Tag Archives: Madidi

Leaving Chalalan

As we were approaching Rurrenabaque the wind picked up considerably and the clouds got ominously darker and darker. It looked as if a bad thunder and rainstorm was underway.

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)

My only sighting of this peculiar species was along the Tuichi River, so I never saw it hunting. Its peculiar beak is used as a kind of fishing rod, and it flies close enough to the water surface for the mandible, or lower beak, to be sufficiently submerged so that it will hit fish in […]

Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus)

Unfortunately I have lost a few really great photo opportunities in regards to this species, and I was about to miss this one as well, as the boat driver was in such a hurry, and in no way heeded my requests to slow down. In my few days in Madidi I saw only this one. […]

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

My boat trip from Chalalan back to Rurrenabaque presented an even greater amount of bird species than my trip upstream! Also species I didn’t see on my way to Chalalan. That’s what’s so great about a place like the enormous Madidi National Park – it’s so diverse that even boat 100 trips would present new […]

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

A very common mammal, and perhaps the most abundant in Madidi. My trip out of Madidid provided the most sightings, and several resting as seen here. This is another family a little further down Tuichi River.

Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata)

It’s a relief to see many fledglings of a species that is under pressure from human activity, and they are most likely present in all the rivers in low-land Madidi. It sounds like this:

Heliconius sp

This was my farwell to Chalalan, and even though it was raining some butterflies were out feeding on urine or naturally occuring salts. Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Echinodorus sp

There is a group of this plant alongside the pier, and of course plenty more around the Chalalan lake. Not a positive ID, so please help me identify it by leaving a comment.

Echinodorus sp

There is a group of this plant alongside the pier, and of course plenty more around the Chalalan lake. Not a positive ID, so please help me identify it by leaving a comment.

Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)

It was perched in such a nice position and light, as if it wanted me to take a picture. Usually they prefer some distance, and if the comfort zone is about to be breached, they flap wings and turn around like if in a weird sort of ballet. This one was just watching silently (!)

Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger)

This lake is quite far from the Tuichi River and has no stream in or out, but the Caiman has found its way to this small and tranquil lake. The sun has set and darkness is falling fast, but still you can see the shiny eyes watching you. At night a flashlight is the only […]

Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)

The sun has set and the Hoatzin is prepping for the nocturnal activities. The moon is bright, and that sometimes brings out sounds never heard during the day. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate any such recordings, so I have decided to bring my own recorder in the future.

Red-necked Woodpecker (Campephilus rubricollis)

There are many species of woodpecker in Madidi and on the grounds of Chalalan, but this one is by far one of the largest and most powerful. To make it’s territory known it drums on wood that has the most powerful resonace, and it only does so in 2 fast beats. Sometimes it sounds so […]

Great Orange tip (Anteos menippe)

Sometimes you can see quite large gatherings of this species on the riverbanks, and urine is particularly irresistible.

Rainbow katydid (Tettigoniidae)

Spotted on the grounds of the now out of business Santa Rosa – Chalalan’s neighbor. Please help med identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Genoveva Buckeye (Junonia genoveva)

Spotted on the grounds of the now out of business Santa Rosa – Chalalan’s neighbor.

Tuichi riverbend

I’m standing on the grounds of the currently abandoned Santa Rosa lodge, and perhaps permanently as where I stand the river has gobbled up a huge chunk of the land and one of the buildings is less than 2 metres from the edge! This is a beautiful place, and I hope it will be able […]

Madidi tree snake

The only tree snake I encountered in Madidi. This is on the neighboring Santa Rosa property. Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Santa Rosa Lake, Madidi

This lake is a few hours by trail and much faster by boat. The lake is huge compared to Chalalan lake, so you have a much wider view – of which I got a glimpse of as the clouds cleared. Unfortunately the lodge here is no longer in business, and its future uncertain as far […]

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Yet another pair I was able to get quite close to – this is on the grounds of the neighboring Santa Rosa (no longer in business, unfortunately). As you can see they’ve got an eye on me, but just barely. They kept on with their “Macaw-business” until they moved on. It sounds like this:

Madidi chrysalis

What amazing weaving skills! I would really like to know what species this is so I can see what kind of insect this is. Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Red-barred Amarynthis (Amarynthis meneria)

One of innumerable species of butterflies and moths found here, this is on the trail from Tuichi river to Santa Rosa lake – the much larger neighboring lake to Chalalan.

