WRITTEN BY: SAMUEL HANSSON
New species of birds for science have a very special attraction on me, so when I looked for some place in the Amazon basin to work as a volunteer, my eyes fell upon the Reserva Natural Palmari lodge on the Río Javarí. Rumor said that up to four new species had been found in the area, and that sounded very exciting. Maybe I could even find one of my own! I wrote an e- mail to Axel H. Antoine-Feill S. and offered my services, and he immediately showed a great interest. After some correspondence I was invited to come at any time that suited me best, and that was between July and September. I started with a month´s birding in Colombia, though, and stayed at Axel´s home in Bogotá before and after my stay at Palmarí. My adventures in the troubled country of Colombia (of which I hardly saw any signs) will be covered in a separate trip report.
My main task at Palmarí was to find as many species of birds as possible and write this report. I did pretty well, recording 431 species in seven weeks and pushing up the total number of birds seen in the area with some 35 species to 533.
Amazonian rain forest is amazing in its diversity of life forms and species, but I never seem to get used to the heat and, especially, the humidity. It´s generally worth the suffering though, and to see most of the specialties of an area you simply need to stay out there for some time. For me, seven weeks was enough. Not to see everything, but to see most of the birds around, and to be able to write a substantial trip report. Many special moments will be remembered, some truly spectacular. The only thing missing was that new bird of my own. Maybe next time…
I would like to thank Axel for his great hospitality and for giving me the opportunity to come to Palmarí as a volunteer. I would also like to thank Bret Whitney and Dave Stejskal of Fieldguides Inc. that shared a lot of their vast experience with me (and their clients), giving enlightening answers to my many questions.
I hope that this report will be a useful tool to anybody going to Palmarí in the future, and I wish you all that come there good birding!
Address: Yrvädersgatan 17, 573 38 Tranås, Sweden