Double Vision…Deal With It!

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Wire-Tailed Manakin

I got so excited thinking about how much better I was going to see after cataract surgery, I completely forgot to ask about the length of time and inconveniences of recovery. My timing could have been better, perhaps, like after fall migration, not during. As it stands right now, my current prescription does not work with my right eye, so in between trying to figure out which eye to read with, I have been working on eye-hand coordination with my left eye behind the camera lens and my right index finger on the shutter button. I keep imagining headaches but I’m too lazy to indulge.

Beyond inconveniences like staring too long at name-tags trying to read them and place them with faces on Saturday night at my 50th high school reunion (well, if I had cataract surgery, you probably already deduced I’m not a spring chicken), I’m finding at least my distance vision is improved and I think I can still see with binoculars. After a visit to the eye doctor this morning, I go back for another checkup in two weeks and then I think I can get another right lens for my glasses which will fit with my new vision and then I will quit complaining about all this. “All the better to see you with, my dear.”

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Donacobius – If you saw my post from the Colombian Andes last year this bird might look familiar.

Luckily these pictures were all taken the last day and a half in the Ecuadoran Amazon when both eyes were working about the same. This completes my recap of the Amazon trip.

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The Boardwalk

On the way to the Wire-Tailed Manakin, accessed by walking a boardwalk trail directly adjacent to our rooms at Sacha Lodge, we stopped by Mariposa Lodge, a butterfly house where butterflies are actually raised and shipped to butterfly enclosures all over the world. Below are a few I was able to photograph.

From the canoe, an Osprey and some Large-Billed Terns.

Also from the canoe, this Hoatzin, looking simply fabulous.

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Hoatzin

Here are a few pictures from the boat down the Napo River as we were leaving the lodge. I was saddened by the fact that this once pristine wilderness is now, of course, exploited for oil. There aren’t too many places left on earth that have not been touched by drilling or fracking, I’m afraid. I was encouraged to hear the Amazonian Ecuadorans protesting further drilling at Yasuni National Park and I hope they succeed in stopping it. Ecuadorans have also joined the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect the Missouri River. The world is shrinking rapidly and we are all in this mess together.

On our last morning, we saw our last Trogon, the Collared Trogon below on the left, and after trying to find a White-Chinned Jacamar all week we finally did see one, on the right.

Below, an Oriole Blackbird and a Grayish Saltator. And two Blue-Grey Tanagers.

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Blue-Grey Tanagers

There were two of the Wire-Tailed Manakins, this is likely just another picture of the same one. They weren’t displaying or dancing but they’re still awfully cute.

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I think I just found a new profile picture for Facebook.

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I’ll be back as soon as I can, in between eye drops.

A Rainy Introduction

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Gray-Capped Flycatcher

What better way to experience the rainforest than to have a downpour? As I sit here in Chicago cooling off from the outside heat and we have no rain in our immediate forecast, maybe I can channel enough rain thoughts from the Amazon to send the clouds our way.

I am still trying to get caught up with a reality that seems to shape-shift daily, making the photo processing project one of fits and starts at best. But one must find a way to cope.

The first day we stragglers joined the rest of our group was for the latter part of the day, and it must have been rainy for the most part because that is all my pictures seem to reflect. There was a short hike and a boat ride. The only form of transportation to and from the lodge is by canoe.

You can see the clouds building in the photo above. At some point we passed a Cayman in the water.

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Coming or going, I’m not sure. But the little video below these pictures is of one of my favorite tropics occurrences – that of a procession of leaf-cutter ants busy at work through a gap in the boardwalk.

Not many bird pictures taken that day, but there were a few, like the very wet Hoatzin below.

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And a Striated Heron.

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Wet flycatchers, like the Boat-Billed Flycatcher on the left and the Gray-Capped Flycatcher on the right.

The late afternoon produced the downpour which is documented in one of several videos below.

There was always a Blue-and-White Swallow or two perched on the railing around the fenced-off “swimming pool” in the Napo River, accessible from the daytime dining area.

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Blue-and-White Swallow

It’s hard to leave even a rainy day in the Amazon but I will have to continue this later.

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