuckoos. A King Vulture soared by. A number of Screaming Pihas made their presence known, but were not seen. A Wing-barred Piprites was not only a lifer, but a new bird family for me.

On our way back, we saw Red-and-green Macaw fly by, a Dot-winged Antwren, some flyover Red-throated Caracaras. I was the only one to see the key field mark on an Opal-rumped Tanager. Although I had missed the Common Pauraque on its nest the first time we passed it (I did see the egg), we all saw the Pauraque this time. Finally, we heard Buff-throated Saltator as we neared the camp.

Igarapé Arauazinho (left bank, 6° 18' S, 60° 22' W)

We returned to the Tumbira and headed upriver. We had lunch and a break on the way. On the way we found a perched Black-collared Hawk and flyover White-eyed Parakeets. We continued upstream until we got to Igarapé Arauazinho, a left bank creek. Arauazinho means little apple snail. In spite of the name, we did not see any Snail Kites or Limpkins this afternoon. We cruised along in the canoes to the trailhead, some distance from the Tumbira. It was interesting to see the still-flooded varzea forest along the way.

We also saw some more birds, including White-banded Swallow and Pale-rumped Swift. We didn't get a lot on the trail. I heard Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin and Cinereous Mourner. A couple of Amazonian Yellow-rumped Caciques flew over. After a struggle, we found a Rusty-breasted Nunlet. We then returned to the canoes. a Blackish Nightjar appeared just as most of us had gotten in. So we piled back out and got a good look at it. As we pulled out into the creek, a Short-tailed Nighthawk flew by.

It was past sundown as we returned down the creek to the Aripuanã and the Tumbira. We spotted a perched Ladder-tailed Nightjar on the way.

I ended the day with 76 bird species including 13 lifers. This brings my trip total to 109 species, including 15 lifers.

Aboard Tumbira, cruising up the Aripuanã