March 2, 2015, Los Amigos Biological Station, Peru — Dawn broke with a thunder clap this morning, followed by hard rain on the metal roof of my hut. I lay in my bed, surrounded by a mosquito net, and wondered how long it would last. Rain in the rainforest during the rainy season? No way!
So far this year, I’ve been lucky with the weather. Even though I’ve visited several regions in their so-called wet seasons, rain hasn’t hampered my birding. I got soaked in a thunderstorm in northwest Argentina and have birded through a couple of showers since then, but nothing major. Dry conditions aren’t necessarily a good thing—just ask Californians, or the several million people in Sao Paulo where, during my visit, newscasters were announcing that the city water would soon be shut off for four days each week! (In Brazil’s case, local climate change is probably a factor; deforestation has reached the point that humidity from the Amazon can no longer travel south to the coast, meaning the horrendous drought in Sao Paulo may just be a new normal.)
For birding, rain tends to shut things down. This morning it was raining so hard that venturing into the forest was pointless, and Gunnar, Glenn and I spent several hours hanging out on the covered veranda of Glenn’s hut, watching the Madre de Dios River roll past. Finally, at about 3 p.m., the rain slacked off and the three of us hiked out to see what we could salvage. Los Amigos Biological Station has about 60 kilometers of trails, and, even with a laminated map, we came pretty close to getting hopelessly lost in the jungle just before dark (Condensed conversation: “Are you on a trail?” “No, are you?” “Do you see any markers?” “Which way did we come from?”). By dusk, we’d managed to find about 85 species of birds, and eventually picked our way back to the station, so, even with nine hours of rain, the day ended with a rainbow.
New birds today: 20
Year list: 1425