Cleonus Metalmark (Detritivora cleonus)

This is on the trail from Tuichi river to Santa Rosa lake – the much larger neighboring lake to Chalalan.

Chalalan thundercloud and time-lapse

The moon almost full, almost clear sky and stars visible in the moonlight and a growing thundercloud – all mixed in with a soundscape so loud and varied that I have decided to purchase a proper recording device so I can share it in the future. The moonlit nights are special in many ways, but […]

Chalalan lizard 02

What’s nice about canopy towers, and lookout platforms like this one Chalalan set up recently, is that you get to see so incredibly much more than when you are on the ground. This lizard is almost level with me, but unfortunately I was absorbed with the Macaws flying around, and only got shots after it […]

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Chalalan has a good population of both Blue-and-yellow and Red-and-green Macaws. If you are able to get in the canopy (usually most unlikely), on a hill or like I am here, a look-out-platform Chalalan installed not long ago, you might get some amazing experiences as you are level with many of the birds flying between […]

Madidi National Park

This is Chalalan lake, the pier with the canoes and some of the staff and guests. This is the only evidence of human activity and Chalalan lodge, as there is no opening of the natural green here – for any of the buildings. This is facing east in the diminishing light of the sun setting […]

Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica)

A very shy and secretive bird, that instead of taking to the wings prefer to swim into the vegetation for cover. It will sometimes leap out of the water to catch insects from branches hanging over the water. It sounds like this:

Black-capped capuchin (Cebus apella)

I haven’t been able to find any resource describing which of these two distinctly different facial patterns are male and female, but I assume the first one is an older male. They are both in the same group, so I doubt there are two different species of Cebus. This one seems to have lost a […]

Tricolored heron (Egretta tricolor)

I’m amazed by the number of fish-eating bird species are fed by the fish stock of the small Chalalan lake, in addition to caimans! Herons and cormorants are ravenous, so the rate of reproduction and diversity is incredible for a lake that has no inlet or outlet – it’s isolated from the Tuichi river.. I […]

Chalalan lizard 01

The lizards are usually heard but not seen, and if seen it’s usually in high speed away from you. This is one residing near my cabin and are one of the larger species.

Black-capped capuchin (Cebus apella)

When a group of 20-30 monkeys rush through the canopy, it’s like swarm of sounds and movements. You mostly see some feet, tails, or furry bodies jump in and out of sight. Knowing exactly where they will jump is one thing, another is to actually catch the entire body in flight! A zoom lens would […]

Madidi grasshopper 03

Please help identify it – leave a comment.

Many-banded Daggerwing (Marpesia chiron)

A large and quite common butterfly on the riverbanks of Madidi.

Madidi butterfly 01

On all the riverbanks you’ll see many different species of butterflies and bees, licking salts – either from human and mammal urine, or the natural occurring salts. Please help identify it – leave a comment.

Bolivian red howler (Alouatta sara)

I heard one or more groups every day, but seeing them was another matter. This was my closet encounter during my stay.

Madidi toad 01

Most of the toads are very well camouflaged, and during the day you’ll see them only if they move. Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloropterus)

What’s wonderful about some of the national parks like Madidi is that more and more of the inhabitans are no longer hunted, and you’re able to get reasonably close, albeit most often vertically close that is. As Macaws get very old, I assume they have not been hunted here for a few decades, as they […]

Madidi cicada 02

Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

White-throated Toucan (Ramphastos tucanus)

Despite the huge beaks and wonderful plumage, their song is rather annoing. An excellent ring-tone candidate 🙂 This one was part of a group of at least 4 birds on the other side of the Tuichi river, and the only encounter I had where I was able to get a decent shot. It sounds like […]

Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga)

A juvenile on the Tuichi riverside and where the trail to Chalalan starts or ends. It sounds like this:

Blue-throated Piping Guan (Pipile cumanensis)

I never saw this species on ground, and thus never got a good shot. Not really disturbed by human presence, and some individuals just stared at me, the surroundings and me again. Then shifting position, and same procedure. But when I encountered them on the ground, they were usually quick to get some distance between […]

Madidi grasshopper 02

Another large grasshopper, and the only time I saw this particular species. Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Stink bug (Pentatomidae)

As with all stink bugs they have a foul smell, but with such intense color I suppose this must smell incredibly bad? Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Poison frog (Epipedobates sp)

During the day you might not see many frogs, but at night you hear the many frog species around Chalalan. This one was still at it well into the morning, as you can see. I spotted this one alongside the trail leading to and from the Tuichi river.

Spot-legged poison frog (Epipedobates pictus)

During the day you might not see many frogs, but at night you hear the many frog species around Chalalan. I spotted this one alongside the trail leading to and from the Tuichi river.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

A common bird in Madidi and here on Chalalan lake. Thanks for showing both sides 🙂 It sounds like this:

Black-headed squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis)

Most of the time you hear but don’t see the monkeys, as they are in the canopy, high above you in a very sharp background – the sky. If you’re lucky you get a few glimpses, and even more lucky if you can get a clear shot between the leaves. This was a quite large […]

Black-headed squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis)

Even though I was in a canoe on the Chalalan lake, and these monkeys were moving through the trees next to the lake, it was very hard to get clear views and shots of these agile and fast moving monkeys. Fortunately some could not resist eating on their way to the roost, and among those […]

Black-capped capuchin (Cebus apella)

Yum-yum! If the monkeys are busy eating, they can be quite difficult to spot, and only when they move you’ll have an idea of their location by the branches moving. But still they are mostly hidden in the foliage. This one was happy to sit in the open, which I think could be dangerous as […]

Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)

A beautiful and loud bird, and one of several harvesting fish from Chalalan lake. This is the female – the male has a reddish chest. It sounds like this:

Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis)

The fully mature adult. It sounds like this:

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

Even though Chalalan lake has no inlet or outlet, and is quite small, there is so much life in it that it supports several ravenous cormorants in addition to many other fish eating species. Yet again you can see the horseflies! Every larger bird I’ve seen by the water (river or lake) so far has […]

Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis)

A juvenile. It sounds like this:

Striated Heron (Butorides striata)

A canoe is silent, and thus you get really close to the animals around Chalalan lake. Even the very shy herons seem to have become accustomed to the slow moving canoes – to a certain point of course. I prefer not to step over the comfort zone of the animals so that I’ll see as […]

Madidid lizard

Please help me identify it – leave a comment.

Rainbow metalmark (Caria trochilus)

The Caria butterflies are perhaps the most beautiful of all! The colors, patterns and how they are in different angles and light is just mesmerizing, and I guess reason for some to get hooked on butterflies for the rest of their lives! I never got the chance to photograph this species in direct sunlight, which […]

Crested rainforest grasshopper (Prionolopha serrata)

One of many large insects just outside my cabin.

Madidi grasshopper 01

The 2 kilometre long trail from the river to Chalalan provides an excellent welcome and goodbye experience when it comes to flora and fauna, and this was the first grasshopper! A very large one, i might add! Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga)

If you’ve got a sharp eye and know what to look for, you will see a hawk watching you! It sounds like this:

Madidi Cicada 01

Halfway to Chalalan we stopped for lunch on the bank of the Tuichi River, and this was the first and only sight I had of this incredible insect.

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

Drying its feathers after a dive. It sounds like this:

Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata)

My first sighting of this species! And not the only one – there were many of them here, both fledglings and adults. The species is listed as near threatened. It sounds like this:

Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi)

The 4-5 hour boat trip from Rurrenabaque to the Chalalan lodge provides excellent fauna opportunities, as the river is the only all-year natural clearing in the density of the Madidi jungle. Desipte being a bird who can easily outfly the bloodsucking insects, they are constantly bombarded with horseflies, as you can see here. It sounds […]

Lowland paca (Cuniculus paca)

This was my first mammal sighting in the Madidi National Park, and was very promising as this was just a few hundred metres after crossing the park’s border (the GPS coordinates are from a bit further upstream, as my camera did not have GPS lock here)! That said, it seemed to be in very poor […]